Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Wholesale: It's Not for Everyone

I think it's important for crafters who sell their work to have a clear picture of what their goals are, especially how hard they want to work and how much time they have to devote to making products. I see a bias in many crafting forums that everyone should be dying to wholesale their products and try to get them into brick and mortar stores.

That option doesn't interest me. It's way more work and devotion than I'm willing to spend, given all the other things on my plate and this stage of my life. I'm not a hobbyist who dabbles in soap. I've been doing this for 10 years, and sell a lot of it. For full price per bar, with a couple notable exceptions over many years to friends who opened stores and needed a price break.

Of course there's nothing wrong with wholesaling. But it's hard enough to make an appreciable profit selling soap (or earrings, birdhouses, baby blankets, etc.) as it is. When you wholesale soap, for example, you better be committed in terms of laying out lots of money for materials and work time. You're going to have to do it on a very large scale, because you're only going to make about half of what you would selling it retail. I know and admire many women online who do so and support their families that way, but it's not for me.

Even though I have in my Etsy Policies page that I do not do wholesale or consignment, I still receive regular convos about wholesaling, offering me mere pennies over what I spend to make soap. When I decline politely, sometimes I am treated to protracted arguments about how wrong I am not to sell wholesale and (always a chuckle for this), they are just trying to "help" me make money.

Uh, thanks but no thanks. It's nice to have extra income from making soap, but I don't want to do it full time. I suspect there are lots of people out there who think like I do about this issue. It's not wrong or dumb. It is what it is. A choice.

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