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How do reps feel about artisanal and limited-edition products?

I have heard reps may be hesitant due to our catalog changing twice a year. We are thinking of making it yearly.

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Every retailer always asks "what do you have that's NEW?"... so, obviously, new releases are important. One of my best wall decor vendors turns their line about 80% a year, which leaves room to hang on to some best sellers for a year or three (as long as continuing sales warrant it), but still keeps the line very fresh and on-trend. Some of my larger retailers (especially home decor, Hallmark and online sellers) do have a slight distaste for vendors who discontinue items too quickly. A larger organization that mines their data well will re-order and re-order a hot selling item, sometimes for years. But the smaller they are, the less likely they are to re-order, which means they need new, new, new.

You definitely want to do new every 6 months. That could mean you retire everything and start over or just add new styles. You will want a new catalog to go with that new release. You should keep your calendar in sync with the shows schedule even if you don't do them. The buyers' mind works on that schedule and they will be looking for new during that time. If you don't do the shows then you will want to hit those people before the shows start in order to lock in the dollars. PS: reps should never be hesitant of new or change within in a line because it will create an opportunity for a visit or phone call to the stores.

New product is great but give it time to get some traction before discontinuing. It’s expensive to phase out items to bring in new only to have the new discontinued!

Really good advice. Thank you, Cheryl.

Kenny Laskan

Gallery Drinkware

Reps WANT new products to sell in the indy/specialty market. Not sure your target market, but in my channel it's what keeps you alive.

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