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)? 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
Rather than building one from scratch, you can grab our easy to use line sheet template. Watch the video below to see how quick and easy it is to make a line sheet.
Thank you so much for all of your helpful information.
What comes after the line sheet? Let’s say we email the line sheet to potential buyers and they want to place an order. Do you have an order form template that can be emailed to the buyer? The type of form they can type in the blanks on the computer so it’s legible and email back?
Thank you. I hope that made sense.
Yup! We have a purchase order form template available here – https://startupfashion.com/product/purchase-order-form-template/
Thank you! Do we have to have excel installed on our computer to utilize this order form?
Hi Alicia! Nope. You can use excel but you can also use Google Sheets (which is free). Hope that helps!
Sue's Akorn Shop
Thanks for the help. It’s very helpful info.
I have no idea what to put for “order cut off dates”…PLEASE HELP!
This is the last possible date that a buyer can order for your collection. It’s based on your production schedule.
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.
I am new to the fashion business. I have many designs and I need someone to help bring my vision to life. I am a terrible artist. Can you help point me in the right direction?
I can’t tell if this is in digital form only or needs to be hard copy. If hard copy, is it in a bound book?
Don’t I need some to leave with boutique owners?
This is a digital form that can be printed as a hard copy, giving you the option to either email it to the buyers or print and deliver in person when you’re meeting buyers.
Hi! Great article, thanks a lot! Just wondering, would you rather use flat photos of the garments w white background than flat sketches? 🙂
Photos are better if you have them!
This was very useful information. I’ve updated my own line sheets to incorporate your tips and advice. Thanks!!!!
Thank you, Nicole. This article was very insightful. Great read.
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! http://www.coroflot.com/soniastella
Hi is there a way i can see the line sheet template layout before i buy it..
I love your site and love your article. Line sheets are such an important tool to get your apparel out to buyers.
Would you say that a model wearing your clothing are the most effective line sheets?
Hi Whitney. No, white background flats are the best option for line sheets.
Thanks so much!
Thanks so much for providing this information. It just dawned on me a week ago to start going wholesale with the eclectic and tribal style of bracelets I’ve been making for men and women. And this page has really been helpful to me.
JAKE or anyone, Please let me know where the info is ON the site stitch in order to do a line sheet for free. Thank u sir.
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.
Thank you for this.
I was just asked about this and google to find out what exactly are they talking about lol
Lots to learn
Thanks again for this
You’re very welcome, Jen!
Hey Nicole I was wondering if you could email me? I am helping a friend with his clothing line and I need to make a “Line sheet” and “Look Book” for him and Im not sure where to start. email@example.com
As a start-up apparel company, this post was super helpful! Thanks!
Hello Nicole, thanks a lot for this. I have a question, do line sheets always have to be flats or can the garments be done on a mannequin?
Garments can be done on a mannequin but the background should still be a solid background. 🙂
Thank you Nicole
Nicole you truly are a God sent. Thanks for this article, Ill begin drawing up a line sheet for my next collection
Glad to hear it Sarah! We’ll actually be offering Line Sheet creating services later this month. Keep an eye out for that. 🙂 And since you’re a Community member, they’ll be discounted!
Hello I need to do a lne sheet for my line do you have a line sheet creating service I can use. Thank you.
Yep, we have a great line sheet template here: http://dev2.startupfashion.com/shop/product/fashion-brand-line-sheet-template
All you have to do is plug in your images, logo, and info.
Hope that’s helpful!
Great info about this topic, very much appreciated!
I am looking for online templates that will make it easier to structure one with color and organization. Do you have an info about it?
I work as a freelancer for an apparel brand. They recently rechout out to me to see if i could put a line sheet together for them. they asked me for a quote (for the whole project, not per hour) and I have NO idea what to say. suggestions?!
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!
I ended up doing exactly that. Thanks so much for your help! Such a helpful site 🙂
Id like to hire to do a line sheet for us. Please email me at: M.Young@ExecutiveOrderClothing.com
Is there a way you might try and make your more profitable styles stand out? Even if they might not be the best ones. Thank you so much.
Funny, I always seem to comment on Nicole’s posts, they’ve really helped me a lot!
I just made my first line sheet, tomorrow I’m going out to see if any shops are interested. I’m a self taught designer and would never have figured this out for myself, thank you!
Thanks Cecilia! So glad to hear that. 🙂
Excellent tips! Just starting my entry into the wholesale world, so this was quite helpful!
Hi, do you have a timeline structure for ship dates and seasons?