Many inventors and new product entrepreneurs want to sell to Target or Wal-Mart. And some do. You won’t have any easy time making the sale, and there are plenty of obstacles, but the fact is that both Wal-Mart and Target are open to new vendors, both have an open submission policy and you might be able to succeed if you set up a plan to that will show the retailers that your product will sell. Wal-Mart goes a little bit further than Target in being accessible to new retailers by having a local buying program where inventors can actually have their product test market in their local store, and if it succeeds it just might be picked up across the country. The road to both Wal-Mart and Target success is to build up some market momentum to show the product will sell, and then simply work through the retailers’ submission process until you can get in front of a buyer.
Many of you are probably skeptical about your prospects about getting your product into Wal-Mart or Target. So I’m going to start with a couple of success stories.
Kim Babjack launched her business at QVC, selling her first 2,000 Zip-A-Ruffles, which is a ruffled bed skirt that zips on and off the bed pad for easy cleaning. The Zip-A-Ruffles ran successfully on QVC for several years and created a history for Babjack when she came up with a new product idea in 2005, the Animalid a toilet-lid cover with 3-D animal graphics designed to help toddlers feel more comfortable during the potty-training process.
Babjack was sure her product would sell at Wal-Mart and she approach her local Wal-Mart Store Manager to carry the Animalid. After working for a year to get an appointment, Babjack made her presentation, the store manager loved it and after only a small mountain of paperwork and approval of the district manager Babjack’s product was on the shelf. Animalids had a name upgrade to Animal Lidz, and never dominated the market but it still had its spot on the Wal-Mart and a chance for permanent glory.
The husband and wife combination Vanessa Troyer and Chris Farentinos came up with a simple idea, a lockable mailbox. The mailman could put the mail in, but you could only get the mail out with a key. Their two products’, the Oasis and the Oasis Jr., sales have Troyer and Farentinos’ company Architectural Mailboxes off and running in the marketplace and right into Target’s catalog and website. To date they have sold more than 150,000 of their locked letter drops, which retail for $97 to $258.
Troyer and Farentinos developed their credentials by selling successfully through Amazon. Through a persistent effort she located the home address of Jeff Bezos, president of Amazon and sent him a presentation on how much money Amazon was losing because their packages were lost. The day after the presentation arrived Amazon called and today they carry over 50 of Architectural Mailboxes products. The Oasis locking mailbox is not just sold by Target, it is also sold by Home Depot, Costco and Lowes.