Selling Online


I have a question and I am hoping that those of you that sell both
retail and off of your own web sites can help me with.

I’ve recently had my baubles picked up by a store…they love them
and are doubling my wholesale for their retail. I know that this is
how this works and that’s not my question…my question is this…I
am putting these baubles up on a small web site and am going to be
selling them there, as well as in the retail stores. How should I
price the items that are on my site compared to what the price
points will be in the stores? Should my web site retail match that
of the shops or should I price a bit above what my own wholesale is?
This is how the shop owner explained that I should price my online
baubles…take my wholesale and add something like 8 or 10% because
no other stores would do business with me (carry my baubles) if I
sold my items online at retail prices because it would be direct
competition with them…it doesn’t make much sense to me since my
view is that I’d rather have the same item on my web site that I’m
selling in their stores at the same price point they’re offering to
the public (rather than cheaper) so I don’t undercut my retail
outlets and get them all honked off to where they drop me because
I’m pulling business away from them with lower prices. I really want
to have the exposure of having my jewelry in the stores that I’m
approaching and have the items on my web site too. Not everyone can
get to New Jersey, Denver or Ketchikan Alaska to buy these
baubles…I don’t want to be dropped like a hot potato because I
pull business away from them with lower prices. Does this
convoluted explanation make any sense??

How should I handle this pricing dilema and is the store owner right
about selling my baubles off of my web site for less than her retail
price…because again…it doesn’t make much sense to me but I’m new
at this and would REALLY appreciate the help.

Thanks in advance and I look forward to hearing from you soon!

Camille Rafa

Camile, Why not create a totally separate line? Do not compete
directly with your vendors.


Why not use wording on the website to the effect of: “wholesale
quantity pricing available”. That way an individual customer wouldn’t
choose the web purchase over the retail outlet based on pricing, but
another potential retailer who would be buying baubles in larger
quantity gets the same wholesale rate as any other retailer. So
retail is retail, and wholesale is wholesale but with a minimum
quantity purchase of 6 or 600 or whatever.

Ginger Meek Allen
Little Cottage Studio


I cant understand the logic of this shop owner?? has she gone off
her rocker?? I have always had Gallery owners, shop owners etc: ask me
to sell online at the same retail price they use, that way "yeah"
your not rubbing their noses in it, and your not competition. She
sounds a bit confused to me, maybe she thinks that you are thinking
of using the online service to sell to retailers, that’s the only
sense I can make of her advice to you. To cut a long story short, you
should add 100% on top of your retail price, that’s a standard
procedure. Wont it be nice to cut out the middle man and reap the
harvest, maybe in time you`ll leave her out of the picture

Wishing you great success!
Dublin, Ireland

Camille , You should not inform any store you are selling anywhere
else as it is none of their business unless you have a signed
exclusive contract to only supply that one store.

Price you items at full retail and offer an email address for

my agent (agent hehehe) made up a formula to help me but it should
include cost of materials , overhead if you rent a studio and have
equipment keep up and at least pay for minimum wage for hours in
item. Then double it and that is wholesale…retailer do anywhere
from 40% to 500% markup so in reality it is better not to even ask a
retailer about their prices.

Most of the time I determine the least I will take for it and be

America’s Only Cameo Artist


I’m certainly no expert here as I just started my business last
September, but I have run into the same issue of pricing - web vs.
retailer. In my case, most of the pieces I sold to a retailer at
wholesale prices were offered in the shop for the same price as my
website. A few pieces sold for slightly higher retail prices, but
the difference was never more than 15%. I certainly don’t think
that selling on the web at only 8 - 10% over wholesale is a good
idea; surely you deserve some profit for the work you sell, and why
would a customer want to buy from the shop when such great savings
could be had on your website? It seems a very odd strategy on the
part of the retailer.

In terms of making your case to the retailer, I think you’ve hit the
nail on the head by pointing out that not everyone can get to the
store, while the website is available worldwide. In addition, you
might add that customers near the store will save a bit by not
paying shipping if they buy from the store, and that you can direct
local customers to the store through your website as well.

Hope this is somewhat helpful…good luck!

Jessee Smith

Hello Camille,

My personal experience with others selling my work is limited, but
in every case the store or gallery asks - nay, stipulates - that my
selling price be at least the same as theirs. That would mean you
should price things on your website to be the same as the store’s

I think your reasoning is correct. You also make more $$ by
eliminating the middle man.

Judy in Kansas, where last night’s storm left .8 inches in my rain

Judy M. Willingham, R.S.
B.A.E. 237 Seaton Hall
Kansas State University
Manhatttan KS 66506
(785) 532-2936 FAX (785) 532-6944

Hi Tina,

Thank you so much for responding to my post…this is kind of
confusing for me and I’m just getting started with getting my
product into retail venues - so I’m not very experienced and they
don’t really prepare you very well for this sort of thing in

I don’t know what the shop owner was thinking, to tell you the
truth…I asked her what the markup would be, explained that I would
be putting up a small web site for my baubles and that was the
that she gave me…take my wholesale and add 8 to 10
percent on top of that…I thought I was mistaken and asked her to
clarify…same the second time around. I think I’m
going to just take my wholesale and double it - just as she is doing
and add a line and link for other retail outlets that may be
interested in buying wholesale.

I don’t know…I’ve gotten several suggestions to create another
line so I don’t compete with my retailers…but this will be
difficult since the items I’m selling through these venues are each
custom created.

