37 Oaks University

Owning a local brand, local retail store or growing ecommerce site is a lot of work. No matter where you are in this process, there is always opportunity to learn more and improve. Our goal for 37 Oaks University is to make learning retail-related topics accessible, simple and digestible -  so you can operate profitable, sustainable and scalable businesses. 

 

Click one of the 4 series below to learn more!

Retail Readiness Series

 

Many local brands have a growth strategy, and often times it includes getting on store shelves. Whether in big box retailers or local stores, understanding the process, how they think and top mistakes to avoid will save you time, stress and money.

If you are even considering investing in your business growth through retail, then this is the series for you.  

Open Sign

Do you want your products on retail shelves? Does this process seem intimidating and complex? What do you need to know and where do you start?

Dealing with retailers (brick & mortar, ecommerce, and of all-sizes) can be intimidating, complex, timely and expensive if you don't know what to look for or how to prepare. You typically get one chance to make a good first impression with a Buyer, so you need to make it count. This course is designed to help you prepare for your retail journey.

Retail Readiness Series

(online & classroom)

Getting Ready for Retail! (101)

Warehouse Shelves

When should you use a retail Broker vs. a Distributor? How do you know they are qualified? What are the different compensation structures?

 

You want to connect with more customers, so now, you are considering retail. There are many ways to get on store shelves, so having the right partners can save you time, money and stress.

This course is designed to help you understand the partner options that are best for your business.

Prerequesite Courses: Retail Readiness 101

Retail Readiness Series

(online & classroom)

Intro To Retail Distribution Partners (102)

Sale

What marketing & promotional programs does a retailer want you to plan for? What are budget and store execution considerations? What top mistakes do you need to avoid?

 

One of the top mistakes brands make regarding retail marketing and promotions is that they do not have a marketing strategy BEFORE approaching a retailer and they don’t maintain a strong marketing strategy once on store shelves. This course will provide insight to help you develop a strategy that is attractive to Buyers and will help maintain your space on retail shelves. 

Prerequisite Courses: Retail Readiness 101

Retail Readiness Series

(online & classroom)

Intro To Retail Marketing & Promotions (103)

Flexible Payment Planning

What are major cost considerations for getting my product on retail shelves?

As with any growth strategy, there is some level of investment. The process of getting your products on retail shelves is no different. This course will help you outline the various cost considerations of this process. 

Prerequisite Courses: Retail Readiness 101, 102, 103

Retail Readiness Series

(online & classroom)

Budgeting For Retail Growth (104)

Image by Matheus Ferrero

As my business scales into retail, what are the packaging and labeling considerations? What are mistakes I need to avoid?

 

Transitioning your business from local and "direct to consumer" models to selling to stores, you need to keep in mind how your packaging and labeling will need to change to accommodate these new systems.  This course will introduce you to these basics. 

Prerequisite Courses: Retail Readiness 101

Retail Readiness Series

(online & classroom)

The Basics Of Product Packaging & Labeling (105)

Traditional Spices in Market

When should I participate in a pop up? What do I need to have a successful experience? What are the top mistakes to avoid?

A great way to strategically grow your business is to participate in pop up markets. These have become wildly popular in Chicagoland and around the country. One of the biggest mistakes brands make is to look at this as purely a sales opportunity. As with any business opportunity, not having a strategic approach leaves money and other value on the table. 37 Oaks' has organized and managed pop up market for years through our SOKONI brand. This course shares our insights and tips to help you get the most of these markets. 

Retail Readiness Series

(online & classroom)

Planning A Successful Pop Up (201)

Flexible Payment Planning

Do you need help understanding how much do does your product cost to make? 

This is a VERY important number to know as it dictates how much you can sell your product to a retailer, distributor or wholesaler. It also impacts how much you may want to spend on marketing, inventory production, materials, labor, etc. 

This course is in collaboration with OpExApps.

Retail Readiness Series

(classroom)

Cost of Goods Sold Analysis (300)

Image by Arshad Pooloo

If you are ready to increase your distribution, then you are ready to scale up your production capabilities. 

When you go from making product yourself to a co-packer, you will have a lot of questions. Make sure you understand the questions to ask; misconceptions; roles; responsibilities; and best practices when selecting a co-packer. 

This course is in collaboration with OpExApps.

Retail Readiness Series

(classroom)

Co-packer Selection & Management (301)

Image by NEW DATA SERVICES

Value stream mapping is a lean management tool that helps visualize the steps needed to take a product from creation to delivering it to the end-customer. It also helps with understanding your business as well as analysis and process improvement

This course is in collaboration with OpExApps.

Retail Readiness Series

(classroom)

Value Stream Mapping (302)

Strategy Series

 

Many of the local retailers and brands we work with have vision, and that is an excellent place to start. One of our favorite quotes is "A vision without a strategy remains an illusion". With our limited time, resources and funds, it can be a challenge to focus on business strategy. But if you don't, eventually you will compromise your success. These courses are designed to offer short yet impactful teachings that will ensure you are operating with a plan.

Shopping

Why should people buy from you and not the competition? What message needs to be at the core of all your communications? How can you position your business to be more attractive to a retail buyer or customer?

 

If you have defined a strong business value and point of difference, it make it clearer and easier for people and businesses to buy from you. Your value statement needs to be unique and objective. We have used a proprietary framework in multiple courses that has helped businesses around the country walk away with their clear unique value. 

This workshop happens over a series of time and requires prework and homework.

Strategy Series

(classroom only)

Why We Buy From You? (101)

Menu Board

There should be a strategy to pricing. This will not only impact what you sell and to whom you sell to, but also how much money you bring into your business. This class outlines the various pricing strategies to consider and when to use each. 

