Recently we did a webinar with Clare about selling to small independent shops to launch this online training programme, and it was one of our most popular webinars ever. In fact more than 200 people signed up in less than 4 hours, completely overloading our systems! And more than 300 asked to get access to the recording!
So, if you too want to sell (more & better) to shops and galleries, then this is for you!
What is ‘What Retailers Want’?
What Retailers Want is a self-study online training programme for designers, makers and other creatives who want to start selling or want to get better at selling to small, independent retailers, including shops and galleries.
The programme exists of 5 modules:
- Who is your most likely wholesale buyer? You will learn how to identify your most likely buyer, what they want from you, and how to research and identify your potential trade clients.
- How to build an attractive brand? You will learn how to develop your own unique ‘tone of voice’, create a short intro, what retailers want from your website, how to talk about your work to get their attention, how to create a wholesale catalogue, and how to help retailers to buy and sell your products more easily.
- The small print: Pricing your work and pricing terminology explained, creating your own terms & conditions including minimum orders and payment terms, how to deal with Sale-or-Return, and how to get them to buy more from you.
- Making an amazing first impression: Find out how to pitch, discover step-by-step how to approach a potential retailer successfully, what to do if they don’t respond, and selling in person at trade & craft shows.
- Putting it all together: What to do if you get a positive response, how to handle rejection, what to do when retailers approach you, what to do in awkward situations (e.g. they have a bad reputation, there is an exclusivity issue, they only want Sale or Return, or their order is far too big for you to handle), and how to feel good about selling your work.
The core of the course is a 166-page e-book (nicely designed and in PDF format so easy to read when printed out or on your screen) that covers all the above topics in detail. Each of these 5 modules is also recorded as an MP3 audio recording (over 3 hours in total, so you can listen to them when you are making!).
After reading or listening to each module you’ll get homework. These are practical worksheets that are full of questions to turn the theory step-by-step into practice. You will get practical exercises to help you with market and competitor research. Questions to ask yourself when evaluating which online or brick-and-mortar shops are best for you and your products. You will get to see your own products through the eyes of a potential trade buyer. These worksheets will really help you to turn the information in the book into relevant marketing actions for you and your business.
Useful templates such as price lists, order forms, an intro email and a follow up email, a professional invoice, and an 8-page wholesale catalogue. For each document she gives a lot of practical tips and advice too. This will make you look professional, and will save you lots of time too!
Two scripts (for on the phone or talking in person to a retailer) that you can use when approaching shops so that you will feel more confident, and know what to say.
The course is divided in 5 sections, and you could quiet easily do this course in 5 weeks with reading or listing each chapter in one week and doing the homework.
Who created ‘What Retailers Want’?
Clare Yuille is the co-founder of Merry and Bright, an award-winning fashion, gifts and homeware boutique specialising in work by artists and designers from across the UK.
After seeing too many designers and makers approaching her not entirely in the best possible way, she decided to teach and coach them how to approach retail shops more successfully – first time round. She is very generous with her advice, and has got a wealth of knowledge on her website.
And, Claire is also a professional actress!
Who is ‘What Retailers Want’ for?
What Retailers Want is a must if you:
- Are a designer, maker, artist or creative person who is (relatively) new to selling wholesale, and wants to understand what works best when you approach retailers, so that you don’t look stupid, feel less stressed and more confident and get more successful, quicker.
- Would love to see your work on the shelves of independent boutiques, shops and galleries, across the UK and overseas, but don’t really know where to start.
- Want to get practical worksheets and examples of fabulous price lists (called line sheets in America), great examples of how to write a successful intro email and templates for invoicing. She gives great examples, but also asks you some big questions so that you can discover your own solutions. Making your life much easier!
- Have been trying to sell to retailers, but without a lot of success, or you know that you can do much better.
- If you have loads of questions and worries about pricing, marketing, terms & conditions, Sale-or-Return, approaching retailers, …
- Want to get ready for the busy Christmas season (which starts in September) to make the most of this most profitable time of the year.
Who is it not for?
If you think that marketing and selling isn’t for creatives, and you don’t want to ‘sell out’ then this isn’t for you. Clare shows over and over again why you as the creator are the best person to sell your products (especially when you are just starting out).
This online programme isn’t really suitable if you are looking to sell to large retailers (then I recommend you get the excellent book by Clare Rayner on How to Sell to Retail) or if you are looking to sell through agents or want to license your products.
