Bossing Wholesale Workshop

This April I’m hosting my Bossing Wholesale workshop once again for all small creative business owners in and around Bristol looking for some inside know-how on trade shows, pricing and just how to generally master selling to retailers. It’s happening 6:30-9pm, April 18th at Studio Cotton, Bristol.

Bossing Wholesale Workshop in Bristol with Sky Siouki

Having gained lots of first-hand experience of selling to trade I want to pass on what I’ve learnt along the way, much of which has been learnt the hard way! I have exhibited at Top Drawer London twice as well as British Craft Trade Fair Harrogate and now am very proud to be able to say I supply over 50 stockists nationwide with Sky Siouki products and artwork. Selling wholesale has really transformed my business so I’d like to share how it can help to boost your business too in this friendly but very informative workshop.

What I will be covering in this workshop:

  • Trade shows: costs and what to expect.
  • Pricing your work
  • Minimum orders and quantities
  • Shipping options and lead times
  • Invoicing and payment
  • Following up customers
  • Selling wholesale through a website
  • What I have learnt from mistakes

This time I am collaborating with Aime from Studio Cotton, so the workshop will be hosted in her gorgeous new studio on Corn Street. Tickets are only available through Studio Cotton so head here to grab one now.

Studio-Cotton-Sky-Siouki-Workshop

Some of the very lovely feedback I’ve received from previous workshop attendees:

“Really friendly atmosphere where you could ask Sky anything business orientated and receive honest feedback.”

“Sky has a wealth of knowledge and provides info that can be hard to find elsewhere.”

“Sky was very informative and professional. Was great to hear about her work and success.”

Click here to get tickets.

TOP DRAWER

Top Drawer is the UK’s leading retail trade event for creative lifestyle buyers, showcasing a curated edit of 1500 brands to top international retailers.

Find Sky Siouki on stand B31 in Home.

TOP DRAWER TOP TIPS

Yesterday I hosted an informal advice session about my experience of exhibiting at the Top Drawer A/W 2017 trade show for the first time last September. I learnt an awful lot from it and a lot of people have asked me to hear about it since… So I put out an open invitation to ask me all of your questions within a small group meet up and people actually came!

I love to share what I’ve learnt and it was incredible to receive such a lovely response from those who came. It has made me seriously consider hosting more events like that and whether I could even give my advice as a sideline to Sky Siouki.

Anyway, I thought it may be useful for the people who attended yesterday and for anyone who unfortunately couldn’t make it to summarise my key tips here on the blog. There were some things I didn’t get to say yesterday (a grumpy waiter kicked us out well before the advertised closing time) and some that may not have been heard by all.

Top Drawer Spotted Footer

 

1. HOW AND WHEN TO APPLY

I applied for the Spotted section of Top Drawer which is especially for first time trade show exhibitors and benefits from a 30% discount. The application process was pretty easy via an online form and I got offered a spot the next morning! I applied at the beginning of February and was able to have a fairly broad choice of stand position so I think it was a good time to apply. Trade show spots are allocated on much more of a first come first served basis in comparison with markets so it’s worth getting in early. The Spotted section is popular with buyers because they all want something fresh and new for their shops and so it’s a whole section of brands they’re guaranteed not to have seen before. It’s well positioned right next to the VIP Lounge and the Craft section too.

2. SEPTEMBER (A/W) VS. JANUARY (S/S)

I’m sorry I don’t have a definitive answer for this one as I’ve only done September but we discussed it yesterday. At the show a lot of other exhibitors told me they usually find the January edition the busier of the two shows. From what I can gather, larger retailers will be doing their Christmas buying in January and plan much further in advance. All of my orders came from small independent shops and galleries who were mostly stocking up for Christmas so it could be worth considering what type of retailers you want to attract.

Top Drawer Wild Woodland Trend Board

3. DISPLAY EVERYTHING CLEARLY

I kept my stand layout fairly simple. You are allowed to paint the walls, add wallpaper and screw into them so I put up shelving and a rail to show most of my products. However even then, I found that in practice it still could perhaps have been clearer. Buyers often wanted to look at every design of every product all at once and I had stacked my prints in a wooden box for browsing through as I do at markets. A lot buyers ended up lining them all up on the floor in order to make their choices which wasn’t a problem but it would of course have been better for them to be able to immediately see everything together and just point out which designs they wanted.

