Behind the scenes at Rossi 1931: Shea Associates

Rossi has been fortunate to find quality, hardworking sales representatives. One such rep, actually an entire group of full time road reps, is Shea associates. Headed by Sandy Shea, this group of nine, cover all 6 New England States, as well as New York State. Founded in 1988 and celebrating 25 years in the gift and paper industry, Sandy has strived to find the highest quality, innovative and creative products to bring to her customers. She and her group have developed and nurtured wonderful relationships with many of the mid to high end paper and gift retailers in 7 states.

When you see the professionalism and commitment put forth, it’s easy to understand why Sandy has cultured wonderful and long term relationships with her manufacturers as well. That is quite an accomplishment in this business, but perhaps, in part, due to the fact that Sandy, with her Scottish Canadian roots and her rather strong Boston accent, paints a rather colorful character.

Sandy spent many years, prior to becoming an independent rep, with a major pen and stationery manufacturer and when they reorganized, she decided to go out on her own. So, she began with what she knew best: fine paper, eventually picking up gift lines. She was thrilled when she was offered the Rossi line in 1994, when, ”at that time, there was only one rep in the US, in California.”

She loves Rossi for “the beauty and class of the line”…and the pricing is great. ”It’s very reasonable for such beautiful, quality products. They have free shipping on any order over $500, which is very generous. The customers love it.”

She says the best sellers for her customers in New England are the gift wrap and decorative papers…both rolls and sheets. She has some very big and prestigious paper retailers in Boston “who just love this line.”

Her retailers also like the solid range of boxed notes and thank you notes. “Everything you get from Rossi is top of the line, right down to the boxes. So many American paper companies have good products, but the packaging is junky. With Rossi it’s all top notch.”

Because Boston and most of New England, is a huge college area, the journals and notebooks do very well also. “They are fabulous… with elastic bookmarks, they come in different sizes and designs, both classic Florentine and more contemporary designs. In both hard cover and soft.”

‘’All of Rossi’s price points are wonderful”, she continues. ”The greeting cards, packaged individually in cello, retail at around $2.50. You can’t beat it, you know.”

Shea associates has 2 showrooms. One in Hudson, Massachusetts at the Northeast Market Center and the other in Saco, Maine: Marketplace Maine. While these days are a bit easier with 2 showrooms and a computer program for ordering, it’s still a lot of work, but a lot of fun. It was not always that easy: She recalls the “good old days” when not having a showroom and doing both the Boston and New York shows; of “loading up a huge rental truck at 4 AM, and driving for hours in bumper to bumper traffic, through snowstorms into the city to set up the booths. We lugged carpets, backgrounds and boxes of samples and catalogues, standing for 13 hour days on concrete and hand writing orders. Oh, the fun of it all. Ha!”

She loves her “team”, especially two…one is her husband, Mike, (business manager and IT guru) and another her daughter, Becky. One could say, it’s a family affair now.

 Check out Shea Associates beautiful new website: www.sheagifts.com

 

Sandy (standing, 4th from left) and her associates.

May the force be with you. (The sales force, that is.)

The expression, “it takes a village “, not only applies to raising children, but getting a product such as Rossi Fine Papers into the hands of the consumer, as well. This village happens to be scattered from Italy across continents, but nonetheless, not unlike a close knit community. Rossi sales representatives are an integral part of getting those gorgeous products from their printing dept to the retailer and ultimately to the consumer.

WELOVE

What a lot of people don’t know is how it’s done!

Step one, is that Rossi management hires a “rep” or representative in a certain geographical region to show their products to appropriate local retailers. That representative will be the eyes, ears and mouth (and big fans!) of the company…and often for the retailer. They show the Rossi product line to new customers or “prospects” and offer promotions, share upcoming events, and introduce new designs and product to established customers. They sit with the store’s buyer and show the portfolios (or catalogues) and product. In turn, this is where the retailer gets to see, touch and discover the quality of the products, something they could never do, unless they are traveling within the Florence area or to a trade show.

A good sales rep will share what the best sellers in the line are; suggest colors or schemes/themes based on the look and ambiance of the store and its type of customer base: is it an upscale neighborhood where locals entertain a lot? Is it a destination store for parties or wedding invitations ? Do customers run in to grab a quick gift or a greeting card? A sales rep is really the consultant for the retailer and the ambassador for the manufacturer. They truly wear 2 hats. In turn, they take any requests, concerns or ideas for new designs, new colors, trends, back to Rossi or other manufactures.   They will keep the retailers informed of certain trends they have seen in the marketplace (that perhaps the store owner has not been introduced to, as yet).

They write orders in the store, process them in their office or showroom, and forward them to Rossi, whose order fulfillment team takes it from there.

Without these “nomads” who generally work long hours and drive many miles, it would be a much more difficult task to get fine paper and products like Rossi’s into the hands of consumers to be enjoyed and shared.  In the end, the rewards in representing the fine products of Rossi and others are truly worth it. It really does take a village!

US warehouse Rossi 1931

Interested in becoming a Rossi rep?

We are looking for independent reps with experience in stationery/gifts in the following areas : NJ, GA, FL and in Canada the Toronto area. 

 

Behind the Scenes: Selling for Rossi1931

What’s it like being a Rossi stationery rep?  Janie Pival Walton, aka the Bainbridge Rep, has been a successful Rossi rep for almost 10 years, and says her background as a stationery store owner was pivotal in growing her territory.  Here’s the straight scoop from Janie: 000_0493

“I grew up in the beautiful Northwest of the United States.  My husband and I operated two office and stationery stores for eighteen years in Washington State while raising our four children. In 2004, after selling the stores, I began a small company to help local artists sell their work, especially greeting cards.  Because of this, I was approached by a rep who asked if I would take over her lines on Bainbridge Island. Having dealt with sellers as a buyer in a store, I had an insight into selling that  seems to serve me well. Thanks to the internet, my territory now extends to Washington State, Idaho, Alaska and Western Canada.

When my co-rep left the industry, she told me to keep the lines I wanted to handle.  Rossi was a “no-brainer”.  I was thrilled to represent this quality product. The designs, products, quality and price points have proven to be very well received in the right markets. Paper, stationery, arts, museums and creative crafting outlets love Rossi products.  Once a customer has been introduced to the quality of Rossi products, they order from me on-line with every confidence that their selections will meet and exceed their expectations.quote 22

Customer requests and problems are handled with speedy dispatch, even though we deal with a time difference of nine hours. Early morning for me is the end of the day for Rossi. Through the internet, fax and occasional phone call, all orders, billing questions and other questions are routinely handled and returned to me within twenty-four hours.  My needs as a rep are treated as importantly and professionally as those of the customers. The integrity of the Rossi family shines through in all aspects of its business.

bainbridge rep
Janie maintains a basic website that helps create awareness for her brands.

The shipping schedule from Italy gives me the freedom to work on orders on my own time, which I appreciate as I also am a music teacher part time in a small private school.  I try to call on customers at least once a year to introduce the new products but otherwise keep in touch electronically. I choose my customers carefully and never try to oversell.  They seem glad to hear from me that it’s time for another shipment!  I appreciate that Rossi has never pressured me with quotas etc. and as a result, I have gradually but successfully grown my business.

I so appreciate the hard work and friendliness of everyone at Rossi. Their website, as well as their catalogs and samples aquote 11re invaluable. I have had many careers in my life including dairying, travel agent, teaching, fund raising, and store owner but none has been as personally rewarding to me as serving as the Bainbridge Rep, working for myself and presenting the opportunity for people to beautify their lives with Rossi products.”

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