If you are looking for a quick-fix-to-get-rich-scheme then this isn’t for you either. You will need to become pro-active, do your research, get stuff in order, approach potential clients professionally, deal with no responses and potential rejection. This programme really will help you to lay the foundations to help you step-by-step to approach small retailers by yourself as a creative.
If you ‘just’ want to make but don’t want to spend any time on marketing, then this isn’t really for you. This course is full of ideas and actions that you need to implement, and you will need to start making time for marketing and selling, in the short and long term to use this course effectively. You will need to be committed to implement what you learn to make a real difference to your income.
Clare tells it as it is. She is very straightforward and honest in her language and advice. You might realise that you have made some big mistakes, and that might hurt. You might realise that you have been creating the wrong kind of products, or that you need to change from creating everything by yourself to outsourcing part of your production to others (to get your cost price down).
This course is for people who want to learn from their mistakes (or others’), make changes to their business and marketing, and do it better next time.
You also need to like Clare’s dry Scottish humour … (which I think is hilarious!)
What I really like about ‘What Retailers Want’:
Clare is a great storyteller, with great one-liners, and the book is written directly addressed to you, giving it a very personal approach. Not surprisingly then, that besides running the Indie Retail Academy and her own design shop, she works as a professional actress.
One of the best parts of this course is where Clare explains how to develop your own brand and tone of voice to attract your dream clients (trade and consumers!). In your ‘About Me’ page but also in your product descriptions.
It’s not WHAT you say, but HOW you say it that’s important.
It’s really difficult to get this right, especially as a new creative business, and I know how many people struggle with this. Clare gives loads of real life examples so that you really ‘get’ it. She really encourages you to show your personality, and put it in writing.
In chapter 4 she gives a great example of how NOT to do an intro email (which looked probably perfectly fine at first glance to most of you!), and then takes you step-by-step through what’s not right, and then shows you what to do to create your own, in your own voice.
Even if you never want to sell to retailers the course is worthwhile as it will help you how to talk and write about yourself confidently and authentically to potential clients.
Clare tells it as it is, and she is full of common sense. There are loads of great insights, and once you know them then they are obvious and make a lot of common sense. Some great examples of this:
- ‘Character products make a shop more memorable. Workhorse products make a shop more profitable.’ Here Clare explains about the different type of products that a buyer needs in their shop, depending on their own ambitions and targets. Really useful to know in which category your product falls, and how to position, promote and price it accordingly.
- ‘Your About Me page isn’t about you. It’s about your buyer.’ So many introductions are stating the facts about the products or services on offer, the education, other clients or projects. But they don’t really build a connection with a potential buyer, and don’t give what they are looking for. Clare shows you what to write about, and how. (and how to avoid clichés such as ‘handmade’ and ‘unique’!)
- ‘Don’t stuff your envelope with glitter.’ This actually made me laugh out loud! I can really imagine that a new creative thinks it’s a great idea to send something sparkly to stand out from the crowd, but I can also imagine the horror of the buyer who opens the envelope!
This online course is self-study so you can listen to the recordings whenever you like, and you can access this info whenever you like, wherever you are in the world. The information is not just relevant for the UK, but also similar for international clients. The course exists of 5 chapters and it would work really well to do this course in 5 weeks to get you into tip top condition before approaching any retailers.
Clare charges for her course in $, but rest assured that she is as Scottish as she can be! She has a lot of American clients who get confused. Before you purchase you will find the British Pound or Euro equivalent of this $97 course on your statement.
The Design Trust is an affiliate partner of the What Retailers Want course, which means that we get a commission if you would decide to purchase this course. We only recommend products and courses that we think are practical and useful for our audience of professional design, craft and other creative businesses, and we have been able to test this online course in detail before writing the above review.
I believe that this course is a fantastic investment for designers and makers who are considering selling to shops and galleries, and want to learn more about the practicalities from an expert: a small design shop owner. Clare is very generous with her advice, gives loads of insights, and there is plenty of story telling and humour in this course!
This course is very affordable, and if you would get one large order from a retailer you would earn more than the cost of this course. But even if you decide not to do wholesale (yet) after reading or watching this course, you will have learnt much about selling and presenting yourself in general, and you will have saved yourself potentially a lot of time, energy and money too, as wholesale isn’t right for every creative business.
The Design Trust is a social enterprise, and we do NOT receive any funding from government or any other organisations, so just like you we do need to generate our own income. Working with other hand-picked partners like the Indie Retail Academy allows us to provide more free services and information, and to keep our website advertisement free.