"How much money
can I make?"
As a business-owner, you’ll know there are only three currencies we can spend to get results in business.
We can spend money.
We can spend time.
Or we can spend energy.
If you’re reading this now, it’s probably because you’re consistently running low on one or more of those currencies.
Somehow, you need more money, more time or more energy. And you’re interested in selling to shops because you’ve got a feeling it could give you what you’re looking for.
And the thing is, you're right.
Wholesale is a low cost business with lots of flexibility and you call the shots much more than you can with regular customers.
It allows you to work from home, whether that’s a studio or your kitchen table, and set your own schedule.
It can help you get control of your finances because you know in advance what orders are on your books, and when and how much those buyers are going to pay you. That kind of stability and predictability is hard to get when you’re selling to regular customers.
And wholesale reduces your reliance on Etsy and Instagram. Instead of hoping the algorithms bring you all the sales you need, you’re building real-world partnerships with shopkeepers like me. People who love and believe in your work, and who are actively looking to spend thousands on products like yours every single year.
If you go about it in the right way, one email to a store can unlock years of regular, repeat orders for you. So if you dream of owning a flourishing creative business that actually takes care of you, wholesale is worth serious consideration.
But how much money can you make?
Well, first I have to say that I don't make any guarantees about your ability to get results or earn money as a result of selling to shops.
Everything we’re talking about today is for information only. Nothing in this Beginner’s Guide series, or in any of my content, products or services is a promise or guarantee of results or future earnings. Any numbers we talk about today are to illustrate concepts, and should not be considered average earnings, exact earnings or promises for actual or future performance.
In other words, wholesale is not a magic bullet or a get rich quick scheme.
But here’s one big difference between selling to shops and selling to regular people. In wholesale you tell shopkeepers the minimum amount we must spend on your products if we want to do business with you.
This is called your minimum order.
Minimum orders typically range from $100 (or pounds, or euros) to $500 depending on what you make.
So, let’s say you set a minimum order of $200. That’s the smallest amount a store can spend if they want to get your stuff on their shelves.
And let’s say that you create a persuasive wholesale catalogue (yes!) which makes a particular shopkeeper want to buy from you (double yes!)
Now, that shopkeeper is likely to be cautious at first. She likes your work and thinks her customers will too, but she’s probably going to play it safe the first time around. So her first order comes to $210.
Her customers do like your work. They like it a lot. So two months later, she places an order with a value of $300. Those items also sell well. So eight weeks after that, she’s back with a third order of $350.
From that point onwards, she orders from you every two months, spending an average of $450 every time. At the end of the first year, this retailer has spent $2,210 on your products.
At the end of two years, she’s spent $4,910. At the end of three years she’s spent a total of $7,610. And there’s no reason to assume it’ll stop there.
The lifetime value of a stockist over five or ten years can be worth tens of thousands to your business.
But... what if that same catalogue persuades THREE retailers to say yes?
Or five retailers? Or ten?
It may not happen overnight, but these aren't unusual results.
Now here’s another delightful thing about wholesale. The demand for quality products from makers like you is high.
That’s because the owner of every independent store, boutique and gallery has a never-ending problem. We need good stuff to put on the shelves.
We’re constantly buying stock from our wholesale suppliers to satisfy that need, and we spend much more than your regular customers.
$1000 can be an everyday purchase for us.
Some shopkeepers, in fact, won’t blink at spending twice that, or more, all in one go. We want to see some serious return on that investment, of course, but signing over that amount of money to a trusted supplier doesn’t make us need to lie down and listen to whale sounds.
In wholesale, it's just normal.
But I'll be straight with you: most people aren't cut out to become wholesale suppliers. In fact, I estimate that 50% of everyone who reads these Beginner’s Guides finds out that it's not a good fit for them. And that's okay.
Yet for the right maker, a wholesale business is powerful stuff.
To find out more, click over to the next guide where we’ll be talking about the resources you need to get started.