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Is wholesale bussiness down?

Okay Orchidians,

I really need some words of wisdom because my crazy “mind” is
psyching me out. I am a wholesaler and I solely work with road reps.
The pase 3 months have been dead, which is somewhat normal after the
"Fall rush", however i really expected it to pick up by now and it
has not. One of the reps i picked up last season out of Seattle was
doing fabulous and selling my line with no problems. Since I got my
Sp/Su Collection out to her I have not really gotten any orders. She
did the Seattle gift Show with another rep of mine (they are a
compnay and the other one is in Colorado) and I expected big
sales…get this…I only got 2 small orders! The represent a
bunch of lines, so mine was not the only one at the show…BUT
STILL! I tried not to let this get me down thinking the buyers would
place orders later and still no orders have come it. When i spoke
with the rep she told me the response has been positive but not
strong. She has followed through with every buyer…old and new. no
one wants to r e order, or set up appts. When she recieved the line
in the mail she was so excited saying this seasons peices were
stunning and beyond beautiful. The only negative i can come up with
is that my prices are higher this time around. I am feeling so scared
about business and like it is out of my control. I am terrified to do
my own shows for fear of nobody placing orders…i would be
devastated. I am hoping you can come foreword with some stories
about the ups and downs of this business becuase i am having a very
difficult time pulling myself out of this funk.

Please…successful…or non-successful people out there, I really
need feedback and to hear it is going to be okay. I need help
pulling myself out of this doubt!!!

Thanks guys!

Laura :frowning:

Laura J. Designs
Laura Jackson

I own a retail store. I ask every salesrep what they hear from
retailers they do business with. General consensus is that higher end
stores and communities are doing good business. Price point sensitive
areas are not so good. Ofcourse this just applies to my geographic
area, Northeast. I’d venture it is similar around the country,

Maybe its time for you to take a hard look at your line and where it
is being promoted. Not just geographic but socio-economic. This
includes your price point and the reps themselves. If your line does
not sync with the stores your reps are visiting you need to do
something about it. Reps who carry multiple lines will show their
best lines first, because that’s in their interest. Your line may be
presented as an afterthought, an “oh by the way”. This comes after
the buyer has committed to the primary line. As a buyer myself I’ve
seen this repeatedly. When I buy, I reach a point of saturation
(quite possibly emotional) and I rebuff all further offerings, even
if they might be just what I need. This is MomandPopism. Small
thinking I admit. But its there. Extended terms might be a tool to
accommodate the shy buyer.

So what can you do? You need to assess whether your downturn is part
of a pervasive industry condition or due to your reps’ presentation.
They might be swell people but they are not bringing you results.

Do you get written reports of to whom and when your reps are
representing you? If not, get them. Then you can look at the stores,
and their areas and try to see some commonality going on. Call the
buyers yourself for some feedback. Do they think your line fits with
their clientele? Is it the higher price? Terms? Are they just being
generally cautious? What’s their outlook for the future? Stuff like
that. Stuff that may guide you in altering your line itself or its

Consider the feasibility of getting new reps. You might do better
with someone who’s new and hungry.

On a personal note…do not allow yourself to fall into the trap of
self doubt. It can sink you because you may never implement a plan.
Move forward, really, its your only viable option. Gather your
assess it, devise a logical plan.

You don’t need good luck, you need clear thinking. But "Good Luck"

Dear Laura and Orchidians ~

As many or some of you know I recently had to move my studio out of
an office building and back into the basement of my home.

I consider myself to be a successful designer, setter and master
model carver so this is not a question… however I have not seen
such a drop in wholesale since just after 9 - 11. My phone is not
ringing and very few orders are coming in. Not nearly enought to
support me so I am constantly looking for a job. The stress takes is
toll so I try to be upbeat and positive as much as I can. This in
month four of practically no business of any kind and all of my
customers say the same words slow, quiet, off, down and weird.

Margie Mersky

My phone is not ringing and very few orders are coming in. Not
nearly enought to support me so I am constantly looking for a job.
The stress takes is toll so I try to be upbeat and positive as much
as I can. This in month four of practically no business of any kind
and all of my customers say the same words slow, quiet, off, down
and weird. 

