Wanda Allen of Jade’s Menagerie offers a large line of products, including checkbook and passport covers, address books and more with distinctive collages. She spoke with ABI about selling wholesale and retail.
ABI: How do you get your best ideas?
WA: I keep a pen and paper on my nightstand for those times when a great design or product idea comes to me in my dreams. This is also a good idea to have pen and paper available in your vehicle for those long trips. You never know what may inspire you along the way.
ABI: How big is your line, and how do you handle line sheets?
WA: I have over 300 designs in my line. I use to print up new design sheets all the time, but I have found it is more efficient and cost effective to have my customers browse my wholesale website for new products and designs. I only print a catalog sheet showing my top 36 designs.
ABI: What strategies do you have for increasing retailer’s sales?
WA: I have found that store owners like the simplicity of ordering packages that have a display. We always include matched sets, which usually translates into bigger sales for them.
ABI: What new directions are you taking in your business?
I have become more aware of the power of words and affirmations, so I am incorporating that into a new line, Inspirational Collages. I am having great fun with this, as each piece is nearly one of a kind and unique. Most importantly I am able to use raw materials I have collected for nearly 30 years.
ABI: Do you have any tips for artists doing production work?
WA: I have found that my best marketing strategy is participating in direct sales with the customers through art and craft festivals. Designs and products I may think are fabulous may not do as well as planned. What better way than to find this out first hand?
In the beginning I buy smaller quantities of my raw materials, until I see a track record of proven sales. When I started out 25 years ago I thought buying large quantities of materials to get the best price was what you did. But if the design or product didn’t work out you ended up with a surplus of stuff.