Proof to Product
Proof to Product
Katie Hunt
Ranked in the top 1% of ALL podcasts, the Proof to Product podcast is your trusted resource for sustainable business growth - especially if you make and sell physical products! Join Katie Hunt, each week as she shares strategies & solutions to enhance your sales & marketing so that you’re building a business that supports your best life. If you’ve ever asked yourself can I make money selling physical products? Am I ready to sell my products wholesale to stores like Target, Anthropologie, Nordstrom or Barnes & Noble? When should I consider hiring a sales team or sales reps? Can I really turn my passion into profits? Whether you’re a just starting out on your business journey or you’ve been at it a while growing an empire, this show is for you. Proof to Product is like on-demand business school for product sellers spanning a wide range of industries. Whether you’re in home decor, apparel, beauty, food & beverage, hand-made items, jewelry, consumer gifts or the stationery world, you’ll gather new ideas each week to help you grow your profit, build your team and lead with integrity. Host Katie Hunt and her guests bring you actionable ways to expand your product line, manufacturing overseas, optimize your e-commrce websites on Shopify, Faire, Etsy, Abound, Tundra, Squarespace or in brick & mortar locations. How to start or scale wholesale sales including pitching stores, wholesale outreach, trade show exhibition, working with sales reps, managing inventory, warehousing product, sales systems, wholesale follow-up strategies and working with key accounts. Marketing strategies for small businesses including content creation, leveraging tik tok and instagram tactics without feeling burned out, why you can’t rely solely on social media for sales and why email marketing systems on platforms like Klaviyo, Flodesk and Active Campaign are so powerful. Listen in as Katie and our guest experts help you strategize and tackle your biggest business goals. Host Katie Hunt brings a unique perspective to entrepreneurship. Since 2011, she’s helped thousands of product brands get their products on the shelves of their favorite retail stores through her Paper Camp program (www.prooftoproduct.com/papercamp). Prior to that she worked in the corporate world for over a decade leading business development and marketing teams. She has two MBAs - one in finance and one in marketing. And, she owned & operated her own product based business for over 8 years, selling her products to stores throughout the world from her garage. Katie knows the struggles you face as a product based business and she’s here to pull back the curtain and share her best kept secrets so that you don’t have to learn things the hard way. Find our free trainings & resources for product based business owners at www.prooftoproduct.com/resources
347 | State of Product Industry Survey with Katie Hunt
Every day, I hear from product-based business owners who are curious about other people's business models, revenue streams, team structure, tech stack, how much revenue they're not only earning but what profit they're taking home, and how much they're paying themselves.  Although we know that every business is different, it is completely natural to want to see behind the scenes and the curtains of another brand in your industry. But more than ever, it's more than curiosity now. We know that our product industry has experienced major shifts over the last several years.  We've had supply chain issues, rising costs, and labor shortages. Everyone has been pivoting and recalibrating, and that has led to a lot of new normals. We're experiencing an entire shift in the industry and I know you wanted to know what was happening in the industry.  My team and I put together an industry-wide survey. We had 925 product-based business owners who anonymously shared their business details with us.  Today, we’re going to dive into the details on the podcast.  You can view full show notes and more at http://prooftoproduct.com/347  Quick Links: Free Wholesale Audio Series Free Resources Library Free Email Marketing for Product Makers PTP LABS Paper Camp  
Jun 18
20 min
346 | Tripling Revenue by Focusing on Wholesale with Rachel Kroh, Heartell Press
What if you lived in a different state than your business? Meaning, all of your products, your inventory, your team, and your operations were in a completely different state.  For today's guest, Rachel Kroh of Heartell Press, this is her every day now. She lives in Washington with her family, while her team of 5 works remotely across the country. They're shipping cards and gifts to more than 1,000 stores worldwide.  In this episode, Rachel shares how she tripled her revenue by focusing on selling wholesale, strengthening her systems, and building the infrastructure of her business. Plus, Rachel reflects on the challenges of relocating her business, the impact of her art on emotional expression, and her exciting plans for the future, including a 10-year anniversary collection.  She is one of our Paper Camp alumni and also one of our LABS members. Today's episode is brought to you by our Is Wholesale Right for You private podcast! This free 12-part audio series will help you decide whether wholesale is a good next step for your specific business. After listening to this audio series (in less than an hour), two things will be true. You'll know whether you want to pursue wholesale for your product business, and you'll have the confidence and action steps to get started with wholesale. Sign up for the private podcast today! SIGN UP You can view full show notes and more at http://prooftoproduct.com/346  Quick Links: Free Wholesale Audio Series Free Resources Library Free Email Marketing for Product Makers PTP LABS Paper Camp  
