Selling Quirky Products To Retailers


Laura Silverthorn is the founder of Mother Ink, they make temporary tattoos for expectant mothers. Silverthorn says that online sales are great, but retailers aren’t buying. How can she get stores to step out of their comfort zones?

As a tattoo impresario, you of all people should recognize the importance of surface appeal. Product packaging matters less on the Web, but in stores, life-size products jam the shelves, screaming for attention. That means your packaging must be assertive, informative, and desirable.

Packaging’s first job? To make it instantly clear what the product is and does. “If a customer doesn’t see the use just by looking at the packaging, that’s not good,” says Ellen Diamant, founder of Skip Hop, a New York City designer of baby products. Also, avoid packaging that looks as if it were made on the computer in your bedroom — even if it was.

Once your packaging is spiffy, it’s time to knock on doors. Small, local doors. “Don’t go straight to the larger retailers,” says Jen Bilik, founder of Knock Knock, a Venice, California, company that designs stationery and novelty gifts.

Big-box stores have stringent shipping and fulfillment requirements, and your infrastructure probably can’t handle the volume and turnaround times. Instead, think niche — for example, independent maternity stores.

Photo by Mother Ink.

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