Want to know my secret recipe for getting more orders?


Happy Monday!

Are you still wondering how to get your product into retail stores or turn your creative product idea into a sustainable business?  This is not an easy task but one that can be learned — it’s a process of understanding the basic tools to honing assortments, maximizing sales opportunities, and understanding buyers’ open-to-buy system.

In all my years in retail, I can tell you there is no shortcut around the crucial steps for getting your product retail ready, but I believe in making things simple. What I am about to share with you is a brief introduction to my secret recipe to get a piece of the buyer’s Open-to-Buy (OBT). Are you ready?

1) Eat your veggies (the absolute must do things that you can’t survive without):

  • Do your homework! – Visit the store you want to be in (or at least check out their website) and see what their assortment is like before contacting the buyer. You’d be amazed how many people skip this simple step.
  • Share your story – Buyers want to connect with the person behind the brand and hear their story. Or else, it’s just another product.
  • Professional looking website & email – The first thing a buyer will do when he/she hears about a line is google their website. Make sure that your website is professionally put together, reflects your style and easy to navigate. Your presence on the web will show the buyer that you take your business seriously and ready for the next step. It’s also a great way for buyers to “preview” your collection before meeting with you. 
Also, no janky emails!
  • Have a linesheet – Buyers are inundated with product submissions every day. Stand out from the crowd by having a linesheet that has all the necessary components that buyers need to write a purchase order: product shot, style number, wholesale cost, suggested retail and delivery. If you have a clothing line, it helps to have a lookbook as well as a linesheet.
  • Know your competition – It helps to know who your competition is so that you can be competitive with what’s already out there, speak confidently about what makes your line different, and how it fills a void in the market.

2) Add a little sugar (the extra little things designers can do to sweeten the deal when trying to get in stores)

  • Send samples – Depending on the nature of your product, you can send product samples for the buyers to try. Top buyers like to see products in person so that they can see how the product feels in their hands and on retail shelves.
  • Give an incentive – With the nature of the current economy, every dollar helps the margin. Give a 10% discount for new accounts or free shipping with an opening order. This is the kind of incentive that might push a buyer from a “maybe” to a “yes!”
  • Be open to do consignment – This is a great way for stores to “test” your line without having to commit to buying the inventory upfront. It can be mutually beneficial if you’re starting out because it gives you an opportunity to sell your product in the store (that you want to be in) while gaining feedback and exposure.

3) Create a buzz (ways for designers to garner interest with public)

  • Stores want to know that you are doing your part in getting the word out about your line. The secret that many designers may not know is that buyers are looking for new vendors as much as you’re looking to be in stores. You need to get out there with your product line to increase their chances of getting picked up by a store or media.
  • Participate in local craft fairs and flea markets (ones that are relevant to your business). It is imperative for designers to get direct customer feedback on their line so that you can share this information with potential store buyers.
  • Use social media outlets to create your own posse – Be relevant to your customers and engage with them for feedback and support. Create a Facebook/twitter/instagram accounts and use them as if you are networking at a cocktail party.
  • Pitch to editors and bloggers to obtain press mentions – Customers, as well as stores, love press mentions. Post them on your website and have tear sheets to show to prospective stores.

Do you have a success story you want to share with others? I would love to hear your story, comment below.



Grace Kang
Your Retail Product Mentor


P.S. If you are looking to shake things up and propel your business to the next level,  be sure to check your inbox next week. I will be sharing something that has helped me to grow my little empire to unexpected heights and you can do the same! :) See you then. xoxo


make it happen

Happy Monday!

Hope you all had a great weekend.

I had the pleasure of speaking at The Makers Summit in Greenville, SC this weekend and meet so many makers (including some of you) and connect with other creative business owners. Were you there? All I can say is… WOW! The event was so well produced and curated — a perfect combination of inspiration, learning, making and celebration.

Are you ready to make it happen?

During my talk, I shared my top 10 strategies that I personally practice in both my personal and business life to make things happen. I look forward to hearing about your successes in the next 3 month during the #makeithappen challenge. I will announce the winner in May 2013.

For those of you who set an intention to sell to more retail stores this year, be sure to take advantage of the special offer that I shared at the conference. Since I believe in rewarding people who take action on their business, we are going to invite you to a special Q&A LIVE call next month with me (date TBD) if you sign up by this Friday, February 8th.

