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Sarah Waggoner

Wholesale Basics for Etsy Shops

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As your Etsy shop grows, most Etsy sellers start thinking about expanding their handmade products into the wholesale market. But is it right for your business? From Etsy wholesale pricing to reaching retailers, Let’s learn more about wholesale basics.

What is wholesale?

First, what does it mean to sell wholesale? Selling wholesale is offering your products to retailers at a discount from your normal retail price. The retailers will then sell your handmade products in their own shops.

This can be in physical locations, like local retailers and gift shops. It can also be online-only boutiques that may be able to reach an audience outside of your own.

When selling wholesale, your products will be offered to these retailers with wholesale discounts that are historically at 50%.

But don’t worry, wholesale can still be profitable for your Etsy business.

Should you sell wholesale?

Because you’re selling your products at a large discount, the first thing you need to think about when deciding to sell wholesale is if your profit margin is where it needs to be to provide the typical wholesale prices.

Wholesale pricing is typically 50% off of the retail price.

Now, you can still make wholesale very profitable because you’re making products in bulk and not just selling one-offs like you do in your Etsy shop, but you do need to make sure profit margins are where they should be before starting your wholesale business.

Should you add wholesale listings to your Etsy shop?

While retailers don’t typically head to Etsy for wholesale purchases, there are some people searching for wholesale products on the platform. You can see this because the word wholesale auto-populates in the Etsy search bar.

Screenshot of wholesale search terms that autopoulate on etsy

You will want to do some keyword research to determine if retailers are shopping for your particular products prior to listing wholesale listings on Etsy, though.

Getting started with wholesale

There are a lot of decisions wholesale sellers need to make before jumping into this type of selling. Let’s walk you through the most important factors you need to consider before launching.

Wholesale prices

First and foremost, you need to decide if your handmade products can handle the typical wholesale pricing strategy of 50% off retail price.

Most retailers will expect these margins. If you are selling on a wholesale platform, like Faire, this type of bulk pricing is required to sell on the platform.

If your profit margin can’t handle this pricing, you will need to adjust your pricing strategy or look into another type of revenue stream for your Etsy shop beyond wholesale.

Included products

Most Etsy sellers should not list their entire Etsy shop on their wholesale platform. Listing only certain product lines keeps your wholesale catalog more manageable and makes it easier to fulfill each wholesale order you receive as you can batch-make your products.

Keeping your wholesale catalog small also helps your profitability higher because you can order raw materials in larger quantities.

Order minimums

A wholesale order minimum is the lowest total sale price that you offer for retailers. What makes wholesale profitable for handmade businesses, is bulk processing orders. This helps you make products quickly so you remain profitable when factoring in your time.

Setting a minimum order helps you keep each wholesale order profitable. They vary greatly from business to business, so I recommend researching your wholesale competitors to get a good idea of where your niche typically lies for a minimum order for both first and repeat purchases.

Shipping

You might want to consider using a new carrier for shipping wholesale orders. If your products take up a lot of space, your orders might be a lot larger in volume than your typical Etsy orders.

Getting larger boxes and shipping through UPS or FedEx can be cheaper than using USPS like you probably do for typical retail orders.

Traditionally, wholesale buyers will pay for their own shipping.

What wholesale platform are you going to sell on?

You do have a few options when it comes to where you want to sell wholesale.

You can sell directly on your own website, but this does require you to set up your own payment terms and to go out and find your own customers. That might not be problem for you if you enjoy marketing!

If that’s the case, create a list of possible retail vendors that could would make great first potential buyers. Make sure you have your website set up to make ordering easy. You can even set up a password protected page just for retailers.

Selling directly on your website can be great because you can keep a consistent brand look throughout the entire order process.

If you’re not up for doing all of the marketing for your wholesale business, you can choose to sell on a wholesale platform like Faire.

Faire is a marketplace (like Etsy) that allows brands to reach retailers easily. Retailers can search for products and browse through search results containing hundreds of wholesalers to find something they love.

Selling through Faire does add other expenses to your business. Faire charges a new customer fee as well as a certain percentage on each order. You can get more detailed information about Faire fees here.

Faire will also hold events where you can offer discounts to both new and returning buyers each year. These aren’t required to participate in, however, can be great for sellers looking to find new retailers.

Tips for selling wholesale as an Etsy seller

Selling on Etsy is quite different than selling wholesale. Here are some tips to make wholesale work for your handmade business:

  • Your wholesale price needs to be profitable when you include an hourly wage for yourself or an employee. Don’t take a wholesale order if your prices don’t work to remain profitable.

  • Using a platform like Faire makes finding customers easier if you don’t have a lot of time. Spend time researching Faire SEO to take advantage of the platform.

  • Participate in Faire sales events for more visibility

  • Wholesale typically does not involve an immediate payment. You will need to set net terms for retailers.

  • Consider attending a trade show for more visibility and networking

  • Consider starting with only your bestselling products on your wholesale platform. Your retailers want products that are proven to sell.
  • Not making consistent sales on Etsy yet? You might not be ready for wholesale. Learn more about getting more visible on Etsy here.

Frequently Asked Questions:

How quickly do I need to ship wholesale orders?

Wholesale orders are typically shipped slower than retail orders. Make sure retailers can easily see when their orders will be shipped prior to purchasing.

How can I find wholesale buyers?

Start by looking at local retailers. You can visit these shops to get an idea of what types of products they carry prior to emailing the shop manager to promote your business.

Remember that retail sales are very different from e-commerce. What sells best for you on Etsy might not work in local shops. So make sure to think like a retailer before pitching them!

What happened to Etsy Wholesale?

Etsy wholesale was an arm of Etsy that allowed sellers to create listings available for wholesale. Unfortunately, it was shut down in the summer of 2018.

At the time the wholesale program was shut down, Etsy recommended using existing tools on the platform to help you process large-volume orders. Specifically, they recommended using coupons and private listings to help your buyers purchase bulk orders. They also recommended using “wholesale” and “bulk orders” as tags in listings where wholesale prices might be available.

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About Author:
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Sarah Waggoner is a full time Etsy Seller with over $700,000 in sales. She helps handmade and digital sellers get daily sales on Etsy without all the complications.

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