Sky Siouki Stand Top Drawer A:W17

4.  KNOW YOUR PRICES

Buyers will ask you the wholesale price of everything on your stand and knowing them through and through rather than relying on skimming through sheets of paper makes it much easier for both of you. I in fact found myself blagging my way somewhat with my pricing. My listed RRPs were set as a 2x mark-up of my wholesale prices. I quickly learnt from interested shop owners that a mark-up more towards 2.5x was necessary in order to accommodate for the VAT most retailers are required to pay. In the end I verbally explained my new understanding of this to each buyer who showed interest and promised to amend my pricing accordingly. Knowing my costs well allowed me to make those promises on the spot so I was glad I’d done some memorising first.

5. PUT IMAGES ON YOUR ORDER FORMS

When a buyer decided to make an order it felt like a real whirlwind. Suddenly all of my products had been moved around and I would be rushing for my clipboard to take notes of what they were asking for. It made such a difference when a buyer would point at items listing quantities of each to be able to quickly find the matching item on my form by recognise the image rather than reading for the names. We’re all human and they were of course happy to repeat, but it’s a huge show and you can understand every buyer has an awful lot of stands to go to so time was somewhat of the essence.

Top Drawer Olympia

 

6. KEEP IN CONTACT

Being my first ever trade show, I didn’t know what to expect and was overwhelmed by how many orders I received during the show. I didn’t have any stock prepared before hand and in future I will certainly stockpile a certain amount pre-show in order to shorten dispatch times. I don’t want to say I’d recommend doing that to everyone first time, as everyone’s experience will vary depending on their product. The key thing I learnt from it though was to keep every buyer well informed of the progress of their order and reassure them that it would be on it’s way soon.

 

I’m going to leave it there because I reckon I could go on and on and on listing more tips otherwise. Those were some of the main things I was asked yesterday and learnt though. Plus there are certain things I feel more comfortable sharing personally in a small group rather than publishing publicly on the worldwide web.

Hopefully there will be more advice sessions to come as there certainly seems to be a high level of interest for them. I’m by no means an expert but I enjoy doing what I can to help and encourage other business owners and am very happy to be honest and open about these things.

Please do leave a comment below to let me know if you’d be interested in more advice sessions and on what other topics.

Sky x

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SKY SIOUKI 2017 EVENTS

I’ve got a few new 2017 events in place now so here is a little update of where you can find me and buy from Sky Siouki in the coming months. I’m making an effort to try to push myself to do more events so I can meet more customers, learn what you like and of course keep Sky Siouki thriving so hopefully all of the events will bring lots of good things!

 

The Frome Independent 2017 Events

THE FROME INDEPENDENT

When: Sunday 5th March, Sunday 2nd April, Sunday 7th May

Where: Frome, Somerset

What: If you haven’t been to the Frome Independent before then I’d highly recommend a visit! On the first Sunday of every month, as they put it – something wonderful will happen! The whole town is taken over with an amazing array of handmade wares, artisan food, vintage treasures and family friendly entertainment. I’m excited to be selling at the market again with my new Flight collection this time having missed out last year.

All being well, I’ll be back in Frome in April and May throughout Spring with my mini-stall on Catherine Hill. Waiting for confirmation on the Summer markets for June, July and August still but hoping this one may just become a regular thing each month.

 

The Bristol Artisan 2017 Events

THE BRISTOL ARTISAN

When: Saturday 25th & Sunday 26th March

Where: The Arnolfini, Bristol

What: Brought to you by Designers / Makers, you may have already seen my previous post announcing that I would be selling at this exciting new event in Bristol where you can read more about it. With 50 designer makers taking part and taking place across Mother’s Day weekend it’ll be the perfect thing to do in Bristol with your mum!

 

 

Top Drawer 2017 Events

TOP DRAWER

When: Sunday 10th – Tuesday 12th September

Where: Olympia, London

What: This one is just for looking I’m afraid as it’s a big London trade show for those who aren’t familiar with it. It really is huge though and it’s been a long time goal of mine to attend so I am SO ecstatic to reveal that I’m going to be there with my very own stand in the Spotted section this September! So nervous and excited at the same time, still doesn’t quite seem real!

 

That’s all of my 2017 events for now but there may well be even more things to come. Although I’m trying my best not to overdo it or you may find me without any hair left by Christmas! Keep following the blog and join the mailing list to stay updated with what Sky Siouki has planned next!