Selling Crafts Wholesale
Home Based Craft Business

Selling crafts wholesale could be the best way to expand your home based craft business but there are a few things you need to consider before selling your crafts wholesale. Selling wholesale crafts requires a different focus than selling at retail.

Selling crafts wholesale. Wholesale show booth with plush snowmen.

Whether you are starting a craft business or have been selling your craft items on eBay or at craft fairs for years, you might want to consider how selling your crafts wholesale could add to your bottom line.

This may seem counterintuitive.

Wholesale prices are lower--just 30-50% of retail. But you could more than make up the difference in volume. Also, wholesale sales may be less expensive and time consuming to make.

As a wholesaler, you might need to attend just 1 or 2 shows per year. If you pick the right shows, you will take enough orders to keep you happily productive and even more happily flush all year.

Even though wholesale shows charge higher fees, this may be less expensive than the 8-12 retail shows you are currently doing.

I don't mean to suggest that you can't do both. The teddy bear artist I used to work with did just that.

She would go to NY Toy Fair and IDEX to take most of the wholesale orders she needed for the year. Then, if she had the time and excess inventory, she would exhibit at her favorite retail craft shows as well.

Barbara enjoyed interacting with the collectors who bought her bears. If you are more introverted, you may want to wholesale exclusively.

Selling Crafts Wholesale vs Selling Crafts Retail

Selling crafts wholesale. Nice jewelry display at a show.

This is a much better way to display jewelry than laying it flat on a table.

In selling wholesale crafts, you are dealing with store owners. Their needs are significantly different from those of your retail customers:

  • They need the products in their hands by the agreed upon date. Do not take an order unless you are sure you can produce and ship the items in time.

    This is the biggest worry store owners have and it's what makes them reluctant to order from a home craft business they have not dealt with before.

    It is customary to take their credit card number when the order is placed but you should wait to charge them until the order ships.

  • The other big concern shop owners have is that an unprofessional craftsperson will later undercut them on price.

    If you continue to sell your crafts to retail customers, be sure not to offer discounts on the same products that your wholesale customers are selling.

    If they hear from a customer that you are selling the same craft for $25 at shows that they are offering for its full retail price of $40, your relationship with them is over.

  • Another thing wholesale buyers hate is when the artisan attaches their contact info to the product, thus encouraging the shop's customers to make any future purchases directly from the artist.

    If they see that your crafts are labeled this way, they are unlikely to order from you.

  • Selling Crafts Wholesale
    Craft Trade Shows

    There are many more craft trade shows than the few I've listed here. Each show caters to a certain niche market within the craft world.

    To best reach your target market, find a show (or 2) that specializes in the type of crafts you produce.

    New York Toy Fair

    If you make toys--collectible or for kids--this is the show to do. Floor space at the show is sold per square foot ($22-$35).


    IDEX is a show for makers of dolls, bears, plush or other toys. The 2011 show took place in Orlando, FL.


    The Cottage Industry Miniatures Trade Association hosts 2 annual trade shows. One on the west coast of the U.S. in January, the other on the east coast in June.

    This is the show for makers of doll house miniatures.


    The Buyers Market of American Craft requires that all crafts exhibited at their trade shows be hand made in America or Canada.

    This is the place to find buyers for your high end gifts, jewelry, and accessories. Buyers from boutiques and galleries will be in attendance.

    BMAC is offering a 2011 Artist Stimulus Package to help new artists with the cost of exhibiting.

    Selling Crafts Wholesale
    Making Money at Wholesale Craft Shows

    1. Make your display stand out. There will be a lot of other exhibitors in the room. Place featured products toward the front of your booth to catch the eyes of passing buyers.

    2. The more well-known you are before selling crafts wholesale, the better. Build a web presence using social sites and niche blogs.

    3. Do at least a few retail craft fairs first in order to gain experience and polish you presentation and communication skills.

    4. Consider sharing a booth with an artist whose craft compliments yours but does not compete with it.

      You can meet and network with prospects on sites like Etsy or DaWanda where you are currently displaying your work.

    5. Invite any buyers you have met or press contacts to stop by your booth prior to the show. Send them a postcard with your booth number on it. That way, they won't have to hunt you down.

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