March 31, 2010
while wholesaling your products may not be for everyone, when done correctly it can be a great benefit and wonderful experience. today we’re going to talk about how to get you started wholesaling and some things you should consider before you do.
let’s first talk about why you might be interested in wholesaling, and the difference between that and consigning. wholesaling your product means you fill medium to large sized orders for another company at a discounted rate and get paid up front. consigning means you send items to a company/store and get paid only as they sell your item. there are benefits and negatives to both but the main benefit to wholesaling is that you get paid up front which leaves out a lot of the guess work.
now let’s talk about the 3 p’s: products, pricing and policies. first of all, it’s important to have a number of items that you can easily make multiples of. you’ll most likely have to reproduce the items you wholesale time and time again, so make sure your materials and your processes and uphold that. products that have mass appeal and aren’t season specific usually do the best.
pricing: you’ll have to make sure that your retail prices are high enough to allow you to offer wholesale. your wholesale cost should be discounted enough to allow your venue to make money as well as cover the costs of your materials and your time. pricing your products will be the trickiest task. as your prices need to remain in line with your competitors as well as make wholesaling worth your effort. many sellers offer their products at 50% off their retail, but for handmade artists, that’s usually not feasible, especially since many of us don’t charge enough for our products in the first place. also remember, that the venue may be able up their retail price which may help both of you out.
policies: it’s important to come up with a set of guidelines and policies for your wholesale accounts. outline what you expect, your shipping policies (who pays for what) and who is responsible for damaged goods. whether your items get lost in the mail or someone robs their shop and steals everything, it’s good to figure out who’s reliable for what from the beginning. also outline whether or not you’ll accept refunds and or exchanges and the timeline and conditions for both.
putting together an order form and general wholesale packet for interested retailers is a great idea and will further your professionalism in the industry. having an outline of what you offer and their prices that includes an easy to follow order form will help the experience run smoother.
benefits of wholesale: though it may seem a bit crazy to offer large quantities of your products for less money, wholesaling definitely has it’s benefits. first off, if you’re able to put the time in, it’s a great way to up your total sales amount and therefore, profit. having a few continuous wholesale accounts can do wonders for keeping you afloat during hard times. it’s also a great way to get your gain brand exposure and reach many more potential markets. being in a cute little shop in a big city will allow a completely different set of consumers find you goods.
now that you know more about it, just how do you land a few wholesale accounts? often, by simply putting a statement in your shop welcome, profile and/or policies section of your shop stating that you accept wholesale orders will do the trick. if you want to be a little more proactive, you can research a number of potential businesses and simply email them and ask! having a professional packet of your wholesale info will be extremely beneficial. also, try not to mass email, but rather make it personal and let them know that you’ve done your research. along with your packet, include who you are, your credentials (homepage hits, blog features and etsy sales!) and some photos of your items, then the waiting game begins! (don’t you hate waiting on return e-mails?).
as mentioned before, wholesaling isn’t for everyone. it can be time consuming and may not work with your particular business, especially if you only offer one-of-a-kinds. it can also be worth experimenting with, so everyone will have to feel it out for themselves.
do you have any advice on wholesaling? what’s been your experience?