Ok first my results...
I was accepted by Etsy wholesale in November 2014. I immediately had a sale and a total of 4 wholesale purchases in November. I averaged one a week in November. I was very happy with the immediate results. However I was a little suspicious that these sales were probably a result of the Christmas holiday that was coming up.
December I had no wholesale orders but on January 1 I got one order as well as one more in that month. February I had no sales and in March I had one. This month I have had nothing so far. To summarize:
Now I can't say that I am unhappy. I think these are good sales, and one was a repeat buyer, so that is great. However I need a lot more than this to turn this into a full-time job. I did a lot of fabric buying while I was in the US so I will be working over the next few weeks to update my wholesale line sheet with new patterns and hopefully new designs as well. I will keep you posted. But for now I will share with you the questions and answers by the lovely lady on Etsy who contacted me. I am going to post parts of the actual conversation to make it easier to follow along.
I just read your blog post from back in 2014. I've also been looking into etsy wholesale and haven't been able to find "real" reviews! Do you still recommend it? I opened my shop back in November and have been turning it into a full time gig. I am very interested, but want to hear first hand from an etsy seller.
Thank you sooo much for your time! Im sure you are beyond busy!
Awesome to hear someone reads my blog other than my Mom ha ha.
It definitely was worth it for me at first. You have to pay a $100 one-time membership fee and I earned that back pretty quickly. However I think because I joined right before Christmas I received quite a few orders right away(average one a week for 2 months). Since the first of the year, however, I have only had a handful (I would have to check but I think it's only been 2-3).
I still would say it's definitely worth it, but I haven't exactly figured out the formula for consistent sales yet. I actually was in the US recently and bought a lot of new fabrics. Now that I'm home I'm hoping to get my wholesale page updated and refreshed.
Anyway feel free to ask me anything you like! I hope it helps. :)
Thank you sooo much for replying! So I've been making a wholesale sheet to take to local boutiques and I think the lowest I can do is between 25-30%. Is that low enough that you think wholesale buyers will purchase?
What kind of buyers are buying from you? Boutiques? Conpanies? Local shops? I'm just so curious!
Last question, is there a lot of competition or have a lot of shops not joined?
Thank you thank you!
I totally understand your pricing dilemma. In general you should be offering 50% off your retail price to wholesale accounts. I have offered 40% for consignment in the past although I don't do consignment anymore because in my opinion there is too much risk and too much work to follow up on.
Even though nearly every site or business model you see will tell you 50% minimum, I believe there is always leeway for handmade businesses. And also it is your business so you can determine your pricing any way you want. The business will accept or they won't. One thing to consider though is that I believe Etsy wholesale requires it to be at least 50% so if you apply to sell with them you won't be able to use your %20-30 pricing.
Also remember a couple of other things:
1. You pricing might work for local stores because they don't have to worry about shipping. However that isn't a very big margin for a shop that has to pay for shipping on top of the cost of your items. They might not be able to make enough for it to be worth it for them to buy.
2. If you have different pricing for different situations you might run into future problems. For example if you only give a local store a %20 discount and the store goes online and finds they can get %50 off from you through Etsy they might not like that. In general the advice is to always keep your pricing consistent in all venues.
So what can you do? You have some options. You can go with the pricing you want and see what happens, or you can raise your prices so that you can bear a %50 wholesale price. Don't be scared to raise your prices to a reasonable price. Most people who are scared to do this find that after they do, they don't lose business and in most cases increase their sales.
All of my wholesale accounts have been small independent shops/boutiques in the USA and Australia.
There are a lot of shops on Etsy wholesale but the competition depends on your market. For example I make dolls for children and the market is really small which is a big benefit for me. If your market is something like jewelry supplies you will have a lot more competition. As I said I haven't figured Etsy wholesale out that well and I still need to do some more research on how to get noticed and stand out.
Casie Ohmgsh! Thank you for all of the wonderful advice!! I truly appreciate it! Many blessings to you, your shop, & blog!!! :)
If you have any of your own questions feel free to message me on Etsy, Facebook or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org I will continue to post updates as I learn more as well as all the other advice I can think of. Thanks for reading!