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How to get started wholesaling your products - with Ami Rabheru - The Retail Business Hub
Episode 1456th January 2023 • Bring Your Product Idea to Life • Vicki Weinberg
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Have you considered wholesaling your products? Or are you looking for a fresh take on how to do this?

Today’s podcast guest is perfectly positioned to share a wealth of knowledge on this topic.

Ami Rabheru is the founder of The Retail Business Hub and Scale with Wholesale® Academy. Ami is a Retail business consultant and product strategist.  She specialises in teaching productpreneurs® how to  build retail brands, and the strategic action steps to approach, pitch and sell products to retailers, whilst empowering them with the knowledge of the big business skills they need to start, grow and scale a successful product brand.

Ami shares everything you need to know from how to ensure you are retail ready, to what sort of retailers to approach, and how to make a successful pitch. If scaling your business through wholesale selling is on your business plan this year, this is the episode for you.

Listen in to hear Ami share:

  • An introduction to herself and her business (01:33)
  • Why you might want to sell your product via wholesale (01:49)
  • What your product needs to be retail ready (03:55)
  • What to use to approach retailers if you have just started out (07:10)
  • What makes a successful pitch (08:49)
  • Practical steps you will need to take to ensure you are retail ready, and can scale production (11:34)
  • What pitching is actually like (14:39)
  • How to approach retailers (17:14)
  • Which sort of retailers to approach first (18:53)
  • Things to be aware of (21:32)
  • Making sure you approach the right retailers for your product (23:49)
  • Pop-Up Shops (25:46)
  • Her number one piece of advice for anyone wanting to get started with wholesaling their products (34:00)

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Ami Rabheru Linked In


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Transcripts

Speaker:

Welcome to the Bring Your Product Ideas to Life podcast, practical advice

Speaker:

and inspiration to help you create and sell your own physical products.

Speaker:

Here's your host, Vicki Weinberg.

Vicki Weinberg:

Hello, today I'm absolutely delighted

Vicki Weinberg:

to invite onto the podcast.

Vicki Weinberg:

Ami is the founder of the Retail Business Hub and Scale with Wholesale Academy.

Vicki Weinberg:

She's a retail business consultant and product strategist.

Vicki Weinberg:

Ami specializes in teaching product entrepreneurs.

Vicki Weinberg:

Building retail brands, the strategic action, steps to approach, pitch and sell

Vicki Weinberg:

products to retailers whilst empowering them with the knowledge of the big

Vicki Weinberg:

business skills they need to start, grow, and scale a successful product brand.

Vicki Weinberg:

Now, I have done episodes on wholesale before, however, I wanted Ami to join me

Vicki Weinberg:

because as you can imagine, everyone's approach to wholesale and to grow in

Vicki Weinberg:

your business is different and yeah, and I always like to get opinions,

Vicki Weinberg:

different advice and experiences.

Vicki Weinberg:

So, um, even if you've been wholesaling your products for a while or perhaps

Vicki Weinberg:

you're just starting on your wholesale journey or just thinking about it,

Vicki Weinberg:

I really think there's a lot that you can take from this product.

Vicki Weinberg:

And even if wholesale is something you've never considered, I would still say this

Vicki Weinberg:

episode is definitely worth a listen.

Vicki Weinberg:

So now I would love to introduce you to Ami.

Vicki Weinberg:

Hi Ami.

Vicki Weinberg:

Thank you so much for being here.

Ami Rabheru:

Thank you so much for having me, Vicki.

Vicki Weinberg:

I'm so excited that we're doing this.

Ami Rabheru:

Me too.

Vicki Weinberg:

So, can we please start with you, give an introduction to yourself

Vicki Weinberg:

and your business and what you do?

Ami Rabheru:

Of course.

Ami Rabheru:

So, I'm Ami Rabheru.

Ami Rabheru:

I'm a retail business consultant and a product strategist, and I specialize in

Ami Rabheru:

teaching entrepreneurs the action steps to approach, pitch, and sell into retail.

Vicki Weinberg:

Amazing.

Vicki Weinberg:

So we're going to talk all about wholesale today.

Vicki Weinberg:

Um, and so the first question I've got for you, because I'm going to jump right in.

Vicki Weinberg:

Ami, why might someone consider wholesale for their product?

Ami Rabheru:

Well, at some point, Vicki, um, every business will face

Ami Rabheru:

the dilemma of how to scale and, well, one of the simplest way, of

Ami Rabheru:

course is to sell more product.

Ami Rabheru:

You know, when businesses are thinking about the next stage, wholesale

Ami Rabheru:

is one of those elements that can bring a lot more brand awareness,

Ami Rabheru:

um, to your product, to your brand.

Ami Rabheru:

It brings more people in, um, to your business and suddenly you're not

Ami Rabheru:

shoulder in, um, the, all the effort of customer acquisition by yourself.

Ami Rabheru:

It also helps you in terms of getting economies of scale for your product

Ami Rabheru:

business, um, so that it brings your cost price down, your profits,

Ami Rabheru:

um, will also grow and hopefully your retail business will grow too.

Ami Rabheru:

And of course, the key thing is to grow your sales.

Ami Rabheru:

Some startups will build, um, wholesale into their overall distribution

Ami Rabheru:

strategy from the, from the beginning.

Ami Rabheru:

And some will trade for two to three years and then decide right now

Ami Rabheru:

is the time to build a wholesale channel, and that's their next step.

Ami Rabheru:

There's no right or wrong.

Ami Rabheru:

Um, sometimes it depends entirely on circumstances, product

Ami Rabheru:

supply, capabilities, pricing, and many things like that.

Vicki Weinberg:

Brilliant.

Vicki Weinberg:

Thank you.

Vicki Weinberg:

And that, that does make total sense.

Vicki Weinberg:

Sometimes I speak to people and they say, oh, I've got my products on Amazon or

Vicki Weinberg:

Etsy or my website or whatever, and then they say, oh, where else can I list them?

Vicki Weinberg:

And, and I often do say to people, well, actually, if you're kind of

Vicki Weinberg:

everywhere you need to be online.