Strategy Series

(online & classroom)

Understanding Retail Pricing Strategies (102)

Christmas Wreath Red

With holiday representing upwards of 40% of annual sales, it is important for retailers to ensure they have a plan for this critical season. This course will provide tips to create initial strategies that will help increase sales and profits for your business. We will discuss timing, customers, competition and marketing tips.

Strategy Series

(online & classroom)

Holiday Planning (103)

Chess Game

This workshop is in a group setting and we use frameworks, tools and industry experts to outlinine critical strategies, paths and milestones for the full year.

Strategy Series

(classroom only)

Annual Planning Session (201)

Handshake 1

Having an exit plan is a good business practice, whether you tap into it or not. Some want to pass it down to a  family member and some want to prepare to get bought out. Either way, as a business owner, knowing what makes your business valuable will help you make better business decisions now. This course will outline what you can begin to work on, today, that will increase the value of your business. 

Strategy Series

(COMING SOON!)

What Makes Your Business Valuable? (202)

Stock Market Chart

Local retailers can learn a lot from big box retailers. The resources they have to understand innovations, technology, insights and industry trends can be used to help us better prepare for what's to come. This lecture discuses how this impacts customer shopping behavior and ways for us to run more efficient businesses. 

Strategy Series

(classroom only)

Retail Industry Trends (203)

 

Retailer + Workforce Development Series

This series is designed for local retailers and their workforce to get a refresher on planning and management operation principles to help your business be more profitable, scalable and sustainable.  

Math Formulas

Local retailers may not take as much time as they like to financially plan and measure their businesses. How can we grow what we don't measure? How can we qualify for grants and loans if we don't capture business performance? This can be a time consuming and intimidating process, especially if you don't this background. We get it, and you are not alone. This is exactly why we developed this course. 

 

You do not need to be a finance, math or strategy expert to attend this workshop. We will teach a simple and introductory frameworks that educate you on basic business planning, profit and loss statement principles. You will have an understanding of why this process is important; Awareness of the pitfalls & business impact of not understanding these principles; Understanding of related tools and resources for your business.

Retailer + Workforce Development Series

(classroom only)

Introduction To Retail Math (101)

Refrigerated Goods

Inventory management is a financial activity. If your inventory processes are not tight, then you are leaving money on the table. This workshop will discuss how inventory management impacts your overall business performance; Important metrics to use to track your inventory; Techniques, principles & best practices to get this in order. 

Retailer + Workforce Development Series

(classroom only)

Introduction to Inventory Management (102)

Interior of Children's Clothing Store

Display and merchandising is the way to connect the customer with you product and brand experience. There are proven basic principles that retailers use to increase sales and profits. This course will help you understand these principles and best practices. 

Retailer + Workforce Development Series

(online & classroom)

Store Design & Merchandising Principles (103)

Woman Shopping

Retail is NOT dead, but it is definitely shifting. This course outlines the unique value of Brick and Mortar retailers and how to use it to build your unique customer experiences. 

Prerequisite Courses: Why We Buy From You?  (Strategy Series 101)

Retailer + Workforce Development Series

(classroom only)

Designing Customer Experiences for Brick & Mortar (104)

Blueprint

Location, Location, Location!

 

Opening a retail store is a major investment, so it is important to understand the factors in selecting the optimal space. This course will help you determine the best location for your business and understand the information and data available to assist you in this decision. 

Retailer + Workforce Development Series

(online & classroom)

Choosing The Best Location For Your Retail Store (105)

Man Trying App

Whether you are a brick & mortar business looking to be more competitive or a local brand looking to grow sales, ecommerce is an avenue that you must understand in this ever-changing retail environment.

This course is will help you understand the importance of ecommerce; Learn the basics of starting and operation an ecommerce business; Understand tools, resources and solutions to run your ecommerce business. 

FREE for SOKONIstore.com members

Retailer + Workforce Development Series

(online & classroom)

Intro to Ecommerce (201)

Stamp and Postage

Shipping is such an important part of your ecommerce business. It impacts the price you charge to customer experiences. This course will teach the basics of what you need to know in planning & executing shipping, top mistakes to avoid and will share best practices. 

Prerequisite Courses: Intro to Ecommerce (Retailer + Workforce Development Series 201).

FREE for SOKONIstore.com members

Retailer + Workforce Development Series

(online & classroom)

Ecommerce: Shipping Strategy (202)

DSLR Camera

If you talk about ecommerce, then you must talk about photography and video. The use of these two can make or break the success of your site. This course will discuss the pitfalls of not having the right assets, mistakes to avoid and how to get started 

Prerequisite Courses: Intro to Ecommerce (Retailer + Workforce Development Series 201).

FREE for SOKONIstore.com members

Retailer + Workforce Development Series

(online & classroom)

Ecommerce: Photography & Video Strategy (203)

 

37 Oaks Retail Bootcamp Certifcation

37 Oaks prepares and connects local brands to sales opportunities within local stores.

 

This can range from having your product stocked on store shelves to an opportunity to pop up your brand within their store. It is very important for a retailer to make sure that any product or brand they have reflects the essence of their business and their customer. So, they work closely with 37 Oaks University to develop a certification that prepares vendors for these opportunities.

Each retailer will have different requirements to be considered for these opportunities. At the core, these requirements will consist of 

- A selection of 37 Oaks University courses/workshops

- Experience within a SOKONI pop up OR has retail distribution history

- 1:1 preparation with 37 Oaks for account specific requirements 

- Interview with the retailer's management

Participating retailer list is growing each day, so check back or follow us on FB/IG as we announce new partners.

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