To Wholesale Or Not To Wholesale? Experiences And Opinions.

The European Etsy Street Team has put together a very informative blog over at Handmade-Europe.com.  We are launching a series covering some of the top posts from their blog that we feel will help improve your handmade/craft business.  We hope you enjoy!  Today’s article covers the in’s and out’s of selling wholesale.

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If you are selling your handmade products mainly on the internet you’d be likely to want to try other sources to make your sales get higher, and offering your work to retailers has probably crossed your mind sometime already, maybe at this right moment you are asking yourself why wholesale? or some other specific questions about the “how to’s” of wholesaling.
Luckily, there are several sources of good tips on the internet about wholesales (here is a useful link), but the best way to find out how wholesale works and to determine if it’s suitable for your business interests is to review other’s experiences. I asked some EST members (Karlita, MGMart and Swiedebie) and a USA seller (tamar) to share their point of view about wholesales based on their own experiences.
I hope that after reading this article you will have more insights to make your own opinion and decide whether or not to jump in the wholesale adventure.

Karlita said:
I do wholesale but very limited. I have experience selling wholesale to a fashion museum (and they give more than wholesale prices) and to one other company. I sell in the fashion museum and that allows me to have a physical address for Belgium buyers who are not so familiar yet with buying online.
I get asked regularly to sell wholesale but I have decided to be against it because of two reasons:
1. It changes the prices you can ask for retail (since you normally get a lot less for wholesale).
2. I’m already short of time to experiment for new creations, so I don’t want to spend that time only to reproduce things.

MGMart said:
I have been asked lots of time if I do a wholesale, my first my reply was: No, I can’t afford to do a wholesale, as my prices are so low and so many I can do by myself alone in one day, while I am looking after my children.
But I was offering a multiple items deal (what you can see now on my shop announcement), as so many people was asking about multiple items purchase.
Example :
For 5-8 items 5% off,
9-20 items 15% off,
21-30 items 30% off,
For more than 31 items 40% off from the retail price.
Couple of times I was offering a 50% off from my items price, but it just not worked for me, as how long I am working on one piece, I hardly had any profit on it. It’s just breaking my heart to put so much of my money, energy, time and effort to create something and under price my own work to offer it on half price.

So, that is my wholesale experience so far, but I never now what the future brings for me.

Money wallet by giusypatch

Tamar (USA seller) said :
About 25% of my business is wholesale, so far I’ve had excellent experiences with it and I sell all over the world, I have an online “catalog” which is really excel pages with all the items I wholesale on it and an explanation of my terms which basically consist of a minimum of 10 items per category, my shipping dates and payment options, this works very well both for me and my clients that can easily view my items and what is available at the time.

Swiedebie would like to share her so useful do’s and don’ts on wholesaling, here is what she said:

Wholesaling is a long term business. If it is done well, it gains a long term trust and contract. You have to make sure you are willing to do what it takes for the following.

Do you want to craft full-time? This is a question one will ask because wholesaling requires working on long and unusual hours, and it means a full time commitment. If your body and health forbids, don’t wholesale.

In wholesaling business, you have to be ready to feel stressed. Because it can be a moment when you feel that what you do can gain or probably break up your business into pieces. It is a normal situation and one has to be prepared for this level.

You have to buy wholesale supplies in bulk. A question to ask: can you afford that? When you wholesale, you have to make sure you purchase sufficient amount of supplies in stock to make sure you can produce a huge amount of products.

Photo by Artmind

Be daring to raise your prices high enough, so that you can accommodate to a 50% discount. I have done so far a maximum of 40% (not a half price comes by yet, so I guess I am lucky in a way).
When it comes to pricing, you have to determine your prices by being sure to add in all your costs, otherwise your final result will be below what you expect.
Do not compare to online competitors. Make a trip to a store you want to see your items in. The prices of your competitors in the store are the ones that you should be checking out. This will give you a very good idea of what your items should be sold for.
If you are still not convinced, ask a competitor for help! These people are very honest to advice you on your price collection.