Just came back from my first huge wholesale show in NYC - the JA
show at the Javits Center. I partly went out of curiosity and also
because I was hoping to find some different types of silver chains
for my pieces that I create. Well, I was quite overwhelmed (almost
1000 vendors) and quite impressed by what is out there. For the
most part I hadn’t a clue of how to purchase items. There were a
few vendors who were very helpful with what I wanted, but most of
the time I was quite inhibited. Many times I was quoted prices of
keystone. I had thought from reading the archives that keystone was
double the wholesale price, but since this was a wholesale show and
we had to just about give our first born in order to qualify for
entrance, why would I be quoted keystone? Very few vendors quoted
prices as net (which I believe from reading the archives is the
wholesale price.) When I could get up my nerve at a few customer
friendly booths, I did ask if the price was wholesale and what my
minimum order would be. I do know that the more you buy the better
deal you are given, but still, I felt way out of my element. Being a
one man operation who sells work thought galleries and high end fine
craft shows, for the most part I would not be purchasing a ton of
jewelry at most booth. I also think that with such a huge
selection, many buyers would be tempted to purchase one or two of a
few unique pieces for their stores from several vendors. Can anyone
give me some pointers so I can feel more comfortable when I attend
my next wholesale show? ~Elle
Just came back from my first huge wholesale show in NYC - the JA
Please forgive me, but this sounds like an attitude problem on your
part. You sound like you’re approaching the vendors, “with your hat
in your hand,” begging them to do business with you.
You are the customer! They need people like you to stay in business!
Since you ARE a legitimate ‘one person operation’ who buys
merchandise to resell, many (if not most) of the vendors would be glad
to do business with you. If you find someone who ‘puts you down’ or
wants you to ‘jump through hoops’ before doing business with you,
remember that you are spending your good money for their merchandise,
and just move on! A show with a thousand vendors is a buyer’s market.
David Barzilay, Lord of the Rings
Can anyone give me some pointers so I can feel more comfortable when I attend
Elle, I sell mostly at retail craft shows but before that I worked in
jewelry stores and every year I went to the JA show in NYC twice a
year. There is an air of exclusivity and security there, that for
several reasons, can cause a person to be intimidated. But, if you
have a legitimate reason for attending the show don’t be
intimidated. There are companies there (mostly designers) that want
and need exclusivity and have high requirements for orders, but many
of the others are happy to fill orders as small as one item. You
have to take the time to ask what the terms are, that’s all. If you
don’t like them go to the next company.
While most of the vendors are there to take orders from established
clients, they are all looking for new clients and send their best
and most charming salespeople. They may get a little tired and
stressed from having to work at such difficult shows but they’ll be
professional and polite.
Even though they are in the wholesale business, many try to sell in
terms that retailers are familiar with, and many retailers think in
terms of how much they will have to sell an item for, not just how
much it will cost them. Though this is not the way you think, it is
something that you’ll just have to put up with. It is true that
there are many things you can get a better deal on if you buy in
bulk, not every company has such price breaks, but you should always
It’s better for me right now to use companies that offer something
like one stop shopping. So I try to find companies that can offer
me selection. I like to buy chains from Herco in San Francisco, CA
because they have so many great contemporary chains styles in 18k
and pt, my two favorite metals. I have an excellent diamond
supplier but I am still looking for companies that sell colored
stones. As soon as I have more time to devote to my line I will
start looking for more companies that specialize in individual
areas. That is when I will start to go back to wholesale shows.
But for now the only wholesale show I will attend this year is
Tucson. Another really great show is the MJSA show in NYC. There
are lots of companies there who specialize in selling to other
wholesalers, designers and manufacturers as well as to retailers.
Hope this helps
Elle, Many wholesale vendors do both retail and wholesale shows and
it is easier for them to just price them at retail, therefore
avoiding the problem of having retail customers trying to buy at
wholesale. Keystone does in fact mean twice the wholesale cost and
as a retailer with a legitimate tax license you would be able to
purchase their product at wholesale prices.
If you are legitimately reselling the work most of them won’t
question a new buyer who only starts with one or two pieces. Quantity
discounts are up to the individual dealer and they will vary a lot in
what they are willing to do. I think it is best to find someone
selling the quality of product you want and keep going back to them.
As you get to know them (and they you) you will find out more about
their policies and eventually, as they begin to see you as a regular
customer, you should be able to get some discounts from them.
Finally don’t be shy. The dealers are there to sell. They are
looking for people like you. Get in there, tell them what you do,
and make some purchases.
Hi Elle, A good show to buy chains and findings for jewelers is the
MJSA show. There is usually a show at the pier or the Javits Center
in New York City in March, and there is also a show in Providence
Rhode Island. The MJSA show is geared for the jeweler. The JA
show is geared to the jewelry store or gallery buyer.
I hope that is the you were looking for.
Aloha, I have found vendors at jewelry shows to be snobbish, stand
offish, and sometimes down right rude, and uninterested. When asked
the cost, I would get a flippant answer, offense to any potential
purchaser. Rudeness in return would solve the matter. The truth lies
in purchasing one item, large or small, to melt the exterior the
vendor displays. Once you are their customer, prices drop
immediately. The more you buy, the greater the discount. The mere
fact was simple, you don’t buy, I don’t have time to talk with you.
Vendors are there to serve. I do not think the gentleman was timid.
I think vendors can be coarse and rude, unless they know you are the
genuine buyer. Then the situation changes to accepting you as a
buyer. I’m am blown away by some of your answers. It makes me feel
like I never want to venture into your store. If you display the
same attitude on this site as you do in real life, the I say heaven
help us all. Sometimes you get more from a person with honey than
pouring vinegar on a wound. Politeness, courtesy, honesty, and
integrity is what buyers want. The want to be served. At the other
side of the sword, vendors should do the same for they never know
who has that next $1,000 or $1,000,000.00 check. It pays to be
respectful to all. When I sell, I sell. I don’t shy away from people
wanting to buy from me. I welcome it. It’s my bread and butter. In
my house, there is never enough bread and butter. I can always use
more. A small company could develop into a huge, dynamic force but
I bet they would remember who gave them the best service when they
were small, and a new alliance would be built upon the foundation of
genuine concern for all customers’ needs, whether they purchase or
not. Just because one does not purchase at that moment, doesn’t mean
they wouldn’t buy in the future. I believe if you give your best
side, it returns 10 fold and more. Sugar begets sugar and foulness
begets foulness. Don’t do to another that you don’t want done to
yourself. Nature’s Law.