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Wholesale minimums?

I “am” a small and fairly young niche business that specializes in
making pet-themed jewelry from sterling charms and stone beads. I
just got a wholesale inquiry from a retail pet supply store, my first
wholesale request. It caught me unprepared!

I’m sure I should have some sort of minimum order requirement, but I
don’t know how to determine what to require. I just want to avoid
having people order just one thing at wholesale, or ordering one
piece of each type of charm I carry, that sort of thing. What works
better for you, a minimum order amount requirement, or a minimum
piece requirement? Can anyone offer other suggestions?

Oh yes, and what’s a good way to determine prices for items sold at
wholesale to a reseller?

Thanks in advance,
–Kathy Johnson
Feathered Gems Jewelry

Kathy, Your post on what to do with wholesale brought back a humorous
incident that occurred during my beginning years as a silversmith.
My wife wanted to make some spending money on the side. I carved
some fetishes and made molds. I turned the fetish making business
over to her. She and the kids did the wax injection, sprueing, I
did the casting and they did the finishing and stringing. She took
on the job of selling them wholesale one at a time. One customer
was having great success in selling them in his store so he asked
her what price he could get if he bought in quantity. She didn’t
know what he meant so she asked me. I explained to her that
normally a person will get a discount if he buys in quantity. I
explained that she might give a discount if the customer bought 25
and a greater discount if 50 were purchased. The price would go
down if he ordered more at a time. The pricing was entirely up to
her. Well, about a week later the customer came back and asked what
discount he could get for volume buying. The original price of one
item was $15. My wife, in all seriousness, told him that if he
bought 25 the price would be $18 each and if he bought 50 the price
would be $20 each. A very puzzled customer asked her if she had
calculated the discount correctly. She answered she sure had. He
explained that he expected to get a better price on quantity. She
said making fetishes was only a part time job and she did not want
to get committed to making 25 at a time. Her customer walked away
befuddled. He continued to order but only at a pace of a couple per
day. In all seriousness you pose a question that has no specific
answer. You have to determine what your purpose in making jewelry
is. Do you plan on making a living on your talent or is it just
going to be a hobby. If you plan on selling wholesale and retail
you have to determine the cost of making a piece and then add on the
profit you feel comfortable with. This should be your wholesale
price. The markup you add to the wholesale price if entirely up to
you. Many wholesale customers will expect to buy a keystone, 1/2 of
the retail price.

Remember you should not under sell your wholesale customer and once
you set a wholesale price it is difficult to increase it.

I admit that I am not a large supplier of jewelry and creating my
art has basically been a hobby business for me so my opinions may
not be as complete as other people at orchid. I am sure you will get
a lot of great posts that will help you in your step into the
creative world.

Good luck
Lee Epperson