Hi Margie, your work is awesome and you are worth every cent you
get. The best I can do is add a link to your site. I can’t explain
why your work has dropped off. Is it that CAD CAM is marketed too
well? - STL images make a nice middle step. You should be able to
offer your work outside of the jewellery industry. I know a good wax
worker who went that way and did better.

It is not much fun here either. I am tempted to stop doing the bread
and butter work and just do the bits that pay; let it ride and go
under if that is the way it has to be, because I have no life
outside of my 60+ hr weeks. There are too many people offering cheap
and cheerful work to bother competing with their low wages and low
overheads and too many marketing gurus pushing cheap OS products
that look quite nice.

What I have seen most of all is that the retailers are not selling
many big diamonds because prices are cheaper online. There is no
stopping that and they have to tighten their budgets. The answer
might be branded lines. It looks like it works. Not much use unless
you mass-produce your range and that is impossible to do without
funds if the items are expensive/slow to produce. I digress…

It is hard to market custom work because there is not enough bulk to
push - it takes too long to do. Those that can are charging top
dollar and getting it.

Not an answer, I know, you have got me stumped.

Break a leg,


Dear All,

I am in both manufacturing and retail, and my wholesale is virtually
shut down with no orders. It is a small-volumn business to begin
with, but from small to zero is still a concern.

Normally for the Christmas season I make 75% of my stock and buy 25%
in pieces I either don’t make at all or are not cost-effective for me
to make. This past season my purchases were almost zero, and even
though sales were down again, I came out of the season in great
shape. I kept my own bench people busy and on the payroll, and the
only debt I had was for memo diamonds and my refiner bill.

Here in mid-Michigan I believe we are in a deep depresession, and I
seriously doubt there will be much improvement for the next two
years or more. I will survive as I own the building and my expenses
are modest, but after thirty years in this business I had hoped I
would be earning more than minimum wage.

Jon Michael Fuja


Other than the issues of the economics of the U.S., and the
economics of specific regions, there is another issue a wholesaler
should be aware of that I have experience of as a retailer,
particularly having a large quality sterling inventory.

What I have noticed is that sometimes we love a line, and it moves
slow or does not move. Some lines move well, and then slow or stop
selling. Some lines sell and sell and sell. What I believe is true is
that we have a certain repeat client= ele and once that market makes a
purchase, the line has to refresh with new designs, or it just stops
working for us. Some lines are much better at having new and diverse
designs and/or materials.

If your line was selling well before, and you raised your prices
between 10-20%, and you have new designs it is either the economy, or
your marketing. It is not the price as all wholesale has gone up.

I would think the reps have some idea of what the resistance that
buyers had in relationship to others lines that they were taking
orders for. I would ask them, color, price, selection, and try to
find out what lines did well, and see if you can see what that
company sells, and what was successful for them. The buyers are
responding to something about that line.

Business whether wholesale or retail is all about navigating
circumstances. Things change, and I believe that now with all the
competition and the way spreads so fast, things change

I like to say that there is a front end and a back end to everything.
The front end is making it, the back end is selling it. I have had a
retail store for 15 years, and I am in the process of developing a
line that will become my source of income so I can leave retail. It
has been a good run, and now it is time for a change. I am well aware
that as much time and creativity as it takes to put a line together,
it is going to take that much and more to market what I sell. I have
supported myself for 15 years making jewelry for retail, so there
ain’t no reason I can’t do it wholesale. Just another learning curve.

I want to maximize what I am doing, so I welcome the challenge that
each area brings. In each challenge I face I will achieve success as
I can acquire the skill and knowledge to be successful. Have faith in
yourself and persevere, you will be successful.

Richard Hart

Obviously I’m not a wholesaler, but I can tell you that despite
having the best Christmas season ever (in 25 years), January was off
and February has been way, way off. No rhyme or reason for any of
it. It would be great if I could explain these ups and downs (because
I’d be rich if I could) but the retail marketplace has changed
dramatically in the last 10 years and there are no traceable
patterns any more as far as I can see.

Daniel R. Spirer, G.G.
Daniel R. Spirer Jewelers, LLC
1780 Massachusetts Ave.
Cambridge, MA 02140