5 Tips to Getting Stocked in Independent Stores

5 Tips to Getting Stocked in Independent Stores

Here at your favourite friendly independent shop, BAM Store + Space, we pride ourselves on stocking a range of indie designers, makers and artists. Our shelves are packed with colourful, beautiful and unusual creations, ready to tickle your imagination and bring you joy. 

Having such a variety of handmade and indie goods means that we get approached by lots of small businesses, keen to get their products on our shelves - which we love!

Running a small business is hard work, as I'm sure you know if you're reading this. Often owners wear several hats while running an indie shop, meaning time is precious and we don't always have the time to hunt down new products or research brands. 

We think there's a right way and a bunch of wrong ways to contact independent shops in the hopes that they will stock your lovely products. So to help you (and us!) out, we've put together this short and easy to follow guide to being stocked by indies. 

Our top 5 tips for approaching independent shops in the right way

1. Spend some time researching indie shops

What is the aesthetic of the shop? Would your product fit in with the other stock on their lovingly curated shelves? Take a look at our virtual shelves in the BAM online shop to get an idea of what we stock. 

Also, think about whether they are a specialist shop, only stocking local or vegan products, for example. If they already stock similar products, they might not need another supplier right now, but it might be worth getting in touch anyway for the future.

If your product is totally off-brand, that shop might not be the right stockist for you.

Make a shortlist of independent shops that you think would be a good fit for your brand and products. 

2. Send an email to your chosen independent shops

Once you've found one, two, or a handful of indie shops that you could see your products stocked in, it's time to get contacting. 

Sending a one line message on Instagram asking a shop to stock your products is not the way to do this, folks! Equally, turning up at a shop with samples is often tricky for many reasons - the person you need to talk to may not be there and they may not be able to hold your products due to limited space in a small shop, it may be too busy, etc. 

Take the time to find the correct email address, and get in touch that way. It's easier for us to keep track of emails, and you'll be able to pitch your products much more effectively.

Even better, find out the name of the person in charge of buying and address it to them - in our case that's me, Fran. Nice to meet you! 👋🏼

Fran Harkness, owner of BAM Store + Space, Bristol.
Fran Harkness, owner of BAM Store + Space, with some of our colourful crates!

3. Be specific about your small business

A short and sweet email is always easier to digest, so try to keep it brief:

  • Tell us about your small business and the ethos behind what you do.
  • Explain why you think your products will work in this independent shop.
  • Select a few images of the products you think will work best for us.
  • Include relevant hyperlinks that take us exactly where you want us to go.

Most small business owners are really time poor, so if you make it easy for them, they're much more likely to take a proper look at your beautiful work.

4. Include prices for your products

It sounds obvious, but I can't tell you how many emails we get without any price information!

Including RRPs allows the independent shop to quickly decide if your products are the right price point for their customers.

Here at BAM we buy wholesale, but lots of others do Sale or Return. If you're not sure what system the indie store operates on, include information for both - but only if you offer both.

Our colourful shelves at BAM Store + Space in Easton, Bristol.
Our colourful shelves at BAM Store + Space in Bristol

5. Send a follow up email

If you haven't heard back from the independent shops on your list after a couple of weeks, send a follow up email to give them a polite little nudge. 

Small business owners are usually juggling about 7 different job roles, so sometimes we forget things! It could've been the next thing on our to do list, and then a customer comes in and starts chatting, or we need to pack an order, or 5 more emails appear. 


Finally, please don't be offended if you get turned down. Here at BAM Store + Space we get pitched lots of amazing products that just aren't quite right for us or our customers. I always try to give feedback, but at the end of the day, it's just business, so try not to take it personally.

For every "no", there is always another independent shop who are perfect for your brand and can't wait to stock your glorious creations!

Coming next to the BAM blog - we will be sharing the reasons why we may (or may not) stock your lovely products in our arty indie shop in Bristol. 

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