No Time? No Problem

At Your Service

Large distributors often won't take on new products. That's because the cost of stocking a new product, putting it in a catalog and training a sales force to sell it is too high if the product is unknown. The distributors who are willing to take on new products are called jobbers (or service merchandisers).

Jobbers sign contracts with retailers who assign them some shelf space. The jobber places merchandise and charges the store only after an item sells. This gives jobbers flexibility in taking on new products. They can watch a new product and see if it sells.

Several jobbers specialize in baby products and might give Jerilyn Winstead's product a chance. Phelon's Discount Jobbing Trade Directory (Phelon, Sheldon & Marsar), available at most large libraries, lists jobbers for each state.

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This article was originally published in the July 1999 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: No Time? No Problem.

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