Here is to living your dream and creating the life you want in 2013!



p.s. This weekend was extra special because I got to finally visit my friend Barb from Knack Studios and be in HER hometown. (I shared about how we met in this post.) It was inspiring for me to walk into her gorgeous shop and see how much she has grown since I first met her in 2007. I am so proud of this gal and cherish our friendship! I can’t wait to go back to Greenville very soon…

top image taken by: jon blair


are you dreaming?

Hey there!

This time of year when we are all setting BIG goals for both our personal and professional lives. Whether it’s to be more well-organized, healthier, or more creative, the focus tends to be solely on the end goal. In an effort to achieve these big goals more successfully, we need to also focus on the process and the journey of getting there.  
Once you have your one BIG goal set for the year, act as if you already achieved it and work backwards. When you have a clear vision of what your end result will look like, you are able to create actionable steps with more ease and confidence.  Brainstorm with your team and other like-minded entrepreneurs. Breaking your goal down into steps or mini goals can also help keep you on track and keep you motivated throughout the process.

While gyms are packed right after New Years, they tend to empty out by mid-February. Don’t give yourself room to give up! Stay realistic, stay positive, and enjoy the journey :).

Are you going to The Makers Summit? The ladies behind the indie craft parade will be debuting their very first conference for creative entrepreneurs, and I am excited to join them as one of their keynote speakers. Looking forward to meeting some of you there!

Here’s to BIG success in 2013!



let’s do this!

Hey there,

In this age of go go go, it’s easy to forget or overlook the value of pause and reflection. Rather than being a waste of time, reflection can actually give you more clarity which then leads to more productivity. It doesn’t matter if you’re a wellness instructor or restaurant owner or designer/artist, it is important to set aside time each week to reflect on the week, month and year.  Are you ready to do this?

Here are 3 simple steps:

1) Spend a few minutes on Monday reflecting on what occurred the previous week –  the good and the bad.

2) Write down any missed opportunities and areas for growth. Nip those “not so good” ideas in the bud. Here are some questions to get your juices flowing – How were your sales for the week? What did you sell a lot of and need to replenish? What products maybe weren’t as popular as you expected? Were there any opportunities you missed? Were your marketing efforts successful? How was your web traffic?

3) Track your performance. Once you’ve answered these questions applicable to your business, you’ll be giving yourself a great way to track progress and ideas. Then, you can start making improvements! Even the most successful businesses are constantly evolving and improving. :)

What are you most excited for 2013?
I am most excited about inspiring other creative entrepreneurs to create the life they want and make it happen! We have so many exciting ideas in the works and can’t wait to share with you all in the New Year!


image: courtesy of tattly


Small businesses need a BIG break!

Hey there!

Last week, I shared my thoughts on how you can have it all but you can’t do it all. You are only one person and can’t be in every place at once, and the minute you try to balance them all, a few are bound to fall. What makes a business owner successful is knowing how to delegate and reach out for help or advice. People always equate running a new or small business with raising a child, and the old adage “it takes a village to raise a child” works well with businesses too. With the right assortment of team members to turn to, for support, advice, encouragement, or inspiration, you can accomplish incredible things.

One such incredibly accomplished business owner is Michael Berl of Kyotofu. As a member of the Retail Recipes community, I have gotten to know Michael and his unique approach to food – tofu to be more exact. “Inspired by Kyoto tofu artisans, Kyotofu takes the soybean to the next level.” From dinner dishes to luscious desserts, Kyotofu infuses tofu into every aspect of its menu. Their motto: “changing the world, one soybean at a time” says a lot about Michael’s passion and intensity. Always one to find ways to grow and improve he sought out further advice, which brought him to retailrecipes.com.

He has expressed his thanks by telling me that “Retail Recipes has been a priceless asset in growing my business, providing expert insight and tips for marketing, social media, sales and management.” I can confidently say that the feeling is mutual. I have valued learning alongside him, expanding my own knowledge of the food industry, collaborations and the various ways one can approach and run a small business.

Michael has recently been selected as an “Amex Big Break for Small Businesses” contest finalist. I am so excited to support him and encourage you all to vote for Kyotofu. With his incredible talent, ability to stay malleable while sticking to his unique vision, and strong network of support I have no doubt that he will find lasting success.

Are you putting yourself out there? What would you do if you won this Big Break? I would love to hear from you!