How feedback can raise your wholesale game

Filling the gaps is the fastest path to stores

They say feedback is a gift.

In wholesale, we’ve seen feedback from retailers is more than that, it’s relationship building at it’s best. Built on collaboration, openness and trust.

Instead of mindlessly scrolling through products, buyers stop and scrutinize why they like something, what can be improved or what store the product would be more appropriate.

We found that instead of consultants who give advice, it’s better to hear directly from buyers and store owners, who would put their money where their advice is.

Now imagine if you got feedback from some of the best retailers from around the country.

Here’s en example from Kajsjewelry who made sterling silver jewelry cast from doilies.

Karin’s feedback request was specific and helped retailers understand what exactly she was looking for.

The Request

We shared Karin’s request here with her permission.

Hi, I would love some general feedback and impressions on these handmade sterling silver earrings cast from lace. 
Is there additional information about the piece that would be helpful? 
In what type of setting do you see this aesthetic selling well? 
Is the price point appropriate? 
Thanks! /Karin

Retailers have 30 days to respond. If they can’t we switch to another retailer.

The feedback

What’s working

  • These earrings look well-made and delicate.
  • The antique lace aspect of the story is a great talking point.
  • The craftsmanship and originality of these earrings are lovely. The doily translated well to the silver -SF MOMA

Areas for improvement
When the only thing you need to improve is product photos, you know you are in a good place.

  • It’s hard to see the details from these photos, so it may be helpful to photograph the earrings against a darker background.
  • For the product story, elaborate more on the handmade antique lace aspect. Is this particular piece of antique lace special to the designer? Where is it from?

Pricing thoughts

  • The pricing is in line with similar earrings that we carry in the store.
    -SF MoMA
  • The price point seems a little high (I would imagine around $75-$95 a pair for sterling) but is reasonable. 

Where to sell

  • Look into selling to museum shops like the Museum of Craft and Design. They have a considerable jewelry assortment in their gift shop and your work would fit in nicely.
  • I think this line would fit well into the jewelry assortments of the de Young or The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Overall retailer’s preferred the sterling silver over the oxidised version. Working on your own is hard to spot these types of details so it makes sense to just ask.

Here are three things:

  • Focus on the sterling silver
  • Focus on bridal boutiques and certain museum stores that can meet her price point
  • Improve the product photos to highlight the delicacy of lace.

And bonus, write the product story to romance the story of the handmade lace.

Three out of four things can be done under an hour. Only the photography would require more time.

But makers shouldn’t stop here.

You have one thing that no one else has. You have a line of communication with retailers if you decide to re pitch them with a different collection.

But wait.

Even after your collection is at the store, makers forget to follow up with the stockists.

“I’m surprised makers don’t look for feedback, even when we don’t reorder,” says Giselle of Rare Device.

The retailer may not have reordered because their customers wanted a different version of your earrings.

Typically retailers don’t feel like it’s their place to offer feedback unless requested. But in a collaborative arrangement, we’re opening up those channels of communication. They can give you great ideas on what to focus on for your next collection.

With the right mindset, feedback becomes a powerful tool that even the big tradeshows cannot offer.

Vinit Patil is co-founder of SKUE a wholesale marketplace where independent designers co-create market ready products with the world’d best retailers.

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