How To Get Started
Your first batch of retailers should be the ones that mean the most to you. Are there shops in your neighborhood, town, or city that you absolutely love, and have always wanted to be stocked in, but you haven’t made a move yet? These should absolutely be the shops you start off contacting.
Because a major part of sending these emails is extending a personal touch to the retailers, start with the retailers you really have a genuine interest in and connection with. All the authenticity you’re going to have when you’re explaining why you want to be in their store is going to rub off, and you’ll have a much better chance of getting them interested in your stuff.
Look up their emails through their social handles or website, and congrats! You’ve just made the first part of your outreach list.
Don’t Overwhelm Yourself – 20 Retailers A Day Max
No one loves sending cold emails, which means a crucial part of this whole endeavor is keeping yourself feeling good and willing to keep going. The goal is for you to gain the skill of how to do cold outreach, so that it’s a permanent part of your continued business.
It’s for this reason that we recommend sending 20 of these emails a day max. Since each one needs to be personalized, you’re going to get so much more bang for your buck if you’re taking the time and showing the retailers that you care, versus getting 1,000 sent in one day but getting few results. Build this into a part of your routine, don’t view it as something to do and stop doing quickly.
Building Your List
Once you’ve sent emails to all the stores you have a personal connection with, it’s time to start researching other good potential retailers. Here are a few ways you can start building your list.
- Ask your existing customer base. Post on social asking where your customers would like to see your stuff. Especially if you have a big following of direct consumers, they’ll live in tons of different states/cities and will know the boutiques that are right for your products. Sweeten the deal by offering free product to anyone who’s recommendation leads to a new wholesale order.
- Google ‘best neighborhoods for shopping in _______’. Pick a city you’re interested in being stocked in, and do research to find out where the best shopping is.
I did an example search for ‘best neighborhoods for shopping in Chicago.’ Here are a few blog articles that popped up. Now all of a sudden, I went from knowing nothing about Chicago’s shopping life, to knowing all the places the locals know about.
From here it’s just a matter of finding specific shops that look right for your store, looking up their individual emails, and reaching out.
- Google ‘best ______ shops in ______.’ An even more direct way to find these boutiques is to look for local roundup lists for stores in your niche. If you sell kids products in Nashville, search for ‘best toys and kids shops in Memphis.’ All of a sudden you’ve got your 20 stores to email that day.
- Start local, then get local-ish. If your hometown is relatively small or you’ve already reached out to the appropriate boutiques, build out slowly from your area. Retailers will still feel the local love from your brand even if you’re a few hours apart.
- Use social media. Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are all particularly great for finding new boutiques to contact. Use Instagram’s recommended feature to find lots of accounts similar to the boutiques you already follow, and join retailer based Facebook groups to learn more about specific boutiques. Just an fyi, when finding boutiques via this method, we still recommend that you use traditional email outreach to contact them, not contacting them directly on the social media platform.