It’s unique, but is it right for wholesale?

The one thing that breaks my heart: seeing beautiful products or collections that everyone wants, but just aren’t right for wholesale. These are the kind of products we hate to reject, but it’s for the best in the long run.

Here’s how to tell if your product needs some rethinking before it is wholesale ready.

Your cost price is too high

When you create a product for wholesale, the only price you need to think about is cost price. This is the cost of making at a quantity that justifies your Min order total or min quantity you need to sell. Let’s a it costs $100 to make 5 sterling silver bolo necklaces, then your cost price for one necklace is $20.

Double that and it’s your wholesale price.

Double that and it’s your msrp. Well roughly. If your product sells higher than double your msrp, you are the retailer’s dream, because you just increased their margins.

The trap is when your cost price leaves very little margin for wholesale. Then giving away 5%-15% of that as a sales commission is going to hurt. It just means, you haven’t done your pricing correctly.

It’s better off at a gallery, not a store

Most independent designers are artists at heart. However stores aren’t the right place for your art. It‘s too much work for very little return because stores cannot command the price your art deserves.

If your piece is more sculptural in nature and you absolutely want to place it at a store, you should have a cheaper line that is more likely to sell. Michael Levy of Paxton Gate gives the example of Elaine Anderson, who makes baskets out of kelp. Each basket requires scouring the beach for just the right pieces and then weaving them into baskets.

The artistic pieces are large, sculptural and probably out of everyone’s price range. She makes smaller baskets in the $30-$80 price range that are quicker to make and quicker to sell. They can hold smaller airplants and small succulents which are the fastest selling items the store.

Perfect, problem solved. Artistic integrity intact.

Your product has too many custom variants

When you create products that have a variant like say horoscope or star signs, the store owner needs to have multiple variants for each piece. 12 star signs X 10. That 120 pieces of which half will sell. Store owners have difficulty stocking these.

People walk into a store for one part experience and one part buy something they can take home with them. The minute you put the store owner in a situation where they don’t have the item in stock, it’s a customer disappointment experience. If you do want to make custom pieces, create the most popular pieces, for example, LEO is the most popular star sign. Make more of those.

Price, availability and utility are three factors to consider when considering your wholesale collection. The great thing is not everything needs to be made available for wholesale. You can save some as exclusives for retail or a special show.


Vinit is co-founder of SKUE, a wholesale marketplace for premium handmade co-created with retail experts. If you are thinking about wholesale, apply here.

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