Are you ready to start selling your designs but have no idea where to start finding clients?
‘How do I find clients’ is one of the most common questions that I get asked. It can feel like a really overwhelming process when you’re first starting out.
The first thing that I advise you to do is to have a really good look at your portfolio and have a think about where you think your work fits. You don’t want to be approaching clients where your work doesn’t fit because obviously then they’re not going to want to purchase them.
Does your work fit into the quilting market? Does it fit into the women’s fashion market? Does it fit into the children’s wear market? Have a think about where you feel your work fits best so you can narrow down and carefully select the clients that you are going to contact.
The next step is all about research. Unfortunately, there isn’t a quick and easy way to do this. It is going to require time and effort on your behalf.
What you need to do is to start researching companies that could potentially be interested in buying the sort of designs that create. You want to find the right market so that you’ve got the best potential to be able to sell your designs.
Once you’ve done that, you want to create a tracking system where you can record when you approach a client, the company, the designs you’ve sent, their response etc. This will also allow you to easily follow up with them too. Taking the time to create a repeatable and systemised way of being able to track who you’ve contacted and when is going to save you a lot of time.
You want to be able to know which designs you’ve sent to who, when and what the response was. Make sure you follow through with keeping that up to date with recording your efforts as you will benefit in the long run
Once you’ve found some clients to approach, you want to make sure that you really tailor what you send them. Don’t just have one set of designs that you send to everyone. Think about the particular client that you’re sending your designs to and select your designs accordingly. Make sure that the designs that you’re sending are in line with their brand and vision and things that they might potentially want to buy.
Now, where do you even start researching and finding clients to contact?
One great way to be able to start finding potential clients is to have a look at some of the major trade shows. So for example, if you feel your designs would fit well into the quilting market, then you could have a look at the exhibitor lists for some of the major quilting shows. You will need to search through and check out the individual websites for different companies, but this can be a great way of finding potential clients and customers.
This can also be a great way to find agents too as agents often exhibit at the major textiles fairs such as Surtex and Blueprint.
You can also simply create a wish list of companies that you would like to work with and contact them too. Think about some of your favourite companies.
Always be on the lookout. When you’re at the shops you may be a product that you think your designs would work well on. Take note of the company that produced it and put them on your list of clients to contact.
Once you have created your list, you want to be able to try and find out the best person to contact. Linkedin can be a great start for finding the right person to contact within a company or even a simple email or phone call directly to the company.
Now that you’ve finished your research, it’s time to start contacting them in a systemised way. Keep in mind that this is something that’s going to take time and research and is something you should allow time for in your regular work schedule.