today we’re sharing a real-life biz ladies success story from justine smith of plum adore and etsy selling. justine turned her passion into a successful etsy and wholesale business and today she’s going to be sharing her 7 simple steps to wholesaling your craft. if you’ve been thinking about trying to make a living off of your work, this tips are a great way to get the ball rolling and start adding wholesale clients to your roster. thanks so much to justine for sharing her story and advice!
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7 Steps to Wholesaling Your Craft
In under 1 month of trying, without any major research or background, I landed 5 wholesale accounts and turned my jewelry business full time. If you really want to wholesale, here are some tips I’ve learned that will help you with your wholesale journey:
1: Choose 20-50 products that you would be able to supply in bulk at 50% off the retail price.
I jumped in with both feet and ended up biting off more than I could chew by offering over 300 products for wholesale. I’d suggest that you:
- Organize the items into collections only if you have more than one style of items and avoid season (fall, spring etc) labels.
- Ensure you can make at least 4-6 of every piece in your collections.
- Make sure your retail prices are high enough to make a profit off slashed wholesale discounts. If you are having trouble with wholesale pricing click here for more on that.
2: Put together a line sheet with the items you chose, including photos, descriptions and product codes.
I bought a template from from Etsy Seller My Magic Button and it was the best $60 I ever spent. It took a few days of major work to get it all ready for emailing but in my opinion it was the reason stores took me seriously and decided to invest in my products. You can see a sample of the line sheet here.
3: Gather a list of retailers from your competitors
I saw a jewelry company in a local magazine, got on their website and compiled a large list of retailers from there. If you have trouble with this step, go into a local boutique you want your items in and take a look at their vendors. Gather names and check their websites and you should be able to gather at least 100 businesses to start with.
*Note from D*S: Be careful not to poach retailers or clients from competitors. We’ve heard a lot about this in the industry. Doing research and selling similar products in stores is fine, but it’s definitely not ok to try to convince someone to stop selling a similar product in exchange for money, favors, etc.
4: Develop your wholesale terms
I regularly updated my terms as I went along because as I got new accounts I learned more about the way the business worked. You can check out this article from Modish Biz Tips on developing your fine print
5: Write your email pitch
I used my success selling on Etsy as the opening for my email. It outlined how many sales I had in such a short period of time, the fact that I had been featured on Etsy’s front page several times and had even gotten custom orders and a wholesale account from my success there.
Your pitch should include:
- Your achievements either selling online, in person, at craft shows etc
- Accomplishments in your field (such as education, background or anything else that would present you as a professional).
- Why you feel your items would be a good fit for their store.
- Politely asking for consideration OR requesting an appointment (if they are a local store).
6 – Mass email your pitch, linesheet, terms and conditions as well as a few small photos of your best sellers to the contacts you compiled and wait to hear back.
I heard back from a few stores right away but others took weeks (and even months) to get back to me. I’ve spoken to many retailers and the do not consider this spam as a lot of new designers get in touch with them via email (and a lot prefer it to drop ins or phone calls).
- Each day you should aim to continue emailing people on your list
- Follow up by phone no sooner than a week after sending your initial email
- Call and introduce yourself to buyers at local stores that are very important to you. It will sometimes increase your chances of getting your email opened faster.
7 : Once you land an appointment make sure to:
- Have a professional entrance and set up.
- Bring everything you have made because most times they order based on what you bring, not what you can make (with black and white items being an exception).
- Treat the meeting as if the client will be ordering by ensuring you have paper and pens, a copy of your line sheet (professionally printed in a binder (not to be given away) for them to browse through if necessary as well as copies of your terms for them to look over.
Justine will be holding a 30 day Wholesale Challenge early next year where participants will follow a series of tasks each day in order to land a wholesale account by the end of the month.
If you are interested in signing up, please subscribe to her weekly roundup email and be the first to get all the details.