Vicki Weinberg:

Have you thought about actually getting, well, I know that, I know that wholesale

Vicki Weinberg:

doesn't necessarily mean in shops.

Vicki Weinberg:

It also might mean online, but I think there's only, as a small business,

Vicki Weinberg:

there's only so many places you can place your products aren't there?

Ami Rabheru:

Absolutely.

Ami Rabheru:

And I think third party, you know marketplaces are great.

Ami Rabheru:

And of course when you get to that next stage of your business,

Ami Rabheru:

having a distribution, um, channel which promotes wholesale is, is

Ami Rabheru:

definitely a great, great way to grow your brand and grow your sales.

Vicki Weinberg:

So you've mentioned that, you know, you might build this into your

Vicki Weinberg:

business right from the start, or perhaps it might be something you consider two

Vicki Weinberg:

to three years down the line, but how would you know, I guess, how would you

Vicki Weinberg:

know that you are retail ready or, and I guess this is probably the same question,

Vicki Weinberg:

what does it take to be retail ready?

Vicki Weinberg:

So if you're planning to do it right from the start, what, what does that mean?

Vicki Weinberg:

What do we have to have and, and do before approaching retailers?

Ami Rabheru:

A really important question, Vicki, and I think first and foremost,

Ami Rabheru:

you need a great product for retail.

Ami Rabheru:

Some of what makes a great product for retail are a great brand, great

Ami Rabheru:

packaging, marketing and pricing.

Ami Rabheru:

Pricing being one of the crucial things.

Ami Rabheru:

And it has to be pricing that reflects your brand positioning in

Ami Rabheru:

the market and your value proposition.

Ami Rabheru:

Pricing your products right for retail is a super, super crucial

Ami Rabheru:

element of being retail ready.

Ami Rabheru:

And there are three elements when you're wholesaling.

Ami Rabheru:

Um, There are three elements to pricing, which I tend to teach, and one of them

Ami Rabheru:

is pricing your products for retail pricing, your products for wholesale,

Ami Rabheru:

and pricing your products for profit.

Ami Rabheru:

It's such a big subject actually, and I've dedicated, uh, a whole module to this on

Ami Rabheru:

my program, but it's such a big retail.

Ami Rabheru:

It's such a big message and not to forget, actually, you know, one of

Ami Rabheru:

those things is, um, some traction with your own retail sales as well.

Ami Rabheru:

So some of those things are quite important elements to be in retail ready.

Ami Rabheru:

The other thing is, um, commercials, and I think you've got to remember that

Ami Rabheru:

buyers, they're creative people, but they're also really commercial people.

Ami Rabheru:

So along with the art must come the science bit, they tend to be looking for

Ami Rabheru:

products that will ultimately generate revenue and profit for the company.

Ami Rabheru:

So you've got to ensure that you have the commercial elements nailed as

Ami Rabheru:

well, so that your proposition can show the retailers how your product

Ami Rabheru:

will help grow their sales, grow their margin, and grow their market share.

Ami Rabheru:

Actually the last one is a metric that larger retailers are more obsessed

Ami Rabheru:

with, rather than independent retailers, but still an important element.

Ami Rabheru:

Um, and again, showing traction in your own business is always a really good way

Ami Rabheru:

to, um, to show some of your commercials.

Ami Rabheru:

So, You know, add things like sales figures, uh, whatever might be

Ami Rabheru:

relevant for you and your business.

Ami Rabheru:

Um, number of stockists that you have already, or best selling items,

Ami Rabheru:

what your customers love, what they keep coming back to you for.

Ami Rabheru:

Customer reviews, any awards your product may have won, successful marketing or

Ami Rabheru:

PR campaigns, all of that kind of thing.

Ami Rabheru:

Um, makes a great product for retail and shows a retailer that

Ami Rabheru:

you are are ready because you are building your own brand awareness

Ami Rabheru:

of making efforts in your marketing.

Vicki Weinberg:

That makes sense.

Vicki Weinberg:

Thank you.

Vicki Weinberg:

And there's quite a few things I'm going to ask more questions

Vicki Weinberg:

on, if that's all right.

Vicki Weinberg:

Mm-hmm.

Vicki Weinberg:

And the first one is, um, and that all makes so much sense, um, but I guess

Vicki Weinberg:

it's a little bit harder if, you know, you are planning to use wholesale your

Vicki Weinberg:

strategy right from the beginning.

Vicki Weinberg:

So perhaps you don't have years or months of sales history, um, maybe

Vicki Weinberg:

it's a bit, a little bit early, you haven't maybe entered any awards.

Vicki Weinberg:

You might be approaching your first retailers, let's say.

Vicki Weinberg:

What in that case can you do, if you want to show that you understand the

Vicki Weinberg:

commercial aspects, is what I mean.

Vicki Weinberg:

I guess if you want to show retailers, okay, this is what, you know, you're

Vicki Weinberg:

trying to, obviously you're trying to sell your product to the retailer, what kind of

Vicki Weinberg:

information would they be looking for, for something that's brand new to the market?

Ami Rabheru:

Well, I think, um, I think one of the crucial things

Ami Rabheru:

is understanding your brand positioning within the marketplace.

Ami Rabheru:

And I think, uh, a lot of retail, a lot of startups do this at the beginning

Ami Rabheru:

and then tend to brush it under the carpet really, um, really quickly.

Ami Rabheru:

And it's such a crucial part of your product business or any business really.

Ami Rabheru:

And knowing and understanding your brand positioning will, you know, everything

Ami Rabheru:

else falls into place that comes after.

Ami Rabheru:

So you know, your pricing will fall into place.

Ami Rabheru:

Your branding, your logo, the colour you paint your walls, all those kind

Ami Rabheru:

of things fall into place when you absolutely nail your brand positioning.

Ami Rabheru:

So if you're coming at it from a really strong angle, you know your mission,

Ami Rabheru:

you know your purpose, um, and you understand your brand positioning,

Ami Rabheru:

you'll understand who your customers are.

