Most of my posts have featured many different experts in the wholesale marketing field. I have enjoyed reading tips and ideas from other folks, and have learn from these authors as well. But I have never really shared about my own business and how I got started as a sales rep, gourmet food producer or a store owner/manager.
Following is the beginning of my story …..
If you have read my story, you know that become an independent sales rep was an “accident” — a pleasant one, as it turned out, but nothing I had planned.
I was selling advertisements for a little newsletter we were distributing through the area. The newsletter was themed around the coming Lewis & Clark Commemoration. Naturally, when folks saw the newsletter, they wanted to know where to buy souvenirs. So Malcolm (my husband and business partner) and I went to work.
Back then (2000), there was little information on starting a sales rep business. We searched the internet and found a some info, but not much to run with. We just stepped out in faith!
Malcolm, who has a solid business background, wrote up a sales agreement for me that, we hoped, covered all the bases. Then, he went to work to find me some lines. He finally found a chocolate maker in North Dakota who made Lewis & Clark and Sacagawea candy bars. The producers owned a drug store along the Lewis & Clark trail and had just started distributing their chocolate bars. They did not have any sales reps, so we learned together.
I sold hundreds of those bars along the trail from the Dakotas to the Pacific Ocean. What a fun product to start with!
Later, of course, we added a large line of souvenirs, our precious huckleberry products (state fruit in Idaho) and a selection of any thing I could rep. Not the best plan, but it worked in the beginning. Later, due to the time frame of the Lewis & Clark celebration and the large amount of travel, I narrowed my territory to Idaho and my lines to what my Idaho customers wanted.
Looking back on it now, it is interested to see that I started a whole business on chocolate bars …. and look where it has taken me now!