Have you ever imagined what it would be like to walk into a trendy boutique store and find your items on display? If you think it might be time to make your dreams of wholesale business a reality, read on for some tips we’ve assembled for you.
1. Take a hard look at your finances. If you want retailers to sell your products, you’ve got to sell those products to them at wholesale value. In the retail industry, the standard wholesale agreement is 50% (meaning you sell them your products at half the value of your retail price). Can you afford to give a discount like that? If not, it may be time to increase your retail prices to make it work. Remember, too, that with wholesale orders YOU get to set the minimum quantity that a shop has to buy in order to get half off, so tweak your numbers to find out how many items you’d want to sell in order to make that discount worth your time and effort.
2. Pick the right products. It may be that after you do the wholesale math from Tip 1, you find that some of your products just won’t work out for wholesale pricing. That’s okay – just find other products that will. You don’t have to offer up your whole inventory to wholesale customers; you can choose the products you want to put into retail stores. If you make jewelry, for instance, it could be that your extra-long necklaces take too much time and too many supplies to go for a wholesale price cut, but maybe you’ve got a less-expensive style of earrings that you can work into the wholesale price formula more easily. Then the earrings become the product you sell to retailers, and not the necklaces.
3. Establish policies up front. Before you enter into an agreement with a retailer, you need to know what you’re agreeing to. How much do they have to order up front? In general, they will expect to pay you half of the money up front and the other half when you deliver the goods, so spell it out if that does or does not work for you. How will you ship the items, and who’s responsible for paying that shipping cost? What happens if your items get lost in the mail, or if they become damaged or stolen once the retailer receives them? List out all of these policies and come to a consensus with your retailers before you sign on any dotted lines.
4. Line up a line sheet. A line sheet is a document that contains small (but high-quality) images of the products you will offer to retailers along with a description and the wholesale and retail prices for those items. You can also include your wholesale policies on this sheet, and then save the whole document as a PDF so you can easily e-mail it to retailers when the time comes for you to start a wholesale conversation.
5. Keep the relationship going. Remember, entering into a retail/wholesale agreement is like a business partnership. You and the shop owner can continue to work together to get the most out of that relationship as time goes by. You might list their shop on your web site and promote the products you offer through them, and they in turn will market you to their customers. Remember that you will both be selling some of the same items, so keep your own retail prices in line with what you quoted them in your agreement to avoid any resentment or breach of contract issues.
Once you’ve finished with these steps, you’re well on your way to getting your products into the hands of retailers everywhere! Start with local shop owners, who you can visit in person, and approach them about a wholesale account (take your line sheet and some product samples with you, and book an appointment first!). Once you’re established in one or two local shops, use those relationships as “street cred” and apply for wholesale agreements either via Etsy’s Wholesale site or by contacting shops yourself. Good luck to you!
Want more wholesale goodness? Check out these articles:
– Etsy: Wholesale 101
– Etsy Wholesale: Tools for Success
– Handmadeology: Pricing for Retail
– Handmadeology: Selling to Retailers Made Easy
– Going Home to Roost: Wholesale Accounts
Got any tips for wholesale success? Share them in the comments below!
Welcome back to another day of #ThinkCreateReflect, where we take time out of the craziness of life to reflect on the past, dream toward the future and create something in the now. Won’t you join us?
This week, let’s get crazy with color!
and choose one of the colors from your business logo, then find a new palette in their generator that you could incorporate into your business in some way (a new color combination for your products, or an accent color to use in your packaging, perhaps?).
Come back and share with us what you created using your new palette! Post a photo on Twitter or Instagram with the hashtag #ThinkCreateReflect so we can all see it!
Welcome to #MakersWednesday, where we pause mid-week to celebrate the crafts we know and love.
This week, Rebecca whipped up a gorgeous gold necklace – perfect for adding a little glitz to everything from jeans and a T-shirt to a cocktail dress!
What are you making, Makers of the world? Share your creations on Instagram and Twitter using the hashtag #MakersWednesday so we can share in your crafty joy!
Take a moment to think about the answer to this question: What was the driving force that led you to start your business? Did you get into business because you love to create, to put art into the world or to provide a creative service to your clients? Or did you get into business because you just LOVE spreadsheets, deadlines, and a never-ending cycle of making + selling?
Chances are, you got into business because you love to be creative. But somewhere along the line, maybe you got caught up in selling and tracking and promoting … and you forgot a little bit about creating. Does that sound familiar?
Of course you can’t run a business on creativity alone – there are some times where you just have to focus on selling, or you won’t sell anything! But if that’s ALL you’re focused on, this can be the quickest path to a total burn-out. What if you did something radical once in awhile? What if you followed your enthusiasm?
Maybe you’re feeling a strong desire to paint, even if you’ve never tried it before. Maybe you heard about a pottery class at your local community college and your heart skipped a beat. Maybe you’d like to audition for a local theater production. What’s stopping you? Go out there and do it!
The thing is, you don’t have to stop selling and tracking inventory and promoting your business in order to follow your enthusiasm. You can still do all of those things and find time to MAKE time for the things that you love all the same. After all, you’re a creative person: if you don’t take time to nourish your creative spirit once in a while, you might lose it. And by pursuing that creative spirit, you never know what new doors you might open for the future of your business.
Sometimes there isn’t any time left over at the end of a busy week. In that situation, maybe it’s time to let go of some things that have become stale in order to make way for something new and fresh. Your customers come to you for your creativity as much as they come to you for your product, so don’t worry so much. If you create it, they will come.
How will you follow your bliss this month? What’s something new you’d like to explore in order to nourish your creative soul? Share it with us in the comments below – we’d love to hear it!
Welcome to #ThinkCreateReflect, where we take a moment to pause and live in the NOW, reflect on the PAST and create for the FUTURE. We’re so glad to have you here!
This week, it’s time to celebrate! Even if it’s not time for a traditional holiday, we’ll find our own! For this week’s creative challenge, visit the page of Bizarre Holidays and find one you’d like to celebrate. Map out a plan for how you could celebrate this holiday in your business (a special sale, a specific product to match the holiday, a free gift with purchase, a party in your shop for your customers if they wear silly hats?). You never know what fantastic new traditions can come about when you take the time to celebrate the crazy in life!
Share your celebrations with us, we’d love to hear all about them! Tag a photo on Instagram or Twitter with #ThinkCreateReflect so we can celebrate with you!