Sell Wholesale on Etsy?

Yes, if you have not heard, Etsy announced their pending launch of  a wholesale marketplace  for their sellers.  Etsy, who has been under fire lately for their questionable policy concerning handmade products, is now directing attention to their Etsy Wholesale Marketplace.

According to Vanessa Bertozzi , Program Manager for Etsy Wholesale, the new platform will be launched soon.  She writes ….

For some of you, selling wholesale to boutiques represents that next level and allows you to scale up your business and get brand exposure through brick-and-mortars. I’m going to talk to you here about why we are launching an Etsy Wholesale marketplace and what we’re planning. …

While it’s not every Etsy seller’s goal to quit your day job or do wholesale (nor should it be), those stories of growth speak to me personally and (pardon my French) light a fire under the ass of Etsy. I’ve seen those little shops grow on Etsy over the years, and on some bittersweet occasions, graduate from Etsy. As a company, we need to provide more tools for sellers whose businesses have expanded. Trunkt, the site Etsy acquired this spring, speaks to that need, and we want to build upon that foundation. Etsy can’t move forward as a one-size-fits-all platform. …


I not only found this information interesting, but applauded  Carolyne Edlund from Artsy Shark response to Etsy’s announcement:

Discussion threads opened up, with a dizzyingly wide variety of responses from Etsians – many of whom do not understand how to be in business wholesale, dispute the costs of the service, or wonder how they can possibly price their goods half off to wholesale buyers.

It will work for some vendors. And it could be the worst thing to happen to other Etsy sellers. A little knowledge can be a dangerous thing, and rushing headlong into something you don’t totally understand can be disastrous for your business, and cost you a lot of money. ….

Common mis-perceptions people have about wholesale:

They believe that retail markup is double the cost of wholesale. Actually, it’s even more.

  • They think they can continue to sell their work at the retail same prices online, and only discount 30% or so on those same products to wholesale buyers (thereby undercutting them at retail.) This is a surefire way to alienate buyers and lose business.
  • They believe that they need to keep opening new accounts to be successful. In fact, most of the sales volume for small businesses who wholesale is repeat orders from their existing customer base.
  • They struggle to understand their costs, and don’t know what they should be paying themselves for labor. And, they haven’t got a clue what “profit” actually means, or what it’s for. Hint: it’s an integral part of your pricing formula.
  • They cannot imagine how to charge less for what they are currently making and selling in their online shops without losing their shirt. This may be true – but there are ways to reconfigure your line for the wholesale marketplace that may actually work well. …

Carolyn goes on to explain more about the artist/buyer business relationship and her personal experiences with online wholesaling.


From a sales rep’s perspective, I agree with Carolyn’s comments.  Selling wholesale is a completely different animal from selling retail.  Pricing is a different concept for most crafters moving into the wholesale arena.  If you don’t understand it, you are doomed to fail!

On the other hand, I have managed a wholesale website rather successfully for many years.  It can be done, but does not replace the personal contact that is so critical for wholesale sales.  And of course, folks featured on my Idaho Gifts Wholesale site must be thoroughly screened (and wholesale/retail pricing structure checked) before they are even considered for inclusion as a Featured Producer.

One way or another, I highly recommend you sign up for our FREE email course on How to Price Your Products before trying to sell wholesale.  Sign up box is in the upper right hand corner of the website!

Hope to see you on the inside!

2 comments for “Sell Wholesale on Etsy?

  1. October 3, 2012 at 5:36 am

    I have been selling retail through Etsy as well as several other venues. I am excited about trying Etsy wholesale. I began trying to wholesale about 9 months ago. It is alot of work, alot of expense and definitely many disappointments. I have had previous experience working on the buying team of a regional department store chain so I did have some experience understanding how buyers work and the differences between wholesale and retail. While I know well enough not to expect too much; at least in the beginning, I believe this could be a great opportunity for me.
    Sharon Keck´s last blog post ..Photo Candle by sharonscandleshop

  2. October 3, 2012 at 8:29 am

    Great Sharon! Good luck to you and let us know how Etsy Wholesale works for you!!


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