Guest blogger and ABI faculty member Mckenna Hallett shares a case study of an artist who needed a crash course in how to wholesale, and the sage advice given.
I recently received a frantic phone call from an artist who had just gotten juried into a show that would have wholesale buyers attend for one day before the retail show begins. She currently has her art in two places, but both are artist coops and so far she is only consigning. Her pricing was out of whack for wholesaling, which had me worried about her outcome at this show.
Plus, she had a million questions. Here were just a few:
- How do I make a line sheet?
- Do I have to give them terms?
- What does net 30 mean?
- How do I set my wholesale prices?
- Should I just show my line with the retail prices?
- Do I need a website?
- What if the wholesale customer wants to take an order with them that day?
- Should I give anyone an exclusive?
- What should I do about shipping charges?
- Do I need to set a minimum order? How much?
- Will they buy from me if I am not already wholesaling?
- What if I am only selling one of a kind pieces?
My overall advice to this particular person was pretty conservative: don’t open more than two accounts until you have a better grasp. Anyone trying to place an order after those first two slots is important, but you need to be careful about growing a wholesale business in a frantic, scrambled, disorderly manner.
Take everyone’s information, and let them know you are “booked through the rest of the year.” Tell them you will be in touch if any studio time opens up any sooner. Let them know what to expect, and then follow-up with them and get more accounts after the first of the year, at which time you will be ready to wholesale.
SO…my new friend got a free consultation from me that day. I suspect we will be in more talks after her show experience.
I couldn’t help but try to assist her with this situation over the phone. But she also got a follow-up email that directed her to an immensely important source that anyone contemplating wholesale in their future needs to know about. And that was the Arts Business Institute website of course! Tons of articles are published here to answer those burning questions about selling wholesale, how to price profitably, develop business relationships and earn repeat sales.
And while I am blatantly recommending this site, I would be remiss if I didn’t also put in an additionally strong recommendation for the E-Course: The Arts Business Institute Guide to Marketing for Artists & Craftspeople.
Nothing sells, retail or wholesale, without Marketing Skills. No matter how many years you have been a creative, there is always room to learn more.
And from my vantage point, there is always time to share a little more, too.