A handmade business is built over time. Often, what starts out as our annual holiday handmade gifts, becomes the foundation of our craft show product line, and then evolves in to our online Etsy offerings.
A handmade business blooms with the encouragement of friends, our changing life circumstances (parenthood, anyone?), and the need to offset our crafty expenditures with a creative income.
The gradual evolution of the handmade enterprise means that most of us don’t start out with a business growth plan and the right next step is determined by the opportunities that organically come our way.
With that in mind, it is no wonder that it is hard to know when we are ready to sell to retailers.
To help you make that call, we looked at Megan Auman’s Sell Your Products to Retailers class and assembled some questions you can ask yourself to find out if it is time to expand into wholesale sales:
1. Do you want a consistent income?
On the surface, the obvious answer is yes. Who doesn’t want a constant flow of cash coming in?!? But let’s dig a little deeper. A consistent income is generated through consistent work and an unrelenting commitment to your business. If you are satisfied only selling at seasonal peaks or when the time is right for you, retail accounts might be more work than you want to do.
2. Is it time for your friends and family to see your endeavor as a business and not a hobby?
While the opinions of other people should not shape every business decisions, the support your network has to offer will change as your business changes. Selling to retailers, signals the seriousness of your intentions. Do you want you community to accommodate an increased need for time dedicated to making? Do you want them to register that you are running a business? Selling to a retailer usually does the trick.
3. Do you want your weekends back?
The craft show circuit can be exhausting. The time spent directly interacting with buyers can be educational and the opportunity to network with other makers is often invaluable. But spending weekends working a booth takes a toll. Working with retailers gives you the option to earn an income without hauling in an EZ-Up.
If it is time for you to start selling to shops, do yourself the favor of checking out Megan Auman’s Sell Your Products to Retailers.