How to get the best from your visit to Source Home & Gift
By Sara Allbright, Director at Retail100 Consulting
We would firstly recommend the importance of a product development plan and where this new range would sit within your wider assortment strategy. What is it that has made you decide that private label product is right for you?
If it comes from a solid grounding in selling branded products this will give you a great place to start in terms of working out what you need from your private label product. It will help you determine what style, price and design your customers prefer along with the potential volume of stock you are able to sell.
All of these details are essential when you start to engage with manufacturers as you will need to give them a product brief that covers off all the parameters you need them to work within. It will also make the conversations you have at the show more meaningful and efficient.
Take the volume of stock you want to order for instance, it is imperative that when talking to a potential factory you can be clear whether or not you can meet their minimum order quantities (MOQs) and likewise if you are likely to be asking for full container loads of stock or consolidated shipments. All this important too for further down the line when you start to engage shipping agents.
You also need to start to think about design - what will the product look like? Creating inspiration boards is always helpful to get clarity on the look and feel of a range but always be clear with producers that these are for inspiration only and not simply to be replicated. An increasing amount of factories have invested in design support but be conscious these may not be designers who stylistically have experience in your market so you may need to take some of this work on yourself. Having some visuals of the types of products you are wanting to source at the show will again be a great help in starting more meaningful conversations with exhibitors.
Once you have your design and potential volume you should also consider the cost you want to pay for the product. Being able to give potential vendors an idea on your target cost prices will ensure they are a good match with your brief and time is not wasted further down the process when you discover what you might want to achieve will cost double your budget.
The most important thing to remember at the show above all of this is that the conversation you have at the show is the start of hopefully a long term relationship with a new key partner in your business. You may not get a chance to speak to the team in person again after the show due to time differences and the ease of email so make sure you ask all the questions you have on your mind and get to know their business as if it will be a part of your own.
Thankfully you can be rest assured that the Source Home & Gift team have checked factory audits and Sedex registration to mean that all exhibitors meet a high standard of ethical and sustainable sourcing.