The issue of wholesale comes up quite often and it's an issue that interests me very much. Generally when a supplier contacts someone for wholesale they are asking for 50% discount on things like jewellery and art.When this is a bricks and mortar shop I kind of understand the issue, they have a lot of overheads that need covering as well as making a profit.What I'm not sure is whether a lot of people who ask about wholesale actually understand how this affects the individual artist.If you look at the process, the following steps are all jolly time consuming, for example:You sit in a cafe and try and come up with some inspiration, or you stare at the TV and an idea comes into your head or maybe just as you are falling asleep a shape with a texture comes to mind, you then can't sleep until you have made a note of it, just in case you forget in the morning. (Okay - was being a little silly there).You then need to work out what supplies you need.Lets take a simple disc pendant. You need to buy in the sheet silver, the rings, the chain. This is time consuming in itself, checking round all the different suppliers, trying to find the best price, the best quality you can afford and of course having to spend the time doing the searching and then paying the postage. You need to have a disc cutter or saw, a hammer, a drill, some kind of shaping tool. These tools aren't cheap and don't just jump into your workshop, again you have to look around, check prices, etc. If you are adding colour you'll need the equipment for the that. Then comes the making. Marking it out, cutting / sawing or hammering the shape out. Shaping somehow. Cleaning it up, sanding, fine sanding. If it needs soldering you'll need the soldering equipment. If you've soldered then you'll have to pickle it. Then the polishing equipment and the time it takes to polish it.So now we have a piece ready for sale - maybe - it will have taken a lot longer than that - sure I'll have forgotten a step or two.Now to sell it online needs a reasonable camera, take the photos, upload the photos, edit the photos, for me I always have to piddle around with the white balance, maybe there is a hair in the picture that you need to edit out, or maybe the light just wasn't good enough anyway and you have to start all over again. (you would not believe how time consuming that can be.) Now you have to write a description for it, you need to calculate the price, with postage and packing (which needs to be calculated somewhere - it is costly adding up postage (I spent over £100 ($160) in a month on postage in November), buying boxes, tissue paper, jiffy bags, business cards - etc etc!So you calculate the price and this is where the wholesale conundrum gets messy.If say for example I cost something out at 7. Say I choose to sell at 20 to cover all those things above (an hourly wage? mmm). Now Mr X who comes along and says hey would you like to supply us at wholesale of 50%, you know what that means? that means that he pays 10 and makes 10, I pay 7 and make 3! So what do you do? cost it at 7 and sell at 40? 60? it gets rediculous, and you have to take the market into account, forget about trying to compete with the hobbyists who hardly (and often don't) cover their costs.And that I have to say is where I am starting to completely lose interest in wholesale. Many people are very pleasant, however some are really quite snooty when you try and negotiate and say a lower price and they then tell you that it really just isn't worth their while. I always want to ask what makes them think it could ever be worth my while. And I'd love to ask them what they have done towards creating the item. As I say, I kinda get it for solid on the high street shops, there are a lot of costs involved in running a shop, but the many website sellers who I have heard from, I am sure they feel that they are working very hard to run their website, - well actually so am I. So next time you ask for wholesale, maybe think that at the very least going halves on the profit with teh creator is fair without trying to push them into out pricing themselves in order to cover their costs and make a fair amount for actually doing all the hard work.
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