Saturday, October 13, 2012

Wholesale Considerations

two different qualities of cloth for consideration

Doug and I have been talking some about the possibility of the contract work for the designer so the thought of selling wholesale has been on my mind quite a lot.

So, why would one even consider selling on wholesale, which is generally about 50% of the retail price?

There are a number of reasons.

The designer will need the cloth delivered to her during the winter in order to get her product made in time for her 'season' which is the summer.  Winter, once the craft fair season is done, is essentially dead in terms of income.  Having some guaranteed income in Jan/Feb or even into March, would be amazing.

Working on contract means that you get an order, you make the stuff and you get paid.  No waiting around for just the right customer to see your product and buy it.  No taking photos, posting to the internet, listing on Art Fire and waiting to see if there is any interest (i.e. purchases).  No placing the product in a shop on consignment, waiting for it to sell and then get paid by the 15th of the month following the sale.  No shop wear or shrinkage (shop-lifting).

Little to no marketing costs.  No hefty booth fees to pay in March for an event happening the following November.  No long drives with all the attendant costs of gas to get there, eating out, hotel bills, big city parking.  No sleeping in strange beds in rooms that may - or may not - be quiet, trying to figure out where the bathroom is tonight, in the dark.  No white knuckle drives on winter condition roads, wondering if you are going to arrive safely or wind up in the ditch, hoping a tow truck will happen by - because you know there isn't any cell service in the mountains.

So yes - I am keeping fingers crossed the designer likes my cloth enough to buy.  Yes, I know that her minimum order is 50 meters.  Yes, I am willing to weave 50 plus meters of cloth (because I have to allow for the shrinkage during wet finishing) of entirely the same thing.  I have done it before and I know what I have to do to get the job done.

I don't expect to be run off my feet working for this person so I am hoping that I can continue - at least for another year or two - to travel to teach, to do a few craft fairs in the fall, to produce another 'book' or two.  Having a wholesale client will allow me a lot of freedom to work on the 'book(s)' because I won't be scrambling to find the money to pay the bills when there isn't any income.

But ultimately there are no guarantees.  All I can do is show the designer my cloth, see if it is acceptable,  then make my plans if it is.  And wait for God to laugh - or not.

Currently reading About Face by Donna Leon


Sandra Rude said...

I have had the same internal dialog about selling at wholesale rates to galleries. I earn 50% less on the transaction, but that transaction costs me much less than a retail transaction, for the reasons you list: travel and all the attendant expenses, plus the wear and tear on the body traveling, setting up, tearing down, etc. Now, if I could just find the right galleries...

I really hope the designer deal works out for you. Can't sneeze at a more-certain-than-craft-show income :-)

charlotte said...

I do quite a lot of wholesale transactions, both with shawls, scarves, caps and jackets (I do some machine knitting as well) and whole lengths of fabric for folk costume. And the reasons are exactly the same as those you listed.
I really hope the desgner buys your cloth.