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    Making to Sell, Part II

    Sarah Chapman of Tribe Katalyst is back this week with more great information regarding selling your wares. Read part one here.

    So once you’ve figured out why you want to sell, it’s time to decide which sales channels will best get your work into the hands of the public! And there are many factors to consider. These include how much time you have to sell your goods, the funds in your kitty, and the size of your product offering.

    While there are a variety of ways to sell goods, I’ve chosen to concentrate on four sales channels that most small, product-based businesses seem to (rightly) consider when starting out. They are:

    • Markets
    • Online
    • Consignment
    • Wholesale

    Okay, so let’s start with the two direct distribution channels: markets and online. For those not too familiar with biz lingo, direct distribution means selling directly to consumers. For those peeps that consider themselves a creator/maker first and a biz person second, then selling straight to consumers is often a good place to start.

    Over the last few years, design markets have been popping up all over Melbourne (and Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide, Hobart, Perth…) so if you’re a creative/crafty/design-y type, you’ve probably been to a couple already.

    These markets are a great place to start for both hobbyists and those wanting to turn sales pro because you get the opportunity to:

    • Test your product – Whether you’ve done a little or a lot of market research, selling your wares in a market environment lets you find out which products area ‘hit’and which are a ‘miss’.
    • Get customer feedback – Getting out there at the coalface allows you to interact with the most important people in sales –your potential customers! Chat with them about your offering and see what they say about your price points, packaging and stall presentation. Make mental notes. Make written notes. Remember customer feedback is gold!
    • Meet like-minded types – If you do your homework and find the best-fit market for your offering, you’re likely to be surrounded by people just like you! A market stall gives you the chance to powwow with others just starting out, as well as stalwarts of the market scene. Pick up selling tips, create a broader network and potentially shift more products!

    To some degree, all sales channels require an investment of your time and money. In the case of markets:

    Time investment – Medium to high.

    Running a market stall is time consuming. It’s not just working on the stall but also the pre-market preparation like organising props and displays, brainstorming styling concepts and promotion.

    Financial investment – Low to medium. 

    Stallholder fees differ from market to market based on the size and scale. Then there’s product display and stall styling to consider. And transportation costs if the market is located outside your local area.

    If the idea of chatting for several hours about yourself and your products makes you want to run away and hide under a rock, try testing the waters of retail online instead.

    From golf clubs to Gucci gowns and beyond, anything and everything is now available for purchase online. Online stores are fast becoming the shop-fronts of the future with many benefits including:

    • Web stores for every budget – There are many e-Commerce options available to suit every budget including expandable platforms such as Goodsie, Portable Shops and Big Cartel. If you’re more of a hobbyist and don’t want to be outlaying heaps of cash to sell online, there’s a little website you may have heard of called Etsy
    • A global, 24-hour marketplace – Opening hours are a thing of the past now that the inter-web reigns supreme. No matter what your specialty or product, the internet allows you to sell to anyone, anywhere, anytime.
    • The opportunity for in-depth communication – Online selling gives you a platform to wax lyrical about your products, your creative background and your inspiration. Many web shops also include press galleries and blog options in addition to general ‘about’ pages and product galleries.

    Time investment – Medium to high. 

    Getting your online shop up and running will be the most time consuming factor prior to processing orders. There are many elements that need your time and attention, including product photography and web copy (text) to name just a couple. Whether you choose to DIY or outsource, getting an online store up and running is usually a relatively time consuming process.

    Financial investment – Low to high. 

    At the lower end, you’re looking at options like Etsy, while at the upper end the sky is the limit! There’s an abundance of web developers out there who create customised online stores but this option isn’t(usually) cheap!
    Hopefully this gives you an insight into some of the benefits of selling your goods at markets and online. Next week, I’ll delve into the indirect distribution channels,consignment and wholesale. See you then!

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    Posted by: Tess McCabe
    Categories: Advice and Tips, Starting a Business | 1 Comment

    One Response to Making to Sell, Part II

    1. Simply Phoebe says:

      The note about meeting like-minded types at markets is a really good one. In fact my first introduction to CWC was because the one and only Ms Tess McCabe was my stall neighbour at a market. It ended up being a slow day for me in sales, but the connections made since that first meeting have been gold!