Success stories + Reviews
Thank you so much Clare for your webinar for our Business Club members today. So many practical tips in 80 minutes on how to work successfully with retailers!
Patricia van den Akker
Director | The Design Trust
I love how the universe just knows. When I landed on Indie Retail Academy I instantly knew our connection was meant to be!
So many artists/crafters read Kind Over Matter and I knew your insight into wholesale would be incredibly valuable. I’m dancing in my seat giddy over it, actually!
Your approach is just marvellous. You took wholesale, which tends to be a tedious subject and spiced it the frak up, made fun, readable, relateable. I LOVE THAT SO MUCH!
Editor | Kind Over Matter
I became smitten with Clare after landing on Indie Retail Academy through twitter. I discovered her absolute love for helping others get into retail stores, her lovely sense of humour and her free starter kit. Her passion and experience got me excited to add her as a contributor on Handmade Success.
Editor | Handmade Success
Hi Clare, I’ve spent all morning browsing through your articles, I’ve bought Retailer Catnip and read it all, and I’ve listened to your mp3 download.
I’d just like to say I think I have learnt more useful business information in the last three hours than in three years of my jewellery and silversmithing degree at the Birmingham School of Jewellery! That’s so true it’s not even funny!
I’m on a big push at the moment to find new stockists and you’ve really inspired me. I also think you may have read my mind.. how did you know I would rather bathe with a toaster than approach galleries with my work! Your writing style is so easy to read, honest, reassuring, and inspiring. I still have lots more to read on your site but seriously, it’s like a gift from heaven. Thank you and please don’t stop what you’re doing!
Silversmith | Jewellery Maker
I just wanted to thank you from the bottom of my heart. I love your site. You do make everything seem very simple! I think I am getting to grips with things now. I have an online retailer interested in taking some of my brooches on a wholesale basis so I will be putting it all into practice very soon. Eek!
I have just purchased Retailer Catnip so I’m looking forward to reading that.
Thank you again Clare, I’m sure it won’t be the last time you hear from me!
Artist | Jewellery Maker
Clare, thanks so much for asking for my feedback on your fantastic wholesale help. It is truly fab and I so wish I had heard about it before.
I have made some small attempts to get my work into shops since I started out six years ago and came up with my own approach email. Now I can see that it probably doesn’t grab attention in the right way or say enough about me. I was worried about being too personal and became generic instead! It is also the best thing ever to actually have the perspective from the shopkeeper’s viewpoint as I have struggled to get info on the right approach, how to best keep in touch without appearing to be a stalker, etc. Loved the piece about ‘helping’ the shop owner which was so different from how I had been viewing things.
You have made me get back my focus Clare and feel enthused again – thank you!
Clare, I just wanted to take the chance to say how much I love Indie Retail Academy! I really appreciate that you’ve taken the time and energy to put together this incredibly useful and funny guide on how to get my stuff out there.
It’s still very much early days for me in terms of being ready to approach retailers but coming across your site has made it seem like a possibility. Instead of having a vague and fuzzy idea of how I would go about getting my work into shops it now feels like I have been presented with a set of clear instructions. A lot of things had never occurred to me but now make perfect sense.
You are so spot on with your understanding of the fears and doubts (and sheer panic!) that abound when trying to get your own business off the ground – it feels like you are speaking directly to me and have possibly read my mind (if you can actually do this please continue to use your powers to the good as I’d hate to think what you could do if you turned to the dark side!)
Artist | Textile Designer
Indie Retail Academy has left me feeling inspired and much more confident about approaching new stockists! I’ve been a designer now for nearly 7 years and in the past two years I’ve been self employed, freelancing alongside creating wedding stationery and greetings cards. I’ve gradually reduced the amount of freelance work I undertake so that now I’m predominantly doing weddings and greetings cards. I’m generally a very confident person but found the thought of approaching stockists extremely frightening! Your site has really given me a boost.
Thanks again so much – there aren’t enough people in the world who genuinely want to help and I think what you’re doing is fantastic.
Just wanted to write you a little note to say thanks for writing your wonderfully helpful posts on Indie Retail Academy! Along with the Starter Kit and Retailer Catnip it’s all been a HUGE help for me in starting my business. It’s really helped me to grasp what retailers are looking for and how to approach them in the best way. I’ve only sent four emails so far but so far the response has been pretty good! I’ve just been to a trade show as well and reading through your site helped me prepare for that. Thanks again for all your help!
