After two decades in the retail industry, working as a buyer for large businesses, Juliet decided to take the plunge and set up her own business, Croftrose. A business that could fit in around her family life and allow her to stay creative and develop new products
Juliet creates unique decorations that can be personalised, each decoration is exclusive to Croftrose and it takes around 6 months to develop a new design. You can read more about the process on the Croftrose website.
I came across Juliet on Instagram, @cruftroseltd, and thought that since she has been both a buyer and now a seller she would be able to share some great knowledge with us all and I'm so grateful that she agreed to take part.
How long have you offered your range to retailers? and how did you get your first stockist?
I started offering my range to retailers 5 years ago. I got my first stockists from cold calling a handful of people I thought would be a good match with me. It seems quite brave when I look back and it was very nerve-racking, but that's how I did it!
You used to be a buyer so you already knew the industry well, has this helped you with selling your range and if so what's been the most useful?
Yes definitely, it's been a huge help. I know how buyers work - if you are a new supplier they want to see something different and exciting that they can't get from their existing contacts. You need to know your costings inside out and they need to be realistic within the market you are selling. Always be very professional and make them feel confident that you will be able to deliver any stock exactly as they are expecting it, on time, and at the agreed price.
Do you do any active prospecting? If so, how do you find new stockists and how do you approach them?
I do some active prospecting and sometimes people come to me, so it's a mixture. With new stockists, I usually search around online to identify a lead. That might be on a google search or browsing social media platforms like Instagram or Facebook. I then send some products with a letter or email, sometimes both, followed by a telephone call a few days later. If people approach me I always send a sample and costings as soon as I can, so that they can see the quality of my products. I never let a lead go cold.
How do you handle rejection?
I try to take it in my stride. Your product won't be for everyone. I prefer to find stockists who love my product and really want to sell it.
What advice would you give to someone starting to think about wholesale?
My biggest piece of advice is to be flexible. If something doesn't work then you might need to tweak things a bit. Don't give up, just keep working on it until you get the right formula.
Build up a relationship with your customers, meet them if you can, and get to know them. Make it easy for them to buy from you rather than someone else by being available, getting back to them quickly, and offering a great product.
I am so amazed and impressed with just how brave Juliet was when she started out, picking up the phone and cold calling potential stockists can feel so scary but if you know your products inside out and you are confident that they would fit into the retailers range then you have nothing to lose by doing so. There are of course other ways of reaching out to potential stockists and I will be blogging more about this in the future. In the meantime, I do have some tips on my Instagram feed, @small_business_collaborative so if you do not already follow me, please go ahead and do so now.
If you're interested in working with me, send me an email to discover how I can help you. If you have any feedback or any topics you would like me to cover please also get in touch. I also share tips every week on my Instagram account.
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