Taking Risks to Expand the Business and Having a Holiday!
I’ve just had my first holiday in years and took off to explore our beautiful Tasmania. To answer the first question – no, it wasn’t too cold for May!
Being me I couldn’t completely leave my business behind so I packed my wholesale kit with the aim of developing a network of shop customers.
So before I left I got together a list of possible shops to visit and sent them an introduction letter, wholesale brochure and price list.
Some of the shops I sent information to I found online with the Yellow Pages by searching by area and type of business.
The rest of the shops were recommended to me by others and it was interesting how some of them were considered by many to be the best in the area, such as Rose’s Cupboard in South Hobart.
So off to Tassie I went with the car on the Spirit of Tasmania III to start my adventure.
I can really recommend the Spirit and say get your tickets booked. It is great to take your car because you can pack it without worrying about carrying your luggage on and off the plane etc. Plus you save on car hire (having been without a car for 6 years I love the idea of NOT spending money on car hire!).
It is so easy to have your own car to tour round Tasmania. For me it also meant I could easily take extra for my wholesale kit (jewellery ends up weighing quite a bit and gets heavy to carry about).
Many people suggested to me that I could well strike difficulty selling into shops in Tasmania because they are so supportive of their own local craft people. And it is true, Tasmania really does value arts and crafts and they do have galleries specifically directed to only show casing local designers.
But there are also plenty of shops specifically for local residents who want different goodies to everyone else.
Personally I don’t like to spend more than 90 seconds in a shop that is solely stocked with trade show goods and is the same as everyone else.
Give me a shop like Sparkle and Hide in Kiama with its broad range of suppliers so I can find something different and special (it also smells really good with all the leather goods!).
But back to Tasmania….
I sold into shops in Launceston, Burnie, St Helens and Hobart – a much better result than any of my friends and family had thought and well enough to have me planning another trip next year!
I learnt some interesting lessons. Sending samples with the information would have been wise. I initially thought simply to send a couple of pairs of earrings with their prices.
Now I’m thinking of sending maybe 10 pairs of earrings with an invoice so it is easy for the shops to test them out without it costing too much.
There is a risk in this – I could just not get paid for the stock and not have it returned. Not so good but I think it could be worth experimenting with. I’ll start with the shops that were recommended to me personally and see how that works out.
I’ll make it easy for them to send me payment and am contemplating providing a reward for sending payment through in a timely manner.
I don’t sell into many shops in Sydney because of the local markets I do but I do want to grow my network of wholesale customers – shops in other regions.
This Tasmanian trip has given me a lot of confidence to explore and experiment. Sure, I need to be aware of the risks and manage them as well as possible but why let risks limit me and the business?
Not only did I sell into a number of shops but also saw some of the state’s wonderful wildlife and landscapes with wild Platypus at Burnie and Latrobe, Tasmanian Devils, wombats, wallabies, possums and paddymelons at Cradle Mountain, penguins at Coles Bay, seahorses at Beauty Point, starfish at Hobart and Wedgetail eagles at Camplebell Town.
Get yourself to Tasmania. Give yourself a couple of weeks to tour around and fall in love with the place. Stay at B&B’s and be spoilt. Just do it. (I’m always saying that aren’t I? But it is the best thing to do.)
Oh, another lesson learnt – put an out of office automatic reply on your email so customers know what’s happening – yes, me who is all for communication forgot to do that! Sorry.