Get to know Chad Hetherington, founder of The Stable, in the second Hardware Massive podcast. Considered a retail super agent, Chad has generated more than $500 million in retail sales through his efforts over the last decade. Once the vice president of sales at Quirky, an invention company out of New York, Chad grew the brand’s retail channel from zero to 50,000 stores, including big retail names such as Home Depot and Target. Now, he’s branched out on his own, founding The Stable, a retail sales agency that represents innovative products and brands to help them achieve their retail and partnership goals.
As Chad has worked with nearly every retailer in the United States, in just about every category, he has plenty of advice to share with entrepreneurs going into the retail arena. His agency works with entrepreneurs to develop a retail strategy, by shaping the best plan forward, with a narrow focus to ensure optimum results. He says many retailers are already interested in successful crowdfunding projects, so in some cases, it’s just up to the entrepreneur to pick the best retailer for their product.
He references one client, who put together a deal for several thousand units with HomeGoods. However, despite the large order, the storefront just wasn’t suitable for the brand. When approaching a retailer, it’s important to take into account what kind of shopper your product is suited for, and whether or not you’ll be able to grow your brand there. Just because someone offers you a large order, doesn’t make them a correct fit. In other cases, a large order can spell out disaster, especially if you don’t have a large enough team to handle the demand. Chad recommends start-ups take it slow and test products in stores before committing to something larger. After all, if products aren’t sold, or are marked down in-store, it could prove disastrous. Starting small is a recommended form of proactive damage control.
Remember that the retailer is a business, too, and they’re just looking to make money, first and foremost. They generally don’t care about the entrepreneur as an individual, and are just looking for an innovative product that will bring shoppers to a brick and mortar storefront and result in a profit. It’s important that brands know all of the terms and conditions before committing to anything, so they can thoroughly anticipate all inventory needs, as well as due dates. Agencies such as The Stable can generally help negotiate retailer terms and conditions.
All in all, Chad says some of the best ways to prepare for retail is to plan ahead, know your capabilities and then work with your chosen retailers to create a symbiotic relationship. It’s always a risky move going into retail with brick and mortar stores, and it’s something to be taken seriously. However, retailers are more eager than ever to bring new and exciting products to their shelves, creating a marketplace perfect for innovative start-ups.
Interested in The Stable and how they can guide your product to retail success? Contact Chad Hetherington at firstname.lastname@example.org.