Jun 11
31 min
345 | Redesigning Products to Create More Ease in the Business with Janine Kwoh, Kwohtations
We've been telling you a lot of stories here on the podcast about brands making big scary shifts in business, and part of the reason we're doing this is to normalize that it's okay to pivot when you need to.  In episode 342, Alyson O'Connor shared how she shut down a 6-figure revenue stream so she could focus on a revenue stream wholesale that better fit the day-to-day life she wanted. In episode 338, Kiwi Schloffel shared how she made the tough decision to exit her business, and Meghan Hopkins Sokorai talked about why she chose to acquire Kiwi's business.  On this week’s episode, Janine Kwoh of Kwohtations is back on the show to talk about some big shifts she recently made to her product line to ensure that her business was not only more sustainable but also easier for her to manage.  Janine is the owner and designer of Kwohtations, a Brooklyn, New York-based line of letterpress-printed greeting cards and gifts. Kwohtations cards acknowledge and celebrate people and occasions who are often underrepresented in the card aisle. She is also the author of Welcome to the Grief Club, an illustrated book on grief for anyone who has had a loss. Janine is a PaperCamp alumnus and a community leader in our Proof to Product Labs program. She is an award-winning artist, an author, and a great friend to many in the industry. On today's episode, Janine shares how a key account ordered 4,300 hand-painted cards and how that pushed her to retire and rethink her entire product line. She talked about her decision-making process, how she prepared for the changes, and how she communicated these product changes to her customers. Today’s episode is sponsored by our Unlock Buyer Secrets Interview series. To make a strong first impression with wholesale buyers, we need to do a few things really well: We need to make it easy for stores to purchase from us We need to have clear pricing and terms & conditions We need to clearly communicate and add value at each touchpoint We need to focus on building strong relationships with our customers. And all of this becomes infinitely easier when we actively listen to our customers. This on-demand interview series will give you a competitive edge by providing an exclusive window into what buyers want and need from you. And, the best part, it's only $27 bucks.  Get Access to the Unlock Buyer Secrets Interview Series You can view full show notes and more at http://prooftoproduct.com/345  Quick Links: Free Wholesale Audio Series Free Resources Library Free Email Marketing for Product Makers PTP LABS Paper Camp  
Jun 4
27 min
344 | Normalizing the Hard Stuff in Business with Tammie Bennett, Show Up Society
Running a business sure is a roller coaster, isn't it? We have our ups and downs. We have to balance the future forecasting and envisioning while also putting out the day-to-day fires in front of us.  It takes a lot of grit and determination to be an entrepreneur, particularly when you're building something that aligns with your personal interests and values.  Today's guest is Tammie Bennett from the Show Up Society. Tammie is a certified mindset coach, podcaster, speaker, artist, and educator. She is obsessed with helping creators show up as themselves. For over 15 years, she has helped people accomplish more than they ever thought was possible by teaching them to feel safe in putting their work out into the world. On today's podcast episode, we're talking about normalizing the hard stuff and taking responsibility for our business decisions. We talk about not relying on platforms or algorithms or other people's opinions to drive our business decisions. And Tammie shares why everyone needs a did-it list instead of a to-do list. Today’s episode is brought to you by our Proof to Product resource library. It’s where you can get your hands on our free resources to help you start, streamline and scale your business in your own way and at your own pace.   GET FREE ACCESS You can view full show notes and more at http://prooftoproduct.com/344  Quick Links: Free Wholesale Audio Series Free Resources Library Free Email Marketing for Product Makers PTP LABS Paper Camp
May 28
31 min
343 | 5 Tips for Creating an Effective Wholesale Catalog with Katie Hunt
