Growing Partnerships with Retailers

At Stitch Labs, we continue to grow our toolbox for helping small businesses succeed and we want to share great resources when we find them. We found a new one last week that is sure to help and we wanted to let you know. It’s a blog by the name of StartUp FASHION and while its focus is on fashion, there are many great tips that can help any design-focused product business.

One particular post caught or eye this week and it’s applicable across all types of product companies. Be sure to check out “What do Retailers Want from Fashion Designers." The post gives excellent insight and can help you if you are thinking about going the wholesale or consignment route.

Working in product businesses my whole career, there are several expectations retailers have of designers/artists/manufacturers when they decide to carry your products in their store. A few that come to mind are:

·      Product – Nothing drives a retailer more crazy than when they expect to have your product on their shelves and you don’t deliver. If you’re not sure you can support orders or get them to the stores on time, do everyone a favor and don’t commit yourself to a store. You could do serious damage to your reputation and your brand if you can’t support the orders you’ve committed to. It’s all right if you’re not ready to make the leap to wholesale quite yet. It can be a big volume business, and if you’re making products one at a time, wholesale can be challenging.




·      Pricing – If you decide to sell more wholesale, be sure you have your pricing structure worked out. You don’t want to undercut a retailer’s price by selling your products directly to consumers at wholesale prices. This can be tempting when you’re out at a street fair or trunk show and people are bartering. Stick to your guns. You’ve put a lot of work into your products and a customer on the street may only buy one of them, don’t give it away at nearly cost just to make a sale. Besides, if the retailer gets wind of this, it may be damaging to your relationship. There are so many helpful tools to help you think about how to price your wares, one good article is "How to Price Your Products." Novel title, huh?




·      Support – How do you plan on promoting your brands in a way that helps the retailer sell them? Is it through a discount to get people to try it? Could you do some local promotional activity that will help your brand gain awareness? Whatever it is, you want to be sure the relationship is more than just a one-time transaction. You’re building a partnership with the retailer and they’re supporting you by giving you an additional outlet to your customers.



Those few tips and the blog post by StartUp FASHION should be enough to at least get you thinking about how to approach a retailer. If you are already selling through wholesale or consignment channels, hopefully one of these tips can help you re-think or validate your process. If none of them help, too bad, you’ve already read this far. 

At Stitch Labs, we can definitely help with the first two of my three points. In fact, products are practically what we’re built on. Remember, in the 4 P’s of marketing, Product is number one. If you don’t have it, you can’t sell it. So make sure you have the first P covered and that your inventory process is sound with Stitch. We also help you understand the profit you’re making with our detailed, yet easy-to-understand reports. By thoroughly understanding your profitability, you can make better pricing decisions, which can lead to more sales and even better profit. Finally, Stitch allows you to have as many prices as you want for specific items since you sell them through multiple channels. Most software systems force you to stick with only one price per item. That’s just crazy! We want to provide you the flexibility you need to sell in any way you can. Try Stitch Free and learn how. 


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