Ask Jen!

Welcome to Ask Jen, a weekly Q&A with the “career doctor” herself Jennifer Kushell! Every Wednesday, Jen will answer one of your burning career questions so start sending them in!

If you would like to submit a question, please e-mail and she’ll do her best to get to them all. Oh, and don’t forget to register on – Your Success Network and fill out your profile so we can link back to it!

YSN member jeffrey4007 asks: “I am new to retail. I have a few designs I would like to get into a store but don’t know what steps to take. Where do I start?”

Jen responds: The simplist step would probably be to come up with a bunch of sketches, or better yet, some samples and start bringing them to local stores and little boutiques. Talk to the staff, and ideally the managers to see what kind of interest you might be able to stir up. Be open to hearing that they might not be in love with what you have and give them a comfortable opportunity to let you know what they really think and even offer advice if they’re willing to give it. Collect business cards of anyone you hit it off with and stay in touch as you build out your product line. Then, when you’ve got a good collection together, start photographing your best pieces so you can create a web site and even a catalogue, or onesheet to pass out to retailers you meet. Also think about going to some of the industry trade shows, like the big Gift Show in NYC.