Having spent most of my pre-Little Pea career in sourcing I pretty much always worked behind the scenes. If you needed to source a fabric, tweak a pattern, re-sample a garment I was your go to and have always had a knack for managing vendor relationships. Once I delivered the product, my job was done. The sell through component of the business was handed off to my merchandiser. After making the decision to develop my own line, I capitalized on that skill and was lucky enough to find fabulous sourcing partners. However, being at the helm of Little Pea has also given me the opportunity to develop customer relationships which I must admit thrilled and scared the life out of me!
Up to this point, I still maintain a semi behind the scenes profile; meaning my sales reps work face to face with the accounts via shows and showroom visits. Besides overseeing the design and development of the line, I also support my reps on the back end: sending out marketing collateral, developing press/advertising relationships, blogging, etc. All useful tasks which I know my fabulous sales reps appreciate!! However, now that my first big shipping season is in full swing I have had the opportunity to start getting to know some of my accounts. Shifting from my role behind the scenes to one in the forefront has been an easier transition that I thought it would be. Since Fall shipping has commenced I have had the opportunity to speak and follow up with several accounts, solicit their feedback, and generally get to know the buyers and I truly believe that they appreciate the personal element that I bring to my business.
Recently I’ve begun to get emails from accounts letting me know what is selling, Like Dandelion in Danville, CA. Our Gracie skirt is a top seller for them and in Charleston, SC – Petit Amoire confirms that the Ashton top is flying off the shelves. I love, love, love getting these reports and also welcome negative feedback as well (Luckily, we have not gotten any of that yet!!). As a new line, I use the comments as a gauge for what is and isn’t working at retail and can use the information to make adjustment to future collections. So, please retailers keep those comments coming!
I am only at the start of this roller coaster ride but I finally feel like the line is starting to get some much needed traction in the marketplace. The sinking feeling that is all too familiar to many start ups is starting to ease a bit, thank goodness for that! There is a long road ahead but I am learning and have become so appreciative of every step I take towards reaching my end goal. That said, I want to say THANK YOU to all of my accounts for taking a chance on a new line and for partnering with Little Pea!