INTRODUCTION: “How to Half Wholesale” Series

A reader emailed me recently. She’d just paid big money for a professional consultation on how to take her business to the next step.

The advice? Ramp up production to a huge level, and do a major wholesale show.

Unfortunately, that’s not possible for this craftsperson at this point in life. And as someone who tried to do just that, I’m here to tell you that even if you had the time and money to do just that, it still won’t necessarily bring you what you want.

First, wholesale shows are no longer a sure thing to build your business. And second, is that the kind of business model you even want?

I wrote back with some suggestions that the reader said was hugely helpful. And I realized, “Hey, this would make a good series!”

So with her permission, I’ll spend the next few essays discussing ways you can grow the wholesale side of your business, without turning your life over to mass production and without investing thousands and thousands of dollars on the wholesale show circuit. I’ll even suggest ways to do a wholesale show without breaking the bank.

And as always, I realized that in my good advice is the answer to the questions I’ve been asking myself these past few years, too. Help you–help myself. It’s a good trade.

Author: Luann Udell

I find it just as important to write about my art as to make it. I am fascinated by stories. You can tell when people are speaking their truth--their eyes light up, their voices become strong, their entire body posture becomes powerful and upright. I love it when people get to this place in their work, their relationships, their art. As I work from this powerful place in MY heart, I share this process with others--so they have a strong place to stand, too. Because the world needs our beautiful art. All of it we can make, as fast as we can! Whether it's a bowl, a painting, a song, a garden, a story, if it makes our world a better place, we need to do everything in our power to get it out there.

11 thoughts on “INTRODUCTION: “How to Half Wholesale” Series”

  1. Luann, you’ve been so supportive! I can’t wait for you to do this series. I’ve follow up on your advice from several months ago and as usual it worked! Thanks again for being you! Hugs & Peace.


  2. I agree, it’s a great idea for a series, Luann. For those of us who’ve rejected the idea of wholesaling, maybe it’ll give reasons to reconsider…?


  3. I agree, it’s a great idea for a series, Luann. For those of us who’ve rejected the idea of wholesaling, maybe it’ll give reasons to reconsider…?


  4. Oh geez, Jennifer….the pressure! The pressure! :^D

    Seriously, I’m going to share ways to do wholesale at various levels, explore niche markets, and how to be successful no matter how much selling you choose to do.

    But I know you all have great experiences and ideas here. So please feel free to join in with your suggestions, your experiences, and your questions–okay?


  5. Count me in! Can’t wait. I love your series. BTW, are you still thinking of writing your books?



  6. I’ve just done the Philadelphia Buyer’s Market for this first time (Feb 08)…I work in clay and I do one of a kind pieces. I don’t know if it translates to 2D, but folks do buy one of a kind at that particular wholesale show. That said, I agree that going wholesale is not necessarily the answer you are looking for…the aisles to my eyes in this oldest and biggest wholesale crafts show were practically empty. So much so I paid a good deal of money to skip my contracted August show with them.


  7. Tammy, thank you for your report on this year’s BMAC. I agree, my experience is, yes, we CAN sell OOAK items at wholesale shows. All of my fiber work is OOAK, and I sold them at the BMAC for 8 years. (What gets hard is when it’s time for the store to reorder!)

    The BMAC doesn’t “demand” mass production work–the jewelry consultant said that’s what’s required for “success”. And recommending a major wholesale show may be overkill. If an artist only needs half a dozen good accounts to achieve a certain level of success, there are other ways to achieve that without incurring expenses of $5,000, weeks out of your life, and the stress of developing, making and shipping a booth, lighting, display and inventory.

    I hope this series not only redefines and expands on what kinds of wholesale options are available, but what kinds of success are available, too.

    Wholesale shows are A way to grow a business. But not the ONLY way. They used to be a GREAT way to grow a business, and still can be for some people. But they are definitely not a one-size-fits-all proposition.


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