A weekly podcast for the small business owner and creative entrepreneur to help you grow your wholesale. Brought to you by Therese from the Small Business Collaborative. Find out how buyers select new products, what it takes to make a product successful, how to build a long-standing relationship with a retailer and what you can do to stand out.
Buying for 18 independent retail stores with Priya from Lark London
In this episode of Let's Talk Shop podcast, I speak with, buyer and owner Priya Aurora-Crowe of Lark London.
Lark London is a wonderful chain of 18 independent brick-and-mortar stores in London and Surrey, that is owned by Priay and her husband Dominic Crowe.
Priya shared her experiences and perspectives on the ever-evolving world of retail. Here are some of the key takeaways:
Previews and Prototypes: Priya expressed her love for getting early glimpses of new ranges and products. It's like Christmas for her team at Lark! They enjoy opening boxes, reading emails and letters, and examining samples. These previews allow them to stay ahead of the curve and make informed buying decisions.
Supporting Small Businesses: At Lark London, community support and finding hidden gems are at the heart of their buying process. Priya and her team review applications from local businesses on a weekly basis, selecting small businesses to support and help grow. This aspect of their job is particularly fulfilling and inspiring.
Dealing with Challenges: Priya shed light on the challenges they face, including the unfortunate issue of shoplifting. They have been experiencing thefts at their stores, resulting in frustration and concern. Priya emphasised the need for more effective actions to deter shoplifters and prevent such incidents that ultimately affect both businesses and local consumers.
Dividing Responsibilities: Priya and her partner, Dom, have wisely divided their responsibilities to ensure a harmonious relationship and to run Lark London efficiently. While Priya oversees buying, staffing, social media, and merchandising, Dom takes care of managing the shop, handling fit-outs, and dealing with legalities and maintenance tasks.
Importance of Branding: Good branding and packaging are vital for standing out in a competitive market. Priya highlighted the significance of products having a story and visually cohesive branding for effective merchandising. Strong branding and packaging can truly make a product shine on the shelves of Lark London.
We hope these insights from Priya have given you a fresh perspective on the world of product businesses.
This episode wraps up another season of Let's Talk Shop, the podcast is all about empowering and supporting you on your journey to building a profitable product business through wholesale.
Balancing Growth and Steady Progress: Perspectives on Scaling a Product-based Business
In this episode of Let’s Talk Shop, I speak with, Jake and Freya from Studio Wald. This is the second time Jake and Freya comes on the podcast and a lot have happened in their business since last time.
They have now got over 1000 stockists who bought from them, with over 300 buying regularly, and they now employ a team of 4.
In this episode, we dive into the challenges and triumphs of running a product-based business, focusing on wholesale strategies, production quality, and market conditions. Here are three key takeaways from our conversation:
1️⃣ Balancing growth with life: We chat about that it’s not always about growth in business. Sometimes, it’s more about maintaining business so you can achieve a good life-work balance. It’s a nice reminder that we’re building our businesses for us, and they need to fit into our life.
2️⃣ Attention to production quality: Maintaining high production quality is crucial for success, and this always creates new challenges. Studio Wald’s bestselling flower press used to be made with Birch Ply, but since the war in Ukraine, this is now sanctioned as it is mainly produced in Russia, which meant resourcing and switching to maple veneered MDF. This in turn, meant working with a new material, and having to balance the increased costs with maintaining affordability to the customer.
3️⃣ Adaptability and growth mindset: Jake and Freya shared how their approach to product releases has evolved over time. They moved from a perfectionist mindset of waiting until everything was ready to an organic and agile approach. By building a stock of adaptable photos and embracing flexibility, they were able to release designs more quickly.
About Studio Wald
Freya and Jake, are the owners and creatives behind Studio Wald. Freya and Jake met while studying a degree in 3D design. And now they have 3 children and a busy Leeds city-centre studio where they make or compile their products. All paper products are printed and finished in England, mainly in their home county of Yorkshire, using either 100% recycled or FSC certified paper.
All their products are made in the UK with care & attention to ideas, pattern & process.
Jake and Freya have been on the podcast before, so I’m excited to have them back to hear how they have grown their business since we last spoke. Plus, when I ask paper-based business owners who they look up to, quite often Studio Wald comes up, so I know you’re just as keen to hear from them.
From Cafe to Wholesale: The Journey of Glosters Pottery
In this episode of Let’s talk Shop, I had the pleasure of talking to Myfanwy Gloster from Glosters Pottery. Mev and her husband Tom founded Glosters Pottery, with Tom being the potter and Mev handling the day-to-day operations. They started with a café and gradually transitioned into a craft pottery shop, which has now become a thriving wholesale business.
During the conversation, Mev shares their journey of starting small, how the business grew throughout the pandemic, and how they this year decided to start to wholesale. She discusses their decision to exhibit at their first trade show, and the incredible response they received from buyers. In fact, they went from having only ten stockists to over seventy within a short period of time. Mev also talks about the challenges and learnings from the trade show experience, as well as their plans for expanding their workshop space and adding new products.
