Why do the wholesalers exclude people? Is it just to avoid
collecting sales tax? I ask because one would think an easy
solution to wanting to give lower prices to "the trade" than
retail purchasers would be to base price on quantity. Anyone who
buys quantities is likely going to resell, in which case, they
probably will (and should) get a resale certificate; whereas others
would pay more.
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics:
Wholesale is the resale (sale without transformation) of new and
used goods to retailers, to industrial, commercial, institutional or
professional users, or to other wholesalers, or involves acting as an
agent or broker in buying merchandise for, or selling merchandise, to
such persons or companies.
Wholesale usually involves the sale of goods in large lots, raw or
semi-processed materials, or large-volume transactions
According to “Distribution Services.” Foreign Agricultural Service
(February 9, 2000).
Retailing consists of the sale of goods/merchandise for personal or
household consumption either from a fixed location such as a
department store or kiosk, or from a fixed location and related
The business value in this model is very common-sense. Think about
the advice on this list about when you have items placed with a
gallery. If I have 4 of the same necklaces for sale, and a gallery
has 2 of them, priced at $400 each, it’s NOT in my best interest to
sell the other 2 on my website or at a show for $250, even if that’s
what the gallery paid me for them. I would be undercutting my
retailer, and setting up a really bad relationship. They have
additional costs of sales/promotions to sell my pieces, for example.
And if, for example, everyone could purchase "have it your way"
products from Stuller or the other to-the-trade suppliers at the same
price as those of us in the trade can, there would be no “trade” for
us to be in.
As retailers (even or especially those of us who create
one-of-a-kind pieces), we add value to the raw purchase in many ways,
prior to selling that item to the consumer. That’s the role of the
retailer (adding value). The value added can be:
Creation of new pieces based on the raw materials purchased
Education/Advice for customers so that they make good choices
Assemblage of various components into unique combinations
Convenience of gathering a diversity of goods into a single place
… and anything else you can think of Your “job” as you break into
this business is to become a retailer. Once you do that, you can
purchase from wholesalers. The more you develop that relationship
with a wholesaler, the higher your volume, and the better the price
that they can pass along to you.
If you are a retailer (no matter your student status… I’ve been
doing this for a bunch of years at this point and STILL take classes
on a regular basis… but that doesn’t mean my student status defines
me within the trade), you have the same rights and responsibilities
as anyone else selling to the public. If you are selling at retail
shows, that’s appropriate. If you’re trying to become a WHOLESALER
(doing the wholesale shows), you have to be able to demonstrate your
capability to fit the definition of a wholesaler…quantity, ability
to reliably service accounts, etc.
On the other hand, if you’re talking about ATTENDING wholesale
shows, again, you have to show that you truly are a retailer and will
do enough volume business with the trade suppliers that it’s worth
their costs to deal with you… it’s not worth the bookkeeping costs
for them to service a one-tiny-order-a-year account. That means
setting yourself up professionally with a business/sales license (if
required in your locality), business cards, and a track record of
selling to the public. If you can meet those criteria, you can
register and attend and purchase at the wholesale shows. Simple as
Hope this helps to clarify things a bit.
No Limitations Designs
One-of-a-kind, Hand-Crafted Jewelry