I met Michelle of Aide Bodycare at the One of a Kind Show several years ago.
I was in search of a beautifully packaged, all-natural body care line for the shop and was drawn into her booth by her beautiful set up, and then immediately captivated by Michelle's sparkling personality (and bold lip colour) :)
When I first decided to become a shop owner a big part of the reason was because of my true love of customer service.
That might sound funny, but I really love giving people a great experience when they're shopping.
Nothing inspires outrage in me like a rude staff person or bad customer service experience, and so I find myself drawn to people who go above and beyond to be friendly and express their passion for what they're doing with their lives.
Michelle epitomizes friendly customer service and passion.
Michelle Treen of Aide Bodycare. Photo by Jason Chow.
But the reason I wanted to feature Michelle today has very little to do with her lovely disposition and beautiful line of body care products.
I wanted to talk about Aide Bodycare because I deal with a lot of makers at different stages of their entrepreneurial and wholesale journeys, and this girl?
Well she's doing a lot of things right.
Communication is where Aide Bodycare nails the wholesale experience.
Each and every time I place an order with Michelle, she responds within 24 hours with an update as to when I can expect my order to be fulfilled and an invoice via Square (many of you probably already use square at craft markets...did you know you can also send digital invoices for your customers to pay easily online?) that I can pay quickly with a card online without having to figure out where to send an e-transfer.
If she is out of a particular item, she lets me know right away and suggests a replacement or lets me know when the product will come available again.
When the order is ready to ship, she sends me a quick note (nothing too wordy!) with the tracking number and a thank you.
I am never left wondering if she got my order, or when it will arrive.
It's a simple thing all makers can do, and yet so few do.
She also gives her stockists access to all of her beautiful product images and detailed descriptions.
I can use this information to educate my staff as well as when I'm writing up the copy for these items on my own website.
This girl set us BOTH up for success.
These things not only help us sell her items more easily, but by doing so we will inevitably sell MORE and reorder sooner. She's doing handmade wholesale right and we LOVE her for it.
I should mention too that her order form is nothing fancy.
Just an Excel spreadsheet that she sends approximately quarterly with updates to products and a little encouragement to place an order.
That's all a retailer needs. A friendly reminder that you're still out there and a clear way to reorder.
Also, Michelle ALWAYS sends me a sample (sometimes TWO) of new products she's launching, or something I haven't yet tried in the shop that she thinks I should. And since free gifts are the way to my heart, this is a really effective way of getting ME to use the products and become an inadvertent ambassador for her brand.
(As a result I pretty much only use her serums on my face now and recommend it to anyone who will listen).
Now I know this might still feel like a lot.
You're thinking you don't have an invoicing system, you're worried about shipping logistics and you don't even know where to start as far as having more professional images.
You just want to make stuff...not sit at your computer trying to figure out how to create a line sheet or catalogue. Maybe the idea of writing an about page or well thought out product descriptions makes you want to crawl back under the covers and just forget about this whole selling idea.
It IS a lot.
It takes a ton of work to put selling tools and systems together, but once the initial heavy lifting is done, you've got them!
You simply update them from time to time, and send them back out into the world and they keep working for you.
You can totally do this.
And shop owners like me are out here just wishing more makers would take the time to put things like this together.
THESE are the kind of things that will make you stand out among your competitors in the wholesale market and will lead you toward success.
Later this spring I'm going to be launching a VERY comprehensive course for all you makers wanting to next level your selling game. It's going to include ALL the tips and tools you need to be as kick ass as Aide Bodycare when it comes to wholesaling your work to retailers...and keeping those orders coming.
From the initial pitch to making your first sales to becoming one of their favourite, top selling vendors.
We're going to get you out there and making MORE money doing what you love to do.
I know waiting is hard, but if you'd like to stay in the loop for when we launch and get yourself a few small biz freebies along the way, join us by clicking below!