A wholesale catalog’s purpose is to sell your products, tell your story, and build a relationship with a buyer when you can’t be there with them in person. Ultimately, the goal of your wholesale catalog is to sell your products, and it’s important to build your catalog with your retailer in mind. Today I’m going to go through five quick tips for creating an effective wholesale catalog. Today’s episode is sponsored by our Unlock Buyer Secrets Interview series. To make a strong first impression with wholesale buyers, we need to do a few things really well: We need to make it easy for stores to purchase from us We need to have clear pricing and terms & conditions We need to clearly communicate and add value at each touchpoint We need to focus on building strong relationships with our customers. And all of this becomes infinitely easier when we actively listen to our customers. This on-demand interview series will give you a competitive edge by providing an exclusive window into what buyers want and need from you. And, the best part, it's only $27 bucks.  Get Access to the Unlock Buyer Secrets Interview Series You can view full show notes and more at http://prooftoproduct.com/343  Quick Links: Free Wholesale Audio Series Free Resources Library Free Email Marketing for Product Makers PTP LABS Paper Camp  
May 21
13 min
342 | Replacing a 6-figure Revenue Stream with Ready-Made Products for Wholesale with Alyson O'Connor, Rust Belt Love
Have you ever wanted to make a transition in your business, but you resisted because the thing you wanted to move away from brought in the largest chunk of revenue for your business? I have definitely been there, and so has today's podcast guest.  Alyson O'Connor is a classically trained visual artist specializing in nature-inspired illustrations, stationery, and gifts. She runs Rust Belt Love with her husband Nick in Buffalo, New York. Alyson draws and designs, and Nick prints, often on their 100-year-old letterpresses. After closing their retail stationery during the pandemic, they launched their wholesale line of heart center greeting cards and gifts in 2021. Alyson made an even tougher decision to close the wedding arm of her business, which we'll talk about today. Rust Belt Love’s products can now be found in over 1,000 stores worldwide. Alyson is a Paper Camp alum and a member of my Advisory Board mastermind. She's an active member of the Greeting Card Association of America,and she's the committee chair of the industry's Louie Awards.  Today, we're talking about how Alyson pivoted away from a 14-year career making custom wedding invitations, and how she replaced her 6-figure custom revenue stream with ready-made products sold to the wholesale market. Alyson candidly discusses the transformation of her business model in response to the challenges that the pandemic brought on, including how and why she embraced a wholesale approach. This strategic shift wasn't just about business survival, though. It was also driven by a desire to regain control over her work-life balance, especially given the demands of family life. Today’s episode is sponsored by our Unlock Buyer Secrets Interview series. To make a strong first impression with wholesale buyers, we need to do a few things really well: We need to make it easy for stores to purchase from us We need to have clear pricing and terms & conditions We need to clearly communicate and add value at each touchpoint We need to focus on building strong relationships with our customers. And all of this becomes infinitely easier when we actively listen to our customers. This on-demand interview series will give you a competitive edge by providing an exclusive window into what buyers want and need from you. And, the best part, its only $27 bucks.  Get Access to the Unlock Buyer Secrets Interview Series You can view full show notes and more at http://prooftoproduct.com/342  Quick Links: Free Wholesale Audio Series Free Resources Library Free Email Marketing for Product Makers PTP LABS Paper Camp  
May 14
33 min
Bonus | State of Product Industry Survey
We are seeking 1,000 product-based business owners who are willing to anonymously share their details for the 2024 State of the Product Industry Report: www.prooftoproduct.com/2024survey  The data will help you make stronger decisions in your business. It will help you better understand the industry and your competition. It will help you identify growth opportunities. The results will benefit us all. BUT... in order to make this report truly successful, we need you to do the following:  Fill out the State of Product Industry survey at prooftoproduct.com/2024survey Share the survey link with your product peers. In exchange for your participation, we’ll share the report with you when it is ready. All physical product-based business owners are invited to apply. No brand is too big or too small. We want to hear from people making a wide range of products and in various stages of business. Thanks in advance for your participation and for sharing this opportunity with your product peers!