If you're a product business owner looking to grow through wholesale or are curious about the world of trade shows, this episode is a must-listen. Learn from Mev's firsthand experience and gain valuable insights into building a successful brand.
[00:00:00] Podcast for product businesses, retail buyers, brand owners. Joined by Mev from GlosterPottery, discussing their wholesale and business expansion.
[00:05:36] Stockists and growth; Kew Gardens reordered.
[00:07:23] Trade shows are hard work, underestimated busyness.
[00:11:25] Creating an easy and efficient wholesale process.
[00:13:33] Planning Autumn, ordering complementary items, Christmas preparations.
[00:17:41] Summary: Relocation, more space, shop visibility, mug painting.
[00:19:48] Challenging journey, but great team and experience.
[00:25:49] Thanks for listening to the podcast!
Glosters Pottery was founded by Myfanwy Gloster and her husband Tom Gloster. Tom is the potter, and Myfanwy runs the day to day of their busy Porthmadog based pottery workshop and shop.
Glosters designer ceramics are made from stoneware clay and they use a range of glazes inspired by their local surroundings and the changing seasons in North Wales.
How Partner In Wine got stocked in Selfridges
You’re going to want to get your notebook out for this one.
In this episode of Let’s Talk Shop, I had the pleasure of interviewing Lucy Hitchcock, the founder of Partner in Wine. We discussed her experience in building a successful brand and her insights on packaging, pricing and wholesale. Here are three key takeaways from our conversation:
1️⃣ Build a strong brand: Lucy emphasized the importance of getting your brand right before anything else. Consistency is key - from your packaging to your social media presence. This means aligning everything you create with your brand's image and message.
2️⃣ Pricing with purpose: Don't let negative comments on social media platforms like TikTok make you doubt your pricing decisions. Consider the value and positioning of your product, like luxury brands do, rather than solely focusing on cost. Remember, pricing should align with your target customer's perceived value.
3️⃣ Start strong, and stay persistent: Lucy shared her experience working with retailers and stressed the importance of being persistent. Don't be discouraged if stockists don't reply. Timing is crucial, so be mindful of when you approach retailers with new products or collaborations.
00:03:00 Successful branding led to stock in Selfridges.
00:06:30 2020 lockdown, wine in sad cooler bag.
00:09:47 Entrepreneur shares business journey on Instagram.
00:11:16 Love, document, story, brand, marketing, launch
00:14:38 Self-employed at 23, helping others market businesses. Working for 7 years before launching.
00:22:35 Focusing on margins to determine product pricing.
00:24:26 TikTok opinions on costs.
00:28:52 "Build strong brand identity; prioritize branding."
00:31:51 Homemade look won't sell in stores. Stand out and stay consistent with branding.
00:35:06 Building anticipation for a launch: watch, learn.
00:38:21 Lucy's amazing podcast is a must-listen.
Lucy Hitchcock, the founder of Partner in Wine and digital marketing agency Sassy Digital.
Partner in Wine is a brand that aims to keep your favourite drinks perfectly chilled on the go. The story behind Partner in Wine is a tale of serendipity – it all started with the quest for a chilled rosé on a sunny day.
Sassy Digital is a digital marketing agency helping brands with their ongoing website, e-commerce, social media and marketing support, plus, Lucy is the host of The Winging it podcast where I’ve also been a guest.
Partner in wine: https://www.partnerinwine.co.uk/
Sassy digital: https://www.sassydigital.co.uk/
Lucy’s Instagram where she shares her business tips and behind the scenes: https://www.instagram.com/lucyhitchcock_/
Partner in wine Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/partnerinwineuk/
Sassy Digital Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/sassydigital/
Listen to the episode I was a guest at on the Winging it Podcast: https://open.spotify.com/episode/1SF4M3LHuCQlEXshk3mnGr?si=25bd76cf2655459e
Navigating the Challenges: Helping Independent Businesses Thrive in the Retail Sector
🎙️ Welcome to Let's Talk Shop, the podcast where we dive into the fascinating world of retail and small businesses. In today's episode, we have a special guest joining us, Rebecca, the visionary behind a unique shop that champions handmade and local products.
Rebecca shares her insights on the growing appreciation for handmade goods in the wake of the pandemic, as well as the challenges she faces in competing with well-known brands. With her extensive network of makers and years of experience, we explore how Rebecca has cultivated a collaborative journey, nurturing relationships with artisans to create high-quality products.
But it's not all smooth sailing for Rebecca. We delve into the difficulties small businesses face, particularly in the Bristol area, where business rates relief removal threatens their survival. Rebecca's passion for supporting independent ventures leads her to seek solutions, already connecting with influential figures like Holly Tucker and Mary Portas to raise awareness and find a way forward.
Throughout the episode, we uncover Rebecca's dedication to promoting small businesses and Bristol-made products to offer her customers something different. She shares personal anecdotes, from her unexpected path to opening a shop to the challenges she's encountered along the way.
Join us as we explore the impact of business rates, the importance of clear brand identity, and the quest to keep Prior - Rebecca's beloved shop - afloat. We also dive into the exciting projects and initiatives Rebecca has undertaken, from workshops and gallery space rentals to innovative product development.
