Want to Enter the Wholesale Marketplace?

Are you ready to take your art or handmade products into the wholesale market? Start planning ahead of time.


Handmade glass by Shawn Messenger

Handmade glass by Shawn Messenger


Small creative entrepreneurs often work alone or perhaps with a partner, but jumping into the wholesale marketplace means you need to think big. Wholesaling is a sustainable model based on repeat orders and growing a solid account base. What do you need to know to be prepared to take wholesale orders?

You will need to scale up your production.

Give careful thought to your time frame. Can you produce the volume needed to ship orders to your customers, in full and on time? Do you have the space to store supplies and inventory as orders are being made? Are you ready to commit to producing the same designs on a regular basis, and designing new collections several times a year?

You will need sufficient materials.

In order to ramp up production, you will need more materials at hand to access as orders are created. Make sure your current suppliers can ship what you need to produce your orders. Ideally, you will also have backup suppliers lined up in case your main vendor can’t help you. Lack of materials can lead to missed ship dates, which can lead to cancellations from the buyer, so this is a crucial factor.

You may need studio assistance.

As your small business grows and you must fill more and more orders, you may need help in the studio. How much training will be needed to get someone up and running as an assistant? If you are the only person who can do the hands-on studio work, consider hiring someone to pack and ship, do bookkeeping and ordering, or even a virtual assistant to keep your office work from backing up while you focus on fulfilling orders.

You will need to control your costs.

Extra materials and paying for assistance can get costly pretty quickly. Retailers won’t give you a deposit up front. You must be able to manage your expenses, understanding that your wholesale buyers may have Net 30 terms. Request Net 30 with your own suppliers so you aren’t maxing your credit card, or carrying a balance.

You will need to manage your time effectively.

Focus upfront on putting business systems into place to scale from a micro to a small business. This is working on your business rather than working in your business. How can you make production run more efficiently and smoothly? Analyze your process to save time, space and effort so that each piece takes less time, and ultimately will produce more profit.

Making the move to wholesaling could be a major break that ramps up your sales and helps you move your business to a higher level. Or, it could be an exercise in frustration and learning the hard way. Doing the research up front and careful planning will make it easier.


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