Selecting a Vendor

Stephen L. Capper, along with his wife, Nora, and their daughters, Jami and Toni, owns and operates A-1 Awards, Inc. in Indianapolis. He has been associated with the awards and recognition industry for over 45 years, and has given numerous seminars since 1979.

As you select a vendor to add to your product line, think about the real reasons why you select a vendor. Make sure that what your vendors say and do are in step with the way in which you brand your business. You and your vendor need to work as a team in a common effort to assemble the best you can both offer. Remember that your business cannot be successful without good vendors, and of course, their success is based upon your success.

When you have the opportunity, it is important to visit and get to know your vendors. The products they offer are only a part of what they are, just like you, the retailer. Ask your vendors questions about how their business works—like their policies on shipping, returns, credits and delivery. Ask them what they consider as the major issues in serving their client base and see if these answers are in tune with your thinking.

—Stephen Capper, A-1 Awards Inc.

For more tips on working with vendors, click here.