We may earn money or products from the companies mentioned in this post.
We talked in the last article about the desire to buy everything for your direct sales inventory, particularly when you first start your direct sales business or get a new catalog. Let’s now focus on how we can avoid going deep into debt with our direct sales inventory purchases.
The Fun Bit
The shopping!! (Make sure you read the first article before you do this!) Oh the rush of filling up that online shopping cart or flipping through the glossy pages of your company’s latest catalog. The projects you will make! The meals you will cook! The amazing makeup tutorials you can create! It’s like a live action Pinterest board!! I go through and add everything I want to my cart without editing.
Unlike a Pinterest board, we’re actually going to buy these things. It’s time to go through my cart and edit down to what inventory I need for custom ordered projects, what I know I can turn around and sell at upcoming vendor events, Make & Take Shows or to my group on Facebook. I don’t know about you, but I don’t actually want to have a lot of direct sales inventory (Chalk Couture and other DS companies have replicated websites for all designers, so no inventory is necessary!). My theory on this is the more inventory I have, the less cash I have in my pocket.
If my cart total isn’t at my budget, I narrow even further to eliminate transfers that can’t be used in multiple ways (many different elements allow you to mix and match for a unique design), colors that are too specific to a single transfer and things that are “trendy” and might not be popular in a month or two. I’m also sticking to surfaces that I can wash and reuse if that particular design doesn’t sell well. Obviously, I’m talking about my Chalk Couture business, but the same rules can apply to your direct sales business.
I realize that with some companies, such as LuLaRoe, you don’t get to choose which patterns you receive. You will have to base your decision around the popularity of each individual style. With Pampered Chef or another demo style company, you’ll want to consider if you already own a product like something in your cart– maybe just a different shape or size, or maybe just the older version.
Before spending money…
Before pressing that submit button for your direct sales inventory order, ask yourself these questions:
- do I need to own this to be able to sell it, or can I paint a great picture with words and stock/company photos?
- does this product require a demonstration to sell better or show functionality/ease/color/etc?
- Are there other pieces I need to accompany this in order to show the true effectiveness? (Surfaces for Chalk Couture, accessories for boutique owners, accent colors for Color Street, Metal tools for Pampered Chef pans, etc)
- What is my plan for this item *after* the demo?
- Do I have a specific project/use in mind for this?
- Can I resell this if it no longer fits with the product line I want to show/sell?
- Or is this something I can use in my everyday life/business/hobby therefore the usefulness is extended beyond my business (yes, you are allowed to have things that aren’t purely for business purposes. I’m not a monster.)
All of my orders with Chalk Couture have served a purpose or plan, not just for “OMG I WANT THAT!” (though the desire has been stroooooooong. You remember when you first started your DS, right?) I can not say I was this disciplined when I first started with Pampered Chef 6+ years ago. I learned some valuable lessons in that time. The very first ‘add everything to the cart’ moment with Chalk Couture ended up with a $1,800+ retail cart— before tax and shipping. Yeah. Even with the 50% off coupon, that’s not gonna happen.
But, the discount….
This is one of the main reasons people join a direct sales business, right? Get everything you want for a discount. But, if you want to get everything for FREE with your commissions, you really need to make business decisions, not just emotional ones. Sorry. Someone had to say it. I really recommend my good friend Hope’s Mind Your Own Direct Sales Business Course. It’s a deeper look into the business side of direct sales. There’s course info on the administration side, banking & money, Human Resources, marketing and even customer service! It’s also a perk for being a part of my Chalk Couture team (What? You said you like a good deal, right?).
If you’re on this blog, chances are you’re not super new and have probably figured out some of the business side of things. But you have friends or new team mates who may need to hear this. Share with them. Be a good friend & save them the burden.