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Used to sell wholesale

I currently sell wholesale and have been for the past 1-1/2 to 2
years. I am very seriously considering getting out and moving back
into retail - which is where I started. My experience has been that
I can’t get enough volume to price reasonably enough to compete with
the wholesale market. I did fairly well last year - but to be
honest, the money doesn’t matter to me anymore at this point. I look
at some of the prices on the wholesale jewelry and wonder how they
can possibly make any profit on some of the stuff. Also, at the
shows I’ve been to, I was probably the minority - actually making the
jewelry myself and using semi-precious stones and precious metals.
It’s been a frustrating time this past year. I’m just finding it’s
not worth the time and effort. My reps want new samples every 8
weeks and between designing new samples and filling orders, I’m
really starting to resent feeling like a production line. More
important than the financial reasons, is that I feel selling
wholesale and always feeling the pressure to produce new items under
deadlines is really hampering my creative side. I’m losing a lot of
the enjoyment I once had when designing jewelry. I’d love to hear
from others (offline or online) that have had the same experience in
wholesale and moved to retail sales.

Catherine, I can really sympathize with your feelings about the
deadlines that wholesaling demands. I got a lot of wholesale accounts
at the Boston Buyers Market of American Crafts about 10 or 15 years
ago, and did it for several years after that. The last summer of it,
I actually got hives from the stress of trying to fill orders on
time. I had to hire a studio assistant to get all this work done, and
I finally figured out that she was making more money than I was at
the whole thing. I stopped going to wholesale shows, and eventually
most of my accounts petered out. I now sell to a handfull of local
stores in my region, and sell at retail shows (8 per year), sell in
selected consignment galleries near where I live, and do custom
commissions. I am making less jewelry, and more money. It is working
for me. By all means, consider changing how you do business if you
are not happy. There are many ways to strike a balance, so shake
things up a bit and find your ideal way to sell.

– M’lou Brubaker, Jeweler
Goodland, MN