Being stocked by a prestigious department store is on many designer-makers’ wishlist. Thanks to forward-thinking stores like Liberty of London, getting in front of a buyer can be as easy as registering online for their open call.
Crafty Fox Market regular, Floss & Mischief, is one of the latest independent brands to be stocked by Liberty, after pitching at a Liberty Best of British Open Day. Pygmy Cloud's Diana spoke to Genevieve, the needlework designer behind the business, about impressing a panel of buyers in just three minutes.
Tell us about the Liberty Open call
When I got an email from Liberty confirming the details of their 2013 open call, I’d completely forgotten that I’d registered for it months earlier! I scrambled together my product information, grabbed samples of my bestsellers and started rehearsing my sales pitch.
The open call itself was a great, slightly intimidating, experience. Despite a super early start, the queue was already snaking round the corner when I got there. Everyone queueing was super friendly and we all kept each other’s nerves under control. The hours of queueing were almost fun! The hard bit was the final few minutes of waiting to be seen. Sitting in such a celebrated building and eyeballing the buyers’ reactions to people’s pitches, is when the nerves really kicked in.
Your three minutes with a buyer go by in a flash. I had barely begun talking up my products when I was being shown out, with no idea of what just happened or what would happen next.
How awesome is it to be stocked at Liberty and do you have any other exciting projects in the works?
I recently went to see the Floss & Mischief cross-stitch kits hanging in Liberty’s haberdashery department and I couldn’t stop grinning! Every time a retailer puts their money and faith in me and my products, it feels like a huge pat on the back. To be championed by such an iconic British brand like Liberty is extra special, and an amazing public endorsement.
I feel like my next challenge is to stay on their shelves. For me that means continuously improving my existing range, and creating new products their customers (and ours) will love. Plans are already afoot, so keep an eye on our website and social media!
Do you have any tips when pitching to such a prestigious company?
Act big! For me that meant being organised, professional and reliable. I created a wholesale line sheet that included wholesale prices, recommended retail prices, product codes, unit sizes etc. Plus I rehearsed all sorts of awkward questions, so that I could talk through my products’ unique selling points with confidence, no matter what queries they threw at me.
Established retailers’ shelves are already packed with merchandise. By pitching your products to them, you’re effectively asking them to replace a product they currently sell, with yours. So your offer needs to be even more compelling than what’s already on their shelves.
Go visit the store in person and have a look at who and what they currently stock. How would your products improve on what they already sell? Who’s their target shopper and how would your products appeal to them? What profit margin can you offer them? How many units can you realistically deliver in a matter of weeks? Answering these types of questions will help you craft a killer pitch.
About Floss & Mischief
Floss & Mischief started because of an argument about taxidermy. Genevieve's boyfriend wanted to fill the house with very on-trend stuffed and mounted insects, but she put her foot down (too creepy). Instead she designed and stitched some cross-stitch beetles for him. Today, Floss & Mischief still rocks the taxidermy trend and keeps putting a modern twist on needlework. Shop for DIY kits, cross-stitch patterns and stitched art at www.flossandmischief.com and join in the mischief on: Twitter / Instagram / Facebook / Pinterest
Article by Diana from Pygmy Cloud