Are you looking to get into retail? Have you heard something like, “You’re going to need a line sheet!” and though what is a line sheet? And then someway, somehow you ended up here.
Do You Need a Line Sheet or Do You Actually Need More?
What other options are there? Every business that has products to to sell, needs something to showcase them, whether it be line sheets, product sell sheets, lookbooks, catalogs, or some combination of these.The questions are endless, especially if you are new this… and that’s where we come in.
Take a look below at some of the most commonly used sales and marketing tools for getting into retail shops.
What is a Line Sheet?
Line sheets are used as a sales tool to entice prospective buyers. Buyers can skim through your line sheet and write down their orders at the same time.
A line sheet is a clear display of your products with any pertinent details that a buyer would need to place an order.
The goal is to focus on the product you are selling. Think about what makes it unique, are there any variations (sizes, colors), are there any benefits of the product, what is the style number, what is the wholesale cost and how much do you suggest they it retail for? A line sheet presents the answers to these questions in a clear and visual way.
Keep in mind that buyers are inundated with line sheets promoting new brands, products or seasons all the time. So if you do get their attention, you want to make sure that they have the information they need. The last thing a buyer wants to do is waste time going back and forth with a vendor on simple details.
What is a Product Sell Sheet?
Product sell sheets are a one-page, one-product detail page. This allows you to really call out the product benefits and features. Product sell sheets work best for showcasing fashion items, beauty products, jewelry and more.
What is a Lookbook?
A lookbook is a “set of photographs displaying a fashion designer’s new collection, assembled for marketing purposes.” Oxford Dictionaries
Ultimately, lookbooks are designed and styled to tell a story and impress a buyer.
So if you are selling jewelry, for instance, your line sheet would have clean product images and product details. A lookbook, on the other hand, would feature lifestyle photographs of someone wearing the earrings, the earrings sitting in a dish on a dresser, etc.
Each lookbook created is specially tailored to each clients needs and sometimes even evolve into product catalogs.
What is a Product Catalog?
Product catalogs are used in many different industries to showcase and sell products. Typically, they’re a combination of a line sheet and a lookbook and are targeted to the consumer (or end-user of the product.) Product catalogs contain product images, styled product photographs, product details, prices, and any other pertinent product or company information.
From companies like West Elm and Pottery Barn, to the famous Victoria’s Secret catalog, I’m sure you’ve seen or subscribed to at least one or two.
How Are You Planning On Presenting Your Line Sheet?
Whether you are showing your line sheet in person or sending your line sheet by email, you need to represent your brand and products in the best possible light. When you compare the type of response that comes with a basic line sheet template and a styled line sheet made by a graphic designer, there is no competition. Imagine the number of line sheets that each buyer gets. Don’t get lost in the crowd!
If you plan on walking into shops with samples of your products, then a more simple line sheet may be enough to start with. However, when a buyer doesn’t have any samples to see in person, it’s always a great idea to show them off with a custom catalog.
In fact, we always recommend making a custom catalog of your products to get the most return. There is no standard here, but in a perfect world the ideal line sheet content would include more than just a line sheet page. See the list below. Remember, you want to stand out to buyers and give them an experience while looking at your products.
This is especially important if you plan on e-mailing the line sheets out to retailers. You won’t have the face to face contact to help you stand out, so you want to make sure that they feel and understand your company branding just by flipping through your line sheet pdf.
Whether this is your first or fifth impression; make them remember you this time!
Ideal Line Sheet – Custom Catalog Content
+ Cover Page
+ Company or Designer Bio Page
+ Brand Page (Ideal)
+ Categories Page (If line sheet contains multiple. Optional)
+ Line Sheet Product Pages
+ Lifestyle Pages (Ideally throughout)
+ Notes Page (Optional)
+ Order Form Page (Not design related, but check out The Creative Hive’s article for more information on this topic and how to start selling wholesale and bring in the big bucks.)
+ Policies, Minimums, Terms, Delivery Times, etc. Page (Not design related, but check out the article above for more information on this topic.)
+ Back Page (Optional)
What Needs to Be on a Line Sheet Product Page | Preparing Your Content
There is no right or wrong way to make a line sheet, but the line sheet product pages should feature 2-3 products (depending on the size of the items) and any pertinent details that a buyer would need to place an order. Using the list below as a guideline, create a checklist of things that you will need to have ready and available for your line sheet. Keep in mind you can always add or remove categories to fit your needs.
