We took a little day trip to Sydney yesterday to visit Life InStyle. Life InStyle is a trade fair for retailers to find their products all in one roof. We have exhibited there the year before but we didn’t do well. To be honest though we weren’t very well prepared back then, we only had mugs, notebooks and cushions to sell and we didn’t even have any packaging! We had no experience in wholesale and we didn’t know what we were doing.
Now we have our own shop and we know so much better what we are offering and who’s our target market, we also have better packaging. We are more certain what sells than what doesn’t. I feel like we are in a better position to give wholesale another chance. That’s why we’re up to Sydney yesterday to have a look of the venue and other exhibitors to see if that’s worth giving it another go!
I must say, doing wholesale isn’t easy. When we first started we had this great idea that we only wanted to do wholesale, so we didn’t have to bear the costs of having a shop and we could work at home. But life isn’t that easy. There are so many things we have to consider;
* The wholesale price of our products
* Do we provide enough mark up for the retailers?
* If we manufacture our goods, (to make the costs cheaper) do we have enough space to store all our products?
* What should we charge for postage?
* What’s the payment terms and conditions?
We’ve learnt some important lessons at the first trade fair. We were very silly when it came to money, it almost feels like as long as you buy you can have everything. So we didn’t take any deposits for some of the orders and were silly enough to post our goods to the shop before we get payment. Of course, some people took forever to pay and even one shop never paid us! I cannot imagine anyone would do this to a new small business, but shit does happen and there are plenty of bad people out there.
There is a positive to this story, what happened to us before really motivated me to do something to help new start ups. Our ultimate goal for this business is to provide a retail consult to new start up, provide Give feedback in terms of packaging, pricing and sourcing. It’s because I have gone through all the trouble and it would be nice to help the others.
Oh I think I am a bit off the track. We haven’t decided whether we will exhibit at Life InStyle Sydney next year but we will definitely give it a go for the Melbourne one this year.
Have a great week!