This is what I said in 2015 :
Since mid-March I've been frantically hand-pulling prints of each of my designs 8 times for new sales reps around the country! It's been a daunting, but very exciting adventure here at Foreignspell HQ. I'm going to share a bit about how I got here.
When I first started my business I had very little knowledge about how to disseminate my work. I started with Etsy, but now it's so overly saturated that it's a bit of a crapshoot. Definitely still keep some items available and have a bit of a presence on there because it works for some people & shops/reps dig around on there still. I'm just saying don't put all your eggs in the Etsy basket.
Thanks to Squarespace, I now have my own shop experience. It needs insane amounts of work. I've neglected it far too much, but I've found that focusing on wholesale opportunities remains a more effective time investment. Eventually I hope to have my shop streamlined and user friendly. Fingers crossed I get there soon! OH and retail sites like GREAT.LY are fantastic. Check them out!
This is the first step I took to gain wholesale accounts and it got me in some shops, but overall I learned that it isn't the ideal way to spread yourself around. I started by perusing stockist pages of basically every stationery/art brand I love and made a spreadsheet containing shop names + contact info. Once I had compiled an incredibly long and comprehensive list of all the shops in the US I could find, I sent out a mass email pitching Foreignspell. The hours I sank into this are nuts, especially compared to the success. That being said - I'm super happy about the accounts and experience I gained! Plus, it helped with the next, smarter step >>
To acquire sales reps, I took a similar approach. I went to the stockist and wholesale pages of brands I admired and collected contact information for their reps. I created a simple pitch email with some images, a short bio, my offerings with prices and a link to my catalog. There's still a very long way to go, but I'm incredibly lucky and happy to have 10 reps for Japan, California. Washington, Alaska, Oregon, Delaware, Virginia, DC, Maryland, Wisconsin, NY area and Minnesota!!!
I know this isn't completely in depth, but I do hope this helps some of you budding artists out there. The most valuable advice I can offer is to try to mark each mistake (and there have been many!) as a learning experience. It's too easy to be hard on yourself and regret, but that will not help you foster your business. You have to be positive and trust yourself!
If you have any specific questions, feel free to comment and I will answer to the best of my ability!
Here's what I say now :
I still think Etsy should not be your one space for sales, but it's a necessary space to keep your products. Most people looking for handmade still go to Etsy first.
With the help of my friends at Frosi + Bair, I've switched from Squarespace to Shopify bc Squarespace was so slowly enhancing their eCommerce offerings.
Sadly, Great.ly is now defunct.
I still think sales reps can help, but they haven't worked for me at all. I have high hopes for Faire. I just opened an account & already received an order, even during pandemic. Visit my shop.
The offer still stands to contact me with any questions! I'm happy to share any wisdom I've got.