Do you attend expensive trade shows to get in touch with stores? Then read this post on how to find boutiques yourself and pitch one on one.
If you’re just getting started, also read our post on how to get started selling jewelry to stores.
Finding a retailer to carry your jewelry line is mostly about finding stores that target a similar customer profile to your business. To find these retailers, you need to do your research – it’s time consuming but it’s very important to do.
- Compile a list of stores.
- Shortlist based on customer profile match
- Pitch them by telling them why you think your brand would appeal to their customer base.
- If they decide to move ahead, make it easy for them to try your line out by keeping your terms simple and professional.
Finding Boutiques to Sell Your Handmade Jewelry
I photograph jewelry so boutiques are my clients too. The below is the approach I use to find stores to pitch to.
Searching on Yelp
Search for something like “jewelry boutique” or even broader like “fashion boutique” or even just “boutique”. Depending on your location you’re going to get a lot of listings to browse through.
To avoid wasting time, you can filter your results based on price point ($, $$, $$$ or $$$$), reviews, category, etc. And of course, you can change the location too – you don’t have to look for local boutiques.
I like to pitch to prospects who have recent reviews. That indicates they are active in their business and are doing well.
Searching for something like “jewelry boutiques near me” will give you local listings. And a search like “jewelry boutiques zipcode” will give you listings around that zipcode. Or if you’re on a phone, google automatically knows your location and shows you local listings.
Similar to Yelp, you can filter as needed. Yelp is better because they have more reviews. But I’ve often found businesses listed on Google but are not on Yelp.
There are many other ways to find businesses to pitch to but the above two methods will give you hundreds of store listings. And since you are doing the work to find these stores, there are no commissions or monthly fees you need to pay. So before anything else, start filtering as much as possible to arrive at a targeted list that you think would be a good fit for your product. Then, you dig deeper…
Compiling and Shortlisting
Broadly, it’s about the finding stores whose customer profile matches yours.
- Products: If the store is local, visit their store or if not, look at their website to understand the types of products they carry e.g. if a store sells fine jewelry but you’re selling beads, you’re likely not a good fit. Similarly, if the store already has a lot of similar product to yours, they might not want to work with another vendor with a similar line. So look for stores that stock products targeting a similar customer profile to yours. If your products were stocked in that store, would it seem like a natural fit? If so, then it’s a good target.
- Price points: Like above, if price points of their existing products are similar to yours and their products feel like they are targeting a similar audience, then it’s likely a good fit.
- Complementary products: If the store doesn’t currently stock similar products or sells outside of your price range, don’t rule it out yet. Look at their assortment and think about their customer profile. Are they selling to a customer in a similar age group and style as you are targeting? For example, if they sell shoes but no jewelry, you could pitch them about trying out a new product category such as yours. The key is to talk to them about how your product fits into THEIR business.
The Selling Process
Start by Engaging Socially [Optional, but helpful]
If you have a short list of stores that you really really want to get your product into, then go the extra mile to build a relationship – start by liking/following one or two of their social pages and engage. Comment on their posts, ask questions, etc. Don’t overdo it. Be genuine in your comments. This will get you noticed and when you send them an email or meet with them, they may remember you. Plus, it helps you understand their business better.
Write a Template Pitch
Have a generic pitch outline with a link to your site, and key brand info hat you’d want all prospects to know. This will help you while customizing your pitch before you actually send it out.
My advice is to keep your initial contact short – don’t send a lengthly email telling them everything about your designs, attaching images, line sheets etc. Keep it short and link to your website. In one or two short paragraphs, tell them how you found them and why you think you’d be a good fit for their store. Telling them how you found them gives them some context and helps you connect. For example, saying that you came across them at a trade show or read their blog post, etc. helps you build that bit of connection.
Example 1: Lela Barker, of Lucky Break Consulting, has a great post on email scripts. In her template script below, her first paragraph flatters the boutique – if it’s done tastefully, I think this is a great approach and might get the rest of your email read.
Here is a screenshot from the post.
Example 2: This may not be completely relevant but the concept is the same. Here is a sample email script that I personally use to pitch my photography services. I tend to keep my pitch short because I want people to be able to scan through it quickly and get the key pieces of info about what I offer.
I found you while searching for Shopify stores that sell jewelry. I’m a photographer and wanted to check if you need help with ecommerce/catalog photography. Please view samples and pricing on my site at jewelryshoot.com.
Here are some reviews: www.yelp.com/biz/jewelry-shoot-berkeley. I’m in the San Francisco area but work via mail – you can ship me the products, I photograph and ship it back.
Please let me know if you’d like my help or have any questions.
P.S: I focus on jewelry but can also do other small/medium sized items like belts, wallets, etc.
Customize Your Proposal
Having a template proposal will save you time, but a certain degree of customization is usually required with each pitch. Tweak your template to talk to the retailer about similarities in the type of customer you are targeting or similarities in product aesthetic. If you send them a generic pitch without talking about their business, it will likely be ignored.
As Jane Hamill of Fashion Brain Academy says, “You want to focus on filling the stores’ needs rather than telling them about yourself and how great your line is. Sad but true.”
Prepare Your Line Sheet / Terms
If they are interested and ask for more info, have this ready. Traditionally a line sheet is printed – but it doesn’t have to be. You can use a pdf to email or you can host it on your website and send a link to prospective stores. Think of your jewelry line sheet as your sales kit. It’s a catalog of your products. It should include your brand story, a listing of your products, good product photography, product descriptions, pricing & ordering info, and your terms like timing, minimum order quantities, and shipping charges. You have to look professional.
Have Samples Available
Make sure that you have samples of your jewelry on hand. When you meet the retailer, allow them to see and feel your jewelry. You don’t need to have all the colors in every style but have enough of a variety of styles and colors so they can see how your line will look in their displays.
Once you’ve sent emails or had a meeting, don’t forget to follow up – this is VERY important. Don’t be annoying but sending an email a week or so after your initial email or meeting is very useful. I usually send the initial pitch via email and then follow up after 1 week, 1 month and 3 months. I’ve sometimes had people get back to me 6 months after my initial email. It’s important to stay professional and not come off as salesy. Make it easy for them to try you out.
That’s all for now. Do you currently sell to boutiques? How do you find stores to pitch to?