Ami Rabheru:

And when you are pitching to the retailers who have who, who have similar customers,

Ami Rabheru:

who have similar values to what your brand is promoting, they will get you, they

Ami Rabheru:

will get that your brand is for them.

Ami Rabheru:

And that's a really important part of understanding, um, your, you know,

Ami Rabheru:

understanding, your brand positioning.

Vicki Weinberg:

That makes sense.

Vicki Weinberg:

Thank you.

Vicki Weinberg:

Um, so when we are talking about pitching to retailers, what

Vicki Weinberg:

else needs to go into a pitch?

Vicki Weinberg:

Like how do we create a really compelling, successful pitch?

Ami Rabheru:

Um, so I think some of the fundamental elements to creating

Ami Rabheru:

a successful pitch really does lie in, in your products and branding.

Ami Rabheru:

Um, it's absolutely imperative, imperative to get your brand positioning nailed

Ami Rabheru:

before you start pitching to retailers.

Ami Rabheru:

Because I think, you know, like I said, once you've done that, everything

Ami Rabheru:

that comes after falls into place.

Ami Rabheru:

Um, you know, when your customers understand you, they will know.

Ami Rabheru:

You know, you're, you're talking to them with your marketing messages.

Ami Rabheru:

They are willing and able to pay for your products.

Ami Rabheru:

And then when it comes to pitching to retailers, they will absolutely get you.

Ami Rabheru:

So I think nailing that brand position in building awareness for your own

Ami Rabheru:

brand as well, um, and having great products that are really wanted and

Ami Rabheru:

needed by your customers are just some of those elements which will create a

Ami Rabheru:

great brand and a product for retail.

Ami Rabheru:

Um, and once you're clear in, once you're clear on all of those things,

Ami Rabheru:

pitching becomes so much easier.

Vicki Weinberg:

That makes so much sense.

Vicki Weinberg:

And I think, you know, you said this so many times, Ami, I think you're right.

Vicki Weinberg:

I think having a great product is definitely the starting point.

Vicki Weinberg:

Um, and I'm really big on research and, you know, actually creating a product that

Vicki Weinberg:

your customers actually want and need.

Vicki Weinberg:

Um, and I guess that all comes down to it as well.

Vicki Weinberg:

If you can sort of prove that you've spoken to your customers, you understand

Vicki Weinberg:

what they want, and this is a product that people are ultimately going to buy.

Ami Rabheru:

Yeah, and, and you know, and, and not to forget Vicky as well,

Ami Rabheru:

that, you know, when you are sort of, you know, getting your product and brand ready

Ami Rabheru:

for retail, I think, I think a lot of.

Ami Rabheru:

I think a lot of creatives forget that actually you also need to, your business

Ami Rabheru:

needs to be retail ready as well.

Ami Rabheru:

And, and, and all of this sort of having a clear strategy and, uh, a

Ami Rabheru:

method methodolic methodical approach to, um, this new venture is, is

Ami Rabheru:

another element which I'm passionate about teaching because you know, when

Ami Rabheru:

you are in this creative bubble, um, you sometimes find it hard to step

Ami Rabheru:

out of it and you know, you're so in your comfort zone and you're running

Ami Rabheru:

your business like you're running it.

Ami Rabheru:

And when you think about this new channel, you do have to

Ami Rabheru:

actually think about getting your business retail ready as well.

Ami Rabheru:

And I think some brand founders don't actually think about what

Ami Rabheru:

that means for their businesses and how they have to change things.

Ami Rabheru:

Um, and they end up with this somewhat static gun approach

Ami Rabheru:

to re, you know, to wholesale.

Ami Rabheru:

And so you've got to align things like your processes, your planning and

Ami Rabheru:

finances with your goals to ensure that what you're doing is really sustainable.

Vicki Weinberg:

That makes a lot of sense.

Vicki Weinberg:

Thank you.

Vicki Weinberg:

And I know this is probably a huge question, but are there, what are some

Vicki Weinberg:

of the things that, that businesses can be doing to sort of align

Vicki Weinberg:

themselves to be ready for retail?

Vicki Weinberg:

And I know we, we can just touch on sort of the highlights as it were,

Vicki Weinberg:

because I know there's probably.

Ami Rabheru:

Yeah.

Ami Rabheru:

I think when, when I talk about that I do talk about, um, you know,

Ami Rabheru:

the ability to, a, be able to, um, you know, produce volume, uh, more

Ami Rabheru:

volume than you are creating now.

Ami Rabheru:

So for example, if you're a handmade business, um, have you thought about

Ami Rabheru:

how you are going to scale that to you know, to, to, to to, to bigger volumes.

Ami Rabheru:

It might not be that big if you're just doing independent retailers,

Ami Rabheru:

but then, you know, it involves you making the product yourself.

Ami Rabheru:

You've got to increase your capac, capacity.

Ami Rabheru:

Um, and, and, and how do you do that?

Ami Rabheru:

And, um, other things like, you know, if, if you are already working with factories,

Ami Rabheru:

it's talking to your factories and, um, planning production with them and almost

Ami Rabheru:

part, you know, treating them like a partner in your business so that you

Ami Rabheru:

can make this happen with their support.

Ami Rabheru:

Um, getting your finances ready, you know, all of those kind of things.

Ami Rabheru:

So, you know, if you are pitching to big retailers, for example, um,

Ami Rabheru:

you are more than likely to want to, you're more than likely to have to

Ami Rabheru:

finance the order before you get paid.

Ami Rabheru:

So, you know, all of that kind of planning comes into it.

Ami Rabheru:

And just simple processes like, um, logistical things as well,

Ami Rabheru:

so you know, how you fulfill your orders, those kind of things.

Ami Rabheru:

So yeah, there really is this sort of, background to getting your

Ami Rabheru:

business retail ready as well, um, as well as your products.

Vicki Weinberg:

That makes total sense because I can totally see that you could

Vicki Weinberg:

end up accidentally in a position where you, maybe you land an order and then you

Vicki Weinberg:

find out actually your supplier doesn't have the capacity to perhaps produce the

Vicki Weinberg:

order or there's going to be a long lead time or I can definitely see you could,

Vicki Weinberg:

sort of, if you, if you went about it the other way around, you could definitely

Vicki Weinberg:

come across hurdles and I guess you'd feel much more confident going into retailers.