A description of my baubles in a nutshell - I hand make each of the
clear glass hollow bead and then fill it with pink or blue colors of
glitter and cap the bead off with either sterling silver, white,
yellow or pink gold and one end of the bead has the baby’s name and
the other has the baby’s birthdate so each is individual and unique
even though the bauble is the same.

I also make another line with happy words on the ends and the
glitter colors are different…four sizes including a charm bracelet
size - tiny but very cute. I do well with them and there really
isn’t a whole lot to change about them so that advice won’t work in
this situation. My instructor at school suggested that I get a
copyright on the two styles because he thought they were unique
enough and because the idea was mine and he thought I should protect
it. My sister is an international flight attendant and also sells
them for me when she travels - she wears hers everywhere. Very
humble starts but I agree…it really WOULD be nice to eliminate the
middle man some day and reap the rewards of your own labors. But
right now I sort of feel like they are a necessary inconvenience in
order to get my product out under peoples noses and hanging around
their necks! :slight_smile:

I’m not sure if i should list a page of retail locations on the site
or not…that’s another point I’m a bit stuck on (someone said that
I should not even mention it because the other retail locations are
“none of their business”) so I’m not really sure what to do about
this…questions questions…it’s really a bit frustrating, to tell
the truth.

I don’t know if I put the link to the site in my original post or
not but it’s Right now, it’s
still a “Coming Soon” but I will probably have it done by the end
of this week. At least it kind of give you an idea of what I’m
trying to describe - sometimes I’m not that handy with descriptive
verbiage. If you take the /babybaubles off of the end of the URl,
that is the address for the site I have that shows some of my
beadmaking (I actually make the beads in the pieces)…which is how
I came about with the baubles…I made the beads and started
stuffing them with anything I could fit into them…then stumbled
across the glitter idea…sent my sister shopping in South America
for me…and here I am trying to figure out how to market them

I really appreciate the help and the advice, Tina. Do you have a
website? I’d love to see what you do! (I love clicking on the links
that the Orchidians put at the bottom of their posts. Some of the
jewelry is just so amazing. I’m fascinated by repousse (sp?), metal
chasing and cloissone but will never do it myself…but I certainly
love to look at it and marvel at the handiwork involved!) How is the
economy for you over in Ireland? The midwestern area of the states
over here really kind of stinks - people are more interested in
getting bargains and are always asking if I’d sell my jewelry for
less than I have it priced at…no problems on either of the coasts,

Looking forward to talking to you again! Hope you are having a
great weekend!


is the store owner right about selling my baubles off of my web
site for less than her retail price 

Absolutely not! How would you feel as one of your retail customers?
I would certainly be unhappy if my suppliers sold the things I bought
from them for less than I could sell them to the general public.
After all, a wholesale price is supposed to be available only to
those who buy in bulk then resell the item for more money, not to the
general public. Although some businesses do this (sort of.) Most of
them actually do charge a low retail level price and just say it’s

A good example of doing it right is one of my bead suppliers. They
are a wholesaler, but also have a retail web site. Their retail
prices are high enough that their wholesale customers (me) can
compete for the retail business on a fair footing. Their beads are
just a hair pricier than my typical marked-up price. Their advantage
in the retail end is the wide range of colors and styles that they
offer, not their pricing.

I suggest that you only sell at a wholesale level to bulk buyers
(and I don’t mean a quantity of 5) but offer them at a fair or maybe
a slightly high price on the web. That way your retail store
customers can compete and still make a fair profit.

I know it may seem extravagant to charge that high a price when you
know the actual cost of producing the item(s), but it is, after all,
retail. Just because it’s the Internet does not mean that it’s not a
real business. Yes, some businesses on the Internet are cheaper than
retail stores because they don’t have the same overhead. However, in
your situation, I think it would be a little like shooting yourself
in the foot with your store customers to charge less than what they
do after a fair mark-up.

Sun Country Gems

take my  wholesale and add 8 to 10 percent on top of that...I
thought  I was mistaken and asked her to clarify. 

Ummm, (clearing my throat) Wholesale generally means its 50% less
the final retail price. As a gallery owner (and jewelry artist) I
would laugh at 8-10 percent markup! You seem to be very new to
this… (nothing wrong with that, but you need to learn the rules.)
I made the mistake of trying to sell at wholesale prices to the
public when I started out too!

Oh…I know that…the wholesale price is offered to retail venues
but I was not sure how to price the baubles on my website - I did
not want to put them up on the site lower than what the retail
stores are carrying them at and was very confused at what the woman
told me. I am very new to this - I’ll admit - I have a lot to
learn! :slight_smile: I just don’t want to undercut any of my retail outlets. I
kind of thought an 8 to 10% markup sounded a little funny but I am
wondering if she meant add 8 to 10% onto the retail price…how do
artists that you deal with handle this if they also have their own
web sites that they sell their product from, in addition to your

Thank you very much for the I really do appreciate the
generosity and help of everyone on the Orchid board!


I think what the store owner is telling you, is to add 8% to 10% to
the wholesale price before doubling for Retail. Thereby making your
work higher than it is being sold in other retail outlets.

Ken Gastineau
Gastineau Studio
Berea, Kentucky

You are right. Do not undercut your retailers. Your website is
supposed to support your national marketing of your line - and to
serve customers not near one of your retail outlets. You need to
support them and NOT entice customers AWAY from them with lower
prices. Your jewelry needs to have a standard wholesale price that
creates a standard retail price that is what every customer would
pay for that jewel regardless of where they bought it.

Good luck,
Cindy Edelstein
Jeweler’s Resource
“Improving Your Business with Information & Insight”