You might remember from my earlier blog that one of my goals for 2020 was to shake up my stockists. In 2019 I had a goal to be stocked in 2 shops. Throughout the year I smashed it, and ended up in seven. However, it’s not just art racking up the numbers. 2019 was a huge learning experience for me. Finding out what works and what the cost and reward is with each stockist was a big part of that.
I chose to shake up my stockists and make changes. To make sure that I am always working with a model that’s good for my business. This meant saying goodbye to some stockists and hello to others.
Now it wasn’t really that simple. Each stockist came with a different set of risks, difficulties and benefits. I have to make sure that not just my time is being spent wisely but where I send my stock. As busy times of year like Christmas you bounce a round a lot between restocking bricks and mortar stores, preparing for markets and fulfilling online orders. Managing stockists takes time and coordination. It is much easier if a stockist can track the exact items that you sell, but this is very rare. A stockist will regularly tell you the type of item you sell and it’s price but are unlikely to keep track of your individual designs, which as a print maker is valuable intel to make restocks easier and more predictable.
Wholesale, although the less profitable avenue for your price per item, is an avenue I was keen to explore more in 2020. I am super stoked to have found some of my new suppliers in this way. I am always keen to identify possible new stockists. So if you have a store front that you think my work would be a good fit for, or even just have a suggestion of a shop (online or bricks and mortar) that you think I should get in touch with, please make sure to drop me a message on my website’s contact form.
Stockists that Fit
I have made a more focused attempt at finding stockists recently too. Finding alternative and niche store is something I am keen to try outside of the general ‘indie maker’ shop scene. I am pleased to have some stockists that come under this category. Also I am looking forward to developing this relationships over the next year too. In 2020 I am trying to embrace my weird side, rather than sneak it in amongst the normal. I am hopeful that this will be as good for my business as it is as enjoyable.
Remember to get in touch!
I am always researching, learning and keeping an eye out but if you want to chat business or have a great recommendation for where you think my spooky work will fit right in, don’t forget to get in touch!
To be able to announce Punnydukes as one of my official stockists is a brilliant milestone. I am proud and pleased to be part of the Punnydukes family. The shop is still quite new. It opened down a Matlock side street in December 2018. It is the creation of illustrator Katie Abey whose funny (and punny!) illustrated range of goodies are a staple of any independent gift shop in the U.K. Santa even brought e one of her mugs last Christmas.
The shop itself is a-maz-ing. Themed around the magical, it nods to the Wizard of Oz, Alice in Wonderland but most obviously to Harry Potter. A big influence on Kate’s work and with potter puns littering the shop (including the name, a Punny Honeydukes of course) The gorgeous bay windowed shop looks straight out of Diagonal Alley.
This store is so instagramable it hurts!
The shop had 7,000 international Instagram followers in its first few months of opening. One youtubers tour of the shop gained 50,000 views in about 3 days. The shop was Kickstarter backed and it just shows you what a worldwide audience there is for this store. There is a yearning to visit from fans across the globe.
Luckily for me, it’s just a 45 minute drive. There is certainly a fierce appetite for the store worldwide with many who will likely never get the chance to visit. I am really pleased that this doesn’t have to include me! I have already planned my first trip to the super instagramable independent store and it will be when I drop off my first batch of custom ceramic punny figures.
Punny is the teal wizard cat that is the mascot of Punnydukes. The store commissions artists to recreate punny in a range of mediums. There are a few crocheted punny’s I have spotted on their instagram. The adorable nature of the character and the cult status of the store shows there is a demand for Punnydukes branded products.
It’s been my first batch ceramics commission for a wholesale order and it’s been a delight to work with Punnydukes on this collaboration.
You might remember that in my ‘Illustration Goals for 2019’ blog post I had mentioned that one of my goals for 2019 was to have my products stocked in 2 stockists. I had approached a couple of stockists last year but I didn’t have a clue what I was doing. I didn’t understand how to price my items properly or how to present them to stockists as opposed to individuals. After attending a brilliant workshop on approaching stockist with Debbie from Moonko I felt a lot more confident and informed. I knew what I needed to do and when I would have the time to do it.
The most important thing I needed to do was create a ‘look book’ of items to present to stockists. This will include clear terms and pricing structures as well as product information. My goal was to create this in January to distribute throughout the year and hopefully secure those first two stockists. I had expected January to be a quiet month so it seemed a perfect time. However, January ended up being far from quiet and so my look book still consists of nothing more than notes at this stage.
Hang on… isn’t this blog called ‘new stockist announcement?’
As it turns out, there seems to be a lot of stockists looking for new artists and makers in January. I can only assume that this is down to the increase in sales over Christmas. I imagine that this means stockists have more shelf space and more money for wholesale items. With January being a quiet month too with shoppers feeling the post-Christmas pinch stockists must have more time to process applications. There is always the chance, however, that some makers only work with stockists in pre-Christmas busy months. This could potentially make shelf renting a risk at this time of year. I don’t believe that this is the case though, I am just acknowledging that it could be a possibility!
With all these opportunities presenting themselves it seemed almost too easy to approach stockists who were asking for applications without a look book required. Happily for me my application to Birds Yard was accepted and I will join the team in February 2019.
Birds Yard is an award winning independent shop in Sheffield City Centre. The shop has run since 2012 and sells a great collection of items by local and international makers. When I saw that they were especially looking for Sheffield themed items I knew I had to apply. The shop will stock my Sheffield themed prints, patches and some of my quirky ghost prints too.
I am incredibly happy to have made such good progress on my goals so early in the year. So far this year I have been feeling so determined and working harder than ever. There are a few more things in the pipeline related to some of my other goals too. I am hopeful and happy that I will soon be writing a blog post on how close I am getting to achieving those too. I also still intend to write my look book soon. Once that’s done, surely my second stockist can’t be far behind 🙂