I am in the process of finding stores to carry my work. But I'm unsure of how to do so, and look professional (as if I didn't just start doing this). One shop owner I spoke with was a little short with me, and mentioned something about bringing cards in a shoebox type display. I've been looking but haven't seen anything that about 18 cards would look good in. And should I leave the plastic wrapping off of them, and include the envelope tucked inside?
And does anyone have any advice for writing line sheets? Should they include pictures? Terms? Anything else?
Thanks! Any advice would be immensely appreciated.
Thanks so much, that site is great!
When I first started trying to sell my items wholesale, I put together a catalog and saved it as a PDF and uploaded it to my ipad so that I had the entire collection there. Since I don't just sell cards, but coasters, notebooks, bookmarks and such. Then I went to the container store and found a nice box that was about 9x6x2 and I would bring along 1 or 2 of each type of product that way they could see the quality and if they were interested or had time we could sit down and look through everything or I could email it to them.
If currently you have about 18 cards another option would be to get a large portfolio maybe 11x17 and attache all your cards onto that so that you can easily open it up and they can take a look at the body of your work in a few glances.
Store owners are always in a hurry, but if your designs catch there eye they will spend plenty of time with you.
I referred to the book Creative, Inc. for figuring out my wholesale & retail pricing, preparing a line sheet, coming up with terms & conditions, etc. Also try to grab other studio's wholesale catalog so you can compare yourself against others in the industry so you know your info won't seem out of place. Several studios have their PDF available online to download.
Basically what you will need is:
1. A Deck - a 'shoebox' (you can use a plastic shoebox-size box for your cards--Container Store is a good source). Generally reps want to see the cards grouped in categories (ie: birthday, anniversary, congratulations, etc...). Each card should be packaged in a clear protective sleeve and you should have the item name and number on each card along with the price (the item # and price are most important).
2. A line sheet: this is basically a sheet that shows an image (can be digital illustrations or photos) of each card, the name and Item number. This makes it easy for the rep and store buyer to write down an order! You can create a .pdf, but you will need to print a copy or copies for your rep to reference and show the store.
Put yourself in your rep's shoes. They are representing a number of lines. Make sure everything is organized and you have the names and item numbers on each piece so they can quickly reference a card and write it down on an order form. Note: some reps use their own order form, others may want yours. Either way, the most important info is the store name, buyer, payment method and info and cards they are buying.
Down the road you may have a full catalog and then a seasonal line sheet showing your new cards. You will need to prepare and ship a deck to each rep. As you add and subtract cards from your line you will need to send the new and request the old back as your line evolves.
Thanks Christen! Very helpful.
One thing I forgot to mention is the terms. Generally, you would want to set a minimum amount ($150.00 is pretty standard) for the first order and take the payment via credit card right away. As you establish a relationship with the store you can let them start doing a Net 30. It's important to keep track and send reminders if they are late on payment though.
Also, cards are sold in packs (usually 6 per design). Sometimes a store will request less if they are a small boutique. For boxed cards (ie: 6/box) 3-4 boxes per design is common--depends on the store and the volume they require. Boxed cards are very popular during the holidays, so be prepared...
Since you are starting out, it wouldn't hurt to ask each store what their most popular cards are: Birthdays and Thank You cards are always needed, but it would be good for you to know as you build your line what to focus on. If you get a rep or reps they will tell you. Bottom line, stores want new and different all the time! If your cards look like something they've never seen before or your collection has a really strong voice you will do well. Ideally, your cards should look like a cohesive line. When I walk into a stationery store, I know right away: That's egg press, that's got to be Hello Lucky!, Rifle Paper Co., etc...When I illustrated a new collection for Dee&Lala, it was always tempting to try something different and we strayed a little bit sometimes, but if it was too different than the look we established, we avoided it.
Oh, and I would make sure to set an appointment with the stores you want to be in. Ask to speak to the buyer (which is usually the owner) and make sure to confirm your appointment. Have your deck, line sheet and order form ready. You'll be an old pro in no time...
I like the KASSETT Ikea boxes - they're perfect for a2 sized cards, or the slightly bigger if the card/panel size is larger than a2
they're nice and clean and very presentable