Miss Milly is a new and growing UK wholesale jewellery supplier but in her previous business, Sarah Watmore, our Managing Director, also ran a successful retail jewellery and accessories business.

Craft Business magazine recently asked Sarah to contribute to its Retail Clinic feature by responding to a reader's question about how to choose new products for their store. The main tactics Sarah outlined were:

  • understand your location and target market; buy with your customers in mind
  • keep up with the trends in the industry; read trade magazines (many are free to subscribe to) and go to trade shows
  • don't focus solely on price; building a relationship with a supplier with excellent service and a personal touch is worth its weight in gold
  • competitor shopping; don't copy your immediate neighbours, variety is key to a thriving retail area, but visit shops similar to your own in other locations and also use the visits to look at display ideas. You might find an amazing product but it will need to be displayed well to maximise sales
  • form a focus group with similar retailers to share ideas and success stories; just make sure you're not selling to the same customers
  • ask your customers what they'd like to see in your shop; you'll undoubtedly reject some of their suggestions but they are your most important critics