"What's the work like in wholesale?"
So what work do you do as a wholesale supplier?
Well, there are four basic steps.
- You dream up a product.
- You create that product.
- You sell the product.
- You dispatch the product to your customer - in this case, retailers.
As I'm sure you've noticed, these are exactly the same steps you go through when you sell your work on Etsy or through your own website.
The marvellous thing is that, if you are currently selling your work to the public, you already have 95% of what you need to sell to shops.
A quality product, packaging, a website, branding, product photography, insurance, certification or hallmarking, a bank account, a workspace, systems for packing and shipping orders and dozens of other investments you've made in your business... Do you already have these things?
If so, here's a secret for you.
There's a wholesale business fast asleep inside your current business.
Because to own a wholesale business, the work you do isn't different - your customer is.
Now, you don't have to wake that sleeping wholesale business up. Many artists are quite happy to only serve regular people.
But if you do decide you’d like to squeeze more income out of your existing infrastructure, either alongside or instead of selling to the public, you've already got the vast majority of what you need and the work you perform won't look much different to what you're doing now.
Yes, there are activities which are unique to selling to shops: research, writing pitch emails, designing a catalogue or line sheet and so on. To do those things, you need to learn how wholesale works and what retailers want from our suppliers.
But the basic steps are the same.
And the amount of effort it's going to take is nowhere near the effort you've already put into setting up your business.
It's not “easy” like eating chocolates is easy, but it’s like adding an extension onto your house. You're not starting from scratch.
So I want to give you a few sample Day In The Life schedules. I sent out a call in the community I lead, asking makers who sell to shops to show us their typical schedules.
The first thing that jumped out was how much they varied.
And this brings up an important note about a wholesale business. It's not the same thing day in, day out.
Some days you might be packing up deliveries, some days you might be looking for new stores to approach, some days you might be taking product photos or working on your wholesale catalogue. If you're someone who likes their schedule to be very regular, then this isn't going to be a good fit for you.
Personally, I like variety.
If you do too, that’s a good sign.
I’ll tell you why in the next guide. But for now, let’s take a look at Alysse’s schedule.
And Shelley says:
No two wholesale suppliers have the same schedule or do exactly the same things on any given day, but the takeaway here is that you're in control.
It’s about building your business around your life and not your life around how you earn money.
Now let’s have a chat about what kind of person is a good fit for selling to shops.