Small Business Experience~Pulling the Trigger
After creating my first Cowgirl Canteens (hip flasks for women), I was more than excited to tote them off to my first show. I can recall the joy I had in creating something unique that shoppers responded so well to. Lucky for me, the bride who bought the whole batch for bridesmaid gifts left them on display in my booth until she was done shopping for the day. This gave me the opportunity to see how others would react to my product. In doing so, I gathered first-hand information on what kind of people would be interested in Cowgirl Canteens, and the occasions they were interested in purchasing for. When I went home at the end of the day, my head was spinning! I could hardly wait to create more flasks.
I started out small, making a few and listing them on etsy. I also opened up my own online shop through Bigcartel. Between these two ecommerce sites, I was able to list and sell my product for only pennies at a time. All the while, my husband, family and friends were urging me to approach retail shops and start selling wholesale (a thought that scared the living day lights out of me). I remember the moment I finally broke down and went for it. Upon asking my husband a “business” type question, he replied with,
“Have you ever realized that you are doing everything in your power to put off succeeding? What are you afraid of? Stop talking about it, pick up the phone and call a store.”
Sounds a little harsh right? But, it’s what I needed. He was right, and I went inside, picked up the phone and made a few calls. I planned a road trip to Bend, Oregon knowing there were a few shops that would be a good fit for my product. During these initial phone conversations, I asked to speak to the person who did the purchasing for the company. Once on the line, I introduced myself and my product, letting them know that I had an item I thought they might be interested in. I would then ask to set up a time to stop by the shop with samples. Three out of five business I visited that weekend placed orders, and some continue to.
While that first step felt more like a shove out of a plane, it has paid off in many ways. Contacting new shops no longer causes me to have an upset stomach. For me, it’s never been easy putting myself or my product out there…especially in a situation where it has to be judged, but it has gotten less nerve racking. So, if you make something special that others are telling you you’d be crazy not to sell…Sell It! Go for it! Stop making excuses and pick up the phone.
(these are the original 6)