How to Create a Line Sheet
As an independent or emerging designer, one of your goals is probably to start selling your designs wholesale to brick and mortar boutiques. This is a solid goal and should be pursued as a way of growing your business.
But are you ready to deal with wholesale accounts? One tool that you should have in place before approaching a store is your line sheet. When creating your line sheet, think about the ease with which a buyer can order based on the information you’re providing. If it’s confusing to you, it will be confusing to them.
What exactly is a line sheet, anyway?
Not to be confused with a designer’s look book, a line sheet is a sales tool created with the sole purpose of helping retail buyers in the place orders of your pieces. they are basic and to-the-point, no frills. They are meant to answer questions for the buyer at a glance.
So, here’s How to Create a Line Sheet:
- Business Name/Logo
- Your name
- Contact info (don’t forget your phone number!) Put this on every page.
- Your brand’s story in a few sentences
- Order Minimum – This can be in dollar amount or number of items per style. Additionally, it used to be customary to make the first wholesale order for a new account higher than subsequent orders. However, in posing that question to a successful brand owner, Sue DiMeo of Synderela, she had this to say:
There are many ways to answer this question; priority goes to how badly you want to be in that store and the relationship you want to build. Never sacrifice what you want now for what you want most. Hard but true and a good guide.
- Accepting Payment – Do you accept credit cards? (you should, get Square!) Paypal? Checks? Payment in full up front or 50% up front, 50% after delivery?
- Lead times – How quickly can you fill and ship the order? Be realistic!
- Order cut off dates– Based on your production schedule, be sure to note the last date on which a buyer can place an order.
- Shipping policy- Is the buyer responsible for shipping cost or will you cover it?
- Return Policy – Do you accept returns for reasons other than damage? If so, how much time does the buyer have after receipt of goods?
- Expiration– make sure to note an end date to the validity of all the information.
- Photo of each item. Don’t get fancy! Photos should be white background flats. Leave the editorial images for your look book.
- Item name and number. It is totally up to you how you’d like to number your items. Some start with SS (Spring/Summer) or AW (Autumn/Winter) and follow with a series of numbers.
- Range of sizes and colors available
- Your wholesale prices
Something to consider including with your line sheet is an order form. Make it super simple for the buyer to fill in the blanks and email right back to you.
Hi Nicole, Thanks for this post, it's very useful. Do you have any information or resources on how to create a color/fabric sheet to accompany the line sheet? Basically, I have leather handbag samples and photography only in certain colors and would like to use the color/fabric sheet to show the retail buyers the other colors available. Thanks!
I am always having to explain this to folks who need help creating a line sheet vs look book even with all this they still get confused, it is very time consuming to put together everything when they are also working in production. As a designer this is the one thing that is so very important and is taught in school when creating a collection as well as doing a great tech pack. Generally i quote per group or collection depending on where the designer is at in the collection, sometimes its only a small group and sometimes its a very large collection. Also some startups don't know how to create technicals and tend to use photos but in school it was very important to show the front color version not necessary the back in the line sheet, i like to show both. Thanks so much for posting as so many people ask what is the difference and most think it is the same thing and it is not. Also it is important that all line sheets be about your brand and not a template or copy of anothers it has to look sharp. Thanks! www.coroflot.com/soniastella
Tony, i googled "site:stitchlabs.com line sheet" and found the page on their site about line sheets. Pretty much, you have to sign up and use their software to create the line sheet. Which isn't free. It has a free trial (not sure if line sheets are included in the free trial) but free trial to me isn't free. Because if i love it, it's not free in the long run.
Hi Danielle, Your best bet is to estimate how long it will take you to create the line sheet, apply your hourly rate, and then give them a flat price based on that. But don't forget to ask a lot of questions about expectations before quoting. Are you writing the descriptions? Are you in charge of the photography? Are you designing the layout? How many items are involved? Just be complete clear on what they get for the price you give them. I hope that helps!