Smart Artists Create Collections. Here’s Why

One idea, so many upsides.

Let’s talk about collections and how they can help you make more money from wholesale.

Collections are curated groups of products that sit within your wider range. You create them by looking at everything you make and picking out items which go well together (or by designing them that way in the first place.)

This doesn’t necessarily mean they match, although that’s one way to go. It’s more like those items talk to each other. They’re on the same team.

Collections can boost your wholesale income in the run-up to Christmas and beyond. We’ll talk about how in a sec.

First, a quick word on pricing and quantities.

A collection can simply be a particular group of items in your catalogue, all of which are individually priced.

But you can also give a single price for the whole lot.

Let’s say you want to create a starter collection for new stockists – something which provides a comprehensive selection of what you offer.

In that case, you’d pick out your bestsellers in reasonable but not overwhelming quantities and stick a single wholesale price on the complete bundle.

It’s like ordering a takeaway. You can select dishes individually, or go for the banquet option and let the restaurant decide the menu.

It depends what you’re in the mood for.

That flexibility is one of the reasons collections can be very good for your business.

Here are nineteen more, starting with why they’re great for regular customers.

1. It’s easier to “get” you right away.

A single product on a shelf is like a name badge. It tells the customer something about who you are but it doesn’t give a complete picture.

A whole collection of products, however, is the like the first conversation between you and the customer. They can see more breadth and variety, so the getting-to-know-you process immediately speeds up.

This means the customer can come to a quicker decision about whether your work is right for them, and they’re more likely to remember you in the future.

2. They can choose between price points.

By designing your collection to include a range of price points, you’re making your work accessible to more customers. People who are cautiously interested can try out your product by spending a smaller amount, while devoted fans can shop the entire range.

3. They can always come back for more.

This is the box-set effect. Finding one thing you love, like a TV programme or a book, is wonderful.

Discovering there are seven series of that programme on Netflix, or sixteen more books in the series, is even better. Collections help you to hang on to your best customers because they know there’s more to enjoy.

Here are some reasons why collections are great for you.

4. Collections save you time and money.

Pulling together a collection doesn’t have to be expensive or time-consuming.

Right now, in the run-up to Christmas, it might simply involve you grouping together some of your existing products, taking some new photographs and adding a couple of pages to your wholesale catalogue.

If, at a later date, you decide to create a collection from scratch, you may be able to save on manufacturing costs by creating a single base product. If you design mugs, for example, you can order them in bulk then add different decorations.

5. They let you play.

Let’s face it. No matter how much you love your work, making the same old thing, over and over again, can become pretty mind-numbing.

Collections liberate you from the daily grind of producing a set group of products. You can explore new themes or try out different techniques and respond to current trends. And when you’re done with a particular item or range, you can retire it and move on to something new.

Go carefully, though. Hopping between disciplines or bringing out completely unrelated items will confuse your stockists and your regular customers.

Find the common thread that connects everything you do, then give your talent and imagination free reign.

6. You can create a buzz around your work.

Launching a new collection can be a great way to create a sense of excitement among your stockists and their customers.

You can build anticipation by giving retailers an early preview of what’s to come. You can create a limited edition collection that’s only available from selected stores. You can team up with a stockist to throw a launch party for your new range.

However you spin it, collections give you and your stockists something to talk about.

7. You can test ideas.

Collections are the ideal testing-ground for new products or techniques. Instead of diving straight into full production, you can make a small quantity, see how it sells and ask for feedback.

Then, if you do decide to go ahead, it’s not so much of a shot in the dark.

8. You can offer something new, now.

Coming up with brand new items may take months or even years. Curating a new collection from your existing products, however, can be done and dusted in as little as an afternoon.

A few hours work, and BOOM. You’ve suddenly got a great excuse to get back in touch with your stockists.

9. Your products take up more space in shops.

The more of your work a retailer orders, the more impact it has in the store.

If they only buy one or two things, or items which don’t belong together, there’s a chance your work will get lost in among all their other products.

By offering a ready-made collection, you’re increasing the odds that they’ll buy more. That means your brand will make a bigger impact on the shelf.

And what gets noticed is more likely to be bought.

10. They help you get stores off the fence.

A starter pack or another kind of collection can be a great way to tempt new retailers into making their first order. By ordering just a small selection of your best-sellers, they can give you a whirl without making a big commitment.

Plus, it makes you look like you do this all the time. If you offer a starter pack, you must have lots of new retailers coming on board, right?

11. They encourage stockists to order more.

The same goes for existing stockists who’ve tried out your starter pack, found it sold well and are now ready for more.

Putting together a “next steps” collection can prevent retailers (and their customers) from getting bored with ordering the same thing all the time and encourage them to wade deeper into your product range.

12. They push up how much a retailer spends.

If you’re smart, you can price your collection so it’s just above your minimum order or carriage paid level.

Assuming it’s attractive and the figures stack up, the retailer may decide to buy it even if costs slightly more than he was originally intending to spend.

13. They give you more chances to tell your story.

A collection of products gives you the opportunity to show your versatility as an artist. It enables you to explore a theme or idea in a fully developed way.

14. They help you reflect on your progress.

Collections bring structure and focus to your creativity. Sometimes there are so many possible products bobbing around in your head it’s hard to know where to start.

Collections make you edit your ideas. They give you freedom but within certain limits. That can help you narrow down what you want to make now, and by looking back on the collections you’ve created in the past, you can decide where you want to go next.

And here are some reasons why collections are great for retailers.

15. Some of the thinking is done for us.

Indie shopkeepers have chronic, on-going decision fatigue.

It’s no wonder. We wear a lot of hats and do a lot of juggling. Running a shop is like running a circus, except ringmasters don’t tend to lock themselves in the stock room and eat a packet of Hob Nobs while staring blankly at the wall.

We’re busy people so it can be nice when a supplier does some of the hard work of compiling an order for us. A ready-to-buy collection that makes sense and looks good on the shelf is an easy way to help us out.

16. Collections encourage upsells.

If my customer loves your hand cream, it’s a cinch for me to say “Have you tried the body butter from the same collection?”

If my customer is buying your earrings, it makes sense to say “Have you also seen the matching bracelet?”

Stocking a collection of products that go together means it easy for me to make useful suggestions while boosting how much my customers spend.

17. They encourage our customers to keep coming back.

Compelling collections make customers come back for more.

Very few customers will buy every item in a collection in one go. They’ll usually dip their toes in first with an accessibly priced product.

If they enjoy it, there’s a good chance they’ll come back for something else from the range a few weeks or months later, then at Christmas, and again when their best friend’s birthday is coming up.

A great collection can help a customer become loyal to a store because they always have an enjoyable experience and it increasingly feels like their kind of place.

18. They reduce our risk.

If I only buy one item from you, there’s a lot riding on it. If it doesn’t sell well, I might lose out.

If I stock a cohesive collection of your work, however, the risk is shared across the whole range. If one item doesn’t go so well, that’s okay because maybe other items are selling more quickly.

19. They show us we’re in safe hands.

High quality collections make retailers relax. They make us feel like you understand how the industry works and that you’re trying to make life easier for us. That’s the kind of supplier we’re always on the look-out for.

I hope I’ve convinced you that creating collections can boost your wholesale income, especially since Christmas is on the horizon. Retailers are willing to spend a lot of money on stock right now. There’s no better time to try a new approach.

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