There are main and sub categories. Main categories in fashion include Men, Women, Boys, Girls, Toddler, Baby, etc. Sub categories go one step further in identifying a product and can include Tops, Bottoms, Dresses, Outerwear, Accessories, Shoes, etc.
Product Display Options
You have different options when it comes to the way images are displayed on your product line sheet. A. Vector Drawn (Fashion Flat) Images , B. Photo-Realistic (Mock-Up) Images, or C. Product Photography (Actual Photos). See the Product Display Options below. We recommend using real photos for the best response from buyers, but sometimes products are in production and samples are not available to photograph. In this case, photo-realistic, mock ups can achieve a similar feel.
Your product should have a clear and concise description of what it is. A buyer should be able to easily identify what each item is. Keep in simple and avoid “fluffing” the wording. Save the creative copy for your lookbook or catalog pages.
Each product should have style numbers that follow a consistent layout. Ex: Style #-Main Category-Sub Category- Color (100-M-TS-BL)
Fabric + Material Information
This is pretty self explanatory. Include any fabric or material information here.
This is all of the different colors your product is available in. When there are more than a few, they may be displayed as swatches rather than the full image. It is all dependent on space and your other items. Consistency is key! In terms of the color names, this is not the place to be overly creative. Rather, choose familiar words and keep it simple.
Again, pretty self explanatory. List any sizes your products come in. If you have a fit guide, you may also want to have this handy.
Prices (Wholesale + Retail)
Before committing to your pricing, make sure you are making money! Don’t forget to add in all of your overhead. Once you have your cost, you can figure out your wholesale price. From there you can figure out your Suggested Retail Price. The standard retail markup is typically two times the cost (or wholesale price), also known as keystone in the retail industry
Season (Delivery + Cut Off Dates)
When it comes to fashion, it is important to call out seasons, delivery dates, and cut off dates. However, there are items, such as accessories, home items, jewelry, etc. that may be a year round, staple item. In this case, it would be best to leave out the season and include the delivery and cut off information on the order form. This also allows the business to both add to their line sheet/catalog as their product assortments grows; and it allows businesses to use the same line sheet for a longer period of time.
Your Contact Information
A buyer should be able to contact you from virtually every page in your line sheet, so make sure it is easily available to them to find.
A Little More on Product Photography
Photos can make or break a buyers decision to bring in your products. So, if you do decide to have photographs of your products, it’s important they are high resolution and (ideally) styled on a clean, white background. This eliminates anything that might distract from your product.
If you plan on taking the photos yourself; make sure your products are clean and styled consistently (in the same positions). You should also shoot multiple angles, showing any important features your product has. It’s important, these are also consistent. It may be helpful to make a list of the shots and angles you will need for each product, that way you don’t forget any. Finally, use soft, bright lighting and even an external flash if necessary.
If you are looking to have someone do a professional product photoshoot, check out ProductPhotography.com. For a reasonable amount of money, they can shoot and edit your product photos. If you have certain shots in mind, make sure to let them know.
Now that you have compiled everything you need to make your line sheet, you can decide to do it yourself or hire graphic designer.
Video Pile | The Essentials to Designing a Better Line Sheet that Buyers Notice
We just came across this video on line sheets and it mentions a lot of the same points we do! Check out “The Essentials to Designing a Better Line Sheet that Buyers Notice” video below for more information and another perspective on the same topic. Enjoy!
A Quick Recap | So, What Is a Line Sheet?
So, what is a line sheet? A line sheet is a clear display of your products with any pertinent details that a buyer would need to place an order. They come in many different styles and are best when tailored specifically to your brand and product offerings.
There is no right or wrong way to design a line sheet, but but it should follow some general guidelines. They are:
- Make sure to include all necessary information that a buyer will need to place an order. This includes product description, style number(s), fabric or material information, colorways, size(s), wholesale and suggested retail prices, seasons (if applicable), delivery and cut off dates (if applicable), and most importantly, your contact information. It’s your job to make this process a smooth and easy one for them.
- If possible, use photography for real product shots (preferably on a clean, white background).
- Keep the descriptions and wording simple and to the point. Don’t complicate things and distract from the product
All we can say is be open! It’s likely your line sheet will evolve into some combination of line sheet – lookbook – catalog. Because who doesn’t love to tell the story of their brand? And great design and lifestyle shots really help do that… and your sales!