Wednesday, April 4, 2012

My other portfolio

It has been awhile since I post something here. I have been very busy with Harlequin&Lionhead this year, I don't think I have given enough love for Bunnies Can Dream recently. But then again, I am a busy bun dreaming big dreams. I thought I'll share a little milestone here with you.

I have recently put together a set of samples of Harlequin&Lionhead to be circulated with a company. Here are some shots of it and a quick note on how you can do it for your own line easily, if you have not already.


If you are in New York, visit Midtown Display on 30th Street between Broadway and 5th Ave. They sell some nice portfolio cases for jewelers there. I bought the bigger ones. One for each of my collections.

The problem is that there is no card slot on the front. So I just print a tag containing my brand, my website, email and phone number, and use a super wide packing tape trimmed nicely to seal it on top and stick it to the cover. It is good to have all your info there because if a buyer or a shop owner lost your card, they can simply find your info on your portfolio. And if (touch wood) you lost your portfolio in a public area, some nice person can also call you to return it. 

And then of course, I put down the name of the collection and mark it as "Samples" on the front.

Inside the portfolio there are space on the left for chain necklaces with straps to keep everything in place. My pendants are pretty big so I use u-pins to keep them tightly stuck so it doesn't swing around scratching each other. On the right there are 2 rows for studs, and 4 ring pillow straps which I love because my rings are too big for usual slots. At the bottom there are also spaces for chain bracelets. But for my rose bangles, I simple use the faux leather clasps for chains on the left, snap them off and hook around the elastics on the bottom right through the bangles. It keeps the big bangles tight in place. (see top image)

Reference tags

What is key is that you have a little label for each piece. I included my line sheet with the samples but you can never assume the buyer will have your line sheet handy when reviewing your samples. What if they pass the portfolio to someone else in the office? Or worse still, what if one of your pieces is separated from the portfolio on someone's desk? How do you expect them to remember this is yours (of course they should if you have an unique style, but they could be reviewing a ton of stuff everyday). 

Even if they do have everything in one place, help them refer the piece easily to the line sheet by quoting the sku number and item name. I also included a small note if one of the variations I listed in the line sheet is not among the samples I sent them. So they will not be confused - "where is that 2-tone plated version in black and rose gold? I only see one color here...oh wait, ok it is not available right now. Got it."

And as I said, include your contact on the tag. How do you get these tags done cheaply and quickly? Print everything at home! 

I got nice textured paper from Paper Presentation on 18th Street between 5th and 6th Ave. I type everything out (or rather, copied from my line sheet) onto a word doc, set the column wide to 1.5 inch and do 2-3 columns on one sheet. Print it out from my inkjet printer. Putting the other side of the text on the tag is easy. Get a inkjet printable label sheet instead of trying to line things up on word. 

Cut everything up quickly with a paper cutting board (you can get it cheaply there or at any art supplies store), use a small size paper hole puncher (which I also use for earring cards) and...Voila! Done in no time. Loop through about 6-in long string per tag, and tie a knot.  The tags can go around any jewelry easily.

Line Sheet

I put everything in a nice folder. Card, line sheet and bio. Get the folder from Paper Presentation as well. Many colors to choose from. I use the same textured paper from Paper Presentation I used for the tags for the cover as well, to give it a bit of charm and consistency. And the same paper is used for the business card. I print everything in small amount on my inkjet. Of course, you can always print business cards easily with Vista Print or Moo. But I like mine with embossing. Get embossing powder in different color or even metallic from Paper Presentation or Michael's cheaply and get a heat gun while you are there. You'll never run out of the powder and the heat gun is great for plastic shrink wrapping and many other craft purposes. 

Keep your line sheet simple - pictures on white or black or gray background, no texture. 1-2 images max. per design. Put all color variations on one shot if possible. 1-2 lines of product spec (no fancy write up, just dimension, materials...etc), and wholesale price point (no sales tax needed for wholesale!) If you have specific terms and conditions, include it. And remember to include an order form with fields for the customer's contact info and tax ID! 

Make sure you create simple enough SKU numbers. Never too ridiculously long, or you and your customers will have a hard time referring to it.

Hold it all together in one place

Last but not least, if you are leaving it with a company, make sure to find a good bag for your portfolio and line sheet to sit together.

I have not printed my own bags, so I got a white shopping bag, and print out labels of my brand, with my contact info, and stick the labels on both sides of the bag. And I stapled a card on the bag with the buyer's name and contact, and my info on the bag. So if any chance the whole thing got circulated around their office, it will go back to my contact person.

One set done. A couple sets to go and I am ready to venture out and talk to more people. Sell sell sell!!!


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