How to Approach a Boutique Store Owner and Sell to Her!

rose gold engagement rings

In the last post, we discussed how to get an appointment with a boutique to show your handmade jewelry as well as how to prepare for the meeting once you get the appointment. Before we talk about how to handle the meeting with the store owner, let me just reiterate and add a few points that may not have been covered in enough depth in the previous post:

1. Make sure your retail pricing is consistent across all sales outlets. If you sell your item to more than one store, your standard retail price should be the same for each store. If you sell on online, through an online gallery, at home parties, at craft shows, again, your retail price should be the same as you’ve set for the stores. Never undercut the price that a boutique is using to sell your handmade jewelry. This creates an enormous amount of bad will.

2. Be prepared with answers to the following questions when you meet with the store owner:

– Do you have a minimum order amount? Alot of jewelers set their minimums at $100.00. You might want to offer an incentive for ordering over a certain amount. For example, offer a free display or piece of jewelry if they order over $300.00.

– How rapid is your turn around time? They simply want to know how quickly you can produce your handmade jewelry and when they can expect to receive it.

– What are your terms of payment? In other words, how and when do you want to be paid.

– Do you sell in other stores, on the web, at shows etc? Again, they’re concerned about being underpriced and that you might sell to their competition down the street.

– How do I go about reordering? Reassure them that you’ll check back with them on a regular basis to see if they need anything. The last thing the retailer wants is for your handmade jewelry to sell like crazy and then not be able to restock.

3. If the owner of the boutique is unwilling to purchase outright, there’s also the possibility of a consignment arrangement for your handmade jewelry. We’ll discuss this in a future posting.

Well, you’re finally ready to meet with the store owner! You’re nicely groomed, wearing one of your best handmade jewelry pieces. Your jewelry is carefully arranged in a professional looking carrying case along with brochures, price lists, business cards etc. Congratulate yourself for taking the initiative to find new markets!

Make sure that you time your departure so that you arrive on time. The owner will draw conclusions about your ability to produce your handmade jewelry in a timely manner if you’re late. On the other hand, don’t be too early. The owner will likely be tied up with customers and won’t appreciate the additional pressure of having to divide her attention.

Be pleasant and try to establish good rapport with the owner from the beginning. As you show your jewelry, take the time to answer her questions in an unhurried manner. Reassure her that you’ll be available when she has questions or needs to reorder. Let her know that you won’t be marketing your handmade jewelry to stores in her immediate area.

Give her the time she needs to look at your jewelry without pressure. You may suggest some ideas on how to display your items and how best to merchandise them. Tell her which of your items have been most popular at shows etc. This is all valuable information to the retailer and further reinforces your professionalism as a designer.

If you are rejected, please don’t take it personally. There are many reasons a store doesn’t purchase from an individual vendor. They may be overstocked with merchandise, already have items of a similar nature, feel uncomfortable ordering from a new vendor, have insufficient funds for ordering at present etc. Let them know that you’ll check on them again in the future to see if their needs have changed. Be sure to leave a business card and encourage them to call if they have any questions.

After the meeting, it’s always classy to send a thank you card whether or not they chose to place an order. This small gesture goes a long way towards promoting good will and can result in an increase in sales of your jewelry.

On the next posting, we’ll talk a bit about the consignment arrangement and it’s role in marketing to boutiques.

Have a great weekend. 🙂