Wholesaling your products is a big step for some artisans and professional crafters. Their whole business model can change with that one decision.
Several different steps are implemented with going from retail sales to wholesale selling. No longer are you selling in ones and twoes, but in case lots (however you decide to sell in case lots). Obviously the margins are lower, but the volume is much higher.
One of my favorite bloggers, Carolyn Edlund from Artsy Shark has summarized it beautifully in one of her recent posts. Here are her tips that I especially want to share:
Selling wholesale is, of course, a standard business model – it’s how business is done in the commercial marketplace, where manufacturers ship billions of dollar’s worth of goods to retailers of all types….
Does selling wholesale meaning cutting your prices in half? No, actually that is a backwards way of thinking about it. Wholesale lines are built from the ground up, designed and priced so that they are profitable at a wholesale price, and ready to be marked up between 2 – 3 times, depending on the retailer’s policies. The artist rarely sets the retailers’ price on their items, unless they must be printed on the product, such as greeting cards and calendars….
Part of the beauty of the wholesale model is that it creates repeat business. And repeat business is what grows businesses. Just as fine artists may seek to cultivate collectors, the artist who is wholesaling seeks to cultivate galleries, shops and retailers who will become ongoing accounts….
Speaking of money, the wholesale model brings in income on a consistent basis, smoothing out those lean periods so the artist is more likely to be able to support themselves and their family. With receivables to show, the artist is also more likely to get a business loan to grow their small business, too….
Wholesaling is efficient, too. Samples are made and shown, and orders are taken. You don’t have to have huge inventory before you know if an individual design will sell. Wholesaling is also a complementary model to retailing. Both models can work beautifully together. You may choose to sell all of your designs wholesale, or only some. It’s flexible, and puts you more in control.
If you are new to wholesaling, you might want to check out “The Complete eGuide to Selling to Gift Shops (and other retail outlets)” where I list step-by-step on how to wholesale your products.