"What kind of person
is a good fit?"
What type of personality is a good fit for wholesale?
Well, let’s talk about seven abilities it’s helpful to have.
But before we do, let me say that you only need the tiniest seeds of these abilities to get started in wholesale. That’s because your skillset and comfort level will expand and develop over time.
The first ability is that you're a creator.
You're highly imaginative and have a deep need for self expression. You innovate, you invent and you have good taste.
You also have the frankly magical ability to turn your ideas into reality, as shown by the lovely thing you make.
Second, you have the eyes of a hawk.
What I mean is you can be precise.
You pay attention to details, you're organised, and you spot when something is off.
So when you're packing up an order for a store, you're making sure that exactly the right products are going into the box. You're checking each product is in perfect condition. That's the kind of thing we're talking about.
Retailers adore suppliers who have a firm grip on the details because, to be perfectly honest, sometimes we don't. A supplier who's on top of things, who genuinely cares about getting the details right for us, that’s someone we treasure.
Third, you enjoy variety and adventure.
You're an explorer. We talked about this in the previous guide.
You don't like to do the same thing, day in, day out, and you don't need a set routine. You enjoy learning, growing, changing and trying out new ideas.
The fourth ability is dedication.
If you give up at the first sign of struggle then business ownership is not for you. Dedication means when challenges arise, you find your way through.
This is especially important in wholesale because you’ll definitely be rejected by stores, especially when you’re first starting out. To succeed, you need to keep the faith and try anyway, even when it’s hard.
Now, since you're an artist, you've most likely been doing this your entire life, because the world isn't set up for creative people like us. But we find a way to make it work, right?
This ability also includes asking for help which is always the brave thing to do. Reaching out to me or fellow wholesale suppliers in our community and saying "Hey, I’m struggling. Can you help?" That's dedication. I'll also say that it covers the fact that you're a hard worker.
Fifth, you enjoy helping others.
You don’t make your products only for your own satisfaction, although that is hugely important. You make them FOR your customers. You think deeply about the people who ultimately use or enjoy your work and you want them to feel pleasure and delight.
And you have the same attitude towards shopkeepers. We’re just a different kind of customer, after all. If I phone you up with a question or a problem, you're going to stick with me until I’m happy because people matter to you.
The sixth ability is that you're friendly.
When retailers get in touch, you let us know you’re pleased to hear from us. You’re welcoming, pleasant and helpful.
Does that mean you’re an extrovert?
No, not neccessarily. Most of my clients and students are introverts. But wherever you land on that spectrum, you’re friendly and you can be yourself.
The last ability is that you're a benevolent ruler.
We’ve seen that wholesale lets you call the shots much more than you can with your regular customers. This is about doing that in a fair, strong way.
Because I won’t lie, from time to time retailers will test your boundaries.
Some will act like the velociraptors in Jurassic Park, testing the electric fence around their enclosure. For whatever reason, they want to find out if the rules you set up to protect your wholesale business - things like your minimum order and free shipping level - have any juice in them.
If they kick up a ruckus, do those rules disappear?
This isn't something you'll be continually dealing with, but on the odd occasion when it does come up, you need to remember you put that electric fence up for a good reason and act accordingly. Not every retailer is cut out to be a great partner to you. Sometimes we have to remind ourselves that "No" is a complete sentence.
So there are two parts to this ability - you're fair, kind and you keep your promises. That's the benevolent part.
But you're also the ruler. The boss. And sometimes that means doing the right thing instead of the easy thing.
So a quick summary of the abilities required in wholesale: you're a creator, a hawkeye, you enjoy variety, you're dedicated, you enjoy helping others, you're friendly and you're a benevolent ruler.
These are the key abilities, in my opinion, that you need to succeed in wholesale.
Finally in this Beginner’s Guide series, let’s talk about whether stores will trust you if you’re new.