Selling your handmade products at a wholesale show is a great way to get your goods into boutiques and shops! Exhibiting at this kind of event for the first time can be overwhelming, but as long as you are well prepared you’ll be all ready to write orders. Let’s look at a few tips to maximize your handmade business’ success at a wholesale show…
1. Create Catalogs and Line Sheets
Before the show I highly recommend creating a visually appealing and informative catalog and/or line sheet. There are many examples you can find online and there is no one “right” way to make these documents. Just make sure your products are represented by clear photos and include the important details: measurements, wholesale pricing, MSRP (manufacturers suggested retail price), color choices, item numbers, etc. I also suggest making a terms and policies page with information about your accepted payment options, times frames, and shipping methods.
2. Include Order Forms
The other crucial item you need is an order form. It should have all of your contact information, a space for buyers to fill out their address and store name, rows and columns for product details, and a space at the bottom for the buyer to sign and date the page. Make sure your rows and columns provide enough space to fit the product name, item number (if you use them), quantity, unit price, and line subtotals. Most importantly, your order form should be printed on carbon copy paper- this way you can keep one layer for yourself and give another to the buyer for their records. Most office supply stores and printing companies carry carbon paper, but it’s best to call ahead and check well before your wholesale show.
You should have all of these documents ready to give to buyers who might want to order at a later time. Many store owners are in a rush or are not totally ready to purchase at the show, but will possibly reach out to you in the future. Make it easy for them to find your handmade products by including business cards with all your relevant contact information.
3. Offer Color Swatches or Charts
Show buyers all of their options (color, fabric, metal, etc.) beyond just the products you have brought to the show. You can only display so many samples within your booth, so make sure they are aware of the other choices by making color charts and swatch books. I like to have a physical version that store owners can touch and see in person, as well as a printed paper version to include with the catalog packets.
4. Make Press Packs
Not everyone you meet at this kind of event will be a buyer. Bloggers, local press, and other media types often visit wholesale shows, so having press packs available to give them can increase your exposure. Most shows also have a press room where you can leave your packets and sometimes even interact with them. A basic press kit for this kind of event includes a bio page, a list of your past media features, images of your products, and any little freebies you have available (like buttons, postcards, or stickers), all presented together in a folder or envelope. Always ask the organizers of the show for permission to leave these out in the designated area.
5. Show Your Packaging
Buyers like to see how your products will be packaged and/or displayed at their store. Bring samples with the tags and the other materials they would get your items in if they placed an order. I try to be flexible with buyers about packaging and displays, so if they have a specific preference I’ll try to accommodate them if possible.
6. Provide Snacks
After being on their feet all day at a wholesale show buyers will be delighted if you have snacks or little bottles of water at your booth. Providing candy, fruit, or beverages will encourage them to stay at your booth longer, which increases the chance of a buyer placing an order. Added bonus: you’ll have a treat or drink handy in case you need it and can’t step away at the moment!
What other suggestions do you have for selling handmade goods at a wholesale show?