Wednesday, November 14, 2012

In Business: How to sell your work in shops - Part 1

Welcome to the first post in our new series of business topics.
Are you a maker wondering how to get your items into shops?  Or have you ever been approached about wholesale?  We will talk to two successful people -one a maker, the other a shopkeeper- about their experiences.

Meet, jewellery designer Lily from 'frillybylily'.  Lily will be at the Crafty Fox Market with her creations on Saturday 8th December.  Here, she shares her top tips for wholesale from the perspective of the designer.  In our next blog we'll be speaking to shopkeeper Emy from Brixi - a beautiful gift shop in Brixton Village.

Lily, in her own words.

frillybylily jewellery is inspired by my hometown of London. The style is best described as 'pretty but gritty'. Everything is manufactured in small batches in North London using recycled metals. I have been designing, making and wholesaling for 6 years. Current and past independent and larger stockists include: Brixi in Brixton village, Branch on the Park in Victoria park village, Mon Bijoux in Hampstead, Homage in Stoke Newington, Urban Outfitters and Anthropologie stores.

My top tips for selling wholesale:

1. Do weekly stock takes: If you are working on a small scale, simply keeping a page in a notepad with current stock totals is enough. Do the same with packaging, findings and anything else you may need to order in in advance. If you're more sophisticated you could always do a nice colour coded spreadsheet!
2. Have your terms and conditions ready to be signed before you leave stock with a new stockist. Outline your non negotiables and stick to them! Get a dated signature and a mobile phone number if you can. This helps if you need to chase up payments or just get in touch with the shop owner/ manager rather than the shop assistant.
3. With larger stockists they are very strict about deadlines. Whether you are manufacturing or hand assembling your order, you need to KNOW that you will be able to hit the deadline, otherwise you may be charged. This means using suppliers/ outworkers that you trust and planning your time in advance. Use a delivery method that you know and trust, or better still deliver it yourself!
4. Keep your prices consistent across all stockists and your website. Nobody wants to be undercut by anybody else. 
5. Ask for feedback from your stockists. They speak to the customers. See if there is anything you can do to keep your collections up to date and flying off the shelves!

 Join us in our next blog post for the shopkeeper's perspective. 


  1. How interesting to get this insight. Looking forward to the next posting. Btw, were you at holly's book launch? Have a lovely weekend :) x

  2. Glad you found it interesting. Yes, I was there - sorry we didn't find each other. Hope to make it to one of the London blogger meet ups