17 November, 2019

Why Your Current Approach to Line Sheets Is Broken

We’re a success story built on failure. Then again, Thomas Edison once said, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work,” so maybe it wasn’t a failure so much as an opportunity.

Linesheets, the new line sheet automation tool, was born out of necessity. Our founder, Alexis, was all ready to hoist her brand up to the next rung on the business ladder by taking her jewelry designs to the big boys like shopbop.com and Bloomingdales, but there was a learning curve. She was ready to describe her masterpieces in detail; buyers were ready for a line sheet. It was time for Alexis to figure out how to make a line sheet …

What followed was a short but epically exhausting foray into the world of graphic design. It drained her time, it pillaged her budget, and halfway through Alexis came to the stark conclusion that DIYing her way into major retailers wasn’t going to work.

Sick of making manual line sheets? Learn more about Linesheets — the tool that makes your job easier. 

Why Your Approach to Linesheets Needs to Change

See, making a line sheet on your own takes way more than patience. You need design skills, a keen eye, the right software, the ability to ignore your other responsibilities and focus just on layout decisions and font choices for days or even weeks … and even if you manage to tick all those boxes, you may well forget a pivotal detail or understand far too late that your idea of a pristine sell sheet doesn’t quite match the expectations of your potential customer.

In other words, if you’re trying to do each line sheet by hand, on your own, without a design background or the right tools in hand, you’re doing it wrong. You’re wasting your resources, squandering your talents, and taking the long way around when you could be utilizing a shortcut that’s better for your bottom line and your mental health. How’s that for enticing?

Are your DIY line sheets less than beautiful? Learn more about Linesheets — the tool that makes your job easier.

A Catalog Is Not Enough

Catalogs are awesome, but they’re like giving buyers a movie trailer and asking them to invest in your next big-screen project — it’s all special effects and fancy voiceovers, but all the money guy wants to know is whether people are going to buy tickets.

Line sheets serve up details on-demand. Rather than overloading your prospects with items they don’t need and an avalanche of minutiae, that’s more confounding than compelling, you can make a new product sell sheet (or tweak an existing one) as a supplement.

So, don’t ditch your catalog, add to your sales funnel with a line sheet. Here’s why you need both:

  • Broad audience vs. focused appeal. Your catalog has a little something for everyone, but buyers aren’t always interested in wading through 30 pages of products to find the one item their customers will go gaga over. Send your catalog to window shoppers or anyone who wants to get a taste for the brand as a whole. Send line sheets for focused inquiries or to highlight best-sellers.
  • Wholesale vs. retail. Catalogs are great for the average Joe who wants to thumb through multiple sections and see a range of products spread across page after glossy page. Sell sheets you create using Linesheets, on the other hand, are optimized for wholesale use. Rather than including suggestions on what to wear with your new plaid trench or how a new pair of diamond studs will make your next date night a truly spectacular event, a proper line sheet lists minimum order quantities, SKU numbers, terms of sale and other business-related info.
  • Convenience. You can’t expect shoppers at a trade show to roll up your catalog and trot around from booth to booth with that behemoth under their arm, but you can hand over a clean, concise sell sheet that slips effortlessly into a folder or briefcase pocket. Tuck a few into your own bag when headed to a client meeting and you’re prepared to highlight key products in a flash — it’s much faster than thumbing through a catalog and dog-earing the appropriate pages.

See: 5 Benefits of a Line Sheet Maker

Having your line sheet in PDF form is a major bonus, too. Why send off your own retail version of War and Peace when you can have your product or products in your customer’s inbox in mere seconds? One click and a buyer is scanning your document and thinking about the next step.

Cheaper to produce and print. Sure, catalogs offer a broad look at everything your brand has made and put into production, but that kind of heft is no joke. Need to make a change? Even fixing a typo means you better be ready to toss out hundreds of thousands of dollars in collateral. Have a client who wants a specific item in just one or two colors with other custom modifications? Line sheets are a quick, budget-friendly way to deliver a tailored product description, specs included.

You can either mark up your catalog (super professional, right?) or, if you have Linesheets, modify your sell sheet template or existing design to suit the request. No matter how good a deal you got on your catalog, printing off or emailing a single sheet is exponentially more affordable. Now go buy yourself something pretty with all that money you just saved. You deserve it!

Tweak to your heart’s content — no matter how often your inventory changes. It’s the perk so nice we’ll mention it twice. Your inventory is going to change. New patterns come in, old designs go out and suddenly parts of your catalog are obsolete. Line sheets act as a form of inventory management, allowing you to update specs as changes happen. You’ll always have a current sell sheet on hand to educate clients and you’ll never have to rely on a flawed file when accuracy matters most.

Are Line Sheets Right for Your Industry?

Historically, line sheets are closely tied to the fashion industry. Even small collections contain a number of items and bigger collections require even more explanation. Sell sheets gave artists and owners a way to set each garment apart and communicate fundamental details to customers.

Since then, news about the functionality of line sheets has spread, and you’ll now see them used by everyone from jewelry designers to home-goods companies to office supply chains. Any wholesaler interested in selling a range of products with a varying specifications can benefit from a line sheet. In short, if you’re in the business of products, you probably need to get your line sheet game in order.

Could you theoretically use the same line sheet template regardless of industry? Sure, but you risk omitting details that may not matter in one niche but are fundamentally important in another.

As your needs will change slightly from industry, we’ve outlined a few niche-specific sell sheet examples to spur your imagination.

More From Linesheets

Photo credit: Roman Samborskyi/Shutterstock.com

ABOUT Alexis Kelly


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