This is the start of what I hope (nay, demand) will become a weekly business blog covering everything a crafty type might need to know about anything to do with their business. Starting off with some thoughts from me (Rachael/dotpop/Hannah) about what we at HZ look for from suppliers and the pros and cons of wholesaling v sale or return from my point of view.
Ideally, you (the seller) want me (the buyer) to buy your stuff wholesale so we’ll tackle that first. Having a shop buy your stuff wholesale directly from you is a good goal to have. You get a lump of cash in return for having your lovely things displayed and sold in a lovely shop/website of your choosing and once you hand over the goods that’s it done, right? Well, more or less yes, but if you want that shop to continue buying from you then you need to work at it a wee bit.
Here are some things to consider when if you want to wholesale your work, it requires effort but lots of reward if you keep your buyers onside!
* First things first, it’s important to remember that wholesale is at least 50% off retail price. I’m going to repeat that: Wholesale is at least 50% off retail price. And ideally more. The retail price is the price you sell at through your personal selling channels. If you can’t give a 50% wholesale discount then you should revise your prices or consider sale or return.
* Consider giving a (trusted) buyer 30 days to pay, or the option to pay 50% in advance and 50% on delivery – a little leeway here goes a long way. Yes, it might hurt your cashflow a little but also might be the difference between a mid-sized order and a large one, or no order at all.
* Let us know about new designs. HZ LOVES to be the first to get a new collection in store and keeping your stock fresh is a great way to keep those wholesale orders coming in regularly.
* PDF line sheets with all the info we need to order in one place are great. The retail and wholesale prices are as important information as what the item looks like. Picture, name, retail and wholesale price all in one sounds simple enough but you’d be surprised how many designers have prices listed on separate sheets or forget the retail price altogether, it’s a bit annoying
* You’ll probably want to set a minimum order amount but it pays to be flexible here. Sometimes we just need to try things out first and a high minimum order amount is really off putting.
* One downside of selling wholesale rather than SoR is that once a shop has your work, it’s theirs to do as they please with. You have the money in the bank but relinquish all control over what the shop then does with it. Be prepared to feel a bit hurt if they discount it, it stings.
Wholesale sounds good right? Yep, it sure does, but ‘Sale or Return’ is another means of selling your work through shops. Basically you provide your goods upfront and the buyer pays you as and when they sell. This isn’t ideal, money upfront is much better and most designers understandably prefer wholesale. However, imo, there are many benefits to SoR that are underrated…
This is Sale or Return from an HZ point of view…
* You have a bit more control. You set your price, ultimately you decide what to send and when to send it.
* With SoR you have the opportunity to recall and rework pieces if you like. Decide those feather earrings don’t represent your brand any more? We can post them back to you. What were you thinking?!
* You take more money. Our SoR terms are 45:55, meaning the designer gets a 55% cut of each sale and we pay you monthly.
* We can take more risks. I might think twice about stocking that crazy awesome necklace design that’s super expensive at wholesale – if it doesn’t sell then I lose out – but with SoR, we can give it a shot and potential sales revenue for you is better.
* If you’re organised and focussed it’s possible SoR is a better sales route for you. It’s worth noting that out of our top 3 selling designers at the HZ shoppe, 2 are stocked on a sale or return basis and they make it work by keeping us topped up when things sell out and introducing new designs regularly.
* As further explanation to the point above – whereas I might only do a wholesale order when we’re already low on stock and maybe a few bits and bobs from that collection has sold out, there’s no restriction with SoR. If we sell out of your earrings mid-way through the month and you’re able to send more – yay! Double sales!
So, there are definitely benefits to using sale or return too. As a buyer I’m happy with either and use the same criteria for deciding what designers to stock regardless of the arrangement (don’t ask me to describe that criteria, it’s basically just stuff I want to have in the shop). Of course there are a few more things that you should think about regardless of the arrangement you’re looking for…
* We are a small business too and come up against the same kind of stuff as you do.
* It’s not cool to approach lots of shops in the same area at once. Choose your preferred stockist in that area and approach them first. If they don’t reply within a few weeks give them a friendly nudge. If they don’t respond to that, then move on to your next choice. We are fussy about the designers we stock, and want you to be just as fussy about who you want to stock you.
* Can you offer professional looking images that we can use on our website? This is brilliant for us and we will love you for it!
* Be realistic about your delivery lead times. Late deliveries are really annoying.
* Don’t turn up at the shop with a bag full of stock as your first method of communication. I hate being put on the spot.
* Don’t be scared to ask for a reference. If you’re not sure if that business is ‘trusted’ then ask another one of it’s suppliers for a reference, the indie selling set is pretty tight knit and they’ve got your back.
Well that’s the first ‘installment’ of business musings, hopefully some of it helpful! If you have any questions then leave a comment and I’ll reply asap. And if you have some business advice you’d like to share email me your ideas for a potential guest blog spot!
Leave a comment