The best way I have found to sell my work to retailers is:
1.Carefully asses the store for compatability with your product
(price points, style, quality of merchandise, calibre of service)
Call, identify yourself and ask who does the buying. Make an
appointment with that person for a showing. Call to confirm the
appointment a day in advance. Smile when making the phone calls, it
will shine through in your voice.
If the buyer is not available, ask when they may be and call
back then. Leaving a message generates a return call about 1% of the
If you cannot speak directly, send a well written letter with a
few photographs. Mark all photographs with your company name and a
Drop-in or ambush sales with product in hand are rarely
appreciated by a buyer. Though it is prudent to do a "drop in" and
merely introduce yourself, have a few QUALITY pictures handy if they
wish to see them, then make an appointment to return with product.
This is also personally safer than carrying around thousands of
dollars worth of goods constantly.
Follow up on a semi weekly to semi monthly basis with those you
have spoken with even if they did not purchase.
When meeting have firm prices established, make sure your goods
are well organized, clean and have promotional materials (photos, biz
card, etc) available to leave with buyer.
Always be well dressed when meeting for the first time(no jeans),
have well manicured hands, and a genuine smile.
Arrive 10 minutes early for any appointment but no more than
Always follow a meeting with a thank you note even if a sale was
Be prepared for any and all questions, including if you are
willing to do consignment. Have payment terms, return policy,
delivery times, etc. well thought out ahead of time and put
EVERYTHING in writing.
Do not take rejection or critiques of merchandise personally.
Listen and decide if it is constructive or if you are dealing with an
ass. If the latter, thank them for thier time and end the
Since you are shy, practice your pitch in front of friends or tape
what you wish to say. listen to it, refine it and practice. Dont
rely on a hard script, but get to where you are comfortable and have
a personal style.
Last suggestions, have quality business cards/stationary done by a
printer. Computer printed cards look cheap. Your promotional
materials will be one of the first things to speak about the quality
of your product. Also, have appropriate displays/cases to show your
goods. Handle them like the handmade artwork they are. I have
"signed" jewelry boxes for each of my pieces when making a
presentation. Some stores wish to use my packaging, some dont, but
it is the impression that counts.
Best of luck! Mike Michael A. Gaines Distinctive Jewelry