Shipping it Out! Selling Wholesale

Continuing on from her last post, fibre artist Kelly Ruth discusses some of the benefits of wholesale and offers some advice on doing it right.
Ahhh…wholesale sales can be a bit of a relief because a maker doesn’t have to take the risk of devoting funds to product creation only to wait and hope that it sells. Wholesale selling is a sure thing!  I have, however,  heard concerns from makers that with a wholesale order the maker is only getting paid 50% of the retail price.  This means that when the maker is selling their own work at markets and online, their selling price needs to be such that they can cut it in half when selling wholesale and still make a profit.
Shipping wholesale
The financial arrangements in wholesale are fair, really, considering the work that goes into maintaining a retail operation.  Slugging bins to craft shows and markets, taking and editing photos, and maintaining an online shop is a lot of work for the maker – work that is done for you when a maker sells through a store.  Unless the maker is really good at selling and LOVES setting up pop-up shops, I think it’s worth it to pay a shop owner to sell your work for you!
How do you determine your wholesale price?  Simple:  material costs + fair wage labour costs x 2= wholesale price.  Once you start selling wholesale you MUST always list your online selling price at no less than double your wholesale price.  The same goes for selling at markets.  If you are undercutting the local stores that carry your work by selling it more cheaply at a craft market nearby, your wholesale contract with that shop is guaranteed to end as soon as they find out.  Considering that it is very difficult to secure wholesale contracts without doing the big trade shows, I would never risk damaging a reliable wholesale relationship.
Below is a list of links that will get you thinking about how to get all your ducks in a row and ready for selling wholesale!  Click here for some tips on selling your work to stores.
Some of the points made here are excellent, but I would disagree with point no. 1, that a maker should have 20-50 different items to offer.  I offer fewer items by far and find it’s easier to manage.
…and for a little encouragement and inspiration, go here.
This post was by MCC member and fibre artist Kelly Ruth who is, to quote her, “causing mischief by daring to carve out a lifestyle that is most authentic to who she is.”