Q: Is there any advantage to selling wholesale over retail and vice-versa?

A. There are clear advantages as well as disadvantages to both. I think this decision is really about lifestyle choices and your income target. Let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons of each.

Selling your work only at retail shows means more travel and many more shows. Work sold at retail immediately returns the entire retail sale price to the maker. While it is possible to develop repeat customers, the retail customer at shows most often will only buy from you once. Retail selling returns immediate rewards, there is little follow-up office work and shipping is usually not a requirement.

Those selling their work at wholesale shows will typically do two or three shows a year. While work sold at your wholesale price returns only half of your retail price, wholesale selling is about taking many orders, and making money from volume. Often orders are dated months in advance and require cash flow to buy materials and pay both personal and professional expenses until payments begin to arrive. The hope is the wholesale buyer will reorder again and again thus spreading the cost of making the initial sale over many orders. Wholesale selling success requires more office work, printing, accounting work and shipping.

What about making a list of the things about the two selling approaches you like and those you dislike, and then similar lists for tasks you are good at and those you prefer are done by others? This exercise will give you a picture of your work/lifestyle and may guide you to the right choice. Don’t be surprised if you conclude a mix of wholesale and retail shows will best help you meet your goals.