Selling Crafts - Wholesale vs. Retail Sales
When you are selling crafts, you'll need to determine whether you plan on selling
crafts primarily on a wholesale basis, or directly to retail customers. There are pros and
cons inherent in each type of craft business, so it will be important to think through
your options and decide which approach works best for your work preferences and fits best
with your vision for your business.
Considerations for creating a wholesale craft business:
If you wholesale your crafts, you'll be selling your work to a buyer who intends to
resell your items at a higher price, usually at least double the wholesale price. Before
selling crafts wholesale, consider the following:
1. You'll sell your items for a lower price than you would if you sold directly to
retail customers (usually half of retail), but you'll sell your items in a higher volume
to fewer buyers.
2. When you attend shows, you'll bring only a range of samples of your line of product,
not endless inventory. You'll take orders for items that you will then produce and deliver
at a specified date. Many professional craft artists say that it is nice to know that
items they are producing are already purchased.
3. You'll typically attend fewer shows than you would if you were selling on a retail
basis, and you'll spend more time in production in your studio.
4. Feedback on work will come from professional buyers; your contact with the end
retail customer may be quite limited.
5. Your sales will consist of larger but less frequent purchases. That means you'll
have to be good at managing your money because income will not come in a steady flow.
6. You'll need to ensure you have a large enough production capacity to manage large
orders. Since you'll be selling crafts for less per unit, you'll make this up on volume.
Therefore, it's important to ensure you are ready to manage that volume.
Considerations for selling crafts on a retail basis:
If you sell your crafts at retail shows, you will be selling your work directly to the
end customer. To determine if this strategy works for your own craft business, consider
1. You'll sell items at a higher price than you would if you sold on a wholesale basis,
but you'll sell smaller quantities to more customers.
2. You'll need to bring plenty of inventory to craft shows, so you'll need to make
plenty of items ahead of time to sell at retail craft shows.
3. You will very likely attend more shows that you would if you were selling wholesale,
some craft artists enjoy attending art and craft shows and see this in a positive light,
while others do not enjoy the time spent away from the studio.
4. You'll get direct feedback from and contact with your customers, which can be very
satisfying and important to some craft artists.