How To build Your Future Wholesale Business The Right Way - Part Three
As the image for this post may suggest, it's almost that time where you get to put your feet up and let all of the hard-efforts in designing your collection pay-off in presenting it to retail buyers. Well if you do take note of this post and implement everything on the following checklist that celebration which see's you with your feet up and a glass of champagne in hand all the more closer in site. In Part Three of the series in How To Build Your Future Wholesale Business The Right Way, I give you with the checklist of essentials to make that fabulous first impression with buyers and build a brand kit template that is with you for the long-run.
THE WHOLESALE BRAND KIT
The "wholesale brand kit" is a collection of documents and brand assets that will help you present your collection in its best light and provide buyers with the right information they need to place that all important order with you.
To help you build your own wholesale brand kit that will make an awesome first impression with buyers, I have compiled a list of the essential must-have elements that buyers expect to see from you. Use this checklist for every new collection you plan to present to retailers.
1. Campaign Images
Create a compelling and inspirational collection of images of your products in action. Otherwise known as a “campaign” shoot in the world of fashion. These images need to reflect the ethos of your brand and instantly evoke a feeling with buyers so that they recognise where your product fits in the market and exactly who you are trying to reach. These images are also known as "heroes" and are viewed as the more aspirational of all branding imagery. Leaving the “product shots” to do all the talking about the finer details of your garments or products.
2. Product Shots
If you’re already selling direct to consumer via your own e-commerce store then you will be very familiar with product shots. The role of a product shot is to show detail and display a clean unobstructed view of the product. When planning your product shots, it’s ideal to keep the backdrop neutral, plain and simple, the product need to do all the talking. Once you have collated your campaign images and product shots, you can then start working on the lookbook.
3. The Look-book
This all-important PDF contains every single detail of information that the buyer needs to know in order to make an informed decision about you, your brand, your latest collection and what’s in for them. It’s great to open a lookbook with a brief introduction to your brand story. You can then go on to introduce the collection you’re presenting to them and the inspiration behind the designs, fabrications and colours. Once you’ve made an enticing introduction you can then let a selection beautiful campaign images do all the talking for you. Following on from your campaign images you need to then include a product shot of each style in the collection, accompanied by the all of the details about the style. Always look to include - the unique style number for each product, the colour/s that are available in each style, the size range, a brief description of the fabrics/materials it is made of, the delivery period it can be ordered for and most importantly the wholesale (WS) and recommended retail price points (RRP).
As you can imagine retail buyers see a lot of lookbooks landing in their inbox, so it can be beneficial to "think outside the square" and include something a little unexpected in your lookbook. Maybe you can include a “behind the scenes” video from your campaign shoot or a clever infographic about your transparent supply chain. If you’re lucky enough to have a talented graphic designer on your team they can throw together your lookbook layout for you. However, if you want to have a go at building one yourself, there are some beautiful ready-made (and in-expensive) templates that you can purchase through sites such as Creative Market.
4. The Line Sheet or Order Form
So how do buyers then place an order from a pretty lookbook? Well, most lookbooks are accompanied by a line sheet (which refers to a sheet that displays all of the product information line-by-line) otherwise simply known as an order form. The line sheet is a more concise version of your lookbook and is often created using Microsoft Excel as it allows you to add formula’s to easily calculate quantities and order totals instantly. To begin with, your line sheet should ask for the buyer's details, including their store name, contact name and phone number, ABN and delivery address. Next to that should be your contact details and ABN.
The body of the line sheet is where buyers will formulate their order. The following elements are essential in the body of your line sheet; a product image (as a quick visual reference to buyers when putting together their order), style number, brief product description, colour options, available sizes in a grid (so that buyers can add the quantities they would like to order in each size), expected delivery window, and the wholesale price (WS) and the recommended retail price (RRP).
At the very end of your line sheet, you need to include information about your payment terms and shipping options. For example, you might request that a 50% (non-refundable) deposit be paid when placing an order, leaving the remaining 50% due before delivery. In regards to shipping, you may have a blanket amount that you charge your retail partners regardless of their order size, offer flat-rate or give your retail partners the choice to use their own freight company.
The final and most important part of the line sheet is making sure the buyer signs off on the order. Include a section just under the order total for their signature and the date. This means they agree to the terms of your order.
5. Printed Brand Collateral
If your budget allows for it, it’s a great idea to give buyers a beautifully printed piece of brand collateral to take away with them if they have viewed the collection with you in person or at your agent's showroom. First and lasting impressions do count and enable you to sand out from the crowd of brand’s they see every season. Keep it simple but memorable, it could be a hero image printed on lovely paper stock with a quote from the designer on the reverse to remind them of the look, feel and inspiration of the collection.
Once you have created all of these informative and inspirational documents that form your wholesale brand kit and before you present that new collection of yours to retail buyers. You can make their lives that much easier (and in turn simple to place an order with you) by uploading your lookbook and line sheet to a google drive or Dropbox folder and create a link to share with buyers, that way they can easily download your brand kit at their leisure.
I completely understand that for many of you that are reading this, you may be heading into wholesale territory as a one-man band. So the good news for you is that I’m currently developing some very useful templates, such as a ready-made wholesale order form template that you will be able to download straight from my website very soon. All you have to do is populate it with your own specific information each season and your good to go!
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