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cellphone, customer, customer service, events, retail, sales, sales person, selling, southernwomensshow, trade shows, -

With limited amounts of time to spend all day reading blogs on the Internet, every now and then I come across one that is “worth the read,” especially if it offers great advice if you are in any kind of sales. As a former exhibitor at the SOUTHERN WOMEN’S SHOWS ORLANDO for the past 2 years, I occasionally receive a copy of a blog written by the SOUTHERN SHOWS director, David J, Zimmerman, who...

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art shows, artist kimberly sumerel, craft shows, customer service, displays, marketing, painting, retail, sales, selling, -

At a recent art show I was in, I was asked by a fellow artist and business owner if there was anything they could do to improve sales when it came to presenting and selling their products at outdoor shows and events, and would I be willing to offer my advice? I wanted to say, “How long do you have, because answering that question was going to take a few hours?!” However, after offering my friend a few helpful tips on what I thought needed addressing when it came to the overall presentation of one’s store, I began to look around and it was as clear as day, why some businesses were selling and some were not….it was their “PEOPLE SKILLS!” Sure, they had great products, great prices and a “killer” display, but that wasn’t all! They were smiling and you could tell they genuinely not only loved what they were doing, they valued the customer and welcomed them into their store like they were family! They talked, listened and engaged in conversation with their customers. They talked about their work and shared their passion about their products with everyone.They were not sitting and texting on a cell phone, or chatting with friends who stopped by to monopolize their time and crowd their store, leaving no room for customers to shop, but were acknowledging each and every customer who came into their store whether they bought anything or not.   

So many beautiful products for sale, so many talented individuals. They, like myself had worked long hours, sacrificed their time, and spent a lot of money to bring a plethora of artisan created products to the public for sale. But, what I mostly observed of those who seemed to be having much success was, they knew what it took to serve the customer and that was GREAT CUSTOMER SERVICE…. WITH A SMILE! I think often sales people do not realize they are not smiling. Yes, we are tired and yes we sometimes have to set up in the rain and drive long hours to some of these events, eat fast food and take pills because our back and feet are killing us, but that does not excuse us from giving 100% customer service with a “SMILE!” 

Note: You may have the best product money can buy, and if you are in sales of any kind and have no idea how to smile, my suggestion is invests in a mirror! You will be amazed at how far a smile will go when it comes to being successful in sales.

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artist kimberly sumerel, butterflies, butterfly art, museum gift shops, product manufacturing, retail, retail stores, selling, stores gift shops, wholesale -

So you want to wholesale your product? A word of advice. BE PREPARED! 

So often I find myself listening to other artisans who are eager to get their beautiful product/s into the hands of the “happy retailer”  to gain more sales and a larger customer base. Sadly, they tend to overlook the obvious- RETAILERS LIKE QUANTITY! (in laymen’s terms…..MORE THAN ONE) and of course at a very discounted price so they can make a profit. 

Many years ago, I found out that wholesaling was not as easy as one would think, especially since I was not a huge corporation or owned a manufacturing plant in my back yard. Yikes! The only thing in my yard are palm trees. Hey, I live in Florida! Not even a brew of cheerful little elves living in the hollow of a tree trunk making duplicates of all my beautiful products could be found to save me. Just me. 

I decided to delve into the fun world of selling my beautiful butterfly art designs to stores, boutiques and museum gift shops whose primary theme was that of butterflies! Easy enough. I had butterfly products. I loved painting, crafting, designing anything “butterfly related.” I  called on stores and sent them beautiful pictures, quoted them fair wholesale prices, guaranteed quality and quick delivery/ I was so excited to get my first few customers who thought my hand painted butterflies were perfect for their gift shops and stores that I almost forgot…… they wanted QUANTITY! Retailers do not want to buy (1) item to resell - they want multiples! Ahhhhhhhhh! I had become “a factory.” I promised and delivered, but I realized wholesaling is more than taking an order and cashing the check. One has to be ready to deliver the same of (1) item OVER AND OVER AND OVER!. I never painted so many butterflies in my life. Hundreds! 

I recall an artist friend who made some very unique hand made earrings. Her work was gorgeous. She expressed with excitement to me one day that a cruise ship gift store was considering her product. I wanted to warn her, but thought, maybe she had a tree hollow in her back yard with little elves who would come out to help her make all those earrings. I sure hoped so!

Yes, wholesaling can be fun and rewarding but BE PREPARED to deliver QUANTITY! 


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art, customer, painting, products, purchasing, sales, sales people, selling, stores, wickedgirldesigns -

… is someone who truly appreciates the beauty, work, origin, style, design and purpose of a product without having to ask…..”What is it?” The only time I answered that question, was when a young boy stopped to admire a painting I had completed of a very colorful fish. My response to his question was to further engage him in conversation, pique his interest, get him excited about art and have himte...

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