Questions on Purchasing for Wholesale Sales

by Amy.
(Jackson, Tennessee USA)

I am thinking of making the leap into selling my jewelry wholesale to boutiques.

Amy: Questions on Purchasing for Wholesale Sales 1

I have only been making jewelry for a little over a year and have great reviews from clients, from the boutiques I work with (but they are consignment & I don’t want to do that any longer), and I have been featured on Elle-France website.

I have started making my line sheets, getting a website (other than my etsy shop ready) and have my prices figured for the retail and wholesale markets. What are the best strategies to do this when it comes to purchasing supplies and making the items?

Amy: Questions on Purchasing for Wholesale Sales 2

I am relatively new and small so while I do have a lot of supplies on hand I also don’t want to spend a fortune on bulk materials before having a large sale and no guarantee that items will sell.

I have also purchased some pendants (like photos) that are featured in my designs and I’m worried if I have certain jewelry items listed on my line sheet and then go back to my supplier I may not be able to order more stock.

I have asked the supplier if these items are something they normally have in stock, but I have not heard back yet. Just looking for advice on what other jewelers do or have done when starting out selling wholesale.

Do you purchase bulk in hopes of a wholesale order or order your supplies when that big order comes in? (And it may be a combo) — just looking for ideas! Thanks!

Soma Lynn at Etsy

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  1. Great question, Amy! I’m at the same place in my business and am interested to hear what others have to say on the topic. For the time being, I’m going to follow what I’ve been doing on the retail side which is make a handful of styles in bulk that I heavily promote and use them to drive traffic for my limited edition and one of a kind pieces. At this point I have a good understanding of what my top sellers are and definitely buy those materials in quantity. In order to be competitive on the wholesale side it will be absolutely critical to contain costs as much as possible and also have enough on hand so there’s not a huge lag in fulfillment time. Best wishes on this new chapter of your business!

  2. Personally, I buy in bulk, make my designs and literally peddle them to retailers. Generally, I charge 1/2 to them as I would charge on Etsy. It’s a nice income stream, even though some of them have gone out of business, I just try new ones. Consignment is not an option for me because I would rather keep my stuff under my own control in my Etsy store. Good luck and don’t be afraid to ask retailers, all they can say is no but yes feels really good. Oh, and make sure you have excellent business cards.

  3. I would talk to your suppliers and know what their turnaround times are for the supplies that you would need. Keep a chart, too, so you have that info handy. If there are items that would take a long time to come in, you might want to consider pre-ordering those.

    Then, I would calculate how much time it would take to produce an item, from placing your supply order to making your items to having them packaged and ready to deliver. Make sure that you have as accurate an answer as possible, and it might be advisable to build in a couple days of wiggle room to account for holidays, errors, etc.. Then, when negotiating with a wholesaler, you can ensure that the delivery date that you promise is a true one, and you can comfortably fulfill their order on time.

  4. I don’t sell my jewelry wholesale but I would buy a supply (2-3 dozen) of the unusual components so that I knew I had them and then buy the more common items as I need them.

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