The best place to start is with a list of the top five shops in your area you would like to target that your items are appropriate for. Simply target number one and then work down the list but if one shop agrees, think very carefully before approaching another on the list because often independent shops want to have something unique and not something that can be found in all the local shops. However, if you have a range of products for example jewellery and model figures, you could offer one shop one product and another shop the other range.
The second step is to go and investigate the shop you are going to approach. Look at their product range, packaging and prices but do not introduce yourself as a creative business owner as this will come a little later. Make sure you also find out if they have an online presence as your products might feature on their website.
Once your research is complete on all of the shops on your list now what? Telephone the shop and ask to speak to the owner or buyer. Introduce yourself and let them know that you will be sending or hand delivering a package of your items for their consideration. Once you have made that call it is important to follow up promptly with a personalised package including:
- A covering letter that requests an appointment,
- A catalogue,
- A line sheet / wholesale prices,
- Samples if you are able to spare them,
- Your contact details & website,
If you do not hear back within two weeks then follow up with an email or phone call. In an ideal world, you'll secure that appointment!
Coming on the next business stips blog on Friday 19th: Approaching Stores Part 2