Here’s an excerpt from a reader’s email:
I am not a couture designer so I can appreciate only a portion of your blog. However, I do subscribe and read it daily, and as a graphic designer who prints on t-shirts and the like I find your fashion industry advice invaluable. One of the most important bits of guidance I’ve gotten is about line sheets.
I was wondering if you might consider what to send *with* line sheets, such as “what sort of cover letter?” Would that veer too far from your topic? I’d love to see samples of what to send with the line sheet besides a brochure/sell sheet, the sort of letter that is a bit more personal and would encourage a boutique owner look further. Even with a former communications background, I am stumped :-)
I’m really not a fan of cover letters, usually because they are full of standard jargon (thank you for requesting our line sheet… we hope to do business with you) and I don’t keep them, let alone read them. As a retailer, I would like to see information about which of your items are selling well and what you have coming up in your product development. Maybe market dates or the information on my local sales rep or showroom. Things like that. You’d be surprised at how many cover letters leave out this information. Also, if you’re offering ordering specials (I don’t know why companies only make these offers at shows), samples or other incentives, that would be great as well.
I’m not so sure that the personal touch influences the buy. We don’t buy a line because you’re nice and we feel obligated, we buy because the product works for us.
If your line sheet is being sent unsolicited, then a cover letter becomes more important. I don’t know any retailer that won’t look through a line sheet even if they just give it a flip through. However, getting someone to look at a line sheet is entirely different than getting them to order.
Also, if you have a simple line, I would include a pre-filled order form (there is one in a previous post) because it makes it so much easier to write an order. If you have a large or complex line, then obviously you cannot do that.
If you are producing a line or would hope to, you really need to read The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Sewn Product Manufacturing because this entry (or this blog) cannot begin to teach you all you need to know. After all, if you didn’t know you needed line sheets, what else don’t you know? You can read sample chapters free online.