Vicki Weinberg:

Yeah.

Vicki Weinberg:

And speaking to them if you know that actually you've got

Vicki Weinberg:

everything lined up so that if you walk away with an order, great.

Vicki Weinberg:

It can actually happen because I, I don't know how often that happens, but

Vicki Weinberg:

I, I can definitely see that something that, that could trip people up.

Ami Rabheru:

Yeah, absolutely.

Ami Rabheru:

And, and it often does.

Ami Rabheru:

And, and it's exactly that picky.

Ami Rabheru:

It's the confidence to be able to speak about your product, speak

Ami Rabheru:

about your supply, um, answer objections, answer questions.

Ami Rabheru:

Those are all the really key things that you need to know.

Ami Rabheru:

Um, it needs to be on the tip of your tongue.

Ami Rabheru:

You can't just, um, you know, set particular on those kind of questions.

Ami Rabheru:

You can't say, I'll come back to you later.

Ami Rabheru:

You can, but you know, really, those are the sort of things

Ami Rabheru:

that you're expected to know.

Ami Rabheru:

Um, so yeah, the, the more that you work with your factory, your suppliers,

Ami Rabheru:

uh, the people that are producing your products, your secondary suppliers,

Ami Rabheru:

your tertiary suppliers, you've kind of got to have quite a lot under control,

Ami Rabheru:

particularly if there's a lot of components that make up your product.

Vicki Weinberg:

Thank you.

Vicki Weinberg:

And I've got another question about pitching, if it's okay.

Ami Rabheru:

Yeah.

Vicki Weinberg:

Which is what, um, I'd love to know what it entails.

Vicki Weinberg:

Because in my mind it's um, I don't know if you ever watched The Apprentice.

Vicki Weinberg:

I used to years ago, and you remember they would go into retailers and they'd

Vicki Weinberg:

have their product and they'd have their like board with their slides

Vicki Weinberg:

or whatever, their presentation and they'd march into someone's room.

Vicki Weinberg:

Is that what pitching looks like nowadays or is it something completely different?

Ami Rabheru:

You know, it can be different for different retailers, but

Ami Rabheru:

it certain it certainly isn't um, Um, going into Dragons Den or an episode of

Ami Rabheru:

The Apprentice where you have to dress up like bunny rabbits or anything like that.

Ami Rabheru:

I do find a lot of people do have that kind of feeling, um, in their

Ami Rabheru:

heads about what pitching actually is.

Ami Rabheru:

Um, and I think you have to sort of think about pitching as a strategic approach,

Ami Rabheru:

um, of the, the story that you're going to tell, the sport you're going to uncover.

Ami Rabheru:

Um, and, and it's, it's the same as whether, you know, whether you

Ami Rabheru:

are approaching retail buyers, investors, or even actually pitching

Ami Rabheru:

on a show like Dragons Den, um, you've got to speak to sell.

Ami Rabheru:

And you know, I think what brand founders really desire is that confidence to be

Ami Rabheru:

able to speak in a way that sells, that doesn't sound salesy, but feels naturally

Ami Rabheru:

and they just want to be empowered to be able to speak about their products.

Ami Rabheru:

And actually a lot of brand founders are great at speaking about their

Ami Rabheru:

products, um, when it comes to B2C sales, but when it comes to B2B sales, it

Ami Rabheru:

definitely is a bit of a learning curve.

Ami Rabheru:

Um, and, and I think it's just having those really simple, deep

Ami Rabheru:

questions answered in your own head about, you know, what is your why?

Ami Rabheru:

Because when you know, when you talk about your why and your passion for

Ami Rabheru:

your product, that evokes emotion.

Ami Rabheru:

And even in B2B you need a bit of emotion as well.

Ami Rabheru:

Um, and you know, having, having, having those sort of commercial elements up your

Ami Rabheru:

sleeve in your back pocket so that you can pull them out when you need them.

Ami Rabheru:

But also just understanding what your product really does for customers.

Ami Rabheru:

Um, and so, you know, pitching is a scary word, but it's just

Ami Rabheru:

having a conversation really.

Ami Rabheru:

I always think of it as just having a conversation.

Vicki Weinberg:

That's really good and hopefully we've put

Vicki Weinberg:

some mind at rest there as well.

Vicki Weinberg:

Because I'm sure I wasn't the only one that was picturing that in my mind.

Ami Rabheru:

It's a scary word.

Ami Rabheru:

Um, there's, you know, there's lots you can do, but yeah, having some

Ami Rabheru:

of those sort of conversational elements up your sleeve or your back

Ami Rabheru:

pocket can really help just to not make it feel like a salesy pitch.

Vicki Weinberg:

Thank you.

Vicki Weinberg:

And how would you even go about getting to the point where you are

Vicki Weinberg:

in a room pitching with someone?

Vicki Weinberg:

I mean, do all, are all pitchings face to face nowadays, or I'm assuming

Vicki Weinberg:

there's some sort of online element, wherever that's sending an email to

Vicki Weinberg:

request a pitch or, I don't know whether these take place virtually now, because

Vicki Weinberg:

obviously things are slightly different.

Vicki Weinberg:

Yeah.

Vicki Weinberg:

You know, since Covid, how, how does that work?

Ami Rabheru:

Yeah, I mean, look, when you are, when you are approaching

Ami Rabheru:

a retailer for the first time, it's likely to be on an email.

Ami Rabheru:

But really, um, a meeting is likely, is likely to be on, on a Zoom, actually.

Ami Rabheru:

Um, or, or, or it can be face to face if the retailer invites you in.

Ami Rabheru:

So, and I always say to to, to people who are, um, pitching on Zoom the

Ami Rabheru:

same principles apply, you know, get dressed, don't be in your pyjamas.

Ami Rabheru:

Look straight into the camera and show your product.

Ami Rabheru:

Don't just talk, actually show your product physically.

Ami Rabheru:

And it's sort of harder, I think, to show your product um, over Zoom.

