So, first things first, I better briefly introduce myself, I’m Rob from LadyUmbrella, a ladies t-shirt company based in Ireland..Andy, from this globally renowned site HYA asked me to write a blog post about our offline life and I’m all to happy to oblige..Now, that concludes the intro, lets get to the meat and potatoes…
Now, I think we’ll all be in agreement when I say selling t-shirts online isn’t easy! God, how I wish it was but the reality is that it isn’t easy.. I have embraced the grind with LadyUmbrella, facebooking daily and tweeting til my fingers bleed..Putting in the hard yards to try get a slice out of the online t-shirt sales pie..No doubt, we’ve been fortunate enough to get a taste and in no way am I saying that being a social media soldier won’t give you some joy but lots of times it is joyless..Perhaps it’s just me or maybe you feel it too – when you put in a truckload of effort into online promotion and see very little coming back..It can suck the life out of you and get you down..And, at times like these it is useful to consider leading a “double life” and trying to get some action offline via wholesale deals, fairs and pop up shops..
Now, I think we’ll all be in agreement when I say selling t-shirts offline isn’t easy! Sound familiar? And, whilst it isn’t easy there can be more joy to it..The reason for this is the interaction, the human interaction, the face to face stuff that gets lost in the 140 character online melee, is refreshing and can be invigorating.. When you can see the happiness people derive from your designs as the try them on and buy them it really gives you a shot in the arm – especially compared to tweeting to, at times, an empty room..
So, now, how to try find retail deals or fairs or pop ups.. One thing I’ve done to try find wholesale deals is to ask our facebook/twitter friends if they know of any shops in their area that might be interested in stocking our brand..This has yielded some leads for us and is worth giving a shot..Another way to try get some wholesale business is to step away from the computer for a bit and, with t-shirts and products in hand, call in to whatever shop you want to try get stocked in and sweet talk as best you can..Now, this approach won’t work for big shops as you’ll have to go through the “proper buying channels” but for independent boutiques and the likes where the buyer is the person behind the counter (or in the back room) you just might get some important face time to make your pitch.. Important thing here is to make sure you know your numbers – how many of each style can you sell and at what price? will you give a discount over a certain amount? do you give credit? what payment terms will you accept? By knowing your numbers you’ll be able show that, whilst you just came in off the street, you’re not a mickey mouse outfit.. Obviously, make sure to have a business card or lookbook or something to leave with the shop owner if they express an interest – or a notepad to jot down their order
Andy: Thanks for Rob for putting together this advice column, the second half will be posted later in the week.