May 9
3 min
341 | Building Confidence in Your Brand with Priyanka Batra, My Darlin’
I love using the podcast to spotlight our different community members and their unique businesses and stories because we know that no two businesses are the same. We all have our lived experiences and interests that play into the types of businesses we create and how we choose to run these businesses each day. Today's guest is Paper Camp Alumni Priyanka Batra from My Darlin’, a colorful Brooklyn-based paper goods studio.  Through her work, she aims to romanticize everyday moments through a contemporary, but playful design aesthetic while simultaneously evoking a sense of nostalgia. Priyanka's line has grown steadily since 2019, and her products are now carried in more than 300 stores in the United States plus distribution in Australia.  On today's episode, Priyanka shares her love of fashion and how that influences her products, how growing up the daughter of immigrants influenced her career path, and she talks about overcoming imposter syndrome. We also talk about how she jumped into her first trade show too quickly with only 3 weeks to prepare and the lessons she learned the hard way in that experience. Today’s episode is sponsored by our Unlock Buyer Secrets Interview series. To make a strong first impression with wholesale buyers, we need to do a few things really well: We need to make it easy for stores to purchase from us We need to have clear pricing and terms & conditions We need to clearly communicate and add value at each touchpoint We need to focus on building strong relationships with our customers. And all of this becomes infinitely easier when we actively listen to our customers. This on-demand interview series will give you a competitive edge by providing an exclusive window into what buyers want and need from you. And, the best part, its only $27 bucks.  Get Access to the Unlock Buyer Secrets Interview Series You can view full show notes and more at http://prooftoproduct.com/341  Quick Links: Free Wholesale Audio Series Free Resources Library Free Email Marketing for Product Makers PTP LABS Paper Camp  
May 7
29 min
340 | Pitching Holiday Gift Guides with Nora Wolf, Wolf PR
I know what you're thinking. Why are we talking about holiday gift guides when it's only spring? I know. But just like how product development cycles require advanced planning, so does pitching the press and getting your products featured in holiday gift guides.  Today's guest is Nora Wolf from Wolf PR, a boutique public relations firm that she founded in 2011. Wolf PR specializes in furniture, textiles, lighting, and collectible design. In addition, they have consulted with a wide range of companies, big and small. In 2020, Nora and her business partner, Kristen Larson, launched a second business called WolfCraft. WolfCraft's mission is to help creative businesses build brand awareness with actionable PR and content strategies that resonate with clients and the media. Nora is known for helping product-based business owners get their products featured in holiday gift guides.  During this episode, we're talking about your holiday gift guide pitching timeline, what you need to have prepared, and how to put your best products forward when pitching press for holiday gift guides.  If pitching holiday gift guides is something you are focused on for this year, I want to invite you to a free workshop that we're co-hosting with WolfCraft PR on May 7th at 9am PT/12pm ET.  They will share best practices for pitching your products to gift guides and tell you more about their upcoming program that helps you get your products featured in gift guides.  You can click here to register for this free workshop. You can view full show notes and more at http://prooftoproduct.com/340  Quick Links: Free Wholesale Audio Series Free Resources Library Free Email Marketing for Product Makers PTP LABS Paper Camp  
Apr 30
31 min
339 | Updates on Independent Contractor Guidelines with Kira La Forgia, Paradigm Consulting
If you work with independent contractors in your business, you will want to listen closely to this podcast episode. In March 2024, the US Department of Labor issued new stricter guidelines regarding independent contractor workers.  Today's guest is HR consultant and expert, Kira La Forgia of Paradigm Consulting. She is breaking it all down for us so we avoid penalties and audits.  We talk about new changes, how they affect you, and how to protect yourself if you currently have team members who may be misclassified.  You may remember Kira from episode 238 where we talked about how to build your dream team. If you do not yet have a support team in your business, I would start with that episode and then come back and listen to this one next. Kira has a Future-Proof Your Team workshop that you can get $50 off of if you sign up via our link. Today’s episode is brought to you by our Deciding What to Delegate free workshop. As busy entrepreneurs, one of our biggest challenges is knowing where to dedicate our time and energy. We’re usually so busy doing the work in our business that we have a tough time identifying what we can hand off to someone else. This on-demand free workshop will provide you with 3 simple steps so that you can identify what projects to outsource so that you can stop being the bottleneck in your business. SIGN UP You can view full show notes and more at http://prooftoproduct.com/339  Quick Links: Free Wholesale Audio Series Free Resources Library Free Email Marketing for Product Makers PTP LABS Paper Camp  
Apr 23
40 min
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