Category Archives: Blog

26.02.14

Work Those Boot(h)s!

A recent conversation with local footwear designer Julie Pederson has shed some light on the world of larger handmade artisan shows.  Julie focuses her attention on retail shows for her one of kind mukluk inspired footwear. Check her work out here.  Julie does not sell wholesale and has spent years developing her client base by setting up booths across the country and meeting her clients face to face.

Julie Pederson booth2

In 2008, Julie took her first big jump into the larger pond by participating in the ‘One of a Kind’ show in Toronto.  This was a turning point for her.  I asked Julie what she would say if the woman she is now met the woman she was back in 2008, as she was preparing for her first big show.  The first thing she said was, “Be very organized!” She also suggested to consider these things while preparing for your first big show.

1) Research who attends the shows that you are considering doing.

2) Check with other vendors about how much stock is needed for such a show.

3) Determine in advance what you are willing to do for your client in regards to special orders.

4) Do all the number crunching and determine accurately what all the costs are before deciding if it is worth it.

5) Plan to have an email list ready for people to sign up, and invite customers to contact you later to join the email list if they wish.

6) Good lighting is soooo important; consider this well when planning your booth.

7) If you haven’t done the smaller local shows first, working them is an important step in determining what people are going to buy before doing the bigger shows.

8) Always be nice to your neighbours at shows!

Julie also shared with me her success with ‘Pop Up’ shops, particularly working with already established stores. The idea in this case is for the artist to arrange to bring in their stock for a short time, possibly only one day and be present to sell the work. Arrangements are made in advance to determine the commission the store will take which would be less than a consignment arrangement since the artist is working to sell the work. Both parties promote the event and both parties benefit from sharing each others’ client base. Works well for everyone involved!

Some of the more popular retail mega shows to potentially sell your work at are listed below:
One of a Kind
Make It
Signatures
Art Market (Calgary)
Circle Craft

This post was by MCC member and fibre artist Kelly Ruth who is, to quote her, “causing mischief by daring to carve out a lifestyle that is most authentic to who she is.” – See more at: http://manitobacraft.ca/blog/#sthash.PnOx3tLC.dpuf

Kelly Ruth is an MCC member and fibre artist who is, to quote her, “causing mischief by daring to carve out a lifestyle that is most authentic to who she is.”  Find her last post on wholesaling here

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Category Archives: Blog

04.02.14

Shipping it Out! Selling Wholesale

Continuing on from her last post, fibre artist Kelly Ruth discusses some of the benefits of wholesale and offers some advice on doing it right.

Ahhh…wholesale sales can be a bit of a relief because a maker doesn’t have to take the risk of devoting funds to product creation only to wait and hope that it sells. Wholesale selling is a sure thing!  I have, however,  heard concerns from makers that with a wholesale order the maker is only getting paid 50% of the retail price.  This means that when the maker is selling their own work at markets and online, their selling price needs to be such that they can cut it in half when selling wholesale and still make a profit.

Shipping wholesale

The financial arrangements in wholesale are fair, really, considering the work that goes into maintaining a retail operation.  Slugging bins to craft shows and markets, taking and editing photos, and maintaining an online shop is a lot of work for the maker – work that is done for you when a maker sells through a store.  Unless the maker is really good at selling and LOVES setting up pop-up shops, I think it’s worth it to pay a shop owner to sell your work for you!

How do you determine your wholesale price?  Simple:  material costs + fair wage labour costs x 2= wholesale price.  Once you start selling wholesale you MUST always list your online selling price at no less than double your wholesale price.  The same goes for selling at markets.  If you are undercutting the local stores that carry your work by selling it more cheaply at a craft market nearby, your wholesale contract with that shop is guaranteed to end as soon as they find out.  Considering that it is very difficult to secure wholesale contracts without doing the big trade shows, I would never risk damaging a reliable wholesale relationship.

Below is a list of links that will get you thinking about how to get all your ducks in a row and ready for selling wholesale!  Click here for some tips on selling your work to stores.

Some of the points made here are excellent, but I would disagree with point no. 1, that a maker should have 20-50 different items to offer.  I offer fewer items by far and find it’s easier to manage.

…and for a little encouragement and inspiration, go here.

This post was by MCC member and fibre artist Kelly Ruth who is, to quote her, “causing mischief by daring to carve out a lifestyle that is most authentic to who she is.”

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