Last week we talked about different ways of making a living as an artist or a designer. We also discussed what is retailing? and what does it mean to your art and design business.
- What is retailing?
- What is Wholesaling?
- What is Commission?
- What is Consignment?
- What is Exhibitions?
- What is Workshop?
- What is Art Licensing?
So what is Wholesaling anyway?
Wholesaling is distributing the sale of goods or merchandise to retailers for resale purpose. Wholesaler produce in bulk or buys goods in bulk quantities from either manufacturers or importers, and then sells in smaller quantities to retail stores.
Should you be wholesaling your work?
As an Artist or a Designer you can also choose to be a wholesaler where you can sell to retailers in a large quantity.
Wholesaling is a proven, successful method available to artists, designers and crafters who are trying to earn a living and establish their businesses. All you have to do is to come up with a line of product that can be duplicated and sold wholesale again and again. Doing wholesaling can lead you the opportunity to connect and build relationships with galleries owners and retail shops that buy directly from you and you can continue to make money with regular repeat orders.
When you decide to do wholesale, your range of products can be sold to retail shops, like giftware outlets, galleries and museum shops and more. Wholesale pricing is normally about half the price of retail. The retailers purchase your products outright and mark it up to retail prices (usually double the wholesale price or higher). The retailers then showcase your products, promote and sell your products to their customers who appreciate products that are produces by artists, designers and crafters.
For an artist you could print your artwork and sell them as prints or use your artwork to create greeting cards, stationary etc. and then wholesale your products.
For a fashion designer you can too sell your label wholesale to retailer boutiques or department stores. One of the keys to successful wholesaling is to attract your ideal retailers to buy your products.
Wholesaling is not always suitable for all artists, designers and even crafters. However, if you are curious about it, We do recommend you to find out whether it is the right fit for your art and design business. Find out whether you can use wholesaling as one of your income streams. You never know until you explore your options.
The best and the quickest way to connect with your retailers is to participate in trade shows. A trade show is a meeting place for retailers & wholesalers in one location, generally held over the course of a few days, where wholesalers of a certain industry can exhibit their products or services. Trade shows allow exhibitors to reach a large number of customers in a short period of time, where they can promote their brand face-to-face, leading to sales, established relationships, and industry contacts.
Trade shows are usually held in convention centers that can accommodate numerous exhibitors. They generally occur once or twice a year that not only encompasses exhibiting on the trade show floor, but attending industry related workshops, conferences, and meetings. The purpose of a trade show is for wholesalers to connect or re-connect with existing or new retailers also to meet competitors, establish business contacts, and to establish potential sales.
Here are some of the popular trade shows that an artist or a designer could participate if you decide to be a wholesaler.
- LifeinStyle (Australia)
- Reed Gift fairs (Australia)
- Agha Gift Fair (Australia)
- Designex (Australia)
- Maison & Object (Paris)
- New York International Gift Fair (US)
- Canton gift fair (China)
Wholesaling gives you an opportunity to collaborate with sales agents, who are expert in wholesaling and they can take your products or designs into areas of the country where you would never get exposure like in the country towns, interstates or even overseas. Some agents are specialised in selling to big accounts customers like department stores, Myers and David Jone or large chain stores like Kmart or Target. Remember big accounts come with big demands too. My suggestion is start small and grow your business one step of the time.
Although wholesaling always associate with mass produce products, but did you know ‘one-of-a-kind’ art or designs can be sold wholesale too. Artists and designers who have production studios can do wholesale and usually make higher incomes than artists who do not have one. Keep in mind wholesaling is just one of option you can making a living from your art and design. There are many other options which we will discuss later on.
What does this mean to you?
- You have a product that you decide to mass produce and sell through retail stores.
- You have decided to wholesale your products instead of retailing yourself.
- You have the capacity to produce bulk quantity of your designs.
Tune in for next week’s post What is commission? and what does it mean to your art and design business?