Archives for September 2012


are you ready to submit?


Hey there,

For many of you, one of the most intimidating parts of owning your own business can be submitting your work to buyers and store owners.I have heard many people tell tales of nerves, fears of rejection and harsh critique. While I can completely understand your concerns, I am a firm believer that with the right research and approach, there shouldn’t be anything stopping you from having a wonderful exchange with retailers (i.e. your customers).

The absolute first rule of thumb is DO YOUR RESEARCH.

I can’t tell you how many people I’ve had contact me over the years without knowing a thing about the store or the products we carry. Checking out a store’s website is the very first thing you should be doing. Get a feel for the products they already carry, does yours compliment them? Does it fill a void? Whether you are pitching to a department store or a specialty store, the number one challenge that buyers have is limited space. Do your homework and show them how your product can enhance their current assortment, not duplicate it. Make it a “no brainer” decision for the buyer.

Submitting in bulk to hundreds of people may seem to increase your odds of getting picked up, but in reality submitting personalized queries to a small group of complementary stores, whose websites you’ve checked for a submission process, will in fact increase those odds. Once you get a handle of the process and have a select number of your favorite stores under your belt, start looking for sales reps to help you multiply those numbers.
As I have mentioned many times, quality over quantity. I’d rather you have a handful of stores that fit your style and your target audience, and will work with you to improve your product and exposure, rather than a large group of stores where your product may or may not fit in with the rest of their selection, and could very well get lost in the crowd. You are in business to get reorders, not one-time wonders.
So do your research, create an attractive presentation with a special offer or two (what buyer wont love a good deal??) and get submitting! I promise most won’t bite :).

Do you need some help with your pitch and linesheet presentation?
I have created a simple pitch formula and linesheet template that you can follow in my DIY kit so that you can get this done with ease. Why do the guessing work if you can get inside the head of what retail buyers are looking for. If you are aching to know more about how the “business” side works, you are in for a treat.

I am offering a special to make this a no-brainer and get your hands on the Retail Recipes workbook + DIY kit to download right away. If you make your purchase today, we are going to give you another $50 off (total savings of $100) for taking action on your business. Please checkout using this link and email after purchase. You can also buy them individually as well here.

Here’s to submitting your work the right way and getting your product to more retail stores!


p.s. Did you hear about our newest venture called OliveBox?

OliveBox is a monthly subscription service for paper lovers! You can sign up here and treat yourself to something special or send a box of delight to a friend or client.
If you have a product line in the following categories, you can also submit your work here.
* letterpress cards
* stationery
* artwork
* home decor
* creative magazines
* inspiring books




It’s good to be local…

It’s Q&A time…

Q: How do you overcome the challenges that local designers & small businesses face competing with big box vendors? How do you  keep costs down and avoid pitfalls?

A: I feel lucky to work with many local designers and I have come to realize that the real challenge has been translating the quality of the product into sales with customers. Since local designers produce work on a much smaller scale than larger companies it makes sense that their prices would stay higher in order for everyone involved to make a profit. Communicating this to customers in a constructive way can be tricky. In this age of Walmart and mass-production customers are used to searching out the lowest price and expect everyone to match these prices. In an effort to defend our designers’ prices we have endeavored to promote the “quality over quantity” reasoning and explain what it is about this product that makes them worth the higher price tag. Whether it’s the expert craftsmanship, the much higher quality materials, or the mere fact that they’re supporting their local economy, the bottom line is that they’re investing in a product that will last much longer than many less expensive options.

We’ve also implemented a rewards program at Pink Olive to help customers earn points (i.e. spending money) for shopping with us. It’s been win-win across the board, and have found great success with 2-for deals that promote buying in multiples. At the end of the day, not everyone is going to understand the value of quality and craftsmanship, but the customers that you want to keep coming back will.

Do you have a challenge that you’re facing as a local designer? I would love to hear your comments below!  


you’ve been knacked!

Hey there,

Hope you’re having a great start to September!

As entrepreneurs, we wake up each morning ready to make decisions that will alter the course of our journey. Whether it’s something big, or seemingly small, our choices affect how we live our lives and run our businesses. From big picture moments like moving, changing a technique or hiring someone new, to a small change like taking a new route to work, every movement offers the opportunity for growth and change. Being open to these chance happenings and meetings can make all the difference.

Barb Blair of Knack Studios is a wonderful example of someone taking a chance and making a decision to push forward.

On a visit to New York City five years ago, she decided to walk down my block (east 9th street) and noticed Pink Olive. Though closed at the time she made a mental note to come back when she knew our doors would be open. She had no idea at the time that this little decision would shift the course of her journey into entrepreneurship. She shared with me on numerous conversations the feeling she got when I greeted her. “I began to browse at all of the wonderful things you had displayed I became more and more comfortable and was so excited to be in a shop with so many beloved brands. Everything was displayed and curated so well.” After talking for some time we realized just how much we had in common and I wanted nothing more than to share my own story of having taken a chance on my dream of opening my own store.

One of the most rewarding experiences I’ve had has been recounting this meeting with Barb. As she’s told me, “You were one of the main catapults in my creative endeavor. I am forever grateful for your kindness and honesty with a then stranger that you had no clue was struggling with some major life decisions. You just never know what people need to hear…and I am glad that I walked through your door that day.” Something struck a chord with her because from this chance meeting Barb went straight back to the landlord she had been speaking with in South Carolina, signed her lease and opened up the now wonderfully successful Knack Studios. Creating works of art in the form of custom furniture Barb now inspires me on a daily basis. Her work has been featured on reputable blogs such as Decor8, Design Sponge and will be releasing her first Knack book in Spring 2013. You can be sure to get an invite to Barb’s book launch party at Pink Olive next Spring!

You never know what effect taking a new route to your morning chai latte will have, or what inspiration lies at the end of your next quick chat with a stranger. The world is full of extraordinary people and extraordinary chances, you just have to stay open to it all.

Are you taking chances every day to make your dream happen?