Tuesday, March 24, 2009

What to do about wholesaling?

Well this question is becoming more and more prevalent. At ABI workshops it is common for artists to inform me that they do not wholesale and have been in business for 20 years without wholesale.

So why should they wholesale?
Wholesaling brings a new element to your business. It allows you to reach an audience that you would otherwise never reach, create reliable income, receive professional feedback about your work and sharpen your business skills.

What are the downsides? It is another level of bookkeeping, it requires a different set of business skills and more customers to keep track of.
What we see is that there is an entire industry built of the model of wholesaling. It is how products end up in stores nation wide. The craft industry is a prime example of this. You might be an artist living in the backwoods of Vermont and you can still have your work in 30 different states.

One way to start wholesaling is to exhibit at a wholesale show, however that has a pretty large learning curve. You can also start with a grassroots effort. The door-to-door salesman method, we here at ABI do not recommend this method, but that does not mean it doesn’t work.

ABI Wholesale Workshops
The Business of Wholesale Relationships with Galleries, Teleconference

There are also online wholesale resources WholesaleCraft.com

There are several wholesale shows in the craft industry Buyers Market of American Craft American Craft Council American Craft retailers Association