What is a Credible Product Line to Present to Buyers?

New producers often start with one or two products that sell successfully at craft fairs or flea markets.  A customer or store buyer may show interest in the product which gets the producer thinking about wholesaling.  But how does that transfer into the wholesale arena?

One or two products often constitute a crafter peddling their hobby, whereas three or more items represents a line of products that position you as a serious company in the wholesale marketplace.

A company simply does not look credible with only one or two products.  Buyers typically prefer large lines of products to choose from, with new products coming out twice a year, to get their store customers hooked on repeat purchasing in a line.  As a rule of thumb, a producer should have at least three products – which are related in some fashion – they won’t earn significant consideration or shelf space, and buyers will find it tough to justify investing in their line.

And a product line should offer some type of common thread, showing a logical relationship between and among the individual products. Someone offering a bread mix, a salsa, and a candle – even though that totals three products – will not find many buyers willing to take them seriously, unless the graphics are absolutely spectacular. The magic of three would be three salsas, three mixes, or three candles, etc. Or maybe if their specialty was “blackberry”, and the odd lot was a dry mix, salsa, and candle – each with a blackberry flavor, ingredient, and/or scent – that would meet the relationship criteria.

As a sales rep, I seldom consider a potential line that doesn’t have AT LEAST three products – and then, I want to know what products are in the works for the next selling season.  Unfortunately, anything less, and the products will get lost in the mix or lost on the store shelves.  But every sales rep has a different criteria for choosing lines!

4 comments for “What is a Credible Product Line to Present to Buyers?

  1. January 16, 2011 at 3:52 am

    You must have been reading my mind, Sandy! I have new goals for 2011 and 2012 and your article helps me focus as a reminder in achieving my goals. Great article as always!

  2. January 28, 2011 at 12:54 pm

    Greetings Sandy!
    I have started Shantytown…equality inspired apparel with the intention to use my t-shirts as a way to sustain my business and pass along the profits to charities helping others in need. i realize that my product may be very different from what you are normally used to representing but perhaps you have some ideas or feedback! I have seen enough success to make me want to take it to the next level. My goal is to have 10 wholesale accounts by March 2011! If you can help, that would be incredible…even if it is just constructive feedback. I hope you enjoy the experience of shantytown and look forward to your response!
    John Seaver

  3. January 28, 2011 at 1:12 pm

    Hi John,

    Other than suggesting you read through my blog or purchase my Complete Guide to Selling to Gift Shops I am not sure what other help I could be to you.

    If you have specific questions, please feel free to post here or on the LinkedIn group.



  4. Zainab Hardwarewala
    February 28, 2011 at 1:00 am

    Hi, had quick questions – what do you define as a selling season? What months would you club up for the first and second season and when months shops expect to be contacted for a new line for the new season?

    Thanks for this post!

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