Handmade is a great place to sell on many, many levels. As a Handmade stallholder you get to meet other small businesses and exchange ideas. You have access to thousands of Handmade digital followers before the event, the market crowds during the event and plenty of online sales afterwards.
In addition to all these benefits, Handmade is also a wholesale opportunity. We find that there are many shops, from small independent boutiques and museum shops right through to supermarkets and national department stores, that visit the Handmade Market. They are there to see the beautiful products and chat to the makers and they are always interested in adding curated selections of Australian made products to their shelves. Wholesale can be a great opportunity for small businesses. It is a chance to spread the word about your brand and it can provide a solid income if you can secure a regular contract.
Embarking on your wholesale journey can be overwhelming, especially without the right advice. You will find that the people wanting to buy multiples of your products will tell you everything you want to hear. Most of the time a relationship will be fruitful and positive, however we have heard some stories that aren’t so good. There are people who want to take a lot without giving much back and there are shops that don’t do as well as expected. This can lead to struggles, late payments and ultimately, liquidation before your stock is returned to you.
It is therefore very important that you secure the right deal for yourself to ensure you are not a victim of poor management or bad luck. Some shops want to pay you a wholesale price for multiples on a regular basis. Others only want to pay you once your item has been sold. Both of these are viable deals if organised correctly. Contracts are arduous and uninteresting, but at the same time vital to the success of a retail relationship. You will need to make sure you are aware of payment terms, risks and the background of the people you are dealing with. A good lawyer and accountant can help, as it pays to have a professional look at the fine print.
It is a cause for celebration when a big chain of shops or department store wants to stock your products. Being so visible to a wider audience is perfect exposure for you, however, you need to weigh up the risks and rewards. Before entering into such a relationship there are a few things you need to bear in mind. Large businesses are less concerned with your own commitments and more concerned with being able to get enough of your products into their stores in a timely manner. If you have a Handmade Market coming up and a large order to fulfil, can you do both? As wholesale customers pay less than retail customers for your products to allow a sufficient mark-up on your products (this is negotiated as part of your contract) you also need to assess whether you can afford to make your products to sell at such a reduced price. Often, big orders come in with little notice and you need be able to produce enough stock quickly, or at least ensure that you have enough inventory at all times. A large wholesale contract can often lead to expansion of your operations and staff which can be very exciting, so you need to be sure that you are ready for such a commitment.
HERE TO HELP
If wholesale is the next step for you, congratulations! If you are a part of the Handmade family your journey need not be an arduous one, as we are always happy to chat to stallholders at the market about the deals on offer. You will need professionals to check your contract and finances, but we have a good idea of what is going on in the world of retail so we are happy to listen if you are not sure. If you are attending the in-person market, make sure you chat to other stallholders as well – they have a lot of interesting experiences to share.
NOT FOR YOU?
There are many small businesses that don’t need or want to wholesale. Perhaps exclusivity is part of your brand or you want to safeguard your work/life balance. Maybe you prefer the control of selling your products your way online, or you don’t want to take on help to build up your stock. Don’t feel any pressure to operate in this world unless it is the logical next step for you. Every business is different and you need to do what is right for you!
For other great tips on running your creative business, head over to our Brandmade blog page.