Want to improve your line and increase sales? Keep designing and creating fresh handmade work for your audience. Here’s how.
Understand your brand and your concept clearly, and design for the audience you have chosen. As the creator of your line, you should have a very good idea of who your target audience is. As you continue to bring in new product, it should be geared towards this same audience, to create repeat sales, and cultivate collectors. Successful artists offer about 30% new designs every year.
Work from one concept and build a collection around it. Product development on your line can be working within your brand concept or within the concept for one collection, and building designs around it. Your collection may be a series, a suite (such as necklace, earrings, bracelets, etc.) or have other elements that flow through it, such as color palette, theme, size or a signature look that makes it all work together.
When you develop new designs, you may want to build onto an already successful collection. Add new functions, new sizes or even new price points. Consider whether you want to expand your lowest prices downward to attract new buyers who would start buying from you at a more affordable place. Or, consider your high end, and add even more pricey products to your existing collection to reach a more affluent customer.
Take a cue from your customer. Quite often, you get your best ideas from customer suggestions. This is why “retail research” is so valuable. Your customer feedback will help you improve the line that you have, add more designs to fulfill their “wish list” and also understand what is not working within your line, so that you can make any necessary changes.
Keep bestsellers and discontinue slow sellers. If you have product that is consistently selling well, don’t mess with a good thing – keep it. It’s a general rule of thumb that 20% of your product will account for 80% of your sales, so be aware of how well every product sells, and move towards what works. Those bestsellers could be inspiration for the direction in your new designs.
But that also means that part of your line won’t sell well, and that is to be expected; it always happens. Be realistic when discontinuing items. Give them enough time to make impact in the market and see if they “sell through” in your wholesale accounts or to your retail customers. Are you getting reorders on them? Anything that simply doesn’t sell or gets negative feedback should be discontinued. Mark those items down and sell them off at retail, or donate them. Don’t include discontinued items in a wholesale order being shipped out to a store buyer, unless they specifically request them.