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How does a startup go from selling to independent boutiques to large retail stores?

I am in graduate school developing a health and environmentally conscious skin care line. Since I have reached out to different stores of how I can acquire shelf space, I feel that there is a gap in my knowledge between small and large retailers. I'm aware that I need to make bigger sales and gain more traction to land something like Sephora, but how? How can I get the word out and grow? #entrepreneurship #sustainability #skincare #beauty-industry #women-in-business #women-in-leadership #natural


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David’s Answer

Hi, I will share a story that was shared with me to help. Sarah Blakely started Spanx with 5K and built the company to a Billion dollar business. She landed her first National account through a cold call that landed her 10 minutes face to face with a buyer. She believed in her product and was able to pitch the difference and land the account. That was the easy part she spent a year going to stores and helping associates sell her product and pitched her product on QVC.

Hope this helps, best of luck.

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Narbeh’s Answer

Transitioning to large retailers is no easy task. At work, my business leaders have bulked at the requirements large retailers ask of their vendors. That is the price one pays to be in a national retailer.
1. Make sure your products pass the necessary tests. I come from apparel so I see some similarities in requirements for safety. When you feel ready to start your outreach with large retailers, make sure you have all the legally required testing done for your products. The retailers will ask for them or will ask you to confirm that the testing is being done and is in line with the state and federal requirements.
2. You also need to have proof of concept in place. By that I mean you need to prove that your product sells and is not just a fad. It helps for them to know that you have been in the boutique space for a while and your products have sell through not just sell in.
3. Be Where the buyers are. Make sure you are going to tradeshows where the buyers of the national retailers are going. You won't get orders at your first show. You probably have to go a few times and rub shoulders with both exhibitors and vendors until your face and brand are recognizable. You also improve your chances of strengthening point # 2 by following point #3.


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Joice’s Answer

Hello. I think a important step in your business plan is the B2B marketing of your brand. You need to work hard with this relations, with small or big companies, in order to gain and fidelize your clients. Before this your company need to have values, mission and vision defined, cause this will project the image that the client have of your product. You need to take action to reach the big retailers, cause they won't knock at your door.

Joice recommends the following next steps:

Design a business plan
Structure B2B marketing

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David’s Answer

Hi, I will share a story that was shared with me to help. Sarah Blakely started Spanx with 5K and built the company to a Billion dollar business. She landed her first National account through a cold call that landed her 10 minutes face to face with a buyer. She believed in her product and was able to pitch the difference and land the account. That was the easy part she spent a year going to stores and helping associates sell her product and pitched her product on QVC.Hope this helps, best of luck.

David recommends the following next steps:

Determine a target audience and practice cold calling and developing a great elevator speech.

Thanks so much for this!! Really appreciate your time. Alina R.

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