If you are a new or existing small creative business wanting to break into the world of wholesale then researching your product is key.
Now is the time to do it - visit the trade shows and get your questions answered.
Visiting a trade show for the first time can be daunting and leave you overwhelmed, so go prepared.
Think about what you want to find out.
When selling your products to retailers they will want to know
- What you sell
- How much is it
- Minimum order values
- Carriage paid values
So this is a good place to start.
Before you go, take a quick look at the trade show layout and pinpoint a couple of companies that are selling similar products. Ensure you are comparing like with like ie are their products handmade in the UK or are they designed in the UK and then made abroad. This will affect the price point and therefore your target audience.
Write down your questions, I know this sounds silly but trust me. If you walk into a trade show for the first time it is easy to pretend to shop and forget the real purpose for your visit! I know because we fell at this hurdle during our first visit leaving us short on time and feeling frustrated.
When approaching your first exhibitor, hold your head up high and ask for a copy of their brochure. This will include most of the information that you are looking for. Failing that a business card will do as you can look them up on line afterwards.
The designer should ask who you are and what company you are from, so ensure you have your answer ready. This is the perfect time to practice your elevator pitch out loud !
“I design and make luxury bags and am looking to break into the wholesale market. I love your designs, have you any tips that you would be happy to share”
Don’t be offended if the person on the stand is short with you, you are not their target market. The exhibitor is looking to sell their products so stand back if someone else approaches their stand. If they are happy to share and have the time then ask away and get as much information as you can. Don't forget to take your own business cards so that you can hand these out and begin to build your own network.
Once you have visited the stands that you targeted initially, take a look at some of the bigger more experienced ones and pick up their brochures. It does not really matter if they have similar product but it will help you understand how brochures are laid out and what information is handed to potential customers.
Once you get home set aside a day to go through what you have collected and set yourself some goals of the back of your visit.
Don’t just leave the information in a bag under your desk until next year !!!
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