Ami Rabheru:

So, uh, one of the things that I tend to advise, um, brands is that you,

Ami Rabheru:

you send a pack, like a sample pack in advance of the meeting, so they've

Ami Rabheru:

got time to sort of touch and feel, um, the product and understand what

Ami Rabheru:

the product is about so that again, they can ask the right questions.

Ami Rabheru:

Um, so yeah, no, it's, it's, it's very likely that it could be on a Zoom meeting.

Ami Rabheru:

Um, but it's also like, actually now that things have opened up and people

Ami Rabheru:

are feeling a little bit more comfortable that it, it, it can be face to face too.

Ami Rabheru:

So yeah, we, we get in a bit of a mix at the moment when it comes

Ami Rabheru:

to, um, when it comes to pitching.

Vicki Weinberg:

Thank you.

Vicki Weinberg:

So I'd like to move on slightly, if that's okay.

Vicki Weinberg:

And talk about, so if you are in a, you know, let's say that you're retail

Vicki Weinberg:

ready and you are going to approach some retailers, how do you decide

Vicki Weinberg:

who, you know, who you approach first.

Vicki Weinberg:

Um, how does that work?

Vicki Weinberg:

I mean, do we need to start small and then approach to bigger retailers

Vicki Weinberg:

or, or can we go straight to the, the supermarkets and the big chains?

Ami Rabheru:

That's a really interesting question actually, because I think

Ami Rabheru:

deciding who to approach first is quite a fundamental part of your building,

Ami Rabheru:

your wholesale strategy actually.

Ami Rabheru:

Um, and lots of things.

Ami Rabheru:

Lots of elements that we talked about before.

Ami Rabheru:

Your goals, your financials has a big part to do with

Ami Rabheru:

deciding who you go after first.

Ami Rabheru:

For example, if you are very small, handmade, or you know, a very small

Ami Rabheru:

business, you know, with, with small production runs, or you might be worried

Ami Rabheru:

about cash flow to fund large orders.

Ami Rabheru:

Actually, you might want to start small.

Ami Rabheru:

You may just want to start with independent shops and department stores.

Ami Rabheru:

And actually not everyone wants to go to big retailers, even if cash flow

Ami Rabheru:

isn't a problem because they decide that actually, their product is best placed in

Ami Rabheru:

independent shops because of their values and ideals or their ideal customers.

Ami Rabheru:

So you don't necessarily have to go, I'm not always talking about big

Ami Rabheru:

retailers when I work with clients.

Ami Rabheru:

Um, you know, and if you're going for, for example, for um, independent

Ami Rabheru:

department stores, then they generally like, um, innovative new products,

Ami Rabheru:

which are not yet widely distributed.

Ami Rabheru:

They're likely to be the, um, the, the first to jump onto

Ami Rabheru:

something new or a new trend.

Ami Rabheru:

And they definitely want to be first to market with things.

Ami Rabheru:

So, you know, if, if, if department stores, independent department

Ami Rabheru:

stores are, are on your list then you might want to approach them first.

Ami Rabheru:

So a strategic approach, for example, um, would, would be good.

Ami Rabheru:

But in all circumstances you have to consider the market positioning

Ami Rabheru:

of the retailer, uh, and yourself and understand what they're about.

Ami Rabheru:

And.

Ami Rabheru:

What motivates them?

Ami Rabheru:

So like the supermarket for example, they'll want a great product.

Ami Rabheru:

Um, they won't mind if it's anywhere else, actually.

Ami Rabheru:

They'll probably jump on it if it's somewhere else.

Ami Rabheru:

Um, and you know, they'll be more interested in the commercial aspects.

Ami Rabheru:

For example, the things that we talked about, they're likely to

Ami Rabheru:

have more of a trade in mindset.

Ami Rabheru:

They will immediately be thinking about product placement, volume, sales

Ami Rabheru:

cannibalization in their own category, because they have a lot of, lot of

Ami Rabheru:

skews and how the product is likely to increase their sales while market share

Ami Rabheru:

is going to be much more important to them, um, than independent retailers.

Vicki Weinberg:

That makes sense.

Vicki Weinberg:

Thank you.

Vicki Weinberg:

And, and is there also an element of, because I don't, I don't know, but I'm

Vicki Weinberg:

wondering, is there also an element of how much control you have over things like how

Vicki Weinberg:

your product is marketed, how it's priced?

Vicki Weinberg:

Um, does that differ depending on the size of retailer that you go to?

Vicki Weinberg:

Or, or, or not really?

Ami Rabheru:

Yeah, I, I mean, uh, uh, marketing is a thing or

Ami Rabheru:

you know, obviously we can't tell legally, can't tell the retailers

Ami Rabheru:

how much to price their products for.

Ami Rabheru:

So you can recommend a retail price, but you can't tell them to price it

Ami Rabheru:

for, um, you can't actually tell them that you want it priced, you know,

Ami Rabheru:

at this price, at this selling price.

Vicki Weinberg:

Oh, I wasn't actually aware of, that's really interesting.

Vicki Weinberg:

So I wasn't actually aware of that.

Vicki Weinberg:

So that's, oh, okay.

Vicki Weinberg:

That's definitely something to think about then.

Ami Rabheru:

No, definitely.

Vicki Weinberg:

It could be that you are selling your product on

Vicki Weinberg:

your website for one price, but it's in Boots as just an example, I'm

Vicki Weinberg:

just pulling a name out of my head.

Vicki Weinberg:

Less, potentially.

Ami Rabheru:

Yeah, absolutely.

Ami Rabheru:

You know, so if you're selling your product for 20 quid and they

Ami Rabheru:

decide to retail it for 19.99, there's nothing you can do about it.

Ami Rabheru:

You know?

Ami Rabheru:

There's absolutely nothing to do.

Ami Rabheru:

So there's something called competition law that prevents you from, um,

Ami Rabheru:

asking a retailer to price it at a certain price, you know, retail price.

Ami Rabheru:

So yeah, you could look that up.

Ami Rabheru:

Your, your, um, listeners can look that up.

