If you are running a product-based small business, whether you make your goods by hand or design them and have them manufactured, selling your range wholesale can be a very lucrative part of your business. Done in the right way, it can be a really quick way to grow your business and there is nothing more satisfying than seeing your creations on display in a shop!
BUT, there is no denying if it’s not something you’ve done before, there is a lot to learn. From how to price your products for wholesale to how to approach retailers to understanding some of the jargon used in this industry.
Last year we had Sophie Dias of Sophie Home Ltd host a 90 minute online Creative Session covering everything wholesale, and I can truly say it is jam packed with LOTS of useful information to get your started wholesaling your products. The full workshop is still available – you can find it here: GETTING YOUR BUSINESS WHOLESALE-READY AND NOTICED BY RETAILERS – but today, Sophie is giving a little taster of the session by sharing five top tips to get your started…
TIP 1: MAKE SURE YOU HAVE GREAT PHOTOGRAPHY
I highly recommend investing in the best photography you can afford. So, if you choose to do it yourself, either invest in a better iPhone or camera, or take a photography workshop. Even better – outsource your photography to a professional. I keep all our imagery on Google Drive, so if we get a new stockist or a shop places an order, we can easily share the link to our lifestyle and e-commerce photography for them to use. It’s also useful if you are contacted by a magazine, newspaper or online publication who want to showcase your work.
TIP 2: MANAGE YOUR STOCKISTS EXPECTATIONS
This is particularly in regards to lead times. It’s really tempting to offer a quick turnaround on orders, but I would advise adding at least an extra 24 hours, as sometimes orders take longer than you might have expected to get out. It’s better to tell a retailer it will be longer and you get it to them quicker, that the other way round. This is particularly relevant if your items are handmade and most retailers will be understanding of this.
TIP 3: BE ORGANISED
When those wholesale orders start coming in, especially if you are on third party platforms, it can get a little chaotic! So it is worth keeping track, either on an Excel spreadsheet or we use Trello, where we can record incoming orders and the different stages they are at.
TIP 4: CONSIDER ONLINE TRADE FAIRS
As I just mentioned, third party platforms are a fairly new thing to the world of wholesale and there are a number of them around. In the UK you have Creoate , which is probably the biggest one. If you are keen to expand into the US and Europe, I would highly recommend Faire and Ankorstore, who also serve the UK as well. They take a commission on every order that is placed through them, but it is a great way to reach a wide network of retailers actively looking for products to stock. They are a surefire way to grow your business and have become an important part of the industry in the last year or two.
TIP 5: BUILD GOOD RELATIONSHIPS WITH YOUR STOCKISTS
Wholesale is all about the repeat orders. You want a new stockist but you want that stockist to keep coming back and ordering again and again. So, it really is worth spending time on those relationships, by being in regular contact, emailing them personally, even if they have ordered through a third party platform. Also, interact with them on social media, giving them shout outs and liking and sharing their posts too.
There really is a lot to learn about getting your products stocked in shops, so if you’d like to hear more from Sophie then do check out the full 90 minute workshop:
For more small business tips, you can watch the short videos on our IGTV.