Making a Boutique Your Customer: The Preliminaries
Prior to approaching a boutique or gift shop about your product, plan an expedition to search for a store that might be a good fit with what you make. Visit the store first as a potential customer getting information about the type of merchandise the boutique offers.
Does it deal mainly in classic clothing or do the garments have a more casual look?
What is the predominant price range of the garments and the jewelry in the store? Will your wholesale prices fit within that range?
Is the jewelry being sold mainly in sets with earrings attached to necklaces or does the boutique offer separates?
While other articles pertaining to this topic may advise you to look for what you create that looks like the jewelry the store carries, this author suggests that you look for what the store doesn’t offer. Is there a gap that your product can fill? While you certainly wouldn’t necessarily want to try to get a boutique owner to offer funky style jewelry to go with suits and classic clothing, there may be a suitable variation you can offer that fits within the genre of the store. For example, if the store appears to predominantly offer long dangly silver and gold earrings, you might notice that it doesn’t have any of this style in copper. That’s a gap you might offer to fill.
While you are at the store, find out whether you are conversing with the store owner or a sales representative. Get the person’s name and remember it. You may want to take the boutique’s card and write that person’s name on it for future reference.
Ask where the store get’s its jewelry. Are purchases made at market or produced locally? If you learn that the owner’s sister creates everything the store sells, it might be good to seek another location for your designs. There are some mountains that cannot be moved even if your product is superior and better priced than the boutique’s current offering.
Find out whether customers ask for anything that the store hasn’t been able to find. Is that something that you can offer the boutique?
Finally, would the store owner be interested in seeing your designs? Leave your business card or a brochure of your designs. It’s very helpful if you can suggest an online viewing of your work at your blog or gallery. You may also want to mention the other store locations that carry your product. It will probably be important for the boutique owner to know that your jewelry is not available at a competitor in the same town.
Once you determine what appears to be a mutual interest between you and a boutique owner, it’s time to set up an appointment and market your product. Watch for that topic in a following article, Making a Sale to a Boutique.
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