Vicki Weinberg:

I guess that does make sense because what you wouldn't want is,

Vicki Weinberg:

let's use the Boots example, is for you to sell your product in at Boots and say,

Vicki Weinberg:

well, you have to sell it 18 pounds and then go to Holland and Barrett and say,

Vicki Weinberg:

well, actually you can sell it 16 pounds.

Ami Rabheru:

Yeah.

Vicki Weinberg:

I suppose.

Vicki Weinberg:

Is that what that's set up to prevent?

Ami Rabheru:

Yeah, it's, it's, it's just, yeah, exactly.

Ami Rabheru:

So, um, it, it's competition law.

Ami Rabheru:

It's exactly what it sounds like, and it's to prevent, um, you know, uh,

Ami Rabheru:

people clubbing together and deciding what they want to retail a product for.

Ami Rabheru:

Uh, and you see the, you know, with big brands, you see this example all the time.

Ami Rabheru:

So Nike trainers, for example, you, you'll go onto, you'll google them and

Ami Rabheru:

you'll see them priced at different prices, at different retail outlets.

Ami Rabheru:

Um, and, and, and that's, and that's, and that's what it is really.

Ami Rabheru:

You can, you, you, you can't tell anybody what to retail the, the products at.

Vicki Weinberg:

That's really interesting.

Vicki Weinberg:

Thank you, I've learnt something else new today.

Ami Rabheru:

Every day is a learning day.

Vicki Weinberg:

It's, um, I've never even thought about that.

Vicki Weinberg:

That's really good to know.

Vicki Weinberg:

It does make a lot of sense.

Vicki Weinberg:

Yeah.

Vicki Weinberg:

Um, and I suppose as well, when you're looking at retailers, I guess

Vicki Weinberg:

there's also an element of are your customers shopping at that retailer?

Vicki Weinberg:

Because I can see that there might be an appeal of, oh, I'm stocked

Vicki Weinberg:

in Selfridges, or whatever it is.

Vicki Weinberg:

But actually, if that's not somewhere where your customers.

Vicki Weinberg:

Because you should, I guess, have an idea of who your ideal

Vicki Weinberg:

customers are and where they shop.

Vicki Weinberg:

If they're not going to be there, then I guess pitching to into that

Vicki Weinberg:

particular retailer is, is pointless.

Ami Rabheru:

Yeah.

Ami Rabheru:

And I think a lot of people do, um, you know, when they, when they're working with

Ami Rabheru:

me, I find one of the first realizations that they have, uh, because we talk

Ami Rabheru:

about place, placement of product a lot.

Ami Rabheru:

Um, and, and we go through this whole sort of, uh, learning curve,

Ami Rabheru:

where you belong in the market.

Ami Rabheru:

And I think one of the realizations that, um, one of the light bulb

Ami Rabheru:

moments that clients tend to have is actually, that retailer isn't for me.

Ami Rabheru:

Um, and, and that's great.

Ami Rabheru:

It's great that you recognize that early on because you

Ami Rabheru:

don't want to mislead yourself.

Ami Rabheru:

You don't want to build your high hopes up, um, and believe that you can get into

Ami Rabheru:

a certain retailer when actually it's not looking like it, but actually this is.

Ami Rabheru:

So, and that, and that's the whole thing, you know.

Ami Rabheru:

You should sort of start when you, when you are doing wholesale, build

Ami Rabheru:

your distribution strategy, um, make it realistic and really understand your

Ami Rabheru:

market positioning is going to really help you to get out to the right retailers.

Vicki Weinberg:

That makes a lot of sense.

Vicki Weinberg:

Thank you.

Vicki Weinberg:

And funnily enough, I, I have the same thing with online channels.

Vicki Weinberg:

Sometimes I have someone come to me and they really want to get

Vicki Weinberg:

their products on Amazon, and I have to say, well, actually why?

Vicki Weinberg:

Because your customers are not there.

Vicki Weinberg:

They're here.

Vicki Weinberg:

Or, do you know what I mean?

Ami Rabheru:

Yeah, yeah.

Vicki Weinberg:

I think it's, and it's such a useful thing to know.

Vicki Weinberg:

I mean, it's obviously sometimes not a nice thing to find out, but I think

Vicki Weinberg:

it's genuinely so, so useful because you can't be everywhere, so you want to

Vicki Weinberg:

be in the places where your customers are and they're not everywhere.

Ami Rabheru:

Yeah, absolutely.

Ami Rabheru:

Really important.

Vicki Weinberg:

So one, um, I guess it's kind of the final thing I'd love to talk

Vicki Weinberg:

about if that's okay Ami, is popup shops.

Vicki Weinberg:

Because, I mean, this is another way, I guess it's not really wholesale, but

Vicki Weinberg:

it's kind of another way of getting your shop, your products into a physical space.

Ami Rabheru:

Mm-hmm.

Vicki Weinberg:

Maybe trying out what they look like on a shelf.

Vicki Weinberg:

Um, so I would love to talk about, about those with you, if that's okay.

Ami Rabheru:

Yeah.

Vicki Weinberg:

Um, le let's start with, um, well, do you believe

Vicki Weinberg:

that businesses, this is something businesses should consider?

Vicki Weinberg:

And, um, and, and if so, why?

Ami Rabheru:

Yeah, I absolutely do, because I think that every

Ami Rabheru:

business needs an offline strategy.

Ami Rabheru:

I think you can catapult your sales in so many ways.

Ami Rabheru:

Um, it helps build your brand awareness quicker and, you

Ami Rabheru:

know, within a community first.

Ami Rabheru:

And we all know the power of face to face.

Ami Rabheru:

There's nothing like getting stuck into your community and really

Ami Rabheru:

starting from the ground up, building your community of loyal followers.

Ami Rabheru:

And customers and connecting with them directly, because those are the

Ami Rabheru:

ones that will be all over your social media and helping you to grow that too.

Ami Rabheru:

Um, of course it helps in acquiring new customers as well.

Ami Rabheru:

Um, and we all know, with being online businesses as well, but if you are

Ami Rabheru:

just relying on digital channels or social media, you'll appreciate how

Ami Rabheru:

hard it is bringing you potential customers into your world and then

Ami Rabheru:

getting them to know, like, and trust your brand enough to then buy from you.

