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.

how to create a line sheet for wholesale

So, here’s How to Create a Line Sheet:

Basic Information

  • 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

Wholesale Information

  • 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.

Product line

  • 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.

Nicole Giordano
Nicole Giordano
Nicole

Nicole is the founder of StartUp FASHION, an online community and support system for independent designers around the world. She’s a traveler, a weaver, and a foodie. A deep love for the craft of fashion pared with an adamant belief that success is defined by the individual, led her to found StartUp FASHION were she helps independent designers and makers screw the traditional fashion business rules, create their own paths, and build businesses they truly love. More than anything else, she’s in the business of encouragement and works every day to remind makers and designers that they have something special to offer the world and that they can, in fact, do this thing!

42 comments
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    Drez Henfield

    I have no idea what to put for “order cut off dates”…PLEASE HELP!

    Reply
    • Nicole Giordano
      Nicole Giordano

      Hi Drez,

      This is the last possible date that a buyer can order for your collection. It’s based on your production schedule.

      Reply
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    Jenny

    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!

    Reply
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    Tyeshia Brown

    Hi Nicole,

    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?

    Reply
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    Anne Lukas

    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?

    Reply
    • Nicole Giordano
      Nicole Giordano

      Hi Anne,

      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.

      Reply
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    Sandra

    Hi! Great article, thanks a lot! Just wondering, would you rather use flat photos of the garments w white background than flat sketches? 🙂

    Reply
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    TJ

    This was very useful information. I’ve updated my own line sheets to incorporate your tips and advice. Thanks!!!!

    Reply
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    Conrad

    Thank you, Nicole. This article was very insightful. Great read.

    Reply
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    Sonia

    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

    Reply
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    chris

    Hi is there a way i can see the line sheet template layout before i buy it..

    Reply
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    Creative Pile

    I love your site and love your article. Line sheets are such an important tool to get your apparel out to buyers.

    Reply
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    WM

    Would you say that a model wearing your clothing are the most effective line sheets?

    Reply
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    Nigel Toussaint

    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.

    Reply
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    tony jackson

    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.

    Reply
    • Avatar
      sarah

      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.

      Reply
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    Jen

    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

    Reply
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    sarah

    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?

    Reply
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    Sarah

    Nicole you truly are a God sent. Thanks for this article, Ill begin drawing up a line sheet for my next collection

    Reply
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    soraya

    Helo Nicole,
    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?
    Thank you,
    Soraya

    Reply
  21. Avatar
    danielle

    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?!
    thanks!!
    -Danielle

    Reply
    • Nicole Giordano
      Nicole Giordano

      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!

      Reply
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    Brian

    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.

    Reply
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    Cecilia

    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!

    Reply
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    michelle

    Hi, do you have a timeline structure for ship dates and seasons?

    Reply

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