After a teeny break, we are pleased to welcome Mélanie from Pretty Paper Please back to the blog today to talk about line sheets and product catalogues! You’ve got your finished product in hand. Your packaging is figured out. Your brand has been fine-tuned. You’ve built a cohesive brand story that exudes confidence and strongly represents you and your product. It might finally be time to reach out to the shops you’ve wanted to, for so long!
Not so fast! I’ve talked a lot about having a professional edge throughout this series thus far, and two imperative pieces to have at the ready are your line sheet and product catalogue. Both documents should be included in all introduction emails, as they provide shop owners with a comprehensive look at your product line, pricing, minimums and refund/exchange policies.
From her own experience as a previous shop owner, Rena Tom is an excellent resource for anyone starting a creative business. If you’re not already familiar with Rena, she’s worth following and will undoubtedly inspire. Thankfully she compiled and shared specific line sheet and catalogue requirements over on her blog a couple years ago. I referred to her list of must haves when it came time to create my own and would suggest you do the same.
It’s important both your line sheet and product catalogue fit within that brand you’ve worked so hard at establishing. You don’t have to get too precious with these – simplicity is key, as you want the information to shine here. When it comes to photography, it’s important that you capture each item properly. Don’t use flash photography and avoid any “busy” or distracting backgrounds. White or simple backgrounds are generally preferred.
I’ve created a mock line sheet and catalogue to help you visualize your own. Your line sheet will typically be an editable PDF, although I’ve known some people to create Excel spreadsheet versions. The catalogue can also be a PDF, but it’s a tiny bit easier to email a link around, so I host my catalogue on Issuu.com (a digital publishing platform). If you’re not comfortable setting these up on your own, reach out to a designer and work with them. It will simplify your life, I promise!
While we’re talking about line sheets I want to also briefly cover pricing. Generally, shops are looking to retail your items for double your wholesale price. This means you need to consider a few factors. First – the shop’s customer. What are they likely to spend on your item? Second – the shop itself. Is it a lucrative purchase for them? Third and possibly the most important – YOU! DO NOT EVER forget about yourself! You always want to consider your own material and labour costs, while also acknowledging some profit when calculating final wholesale costs.
Here’s a Wholesale Price Formula that is pretty tried and true, although sometimes it’s a bit of a balancing act to find that magic number for everyone: (cost of materials + cost of labour) x 150% markup = wholesale price
If the shop is interested in carrying your product line, they’ll typically ask about your “minimums”. What is a minimum, you ask? It is the minimum order the shop will need to place in order to receive your product line at wholesale price. Think about your material and labour costs and decide what minimum dollar amount is worth the wholesale discount.
The shop might also ask about your MSRP. What they’re looking for is your “Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price” for each product. It’s as simple as that.
Get out there and introduce yourself! You’re ready to sell! Good luck!
next post: The Business of Running your own Product Line.