Monthly Archive for December, 2009

Increasing Your Business with Wholesale Sales

WholesaleAs an artisan product producer, you’re probably already offering your products on a retail basis – either on a website, at craft shows, markets, or through word-of-mouth. There are potentially many additional venues that you could be targeting by offering your products on a wholesale basis. But how exactly do you do this?

Conduct Some Cheap Market Research

Once you decide to begin looking for wholesale accounts, try starting with a few of your favorite places to shop. Do they carry products similar to those that you create? If so, you may have a shot at getting your products into the store. Ask the store owner how they source new product additions, and ask if you may bring him a few samples and a price sheet. The worst thing that can happen is you will get turned down – but, you’ll never know if you don’t ask!

Other Ways to Find Wholesale Accounts:

  • Search for gift shops and retailers in your local area via the phone book or web
  • Check out your local Chamber of Commerce member directory
  • Look in the local newspaper to see what local shops are carrying
  • Add a Wholesale Application and Order Form to your website or blog
  • Place an ad in your local paper that you are accepting new wholesale accounts
  • Check out GreatRep.com and set up a profile for your business
  • Place a representatives or wholesale accounts wanted ad at GreatRep.com
  • Attend a gift show or expo and look for potential accounts or sales representation
  • Hire a sales representative to market your product line

Wholesale Pricing

It is important to evaluate your production costs before you decide to offer your products on a wholesale basis. It is customary for retailers to imply a 100% markup, also known as a keystone, to items that they purchase wholesale. If they are unable to do that, they may not be interested in purchasing from you. Likewise, if you cannot clear a profit from your wholesale price, it will not be cost-effective for you to offer your products on a wholesale basis.

What if Your Production Costs Fluctuate?

This is a common dilemma for small business owners. You may not always be able to purchase certain raw materials in bulk – so your production costs may vary slightly from batch to batch. In order to make sure that you are always making a profit with your wholesale sales, it is best to calculate your per item costs for raw materials based on the most you would ever pay for any of your raw materials, including the associated shipping costs. If you base your standard wholesale pricing based on the most you’ll ever pay for your particular raw ingredients and packaging elements, you’ll be able to maintain a solid profit margin on your products.

Interested in learning more business-building tips and product formulation ideas? Subscribe to my FREE Make Your Own Spa Products E-Course.

Creating an email list for your spa product

Customer ListIf you’ve heard it once, you’ve heard it a thousand times…the money is in the list. But how, exactly do you get one? The answer is easier than you may think.

Compiling and maintaining your own customer mailing list is a vital tool for your business, and one that can easily secure its ongoing success. It is an asset that you should cultivate and foster over time – do this, and your list will net you sales today, tomorrow and for years to come.

Despite the ease with which a customer mailing list can be set up, it is truly surprising how many business owners completely miss the boat. Forget slapping up a text link with the lack-luster “sign up for our list” message. Trust me, it won’t work.

If you want to build a successful list, you have to remember these five little words…”what’s in it for me?”

Your prospects need to find a REASON to sign up for your list. If you can provide them something of value, they will sign up…in droves.

So, what can you offer?

  • A free report
  • A discount
  • A free product with purchase
  • A special promotion
  • Invitation to “VIP” event, etc.

Give them a reason to share their valuable contact information, and they will. Be ready to answer the question, “what’s in it for me?”

Truer words were never spoken.

Keep those five little words in mind, and you’ll build a ravenous list of enthusiastic product evangelists that will be fumbling for their wallets every time they open their inbox.

List Building Techniques

You’ve started your list, but how do you make it grow? Here are a few list-building tips:

  • Incorporate a Tell-a-Friend component to your website or blog
  • Sign up for a Twitter Account, and use it to cross promote your site and list
  • Add a note to your business card that encourages folks to join your list
  • Include business card magnets in outbound shipments and in shopping bags
  • Hand out flyers at your shows and craft fairs that prominently promote your list
  • Promote your website and list through your email signature line
  • Promote your list in discussion groups and forums
  • Create a promotional video for distribution on YouTube.

Once prospects are on your list, be sure that you stay in contact with them on a regular basis, and provide valuable information in your correspondence with them. Nobody likes to be greeted with blatant sales messages, so be sure that you balance your content accordingly. Maintain a pulse on your market by subscribing to trade magazines, or by signing up to receive Google news alerts – this will provide you with relevant content on an ongoing basis. Tie newsworthy items in to your product line in new and creative ways, and you will be able to strike the delicate balance between sales and substance.

