Approaching Independent Retailers

ModJulieModJulie subscriber Posts: 1
edited January 2007 in Sales
I am an independent custom furniture designer/manufacturer.  I just started my business a few months ago.  Due to some fortunate local press, I currently have my pieces in a local retail outlet and a handful of interior designers.  The article came a little quicker than expected, but I`m not complaining!
I am trying to devise the best plan to approach independent furniture stores and interior designers. 
I have a little time to devise a plan, as my website is under construction, and I believe this must be functional before any major marketing occurs.  What do you suggest?  Is my first action to email a targeted group with a few pictures and a link to my website?  Do I call them?  Do I complete a mailer with follow-up phone calls?  Attend a trade show? How do I determine the decision-makers at these firms?  Some are large, some very small, etc... 
I`ve read varied ways to make positive connections with retailers, but I`d really like to hear from the SUN community to see what has worked best for you.
Thanks,
Julie
 
 

Comments

  • CookieCookie subscriber Posts: 2
    This is a topic near & dear to my heart, Julie, as I market a gardening tool I invented.  Trade shows can be good for reaching your target audience & you wouldn`t have the problem I`d have of everyone wanting a sample.  However, it`s a big expenditure of time & money & only you know what your budget is.  You`ll have the expense of booth rental, booth display, hotel....
    I`ve personally found that mailers go in the wastebasket & emails get deleted or ignored unless you`ve had an introductory phone call first.  How to find the decision-makers is achieved by asking questions of the receptionist.  You may be talking to that receptionist a number of times before finally reaching the right person so be nice, be very, very nice & you`ll get results.
    You seem to be off to a good start so keep doing what you`re doing, only more so!  Look forward to seeing your website once it`s done.
    Cookie
    www.wedgie.biz
     
     
     
  • ModJulieModJulie subscriber Posts: 1
    Thanks for all of you for some great advice!
    ModJulie
  • tpcptpcp subscriber Posts: 4
    Sorry to hijack this thread but I just wanted to ask in general when you are cold calling or going round to potential stores meeting them face to face - what on earth do you say? I can`t even imagine how to begin!
  • kkrafts58kkrafts58 subscriber Posts: 12
      I`m with you. My cousin has set up an appt. for me with the director of a Conciere (OK where`s spell check?) of a major hospital in my area. I`ve got my foot in the door, but don`t want to put it in my mouth. Any advice?
  • Jason5yuanJason5yuan subscriber Posts: 3
    I am going to start my share of cold calling next week.  Julie, what type of furniture do you make?  My products are also interior design related.  Maybe we can share some of our cold calling prospects or something.  I sell handmade home accessories.  Sculptures, paintings, masks and such.
  • ModJulieModJulie subscriber Posts: 1
    I am going to start my share of cold calling next week.  Julie, what type of furniture do you make?  My products are also interior design related.  Maybe we can share some of our cold calling prospects or something.  I sell handmade home accessories.  Sculptures, paintings, masks and such.
    I make sleek, functional, contemporary designs.  I mainly work with industrial grade aluminum for the framework, and then use wood and/or glass for shelving or tabletop materials.  I have made tables, shelving, kitchen islands, outdoor furniture, and other custom pieces.  I`d love to share my prospect list, but it is extremely small!  You have some beautiful pieces on your website.  Do you exhibit at any of the gift or furniture shows?  I`m considering doing a show, but I`d like to attend a couple first, and then decide which might be best for me.
    I am really in the beginning stages (my website should be up and running in about a month).  I`d love to hear ways you have approaced retailers and designers. 
    Thanks
    ModJulie
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