If you’ve been thinking about expanding into retail or wholesale, you’ve got a lot on your craft table, like, how much can you reasonably make and ship? How do you price everything? Who will buy your products? And how will you get the word out to the them?
And when you’re finally at the stage where you’re ready to approach buyers, what do you need?
One of those things is going to be a line sheet. This in-depth guide covers why you need a line sheet and how to make one, DIY-style.
TLDR: Line sheet tutorial + template link at the bottom!
What are line sheets?
Line sheets are handy little documents that help buyers choose which of your products they want to buy, and line sheets usually help them place an order.
Unlike your catalog or look book, which might feature more lifestyle images, a line sheet is a clean and simple doc that shows rows of product images and products details for the items and collections that you’re going to be pitching.
Line sheets are equally important whether you’re doing all your selling digitally (like, over email) or if you’re meeting people face-to face.
Do I really need a line sheet?
Line sheets are so simple that they might look old school. But they’re very much a part of modern, successful brand pitch packs.
Even if you have an online store or you’re listing with Etsy Wholesale, you still need a line sheet.
For instance… What about those times when your walk into a knockout boutique that you’d LOVE to have your products featured in? Or if you meet someone at a trade show? Or what is someone approaches you asking to make a wholesale order?
For all these occasions, it’s great to have a line sheet that you can can quickly print out or send out to potential buyers.
Line sheets are valuable for anyone who runs their own creative business, from fashion designers to textile artists, and candle makers or jewelers. And the best part is that they’re really easy to make.
How to Make a Line Sheet
So without wasting any more time (because I know you’re just rearing to make sales!), let’s talk about how to make your own line sheet.
1 | Gather Your Content
To start out with, you’ll need to choose which products you want to sell. You may have several product lines and just want to test the waters with a few items — and that’s perfectly fine!
Choose the ones that you think will sell best, that fit in with a certain shop’s aesthetic, or those which you can easily replenish their stock. I’m not going into wholesale strategy here, but the idea is that you’ll have to do some thinking on this.
For each product that you plan to include in your line sheet, you will need the following details:
Clean, high-quality images
Your wholesale (and possibly retail) price
The item’s SKU (if you’re tracking inventory that way)
Info about materials (optional)
Variations (if any)
You’ll also need to gather:
Your logo and brand guidelines
Your contact info (website, email, mailing address)
Once you have all of these neatly organized into folders and ready at hand, you’re on to the next step.
2 | Create It in your favorite layout program
Which platforms should you use?
It’s time to make your line sheet. It doesn’t really matter which program you use, as long as you’re comfortable using it.
But to save time and avoid pulling out your hair in the process, I would steer clear of Microsoft Word. If you’ve ever tried to do layout on Word, you know what I’m talking about. If not, skip that cheap Word Template you’ve been looking at and move on.
If you’re on a Mac, though, Pages is a lot easier to use for layout, but there are still better programs.
I suggest either using InDesign or Powerpoint/Keynote/Google Slides. With these programs, you can create reusable templates that are easy to populate, mix and match layouts, and change around as needed.
Some people use Photoshop because they have it, but it’s really not ideal for multi-page documents. And go ahead and save yourself some trouble and just skip trying Word.
You also have the option to use online programs like Etsy Wholesale’s line sheet generator, Catalog Machine, or Line Sheet Maker. The online programs are great and you can upload your images and customize the layout of your sheet with a few clicks.
But for the purpose of this tutorial, I’m assuming that you’re DIY-ing it and you probably don’t want to pay an ongoing monthly fee to host your sheet. And if you’re on Etsy, you might like to create something that looks more like yours and less like your seller platform… something that you can brand as your own and share and embed as you like.
Or, you could go ahead and download my DIY Line Sheet Template right now and get started quicker than it take you to read this whole tutorial!
Right, so we’re going the real DIY Route.
Let’s get started.
If you’re starting from scratch, open up your new doc in any preferred program. For this tutorial, I’m using PowerPoint because it’s so easy and most people have access to it.
Step One: Create a new document (8.5 x 11” or A4 size) in 300dpi. This will give you good printing resolution. Alternatively, you can choose 72 dpi if you’re only going to save it online, as this reduce the file size.
You can choose portrait or landscape to fit your imagery, but many retailers prefer landscape as it’s easier for them to file away.
Steps Two: Create a cover page with a beautiful image of your products, or use lifestyle photography that matches the feel of your collection. Include your logo, brand name, season/collection info, and contact information. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy, but make sure you make a good first impression.
Step Three: Create a Master page with your brand’s logo and contact info somewhere on the page, preferably easy to see but out of the way of your images. Each time you create a new page, you will apply this template to the page.
Step Four: Drag guides for images and organize them in even, distributed rows and columns. If your items have variations in material, size, or color, make a space for those. It’s great to include photos as these visuals will help buyers get a feel for the whole line.
Create text boxes with important info like your product names, their SKUs, materials, and suggested prices.
You can play around with the number of items per page, adjusting images and text accordingly. Remember to keep your line sheet clean with plenty of white space so it’s easy for retailers to see what you have.
Step Five: Load in the images and text. Change the font size as needed so everything stays aligned.
Step Six: Create a page with your terms and conditions, including items such as your wholesale, refund and shipping policies. Minimum order amounts? Include it. Lead times? Include it. Shipping methods? Make sure it’s there.
Step Seven: Bonus: Include an order form to make it easy for buyers to get in touch and place an order. They can print this or email it back to you.
3 | Share it online or in print
Now it’s time to get it out there. Download it and either print it at home or send if off to a professional to get it bulk printed (highly recommended). You can also embed it on your website, or if you did your line sheet in Google Slides, you can create a link and share it with potential buyers.
Carry a stack with you to trade shows, or mail them out as a little extra to your favorite boutiques. You never know when someone is going to ask for your products to be featured in their store.
And that’s it for creating a sharing a line sheet! Wow! That is super simple.
The hard part is just getting started.
Other Things to Consider
There are a few more things to think about, though. For example, how often will you need to update your line sheet? Keep in mind that you’ll need to be able to update the link as well or get new copies printed when you add new products or update your prices.
That’s why it’s ideal to have your line sheet in a program that’s easy for you to edit on your own, and why you might consider using a template to get started.
Try My DIY Line Sheet Templates
If you want to save yourself a few hours and jump right in to creating your own line sheet, take a look at my line sheet templates. I’ve created them in Google Slides and Adobe InDesign so whichever program you prefer, you can download and instantly start editing your line sheet.
They’re clean, minimal, and easy-to-edit, and feature several different layouts to mix-and-match to your heart’s content. You can replace the stock images with your own product photos, change up the fonts and colors, and more advanced users can apply object styles and add backgrounds to personalize them.
Both templates are created in industry-standard landscape (horizontal) format so you hand out something that makes retailers lives *that much easier* because you are *that much more thoughtful*.
** And if you want help editing your own line sheet or something created especially for you, get in touch and let’s talk about working together!