By Diane Sulg
Have you ever walked through a great shop overflowing with wonderful arty products and wished your work was there, too? Well it certainly can be, and we are ready to show you how! Buckle up, or better yet, sign up for “All About Wholesale: The Webinar Series.”
We’re here to tell you everything you need to know to take your handmade business to the next level. If you are successfully selling your art at retail shows, you most likely have an excellent start for selling wholesale because you have the single-most important ingredient – a product people want to buy!
And if you yearn to spend more time in your studio making craft rather than continually facing a daunting show circuit selling retail, we can help you scale your business to include exactly those opportunities that combine the best of both worlds.
The “All About Wholesale” webinar is a four-part series, beginning June 4, for one hour at 11 a.m. eastern, and continuing on each Tuesday that month. We’ve packed each episode with tons of information, expertise, checklists and professional tips. There will be time for Q & A, and most importantly, at the finish you will receive the entire presentation to review and use forever!
Let’s take a look at each wholesale seminar:
Part 1: Business readiness
A large part of stress-free success comes from preparedness. For instance, the worst time to discover the intricacies of packing and shipping is when you need to get sixty large and fragile items out the door pronto! So, we will give you a checklist and take you through the steps of studio set-up, production, inventory control, business systems, shipping, and devising customer terms for wholesale. We’ll cover minimum orders and reorders, payment methods, and the nitty gritty differences between order forms, invoices, and packing slips.
Part 2: The perplexing problem of price
No single decision you will make about wholesale is more important than pricing. Price too high, you will not sell. Price too low, you will not make a profit. Moreover, the price of your goods is of utmost importance to the retailer, too. In the age of the internet, everyone is competing for the customer’s dollar. But the very last person the retailer wants to compete with is YOU. The retailer wants to be your PARTNER in getting a superb handmade product into the hands of her customers. We will give you the ingredients for finding your product’s price “sweet spot” and making the artist-retailer relationship work so you both achieve your financial goals.
Part 3: Starting to wholesale
You will learn the very first steps we suggest you take to conquer the wholesale world, and why it’s important to do them before you sign up for an expensive booth at a major trade show. Do you have a business plan? It does not need tons of detail, but it should set your realistic goals and outline the steps you need to take to achieve them. Do you have excellent marketing materials, and most importantly, a memorable story about you and your product? We will show you examples of top-notch creative materials. Have you met with at least one retailer and sold your product? Have you investigated on-line wholesale platforms like IndieMe, Stockabl and Faire? These can be low-cost entry points for you to gain wholesale experience before venturing on to the trade show scene.
Part 4: Trade shows!
These “open only to the trade” events can be just about everything you have ever imagined and then some. They are hard work, high energy, exhausting, exciting, expensive, educational, and fun. You will meet many fellow wholesale artists who are helpful, knowledgeable and destined to become “your tribe.” We have packed this webinar with photos of great booths, and we will provide an important checklist of all the features you need to fit in your booth (like storage and an “office”). We’ll talk lighting, booth options, booth materials and booth etiquette. Most important is understanding the buyers who walk into your booth, so will give you some strategies for helping them understand, appreciate, and of course, buy your work.
As the Executive Director of CRAFT, I regularly present the “All About Wholesale” seminar in conjunction with trade shows across the country, which is a win-win for both the shows and the artists, because if the makers are on top of their game, they will sell well and return to the show for many years. When unprepared exhibitors have an unsuccessful show, they suffer both a financial blow and a professional setback and many times never return.
However, we heard from so many artists who cannot easily attend a trade show so when many of them asked for a webinar version of “All About Wholesale”, CRAFT and Handmade Business teamed up to make this valuable course available on-line. The webinar course is rich in visuals which makes it ideal for a fast-paced and fun course. As an added bonus, seminar participants will be able to submit a photo of their product line or marketing materials for a brief evaluation.
If you can picture your beautiful handmade creations displayed in a glam gallery or a hip boutique, now is the time to take an important step to make that happen. All About Wholesale, The Webinar Series can take you there, so we encourage you to register today!
ALL ABOUT WHOLESALE is the brainchild of Diane Sulg who is the Executive Director of CRAFT (Craft Retailers and Artists for Tomorrow), the non-profit trade association composed of galleries, retailers and wholesale artists. CRAFT is all about the business of handmade, and its mission is to promote the success of the makers and sellers of handcrafted products. Diane has many years in the industry both as a gallery owner and a craftsperson.