Line Sheets: What They Are & Why You Need Them

A disorganized or confusing line sheet could cost you a sale! Line Sheets are an integral tool for any designer or brand looking to wholesale their collection. A line sheet is a sales tool created to communicate necessary information about your product to a potential stockist. Unlike your lookbook, your line sheet should provide an easy, to-the-point reference for a buyer looking to place an order.

Whether you are targeting small boutiques or large retailers, the essentials on your line sheet stay the same. There is no one right way to create a line sheet, but there are some key elements that every designer or brand should include.

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1. Product Images

Determining what type of images you should incorporate into your line sheet can be tricky. There is a lot of information out there, and you may have received conflicting advice. There is no real, true right or wrong method. You need to consider your brand and your audience, which, in this, case is the buyers.

When I was working for a large apparel manufacturer, the images on our line sheets were simply black and white Illustrator sketches. However, as an independent designer you may need to incorporate more robust images. If you want the buyers to remember your styles, the easiest way to do this is through photography. Save the photos of models slouching against graffiti walls for your lookbook, and use straightforward product shots for your line sheet.

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2. Style Numbers + Descriptions

Style numbers and product descriptions are an essential piece of the puzzle for buyers to identify which styles they want to purchase. Assigning a style number to each design is essential for everyone involved in your supply chain. You will need a unique identifying number to ID each piece. Keep style numbers simple and use a maximum of 5 digits a style. To organize your numbering system, try coding by categories (gender, target customer, or apparel ranges).

You will also want to include a style description. The description should be brief and reference the key elements of your design. Avoid using extremely creative names for particular styles. Use something short and to-the-point like, the ‘Multi Colored Mini Short w/ Welt Pockets.’

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3. Purchasing Options

Convey clearly what options the buyers have available for purchasing a particular style. In terms of apparel, this will include the size range. Something like XS-XL or 0-12 works just fine.

You will also want to let the potential buyers know if this particular item is available in different colors. On your line sheet, you can either use product photography to showcase color or employ color blocks to call out the different options. Again, this is up to you and what works best for your brand. However as an independent designer I recommend using photography. The clearer your visuals are, the less guesswork is involved.

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4. Price

This may be a no-brainer, but you have to list how much you are selling your items for! You can list both the wholesale price as well as the MSRP or suggested retail price. There are several ways to list selling prices. A simple $50/$100 may work for you. You can also spell it out and say: Wholesale: $50 and Suggested Retail: $100. Again determine what works best for your audience.

Before listing pricing on your line sheets finalize your costing! Make sure your fabric and trim prices, yields, cut and sew and shipping estimates are confirmed and updated in your cost sheets. Once you list the price, you need to be confident that you’re going to make a profit selling at that price point!

5. General Information

Information such as your contact details, your name, brand name or logo and delivery date are not to be forgotten. When creating line sheets for our clients, it’s helpful to create a template for each brand that can be updated with the correct delivery date and products season after season. This way all of the pertinent information remains on every page and won’t be overlooked.

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6. Additional Considerations

Since there are many ways to design and create a successful line sheet we wanted to touch on additional items to consider:

  1. Are you going to create a separate order form or are you going to incorporate an order form into each page of your line sheet? If you are going to incorporate this into your line sheet, you may also want to consider adding in your order minimum and terms for payment and shipping.
  2. Depending on how much information you plan to include, your line sheet layout may need to be tweaked to keep everything clear and simple.

We create a separate order form for clients to include when leaving line sheets with buyers. This helps keep the line sheets from getting overcrowded. However, if you feel that incorporating the order form and your line sheet into one document would help you sell more, then go for it!

Are there any other tips you use when creating line sheets? Tweet us your tips and line sheets @Makersrow!

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  • vince_at_layhill

    Just wanted to let you guys know, you’re killin it! These informative articles and insight from industry professionals is what fashion needs. when I first started out, it seemed like clear cut information was nowhere to be found, and everything was a big secret. So thanks for being a part of the solution!

    • http://www.stitchmethod.com Abbie Ellis

      Thanks @vince_at_layhill:disqus !!

  • Amanda Cauley

    Do you have suggestions of where we can make professional Line Sheets? We use charts in Microsoft Word right now for selling wholesale but would like something a little nicer.

    • http://unfortunateclothing.com yacineismean

      look up BrandBoom! It’s a free platform that lets you enter your own information into a line sheet. It’s amazing.

    • http://www.stitchmethod.com Abbie Ellis

      Hi Amanda! If the suggestion form yacineismean doesn’t work out for you we can help. We can create a line sheet template for you to use season after season. Feel free to reach out! aellis@stitchmethod.com Thanks!

  • Anji Becker

    Great information! The images of the line sheets are too small to be able to read what all the information is that’s included on these examples, though. Is there anyway we can get a bigger sized image so we can clearly see what’s been included here?

    • http://www.stitchmethod.com Abbie Ellis

      Hi Anji! Thanks for reading! The images were supplied by Makers Row. But if you need assistance with your line sheets feel free to reach out. Thanks!

  • Patty

    Thanks for the info! Question about the images – can you have a mix of images – ie. a product flat shot and images on a model? A few pieces were developed after my photoshoot and I only have product shots whereas the other pieces have shots on a model.

  • http://www.creativepile.com/ Creative Pile

    Great article Abbie!

  • Vinit

    My company works with hundreds of retailers and they brought up a few things which I’d like to add:
    Keep your SKU numbers simple.
    Some manufacturers tend to go a little bit overboard with how they create SKUs with confusing combinations of numbers and letters.
    If you have 10 products in your collection, your SKU# can be as simple as 001-010
    With more buying moving to online platforms, one of their reasons today for looking at a linesheet is to simply check if the collection fits in with their current assortment. It’s a quick glance, sort of like a resume.
    Thank you for the clear description of linesheets.