Selling Wholesale to Retailers: Why You Need a Professional Wholesale Line Sheet

A Professional Wholesale Line Sheet is Clear, Concise, and Represents Your Brand
A Line Sheet Helps Inventory Management Across Multiple Sales Channels
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The one thing that has been critical to running my business like clockwork is a good wholesale line sheet, or a listing of my products that includes photos, descriptions, wholesale pricing information, and policies. Yes, you need one if you want to get started selling wholesale to retailers.  Here’s why.

To get your business working for you, it’s imperative to sell product through multiple channels.  I sell both wholesale and consignment, online through my own IndieMade website and Etsy, and at craft shows.  Each channel offers a certain kind of exposure and benefit, and I have found that participating in all has enabled me to get good press, a solid customer base, and a roster of stockists I love to work with.

But with so much competition out there to attract retail attention, it is critical that we present the message that we know our business from top to bottom when selling wholesale to retailers.  It's essential to communicate a message of organization and business savvy, especially when working with retailers and sending out wholesale orders.

I recently took a course about preparing your business for wholesale called Retail Readiness.  Instructor and all-around retail rock star Rena Tom said something that really stuck with me:  ”Make it EASY, really EASY, for retailers to work with you.” Sounds obvious, but with this simple statement comes a long list of to-dos in order to make it truly easy for a retailer to order and re-order your product.

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Outside of precise inventory management and maintaining clear and consistent communication with retailers, I have found that the single most important tool in making it easy for retailers to work with Zelma Rose is the wholesale line sheet.

Let’s get the groans out of the way.  Arghhhhhh. Yes, you must have a wholesale line sheet, and yes, it has to be accurate, easy to read and professional-looking.  If not, guess what?  You will not be easy to work with.  The good news is, there are lots of ways to create a good line sheet for selling wholesale to retailers.

First, get clear on your inventory and pricing. While selling through multiple channels works great for my bottom line, it means that my inventory and product lines have to be ready to go and perfectly organized.  To do so, I use an inventory management system, and online tools like Shoeboxed, Outright and Evernote to organize my expenses, orders, works in progress, and contacts.

Then, you can go ahead and use one of the many great online tools, such as Stitch Labs (which I use), Trunkt, and Linesheet Maker, to create a wholesale line sheet. Once you have a line sheet, you can make it available on your website, save it as a PDF or a document, and have it at the ready for wholesale inquiries and designer submissions. 

I like to customize my line sheets depending upon the sales channel.  Maybe just one of my lines is suitable for a particular store.  I often create different line sheets for each of my designer submissions and meetings when selling wholesale to retailers.  Customization really helps to personalize your inventory information and present what will be most relevant to each individual retailer.

A wholesale line sheet can also be repurposed for venues other than traditional retail stores. I recently participated in a group gallery show, which was a first, as my jewelry and accessories do not normally appear at art galleries.  I had an idea of what items the gallery owner might be interested in including in the show before my interview, so I created some line sheets of the appropriate product families to bring along.  

Because this was not a retail client, and a one-time event, I knew I only needed to include a small number of details on the line sheets.  I decided to include the category list, Images, and retail price.  When I pulled out my line sheets to show the gallery owner what other options were available, she said, “Wow, nice line sheets.  I can actually see the pictures!” Zelma Rose for the win!

Taking your small business to the next step and selling wholesale and across multiple channels is a big deal.  It means growth for not only your business, but also for you as a business person.  Organization and confidence are paramount when presenting your brand and business to retailers and wholesale clients.  And remember, make it easy for YOU and retailers to place and fulfill orders. So, go ahead, tackle those wholesale line sheets and get your game on!  

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Comments

Kat

Thank you, thank you for all this helpful info!

Helen

Awesome and perfect timing, I am just putting together my first line sheet!

Anonymous

Very informative post, thank you!

Anonymous

Thanks so much for this information. In just a few minutes I was able to learn a great deal about taking our small homemade goods business to the next level. Your information confirmed some of my hunches about what to do next but really gave me confidence that we're on the right path. Thanks again!

Jimmy

I wanted to know what the protocol was regarding payment when a retailer places a wholesale order? Do they send you a check first? Then you send them your products or vice versa?
Thanks!!!

Mia

It works just like a regular purchase. Retailer pays upfront for their order, then you send the product. At least that is how I am doing it. Hope it helps.

Sophia Wright

Hi Lisa,

Could you please suggest  how to meet retailers? We are leather jacket manufacturer and looking for retailers.

Jerome Strach

I went thru setting up my Stitchlabs account per your recommendation but I'm not finding the Wholesale Line Sheet reporting/template you talked about...?

Jessica Horvath

Hi Jerome

I'm not familiar with Stitchlabs, but I'm sure you can get in touch with their support team for instructions.

Here's the link to their contact page: http://www.stitchlabs.com/contact

Thanks!

Jessica

Notre Nike  Hommes

not that much of a online reader to be honest but your blogs really nice, keep it up! I'll go ahead and bookmark your site to come back in the future. Many thanks

Carlin

Great little post! I was the manager of a linesheet group for a major manufacturer of watches and accessories. Everyone uses linesheets to share their info with buyers. Be sure to include the basics such as contact info, delivery schedule, costing, colors, sizes and variations. Makes the job of a buyer easier when planning their purchases!

Karl

 

Hi Carlin,

What did your group think of the line sheets generated  by Brandboom.com?

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