Ami Rabheru:

And this could be the one thing that costs you time, money, and sanity.

Ami Rabheru:

Uh, we all experience a pain of that on a daily basis as small businesses.

Ami Rabheru:

So everyone, everyone needs an offline strategy as well.

Ami Rabheru:

I totally believe that.

Ami Rabheru:

Um, you know, it, it also helps you and you touched on this point, um, gaining

Ami Rabheru:

valuable feedback in a physical presence.

Ami Rabheru:

There's nothing like it.

Ami Rabheru:

Um, there's nothing more valuable than watching how customers

Ami Rabheru:

interact with your product.

Ami Rabheru:

Um, you know, you're able to watch their body language and listen

Ami Rabheru:

to why they might, you know, what they might be saying to others.

Ami Rabheru:

Um, They might be shopping with, um, the questions that they might ask you,

Ami Rabheru:

will underline what kind of objections that they might have with your product.

Ami Rabheru:

Um, so it really, you can gain some really valuable insights and, and

Ami Rabheru:

it will help you to then amend your offers, um, strategically, you know,

Ami Rabheru:

according, according to the sort of feedback that you're getting.

Ami Rabheru:

So, yeah, of course.

Ami Rabheru:

Um, there's, there's lots of benefits to that, so I, I totally, totally believe.

Ami Rabheru:

I love a pop-up shop.

Vicki Weinberg:

I do as well.

Ami Rabheru:

Yeah.

Ami Rabheru:

Yeah.

Ami Rabheru:

And you know, and you touched on this point as well, I think it really does help

Ami Rabheru:

your case from your pitching to retailers because it shows that you've been able to

Ami Rabheru:

test your products in a physical space.

Ami Rabheru:

You've learned from them, you've learned the valuable lessons, um, that

Ami Rabheru:

helps you nail your packaging, um, your product placement, you know what

Ami Rabheru:

your product looks like on shelves and all of that kind of thing, than,

Ami Rabheru:

than a pure play online brand would.

Vicki Weinberg:

Thank you.

Vicki Weinberg:

I mean, yeah, I'm a big fan of popup shops as a customer, but also when I was

Vicki Weinberg:

selling years ago, when I was selling my own products, I found that, and I think

Vicki Weinberg:

this will work for some products more than others, my products tended to sell so well

Vicki Weinberg:

when people could actually pick them up and feel them, and I sold baby products.

Vicki Weinberg:

They were so, so soft.

Vicki Weinberg:

Um, and it's a hard thing to convey online, but when people could actually

Vicki Weinberg:

pick them up and touch them and yeah, I, I always sold out on popup shops.

Vicki Weinberg:

Yeah.

Vicki Weinberg:

And I think it was for that reason, that, you know, people could actually see there

Vicki Weinberg:

were some things I think are very hard.

Vicki Weinberg:

You obviously, you can compare a lot online.

Ami Rabheru:

Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Vicki Weinberg:

There's nothing quite like being able to, you

Vicki Weinberg:

know, you know what I mean?

Vicki Weinberg:

Pick something up and see the fabric and see the quality of it.

Vicki Weinberg:

And.

Ami Rabheru:

Us humans need to have that tactile experience with product, being

Ami Rabheru:

able to physically touch and feel the products, um, and experience your brand.

Ami Rabheru:

There's nothing like it.

Ami Rabheru:

Um, despite, you know, lockdown in the last few years and a physical

Ami Rabheru:

retailer is still stronger.

Ami Rabheru:

Um, and, and I don't, that's never going to go away.

Vicki Weinberg:

And also pop-up shops, I believe, I don't know if I, I don't

Vicki Weinberg:

have any data to sort of prove this, but I do feel like they have become more

Vicki Weinberg:

popular over the last few years where there were like empty retail units.

Vicki Weinberg:

I mean, I've even seen local to me, quite a lot of them popping.

Vicki Weinberg:

Literally popping up, but then they pop down again.

Vicki Weinberg:

Um, so I can imagine they're not something that's going away either.

Ami Rabheru:

No, I, I love, you know, in small towns the way retail space is

Ami Rabheru:

being used now for small businesses, I think it's great for them to be able

Ami Rabheru:

to, you know, finally go into a retail space and have customers come to them and

Ami Rabheru:

experience physical retail in that way.

Ami Rabheru:

Um, so, you know, you find landlords are, are being more flexible and,

Ami Rabheru:

um, you're finding there's a lot more collaboration going on so people are

Ami Rabheru:

clubbing together to create kind of experiential retail, those kind of things.

Ami Rabheru:

So yeah, there's loads of opportunities.

Ami Rabheru:

It's not just a, a pop-up shop.

Ami Rabheru:

It's, it, it, it literally can, you know, go, be so many different opportunities.

Ami Rabheru:

There's so many different angles to it.

Vicki Weinberg:

Well, I'm sure you've convinced everyone Ami.

Vicki Weinberg:

Well, I didn't need much convincing, but.

Ami Rabheru:

It's my favorite subject.

Vicki Weinberg:

Oh, good.

Vicki Weinberg:

Um, because I do have another question, which is, um, if we have convinced people

Vicki Weinberg:

to, to go and try out a popup shop, I guess how, how do you do it well?

Vicki Weinberg:

Because I think there's a difference between having your products in a

Vicki Weinberg:

shop and really taking advantage of the opportunity that that presents.

Vicki Weinberg:

How would we do it?

Vicki Weinberg:

How would we do else?

Vicki Weinberg:

We get the best out of it?

Ami Rabheru:

Oh, I do love, do love pop.

Ami Rabheru:

Honestly, Vicki, we can have a whole session on this and actually

Ami Rabheru:

we probably should actually.

Ami Rabheru:

Um, but if I was going to pick something to talk about, which I passionately

Ami Rabheru:

believe will make or break a popup, it would be around planning your product.

Ami Rabheru:

So this comes down to planning your stand.

Ami Rabheru:

And what you are going to sell on the day.

