Polish Your Image With Great Marketing

September 2023, by Diane Sulg

Kent Stetson’s postcard shows how he turns paintings into great handbags. Photo courtesy of Diane Sulg 

In addition to product, price, and customer service, there is one more important component for the professional wholesaler — your image! Not just the one you see in the mirror but also the one your customers see when they look at your digital and printed materials. 

In this chapter of The Creative Wholesaler, we are going to examine every aspect of your marketing materials to ensure they convey a consistent, informative, and professional image. Chances are you already have a company logo, but if not, this is a great place to start. If you have the creative skills to develop your own logo, forge ahead. 

On the other hand, if you are hesitant, it is worth the cost to have a professional graphic designer create a look you love. Consider including a short tag line that adds a distinguishing or exciting flourish. 

Use your logo everywhere you can to strengthen your brand image. For instance, if you make jewelry, it might look great on your earring cards. 

Inexpensive stickers are easy to make, and ones with your logo can jazz up all sorts of materials, including simple bags and boxes. If you are inspired to create a particularly lovely or fun sticker, you might offer it as a free promotional item in your trade show booth. 

You probably have a professionally printed business card already. However, check to make sure it is wholesale friendly. For instance, you do not want to include your Etsy address when selling to a retailer. 

Your card does not need to be elaborate. One-sided with basic information and a splash of color to make it memorable is ideal. If you prefer a two-sided card, use the reverse side to briefly describe your business and its products. 

Create an artist card to succinctly describe your product and you as its maker. These cards are important collateral the retailer will include when selling a piece of your work. So do not make it too large, especially if you make a small item like jewelry, because the store will likely want to fit your card in with the product. 

Your artist card can feature a small photo of you or a piece of your work and tell your story in a few short, memorable sentences. Do not add any contact information. 

The retailer wants the customer to return to the store instead of ordering directly from you, so she is likely to toss your card if it contains your website, email, or phone number. However, your card is a great way to highlight the fact that your product is handmade with impressive materials, skill, and love! 

Before you do your first wholesale trade show, consider making a line sheet to give to your prospective customers. On it, list each product you are offering, accompanied by a small photo, the product name, SKU, dimensions, and wholesale price. 

At the bottom of the sheet, list your terms, such as minimum orders and payment information. While some exhibitors believe line sheets are no longer necessary, it can be a great tool for a new exhibitor. Simple photocopies make an inexpensive marketing piece for retailers to review both during and after the show. 

Many wholesale exhibitors combine their line sheet with a promotional item at a trade show. A good example comes from Greenwich Bay Trading Company — they include a small bar of shea butter soap with their line price sheet in a plastic bag. The sticker on the bag offers a discount for orders placed at the show, as well as an early delivery date. 

Another useful marketing piece is the humble postcard. Make an eye-catching front, and put your basic business info on the back, perhaps at the bottom. 

Leave most of the back blank, so you are able to use the card in several ways. For instance, you can mail cards out before the show to tell prospective buyers your booth number. You can enclose them with a thank-you message in order shipments, and you can give them to buyers in your booth as a reminder to come back and place an order. 

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