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Making the jump from retail to wholesale


Hello Orchid members. I have been doing the retail shows for
several seasons and am thinking about making the jump to some of the
wholesale shows. I recently downloaded the application to the Rosen
Group’s, Buyers Market and it seemed very complicated. Can anyone
suggest some ways to gradually make that leap? I would be
interested to know how others have done it and how they knew they
were ready. Also, what wholesale shows you think are the best to
try at first and how to be prepared for them. It seems like a
completely different ball game from the retail shows but I am
finding that traveling from show to show all over the place is
really keeping me out of my studio where I really need to be.
Basically, any advice would be helpful. Thanks so much.

Grace in Cleveland


Hi, Grace, My experience with this may not be encouraging. I “dipped
my toe in” wholesale, some years ago. It was facilitated by our
state’s artisan’s program (Illinois), who secutred space at a couple
of shows and let us use it. So I did a few wholesale shows, got some
accounts. What I found was: *you need a catalog. This is easier now
than then, with advances in home computing. * My accounts were all
with small boutique-type operations who ordered, essentially, one of
everything in my catalog. This was a pain, because I custom-made the
pieces-- I didn’t have a reservoir of ready work, really. * Most
important, I found that the only accounts I was able to maintain
were the ones with whom I could interact face-to-face. This means
staying local, or more realistically, being prepared to commit to
doing those shows every time they’re held, which may be several times
a year. And, unlike a retail show, after it’s over, you have not yet
begun to do the real work. It may be that none of this is a problem
for you. Or more than likely I went about it wrong, in some way. I’m
very reluctant to get locked into making the same piece over and
over. I don’t know how it works to retail one-off pieces, so I look
forward to the other replies! --Noel