Ami Rabheru:

And you know, you've got to consider that it's likely to be a small space

Ami Rabheru:

and you almost have to remerchandise the space and make some really tough

Ami Rabheru:

decisions about what you're going to take and what you're going to leave behind.

Ami Rabheru:

So my top tip is always, and you hear me speaking about

Ami Rabheru:

this a lot, is less, is more.

Ami Rabheru:

Don't try to take everything.

Ami Rabheru:

Don't try to do everything.

Ami Rabheru:

Otherwise you'll end up looking like a bit of a jumble sale, and

Ami Rabheru:

not the lovely brand that you are and you want to promote.

Ami Rabheru:

Um, So, yeah, really think about your product, its placement, and how

Ami Rabheru:

you're going to display your product.

Ami Rabheru:

Of course, I do caveat that a little because pop-up shops are

Ami Rabheru:

also great place to shift stock, which isn't selling online.

Ami Rabheru:

So don't hesitate to pull a little sale corner together.

Ami Rabheru:

Um, just make sure it's clearly labeled with clear signage and really think

Ami Rabheru:

about your branding, signage and display.

Ami Rabheru:

I think that's one of the key things that differentiates you from other stands.

Ami Rabheru:

Your branding, your signage and display.

Ami Rabheru:

Um, because that's a thing that will attract customers to you, um,

Ami Rabheru:

over your comp competitive stands.

Vicki Weinberg:

That makes so much sense.

Vicki Weinberg:

Thank you.

Vicki Weinberg:

And I'm guessing that a lot of this that you've said also would apply

Vicki Weinberg:

if you were doing, I don't know, market stores or other events.

Ami Rabheru:

Yeah.

Vicki Weinberg:

This is so valuable.

Vicki Weinberg:

Thank you.

Vicki Weinberg:

It's, this is really useful.

Ami Rabheru:

Yeah, no, it totally, you know, any event that you

Ami Rabheru:

are doing, including trade shows actually, um, are so really, you know,

Ami Rabheru:

always think about your product and always think about its placement.

Vicki Weinberg:

Thank you.

Vicki Weinberg:

And I guess for anyone, because I did an episode on trade shows a while back,

Vicki Weinberg:

and I guess if you know you're listening and you were thinking, oh, trade shows

Vicki Weinberg:

is something that I might like to try, it sounds like a popup shop might be

Vicki Weinberg:

a nice way of sort of testing things out, working out you know, what people

Vicki Weinberg:

like and how to display and it could be quite a nice entry point perhaps.

Ami Rabheru:

Yeah, I mean, it's a good, obviously popup shops tend to

Ami Rabheru:

be more B 2 C, whereas trade shows are definitely, uh, a B 2 B opportunity.

Ami Rabheru:

Um, but again, you know, testing your products with customers in a physical

Ami Rabheru:

space is definitely lots of value in that.

Vicki Weinberg:

Thank you so much, Ami.

Vicki Weinberg:

Now, um, we could obviously talk about popup shops all morning, but we won't.

Vicki Weinberg:

Um, but I might get you back for another episode just on that because

Vicki Weinberg:

I think that would be so useful.

Vicki Weinberg:

And as I say, I do think that they, they're not, you

Vicki Weinberg:

know, they're not going away.

Vicki Weinberg:

And, um, in fact, as I said, more, more seem to be popping up.

Vicki Weinberg:

Um, In said, let's finish with your number one piece of advice for anyone wanting

Vicki Weinberg:

to sell their product into retailers.

Vicki Weinberg:

And you've shared such a lot, so I know this is going to be hard to distill,

Vicki Weinberg:

but, um, what's your top tip for us?

Ami Rabheru:

Yeah, my top, top tip, gosh, shared, shared lots, haven't we?

Ami Rabheru:

Um, it would be really around approaching wholesale with some

Ami Rabheru:

strategy behind what you're doing.

Ami Rabheru:

And I, and I use the example, you know, when you are investing time, effort,

Ami Rabheru:

money, into any area of your business, no matter what it is, um, you don't usually

Ami Rabheru:

do it without a strategy behind it.

Ami Rabheru:

And I see lots of businesses dive into wholesale with the somewhat scatter gun

Ami Rabheru:

approach, or they decide to suddenly book a stand at an industry trade show,

Ami Rabheru:

which is a huge expense by the way.

Ami Rabheru:

They simply cross their fingers and hope for the best.

Ami Rabheru:

So my point is, I think, I suppose my final point is that it's no good

Ami Rabheru:

having a product that's retail ready when your business isn't retail ready.

Ami Rabheru:

It's a scary thought.

Ami Rabheru:

Um, I do see, and you suggested this as well, that businesses, if they don't

Ami Rabheru:

do it the right way, they can start and fail quickly because they just don't have

Ami Rabheru:

strategy in place with what comes next.

Ami Rabheru:

Um, and you know, when you have a strategy in place, no

Ami Rabheru:

matter what, what you're doing.

Ami Rabheru:

You set goals, you set goals for yourself, you set goals for your

Ami Rabheru:

business, you have accountability, and you are more likely to make it happen.

Vicki Weinberg:

Thank you so much, Ami.

Vicki Weinberg:

That's all been so useful.

Vicki Weinberg:

Thank you so much for your time.

Ami Rabheru:

You're very welcome and thank you so much Vicki for having me.

Vicki Weinberg:

Oh, you're welcome.

Vicki Weinberg:

And I will link, um, to your website in, in the show notes for the episode.

Vicki Weinberg:

If anyone wants to hear more about you, what you do, about your course,

Vicki Weinberg:

they can go over and find you.

Ami Rabheru:

Lovely, thank you much.

Vicki Weinberg:

Thank you.

Vicki Weinberg:

Thank you so much for listening right to the end of this episode.

Vicki Weinberg:

Do remember that you can get the full back catalogues and lots of free resources

Vicki Weinberg:

on my website, vicki weinberg.com.

Vicki Weinberg:

Please do remember to rate and review this episode if you've enjoyed it,

Vicki Weinberg:

and also share it with a friend who you think might find it useful.