May 30, 2012
Buying wholesale typically means buying a large quantity of product at a discount, tax-free (as taxes are paid by the final consumer). There are a few avenues one could use to find wholesale vendors. The most common include: searching online for individual vendors, attending trade shows, using distributors, and using sites compiled of numerous wholesale companies. None of these methods is perfect, and each has its own downsides.
Time is Money
Searching for individual suppliers online is laborious. One could spend hours upon hours googling, or searching online marketplaces to find 1 or 2 vendors willing to wholesale. It takes time to search, time to browse a gallery, time to email, time to wait for a response…and since this process usually results in a dead-end, more time is required to start the process all over again. Sometimes, the 1st wiling wholesaler to come forward will get the order, regardless if the shop owner loves the product or not.
Trade Shows are Expensive!
Most trade shows charge buyers an entrance fee. But before that, the buyer must get there. Airfare, hotel, rental car, time off, wages for the employee covering the shop, etc. all add to the product sourcing cost. There are pros and cons to this method, but when time and money are of the essence, it definitely falls on the con side.
Who is the Distributor Anyway?
The distributor is the middleman. He buys from the supplier, then sells to the shop owner. He must make a profit so charges a mark-up. In addition, the boutique buyer may not have full access to whom the actual supplier really is. Recently I was in a little boutique near Key West. I was looking at a wooden bowl. The owner commented on its loveliness. I asked where it was made. She said “China…probably by a cute, little man in China.” (please note the quotes.) At this comment I stepped away from the bowl. I realized it looked eerily similar to a wooden bowl I saw sold at a big box store (which was also made in China). As a shop owner, it’s best to know the story of your products. Who made them, where, why, what processes are involved? If the story is engaging and the buyer can relate, the shop is more likely to earn a sale.
Many of these sites are…overwhelming. Tons of products, little to no visibility of the product origin or production process, and some even require payment before you can view the gallery. Plus, most seem to source their products solely from overseas, which is a topic for another post.
Sourcing Handmade solves many of these problems. We bring a virtual trade show to the boutique owner. All of our items are handmade (except for our 2 “mom-invented” items). We personally screen our vendors, and inspect and review product samples before they are added to our gallery. No need to travel, no need to sit for hours at your computer. We offer 100% visibility. After you receive a wholesale line sheet from us, you work directly with the vendor (who is the person creating the items with her own hands). Complete transparency, complete honesty, complete trust, complete dedication to supporting handmade and supporting small business.
A complimentary wholesale line sheet is yours for the taking…just ask! info (at) sourcinghandmade (dot) com.