Get ready for a deep dive into the trials, triumphs, and inspirations that drive Rebecca's commitment to celebrating the power of small businesses on Let's Talk Shop! 🛍️🎧
00:00:00 Podcast discusses retail business and sustainability.
00:05:42 Handmade business competes with big brands.
00:10:20 Improved inventory system, automated notifications for makers.
00:15:32 Differentiate, investigate, engage, passion, innovation, honesty, visuals.
00:19:49 Deep connection through engagement on social media.
00:21:37 Larger shops are busier, more information helps.
00:25:25 Council mismanagement, potential illegality, seeking charity status.
00:30:48 Small businesses unite to fight unfair rates.
00:33:59 Prior made expands, new store, staff creations.
00:38:30 Website team edits content, explores revenue options.
00:41:37 Thank you for listening and watching, bye!
Rebecca Prior, is the owner of award-winning independent store Prior Shop in Bristol and her own independent brand, Prior Made.
Rebecca’s centrally located shop is filled to the brim with 150 sustainable designer, and a whopping 70% of them are local to Bristol.
As a non-profit creative arts hub, and eco-consious retail shop, workspace and gallery Rebecca operates Prior shop a little bit different to the usual designer / shop keeper sort of relationship and in this episode we find out all about it.
The shop website: https://www.priorshop.uk
Blogs about the shop - why I only stock unique products, why community retail is important, mission and values etc etc: https://www.priorshop.uk/blogs/our-mission-vision-and-values-here-at-prior
How personal connections increase your chance to get stocked
🎙️ Welcome back to Let's Talk Shop, the podcast where we delve into the world of retail businesses. Today, I am joined by a special guest who has a wealth of knowledge and experience in the world of buying and marketing. Get ready to be inspired as we welcome Bryony Taylor Edwards, the head of marketing and home and gift and interiors buyers at Yarnton Home and Garden.
In this episode, we dive deep into the art of building relationships with buyers, understanding what works and what doesn't. Bryony shares invaluable insights into contacting buyers, creating memorable interactions, and the power of consistent communication. From product seeding to the importance of personal connections, we uncover the secrets to capturing the attention of buyers and establishing a loyal customer base.
But that's not all! We also discuss the crucial role of marketing and branding in the success of product businesses. With Bryony’'s expertise, we explore the power of authentic storytelling, effective product packaging, and how to stand out in competitive marketplaces. Plus, Bryony shares her own experiences consulting on brand marketing and buying strategy, offering valuable tips and strategies for entrepreneurs looking to grow their wholesale business.
Get ready for an episode packed with insights, valuable advice, and inspiring success stories.
00:00:00 Podcast with Bryony Taylor Edwards from Yarnton Home and Garden.
00:04:57 Big space, eye-catching products, customer service
00:06:38 Product seeding: inspiring customer loyalty for small brands.
00:11:20 Inconsistent contact hampers brand recognition, competition tough.
00:12:41 Regular contact with buyers brings success.
00:16:47 London lobbyist turned garden center worker and consultant.
00:21:57 Imagery and brand messaging essential for sales.
00:24:02 Suppliers who ease my life, organize me.
00:28:05 Instagram primary contact for small business marketing.
Bryony is Head of Marketing and Home, Gift, and Interior buyer at Yarnton Home & Garden. In her spare time, she consults on brand marketing and buying strategy.
Over the course of her 5 years at Yarnton the Home, Garden, and Gift store has grown to include a huge toyshop, a new clothing area stocking women’s, men’s, and children’s clothing and apparel, and a large home, gift and stationary area.
Before starting at Yarnton Home & Garden Bryony had never done a day’s buying her background was in marketing and brand building. However, she learned on the job and loved every moment. She was delighted when Yarnton Home & Garden won The Greats Awards, Best Garden Centre Gift Retailer Award. Other high points have included working with local and small suppliers and using her marketing and branding knowledge to promote the many small businesses doing things well.
And Bryony can be found on insta @bryony_tayloredwards where you can tap into a wealth of marketing and branding advice, aimed at small businesses
Fun and informative
This podcast popped up on my Instagram and I’m so glad it did! So much information is shared by Therese and her interviewees and I feel like I know a lot more about the industry already which is super empowering. The chats are fun and easy to listen to, and for a wholesale newby, lead me to feel less daunted and excited to get stuck in. Thanks Therese!
Lots of super helpful information for small businesses.
I absolutely love this podcast, a small business owner its sometimes difficult to find the right information, and I get so many really helpful ideas from Therese interviews. Definitely a must listen for independents!
Fun and informative
I listened to the first three series over the space of about three months and I learned so much. I tend to listen to podcasts while I’m out walking and frequently had to stop to make notes because something I’d heard from Therese or her guest had sparked a new idea. I feel much better informed and more confident about wholesale (we’re at the very start of our journey) and I also love Therese’s friendly and approachable style. The problem I now have is if I ever meet her then to me she’ll be like an old friend, to her I’m a complete stranger and basically I’ll come across as a weirdo 🤣
Thanks Therese, this podcast is fab.