One of the most important things for any business wanting to sell wholesale, whether you are doing a trade show or not, is to have a comprehensive, easy to read wholesale catalogue. I am by no means a graphic designer, and have never made anything like this before, so if I can do it then so can you! All I used was Adobe Photoshop (but you could also use Illustrator if you are more versed in that - because my background is in photography and photo editing I have no clue how to use other Adobe software so Photoshop it was!)
Whenever I'm creating anything digitally I always make a mock up or rough sketch on paper first. I find it much easier to play around with ideas on paper, rather than staring at a black screen waiting for inspiration to strike. I had an idea of how I wanted my catalogue to look, and took inspiration from other companies catalogues. Issuu is a great online resource for this - simply search 'wholesale catalogue' and you'll be able to look at others to get ideas for layout. Or you could also ask any fellow makers/designers if you could have a look at their catalogue, but obviously don't go copying directly!
Keep the layout as simple as possible, especially if you aren't a skilled graphic designer! There is nothing worse than a wholesale catalogue that has so many fancy frames, and colours, and different fonts, that it's hard to tell what is actually being sold. Make sure the photos you use clearly show the product - it's great having beautiful, fancy photos on your online shop, but it is important that the focus of the photos in your catalogue are the products. I tried to mix product photos with a few more styled photos for balance and to add interest.
Think about what information you need to get across within your catalogue - the most important things to include are product codes for each item (and for variations if applicable), any colour/size/style options that are available (for example our banner necklaces come in six colour options, so it's important to make sure this is clear), size information (are your cards A5, A6, A7?), materials used (is it made from paper, plastic, metal, wood?), and of course the price. Below you can see a couple of sample pages from my catalogue.
Before printing be sure to print out a copy on your home printer and go through it carefully, looking for typing or spelling errors, any misalignment, photo sizing issues, things like that. I find that often things will look fine on screen, but once it's printed I notice small things that aren't quite right. Make any changes then you are good to go! I used printed.com for my catalogues, because they were reasonably priced, and good quality.
Aside from the information on your actual products, it's also very important to include your wholesale terms. These will cover;
- what payment methods you accept (we accept bank transfer and paypal) and your payment terms (whether you require payment before goods are sent, or perhaps you have a 30 days payment period)
- your lead times (basically how long it will take from the day they pay for their order, till the day you send the order - ours are generally 5 - 7 working days, although this time gets longer around Christmas time. If you make products to order that take a long time to make, such as crocheted or knitted pieces, or handmade clothing, then you will want to make your lead time longer. It's always better to give a longer lead time, rather than missing the deadline!)
- the minimum order value - this is totally up to you, and some people don't even have a minimum. Our minimum is £100 for the first order, and no minimum for reordering.
- delivery information such as postage costs and delivery methods available (we send all our packages using Royal Mail Recorded, but some companies also offer services using couriers)
I also wanted to emphasise the handmade, local, small company aspect of Ladybird Likes within my wholesale catalogue, so I chose to include a few extra pages such as an 'about Ladybird Likes' page, which included a bit about me, about the business, and about our company ethos, a 'why you will like us' page, which outlined our key selling points (handmade, quirky, high quality etc.), plus a page focused on our social networking sites, encouraging stockists to follow us online to stay up to date on what's going on.
Once you've created your wholesale catalogue, it's important to think about how you're going to present it. For me, I love adding the extra touches to things to make them feel that bit more special. Whether you're giving out your catalogues at a trade show, or sending them direct to potential stockists, everyone loves to feel like they are getting something special. With this in mind I put together very simple little wholesale packs - into an A5 envelope I popped a copy of the catalogue, an order form, a postcard, a business card, and a fun little pin badge. Each envelope had a handstamped tag stuck on the front with some washi tape, just for a bit of fun.
If you have any other questions about creating a wholesale catalogue please feel free to leave a comment below, or drop me an email, and I'll try my best to help!