Want to sell your work wholesale to galleries and shops? Here’s how to create a list of suitable prospects.
There are different methods of selling your handmade work wholesale – trade shows, sales reps, through online portals, and even calling on stores directly yourself. You may be planning to use any number of these techniques to reach out to potential gallery customers, but it helps to develop a prospect list first.
This can easily be done on a local level by searching online for retailers in your area such as craft galleries, boutiques, garden centers, or whichever categories are most suitable for your work. Prospect within an hour’s drive in any direction, and get on the road to have a personal look at the stores you have selected. Do they have merchandise in the store which is complementary to yours? Are their price point ranges similar? Determine whether they are a match for your collection, make notes, and get a business card from each with contact information.
Out of town prospects can easily be found by searching online for the same categories, and visiting the store websites to determine if they are a fit for your work. If you find that they already carry a line which is very similar to yours, they may actually not be a good prospect. Unless they have a reason to stop working with that vendor, your handmade work could be redundant, so keep this in mind when contacting stores.
Another tactic is to identify artists and makers who sell their work wholesale, and visit their websites. Quite often, they will have retailers listed that carry their lines. That will let you know that those stores buy wholesale. Visit those websites, and using the same criteria, add them to your list.
Create a spreadsheet of prospective customers with as much information as possible. Sort them into categories, such as location or type of store. This can help when you start putting together marketing materials or plan a campaign to reach out to those buyers through phone calls, emails, invitations to trade shows, and so forth.
Have you discovered any other ways to identify prospective wholesale customers for your own handmade work?