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Newbie Needs Advice from Pros

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Category: Network with Other Reps
Forum Name: Giftware & Novelty Reps
Forum Description: Introduce yourself and network with other Giftware & Novelty industry reps here.
Printed Date: 21 Sep 2019 at 1:26am
Software Version: Web Wiz Forums 11.04 -

Topic: Newbie Needs Advice from Pros
Posted By: Mary C S
Subject: Newbie Needs Advice from Pros
Date Posted: 28 Mar 2010 at 8:36pm
Hi everyone! I live in the 'burbs near Chicago, have worked for a small giftware/ pub'g co for a year doing telesales - have a 20-state calling territory; seems every time I call a shop they're 'with a rep' and/or 'have just bought from a rep.' Maybe a smokescreen, maybe not  - I had the chance to get to know several vitamin/ nutriceutical reps a few years back when I worked for a healthfood store; envied them their freedom from office, etc. as well as the much better income they made compared to our hourly, etc. Also have extensive background in customer service and retail sales.
So - I know in many areas it's a crummy economy, etc. esp for giftware, but northern IL doesn't seem to be quite as bad. Due to my work contcts, I have a first-name relationship with a number of mgrs/ buyers at hospital, Hallmark & regular giftshops, as well as educational stores in this and other areas.  Since I  know what they ARE looking for, would like to search out co's that carry those type of lines and rep them.
My question: how to get started - I already have over 30 stores locally that are familiar with me & what I've been selling, would like to stay with gifts/ cards/ books/ accessories as I used to own a brick-and-mortar store in Lockport, IL til '07 when the economy caved in, and am familiar with that type of merchandise.
What can I expect in up-front expenses, etc. (besides a higher gas bill!), how do I contact co's for repping, what contracts/ legalities are out there that need to be addressed, etc. when repping as well as handling cust service issues, payment, expense reimbursement, etc.
My 'ex' was a salesman for an industrial magnet co so I have some idea what's involved (lots of travel, high expenses depending on how far he had to travel, etc.) However, he was also very well compensated so that evened things out...
Thanks in advance for any advice you can offer!
Blessings -

Posted By: JB
Date Posted: 17 Jun 2010 at 12:06pm

Hi Mary - Can I ask what kind of commission rate you'd be expecting for a unique item that sells to stores (wholesale) for $2.50 (suggested retail $5.00)?

Posted By: wryan
Date Posted: 09 Jul 2010 at 8:46pm
Hello Mary,

Thanks for joining our forum.  First, I would naturally recommend you try our sponsor - Manufacturers Representatives for locating product lines to sell.  Their service is free for all reps and they do have quite a few companies that deal with greeting cards, giftware, novelty items, etc.

Since you are familiar with so many stores in your area, I would also recommend you simply contact them and ask who they buy from, if they purchase from reps, etc.  Perhaps, one of your contacts could refer you to an existing rep who works with an agency.

There are many variables when you start out, much of which depends on you.  You can work on your own or try to find join an existing rep agency.  From what you have mentioned, I would think your experience and business contacts would be a valuable asset to agencies dealing with giftware, retail, etc.

Forum Moderator

Posted By: ericwalter366
Date Posted: 01 Aug 2011 at 12:28pm
I am newbie here ,thank you for advice :)


Posted By: youngher
Date Posted: 15 Aug 2011 at 11:38am
I am also finding affiliates .  I can supply 5% commission rate .If you are  interested it,pls contact me .

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