Hey there! I hope everybody survived the Black Friday madness yesterday. For this installment of Side Hustle Saturday, I wanted to address probably the most commonly asked question about my store CVTD Beauty.
How do you pick brands to stock in your store? Also, once you decide on a brand, what’s next?
OK, so this was probably one of the biggest questions to answer when getting any kind of store started. And it continues to be something that I spend a ton of my time on. The two main issues are the quality of the product and, of course, the finances behind it.
First thing I did was start a list of cool brands, and I focused on woman-owned, minority-owned and clean/natural/non-toxic brands. Don’t get me wrong, if you read this blog then you know I use and try ALL the skincare and makeup brands. But when it comes to my own business, I want to work with companies who have a message and product that I can really identify with.
Next thing I did was send emails to total strangers. That was the scariest part because I really had to put myself out there and risk complete rejection. My emails were basically like “Hey I have a blog and I’m about to launch a store. Can I stock your product?” LOL. I promise I got better over time, but honestly the first emails could’ve been more polished. Live and learn, right?
“Embrace what you don’t know, especially in the beginning, because what you don’t know can become your greatest asset. It ensures that you will absolutely be doing things different from everybody else.”
– Sara Blakely, Founder of SPANX
I’m pretty sure those first emails to brands were quite different, so maybe it’s all for the best. After a while, brands started writing back and asking about my business model (whatttt?) and profit margins (again, say what??). Some brands wanted me to place really large minimum orders, which just isn’t possible for me right now. Others had very specific timelines that again didn’t allow me the flexibility I need.
But, eventually, I found some brands that seemed to be a great fit. I met the founder of Kaike at the Project Beauty Expo in New York this summer and really loved her story (and her products). She gave me some products to try out, and since I felt comfortable with the quality, we started talking about me becoming a wholesaler. This process took a few months, and I’ll always remember the feeling of nailing down my first line of products for my store.
“Anything that is successful is a series of mistakes.”
– Billie Armstrong
Once I had a skincare offering, I knew I had to find makeup. That was a harder process because I really wanted to stock products that I’d actually use and like and that would fit into my makeup collection. So there were lots more emails and I finally connected with an amazing company run by an amazing woman – Pinch of Colour. I’d actually first come across this brand at Anthropologie maybe a year ago and really liked the Waterless Tint (which I used in this video). So when I emailed the brand, I wasn’t sure it would pan out. I mean, they were being stocked in a national chain, what would they want with me?
But it turns out, they liked that I was small and had carved out a little niche in the beauty world.
So then I had my makeup line, and I felt ready to open the doors so to speak. Now that I’m up and running, I’ll be switching up my emails because I have proof that I’m a legit business and am actually selling things. I’m also able to look at my sales and what my customers like the most, so I can focus on adding products that are in line with what the people want 🙂 .
So that’s the story of how I got my first two brands ready to launch, I just went for it. And I’m so excited for the next brands that I’ll get to share with you guys (actually, I just started stocking Mullein & Sparrow and have another makeup line coming soon).
“If you risk nothing, then you risk everything.”
– Geena Davis
P.S. Today is Small Business Saturday, so check out what I have over on CVTD Beauty! I’m offering 20% off and free shipping over $30!
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