Do You Sell Wholesale?

I keep getting this question, lately, due to the project in BeadStyle July 2009. My standard answer is “No, sorry, I don’t sell wholesale, but if you place a (Large) order, I’m happy to give a discount.” My beads are made from high quality materials, I spend a lot of time on them, and think they are pretty darn good. I don’t charge as much as I should for my beads, either. I don’t make a lot of money on my beads. Yep, you can buy chinese or indian beads that are not properly made or made with low-grade glass and not kiln-annealed for a LOT less, and your customer will be the one who pays for that in terms of broken or shattered beads. I am a one-person show; I make all my beads, clean them, pack them, mail them, etc. Selling wholesale to me always felt that if you made such a large number of beads, you must have people working for you, making that same design, because how could one person with kids and a house, etc., spend that much time??!?!?! I will have to ramp up in the future, and figure out how to do it, but right now with summer, I seem to be at my limit in terms of time!

I guess my question to you is, do you sell wholesale? Have you ever considered it? What is the standard protocol for selling wholesale – how large should the order be? What should the price discount be? Is there a sliding scale? How long of a lead time do you give the customer? I have some running around to do today, but I’ll be very interested to hear what you have to say on the topic!!! Thanks everyone!

6 thoughts on “Do You Sell Wholesale?”

  1. Hi Sue! I don't sell wholesale, but have been asked numerous times. I do, however, do many bulk orders and offer nice discounts for qty orders in several pkg lines.

    I basically feel the same as you and being that I'm also a "one-person show" it's hard to keep up with demands of wholesale. IMO. Just not for me at this time.

    Hope you get some good answers here.

  2. I tell people all orders over a certain amount you get a discount. Example $100.00 order 5% off or what ever your comfortable with. Its been with finished items like my fused glass pendants and bracelets not for one kind of bead. You would feel like a factory worker.

  3. Sue,
    I do have people ask me that, and I have a similar reaction, that I try to keep my prices reasonable and doing a large volume is difficult for me with time commitments. I know that some people have a "minimum" order that's quite large, so if someone just wants a few things at a reduced price it helps with those requests.

    I did wholesale years ago (when I was a weaver doing garments) and it's a different type of purchaser – someone with a store or gallery who is buying inventory. They order 6-8 months in advance, and want consistency. It's a whole different way of creating.

    Go with your heart, and stay fair to yourself. Don't shackle yourself to wholesale unless your heart is in it!

  4. as someone who wholesales, I can say it is a great way to suck the fun out of beadmaking. I wouldn't recommend it unless your heart is really into it. Not everyone wholesales, not every beadmaker can. I'd stick with the discount for larger orders.

  5. I think wholesale is more appropriate when you can do large production orders of things. Otherwise, offering discounts based on quantity is the way to go. Lampwork just does not lend itself to really cranking out big orders – and personally, I'm glad. It's the individual and unique nature of lampwork beads that makes me, as a jewelry artist, want to use them in my designs.

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