Interested in learning more business-building tips and product formulation ideas? Subscribe to my FREE Make Your Own Spa Products E-Course.

Aroma Sprays Make Perfect Scents

Aroma SpraysCreating your own line of aromatic body spritzes and room sprays is an excellent way of boosting your sales.

Mainstream retailers have long offered these fragranced products at prices ranging from $6 to $20 each — often for bottles as small as two to four ounces in size. With a few simple ingredients and a bit of creativity, you can quickly and easily create your own signature blends for both fun and profit.

Aroma sprays and body spritzes utilize the same basic ingredients. The primary, and most important difference is that anything you plan to offer for sale as a body spritz must be made with body-safe fragrance oils.

Here are the items you’ll need in order to create your own scented sprays:

  • Distilled Water
  • Witch Hazel Extract (alcohol distilled)
  • Glass measuring cup
  • Funnel
  • Plastic pipettes
  • Your favorite essential oils, or body-safe fragrance oils
  • Your desired packaging (colored glass, plastic or aluminum spray bottles)

A few combination ideas to get you started:

  • Lavender and Orange essential oil
  • Black Raspberry fragrance oil
  • Lemongrass and Peppermint essential oils
  • Vanilla and Peach fragrance oils.

Method:

In the glass measuring cup, combine 8 ounces of distilled water, along with 1 ounce of Witch Hazel extract, and 1 to 2 ml of your favorite essential or body-safe fragrance oil. Stir to combine, then decant into your desired packaging.

There may be a bit of oil and water separation in your blends, so be sure to include the instruction to “shake well before using” on your product label. It is also a wise idea to include notations to avoid using directly on fine fabrics, as well as wood finishes.

For professional looking labels that won’t break the bank, check out MyOwnLabels.com. They offer hundreds of color and style combinations, and you can order your custom labels by the sheet. They even offer coordinated hang tags, so you can coordinate your entire line of products with ease.

Interested in learning more business-building tips and product formulation ideas? Subscribe to my FREE Make Your Own Spa Products E-Course.

Private Label Spa Products: What’s In a Name?

Private LabelThink about the last time you purchased a “store brand” product. Do you really think your favorite big box retailer makes all of those products?

How do they do it?

It’s simple, really — they have these products private labeled with their name on them.

By taking this chapter from the mainstream retailer’s playbook, you can develop new revenue streams for your own bath and body product business. Offering your products to your customers under their own brand can be a very lucrative endeavor!

The Benefits to Your Customers:

  • Speed to Market – they can quickly establish a product line without the headaches associated with product formulation and creation;
  • Controls Inventory Costs – they can start off with a lower quantity of products than if they had to create a large production batch on their own;
  • New Revenue Stream – offers them a great new way to generate sales, either as a compliment to their existing products, or as something completely new.

Benefits to You:

  • Economy of Scale – purchase larger quantities of ingredients and save money;
  • New Revenue Streams – tap new markets to sell into;
  • Boost Sales Revenues – establish order minimums for private label sales;
  • Cheap Market Research – your clients’ feedback helps you plan future product releases.

Selling Your Clients on Private Label Products

From a production standpoint, private labeling eliminates the costly expenses associated with research and development of new products. Your clients can react and capitalize on market trends by calling upon you to create branded products based on your existing line.

The Introductory Order Package

One of the most effective methods to getting your products into a new retail location is to offer an introductory order package. For private label clients, this package could include a small assortment of trial size products for them to place at their sales counter or within an in-store display, along with full-sized items available for purchase. Based upon the success of the introductory package, a reorder (at established order minimums) would follow.

Limiting the Options

When you first implement your own private label program, you may wish to consider limiting the number of options available to your clients. Offering one or two sizes of packaging, along with a standard label will enable you to control your costs. For clients with more stringent requirements, you’ll need to establish development costs associated with offering additional packaging and labeling options. Make sure that you get a signed contract from your client before you incur any costs for these custom options.

Private labeling has made significant improvements since its black-and-white packaging debut in the 1970s. Today, private label brands have gained mainstream popularity, and are sharing shelves with the national brands. This offers great news for those who aspire to get into the game. No matter what the motivation is, private label is a viable option to consider. It’s a great way to get your product into the market, even if it isn’t under your own name.

Interested in learning more business-building tips and product formulation ideas? Subscribe to my FREE Make Your Own Spa Products E-Course.