10.22.2014

Wholesale vs. retail. Pie plates. Thoughts on business.

Pie plates! I've been working on a large order for a store in Seattle. They wanted pie plates and I was happy to oblige. Perfect for the holidays! We worked on some custom colors, too. Which is a nice change of pace.




For the most part, I rely on retail orders for my business. Mostly through etsy. Sometimes through shows.

This year has seen an increase in my wholesale work and has me thinking about expanding that part of my business. It is a whole other aspect that I haven't really dealt with a ton. I do have wholesale accounts and I do offer wholesale pricing. And I've been fortunate to have some good relationships with a handful of shops. But it isn't something I have pursued. 2015 will see that change.

Pricing for wholesale is depressing to me. It is generally at least 50% less than retail pricing. And still just as much work. The reward is a larger order and (in theory) more streamlined production. I recognize that I haven't priced my work correctly for this market- my retail price is a little too low to allow for a profit at wholesale pricing. And thus, I haven't actively tried to obtain new accounts.

(I place gallery work into the wholesale catagory- the pricing is similar, but is often consignment. I have no gallery accounts at this time.)


Working artists generally do a combination of both wholesale and retail. Some doing mostly wholesale, some doing mostly retail... but dipping into both worlds. It can be a tough balance. Especially when those really large orders come in and you have to set aside small retail orders to focus on fulfilling the large, overwhelming order.

Its seems that being a working artist involves an organic business plan and model. Things change, perspectives change, goals change. And as I head into 2015- I hope to be able to change my business. How, I am not real sure yet. And the first thing I need to do is revise my business plan.

How often have you changed your business plan? Do you have one? Is it actually written out? I'd love to hear some insights in balancing wholesale/retail or on picking sides and sticking to just one aspect. I'm always amazed that there are endless variations on how to run a business and how others have managed it. We often pick and chose what works best for us. And I love that, but I also think it allows us to stay in our comfort zone. And I'm all for getting out of your comfort zone. So my comfort zone is retail and what I have always done. Time to get out of that comfort zone!

Now, who wants pie?

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

Curious about your prices and minimums?

jeanette said...

Hi Anonymous,

Are you a store? If so, email me at jeanettezeis [at] gmail.com and I will send you my price list and terms.

If you are not and are just curious- my minimum is $350 and the prices are generally 50% of my retail price. I don't offer everything at wholesale pricing. It is in flux. I add designs regularly and stop carrying designs every year.

Christine Covert said...

I understand the need for stores to be able to price the work they sell at the same prices that would be found at craft fairs or artisan studios, but my retail outlets are such events as farmers markets where the clientele is less apt to be expecting to buy pottery for starts, and then to be paying gallery/store prices at such a locale. As a result, my pots are priced so to encourage the impulse to own and are thus somewhat less than what a bricks and mortar store might need to charge. Still, I receive more $$ from my retail clients than I would from wholesale. Some places where I consign have no issue with this, particularly those who are not in my neighborhood, but some shops will not buy my work at a price higher than half of what I charge retail, insisting on price uniformity. My intention this winter is to design and produce some items for sale through stores/galleries only, and to seek input on pricing limits in advance of launching the work. The good folks at Maine Crafts Association have offered to help me figure out my pricing, which is very out of date since I returned to making pots after a many years absence during which time I rarely frequented shops, galleries, or craft fairs due to a financial inability to purchase such items. So I am together with you on not making some items for wholesale at all, while needing to have some year round retail outlets to fill in around my selling season at farmers markets. Best fortune to both of us.

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jeanette said...

Hi Christine!

Yes- I think it is important to understand your own pricing so as not to undervalue your pottery but also what your own customers and market will support. And if that means a separate line for wholesale and retail, I think that is smart. It is great that the Maine Crafts Association is willing to give you some advice! I'm sure both the market and your own financial needs have changed a great deal during your absence. Best of luck to you!

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