1.06.2014

Etsy Shop Help: Tips for How to Sell Handmade Crafts Wholesale

Etsy Shop Help Tips for How to Sell Handmade Crafts Wholesale by Beth Hemmila of Hint Jewelry
Selling Hint Jewelry Charms Wholesale

I finally started selling Hint Jewelry wholesale a couple years ago after I wrote this Behind the Scenes post Selling Wholesale. After dragging my feet for a long time, I found that as soon as I made a decision about my policies and method for interacting with customers my wholesale business launched itself. It was pretty simple. Most wholesale customers contact me through email so I haven't been going out and attracting potential business.

I envision this post as part two of my selling wholesale adventure. What tips I've learned since selling wholesale, new information, and problems I've encountered. For part one click here.

To read my wholesale policies click here.

Tips for Selling Wholesale


Research
Before putting together your wholesale policies, research other vendors selling similar products. I read a lot of different policies from a variety of jewelry designers and used the things I liked that had to do with shipping, repairs, returns, and minimum orders.

Get Paid Upfront
I like getting paid upfront. It avoids any hassles and misunderstandings that you may have with a customer. So far this policy has worked well. Most often I invoice a customer through PayPal and they choose how to pay: check, echeck, credit card, or PayPal funds. Another method is assigning a 50% Coupon Code on Etsy to my wholesale customer, so they can go shopping in my store whenever they want. You can even set a minimum purchase amount if you like.

Make Yourself Accessible by Phone
Most of my communication for my retail business is done via email, but I found that many times having a conversation over the phone with a wholesale customer is just what someone needs to feel more connected. When a potential wholesale customer contacts you by email for the first time, in your response, be sure to include your phone number and an invitation to call with any questions.

Don't be Disappointed by Etsy
When I started Hint Jewelry in 2008, I applied to Trunkt for selling wholesale. I didn't get accepted. Then in 2012 Etsy acquired Trunkt and sellers were able to apply to their wholesale marketplace. Again, I didn't get accepted. Honestly, I see it as a blessing. You don't need Etsy to help you sell wholesale. Etsy is a big machine, and they are trying to fulfill a kind of trendy, quirky niche that you may not fit into, but there are plenty of people who may want to buy your stuff wholesale, you just have to do more work to find them. So if you try to go big with another entity like Etsy or a show and it doesn't work out, instead of getting stuck feeling disappointed, see it as an opportunity to stick your fishing pole in a new part of the river.

Do you Need Line Sheets and Order Forms?
In the beginning, I was all organized with line sheets, order forms, dreams of a catalog, etc. However, my inventory changes a lot, and I found that because most of my wholesale customers look through my Etsy shop and make a list of what they want or shop direct all this extra paperwork was completely unnecessary. I haven't done a trade show or gone out to acquire big wholesale customers which I'm guessing is where this paperwork would really come in handy. So you need to evaluate what kind of wholesale business you want to do. In the beginning you may just want to start small and keep the paperwork to a minimum like me.

Helpful Links for Selling Wholesale

Wholesaling to Grow Your Business by Wendy McManus
Wholesale 101: Vendors and Sellers Share Insider Tips
4 Sure Signs Your Business is Ready for Wholesale
Build Your Wholesale Business with Trade Magazines
Three Tips for Using Wholesale or Trade Shows to Boost Your Biz
Holiday How-to: Wholesale on Etsy

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