Thanks for all your help! I’m steadily working on my catalogue – it’s great what you’re doing, it’s so helpful! I’ve had great interest from a variety of retailers and it’s so exciting! I think I was going along the right track but Retailer Catnip has made me so much more confident and professional in how I approach my work.
Thanks again for everything and I’ll definitely keep you up to date on how things go.
Stationery Designer | Textile Designer
I had to stop for a second to tell you how pleased I am that someone recommended you on the Not On The High Street sellers forum last week. Your style is refreshing and captivating, I’ve read the e-mail you sent yesterday 3 times already as it just grabbed me so much – you speak how I speak, you think how I think and the down to earth common sense approach that you have is absolutely perfect for busy creative people like me. I am so pleased that I have found you and will work my way through your guides, learning and gaining confidence as I go.
It’s very rare for me to send a note like this but I just felt that I had to thank you for your very refreshing and valuable information- I hope that you know that it is a much needed and very worthy thing you are doing so just keep doing it please!
Clare, thank you so much for the detailed explanations. It looks very good and I will read it a few more times to let it all fall into place.
Thank you so much. Really wonderful help. I will certainly be in touch again when I have another puzzle.
Your guide has really inspired me to approach shops to wholesale my items. I’ve worked out a plan for a comprehensive wholesale pack to supply to retailers and I can’t wait to start working on it.
Thank you for the invaluable advice!
Graphic Designer | Jewellery Designer
Having an easy to read guide like Retailer Catnip, written in plain language and so wittily and succinctly is really a god-send. It completely solves the problem of how to get started approaching shops, and takes the fear out of it. It’s SO me I want to keep it to myself, almost! But because it’s so well-written, down-to-earth, funny and by someone who really knows their onions, I’d shout it from the rooftops to anyone in indie business.
Designer | Cross-stitcher
I think Retailer Catnip is great for helping to compose that daunting first email to a shopkeeper. Getting across everything you want to say as well as being succinct isn’t easy, and this is a great springboard whether you use it verbatim or as a starting point.
I’ve been selling my work to shops for quite a while now and I really wish it had been around when I first started. I would have made a lot less mistakes! The bit that had never occurred to me is the “offer to help” section. It’s definitely something new to me, and a really lovely thing to do to help a retailer (and keep them interested in you!) I like the tone of Retailer Catnip and how it emphasises that it isn’t a “them and us” situation between designers and retailers. With that in mind I think it’s a great tool for anyone who wants to start selling to shops.
Lee May Foster-Wilson
Artist | Designer | Jewellery-maker
It’s brilliant that Retailer Catnip is in layman’s terms, as it were. You’ve definitely taken the pressure off the whole situation with the way you talk about it. I think when sitting in front of a blank email the most daunting things are: what tone should I use? Where do I start? What should my subject header be? The templates are amazing for this, and the way you introduce them makes it easy to instantly feel like “I can do this!”Ruth Williams
Designer | Jewellery-maker | Former buyer for Magma Books
Retailer Catnip is a great idea and very helpful for both us and artists/makers. It will be really helpful in explaining how we like to find out about artists/makers and receive work
Retailer | Textile designer/maker
I’d recommend Retailer Catnip to people who would like to expand their small business and have their products sold by many more retailers. I’d also recommend it to new graduates from Art/Design college, especially those at the beginning of their business who might find approaching new stockists very scary and spend a whole day writing one email.
I was given no business guidance and it took me ages to figure out what retailers needed from me, so this would have been so helpful back then! Clare, you should do lectures in art colleges with this!
Designer | Illustrator
Retailer Catnip is a great starting point to avoid the dreaded “staring at a blank email window” syndrome. I think it also provides valuable reassurance that it’s okay to approach potential and current stockists in a personal fashion rather than feeling that as a small business you need to over-compensate with a very formal tone. And having a confident and definitive guide from the point of view of a shopkeeper is great.
Graphic designer | Illustrator
Retailer Catnip is an easy, no hassle, step-by-step guide to selling your work, approaching retailers and singing your own praises (without doing a hard sell.) It’s also a great organisational tool to help subdivide and manage all of those letters and emails you send out to stockists. I’d recommend it to new makers in the industry, graduates, start-ups, students and the old guard that are needing a wee kick up the bum (self included!)
Designer | Print-maker | Illustrator
The emails and letters that I respond to best are definitely from potential suppliers who sound like they’ve actually done a bit of research on the shop and the type of products I sell – something which you cover rather well in these template emails.