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Hi there!
I don't believe I've ever posted here before, but I've been watching the comm for awhile. The reason I'm posting now is because I need some help, and have seen other artists post for some advice on policies and whatnot.

I recently started selling some of my crafts online on Etsy. I am very new to the game and really have no idea what I am doing. Last night I got an email from another user asking if I accepted custom wholesale items. Now, I'm not quite sure what a custom wholesale item is, which is the first area where you guys come in. I'm thinking it's a bulk order of the same item or something? But I'm really not sure, and I'm afraid if I ask the guy, it'll make me look like the newb I am XD

Also, since I am very new to the selling, I don't have any policies set-up. I really set up my shop just to test out the waters. Reading this community, I am terrified of getting ripped off or worse, becoming a bad commissioner. Does anyone have any advice or perhaps a template on how I should write and word my policy/TOS?

I was quite busy last night (yay graduation!) so I was unable to reply to the possible customer. I would like to get a reply to him as soon as possible, so any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Since this took a few days to get posted, I went ahead and contact the potential buyer back.
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He never specifically answered by question about what he meant by 'wholesale'. He has only one feedback message on Etsy, and has only sold three items since he has moved his shop to his own personable website.

I quoted him a price for what I charge for my plushes anyways, but he has yet to respond back. Once he replies, I'll ask him again what he means by wholesale. Since he does have his own website, I'm thinking he does intend to resell the plushes.

If he would be reselling the items, should I still take the commission? I would really love to do this commission, but if he does intend to use them as wholesale, what should I do? Should I ask him to credit me on his site, and include a link to my shop? Are there any other sort of precautions I should take?

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( 13 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 15th, 2011 03:04 pm (UTC)
"Wholesale" implies that you're the manufacturer, and will be selling the items to a retail market, who gets to resell them. So... either they are using the wrong terminology, or they intend to resell your items for a profit. So yeah, they probably want a bulk order, preferably at a slightly discounted rate, since they're buying in bulk.

I'd just tell him that you've not done it before but would consider it, and ask him specifically what he wants.
Jun. 15th, 2011 05:52 pm (UTC)
I edited the post to include more information.

He does want a bulk order, but never answered by question as to what he meant by wholesale. If he does want to resell them, do you have any suggestions for how I should proceed?
Jun. 15th, 2011 06:04 pm (UTC)
I would just assume he wants to resell. Approach it the same as any other commission. Do make sure that credit is given to you, though. Have him list you as the manufacturer or creator in some way. I also would be careful not to give him too much of a discount for a bulk order, since these are all handmade items.
Jun. 15th, 2011 08:23 pm (UTC)
Do make sure that credit is given to you, though. Have him list you as the manufacturer or creator in some way.

Agreed! Perhaps put together a "wholesale contract" that requires you be credited for the work (maybe sew in a small tag with your name & web site on it?) and only offer a slight discount for the merchandise, because you want to be paid what your time is worth.

I offer wholesale pricing on some of my items and have sold a few things this way - I sell some pieces through a local costume store - and have not had any issues at all with it. She only receives a small percentage off of what I sell the items for - they go for full retail value that I charge on Etsy, but she only keeps ~30%. Not a terribly high retail mark-up, but really it all depends on what type of venue the re-seller is selling through; a shop featuring a lot of handmade or locally-made works will usually take a lesser cut than a retail shop selling items made in China where the wholesale price tends to be 50% or less of the retail pricing. So keep that in mind. :)
Jun. 15th, 2011 09:25 pm (UTC)
I asked him directly and he said yes, he was planning on selling them at craft fairs he frequent. I asked him to credit me, and he said he would link back to me on his site, and that he is currently designing some packaging for the plushes and will put my contact info on it.

So yay! Very happy that this is working out. Thank you (and everyone else) for your help and advice.
Jun. 15th, 2011 03:29 pm (UTC)
I would ask for clarification. No idea what that means.

"Wholesale" usually implies bulk discounts, and bulk discounts do not apply to a handmade item that's no less work to create in bulk. When a manufacturer offers a bulk discount, it's because it's more efficient for them to run the machines for a long time on one setting without having to stop the line and change out the settings for a new item. You'd still be doing the same amount of work for each and every item, most likely, so a bulk discount wouldn't make any sense.
Jun. 15th, 2011 03:34 pm (UTC)
I do bulk discounts on my handmade things sometimes, partly in appreciation for them being a great customer, and because it's easier to (for example) sell 20 things to one person than to sell one thing to 20 different people.
Jun. 15th, 2011 05:56 pm (UTC)
I edited the post to include more information.

I quoted him a price for what I'm listing my regular plushes at. I agree with you: it would be the same amount of work as if I was doing 12 plushes, so I really wouldn't feel comfortable offering any sort of bulk order discount. He hasn't responded to my quoted price yet.
(no subject) - fenris_lorsrai - Jun. 15th, 2011 03:33 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jun. 15th, 2011 06:20 pm (UTC)
I edited the post to include more information.

Thanks for the advice. I was planning on working out the pattern and then doing one completely through to make sure it came out okay. And to give the buyer an idea of what it would come out as.
Jun. 15th, 2011 06:18 pm (UTC)
But I'm really not sure, and I'm afraid if I ask the guy, it'll make me look like the newb I am XD

Asking for more information doesn't make you a newb; it makes you responsible. :)
Jun. 15th, 2011 06:22 pm (UTC)
Haha, thanks. I'm new to this whole thing, and haven't had many sales. I didn't want to scare this guy off by seeming stupid or something. I added a screen cap of his message, and he never directly answered what he meant by wholesale. I'm going to take jakejynx's advice and just assume he will be reselling them.
Jun. 20th, 2011 03:25 am (UTC)
"Wholesale" generally means that they want to buy 1+ things, probably at about half of your normal price. (Wholesale is generally speaking 50% of retail.) If you don't want to do it at half price, don't.

Also, if you DO go for it- make very sure you have been paid in a non-renegable form before sending the goods. Else they might order 12, you give them a hefty discount, and then they decide to return 11 of them and do a charge-back on Paypal or whatever. I would not do such an order unless they paid by check or wire transfer, or unless my delivery time was well past Paypal's 45 days for charge-back AND I made very sure to send them via registered mail with return receipt, so I had a signature on record that they'd accepted the delivery.

Also, make it clear that all sales are final, and you do not accept returns unless they contact you first and you agree. They bought it, they own it is what you need to make clear- though most of the people who want to buy "wholesale" also want to be able to return things whenever and get all of their money back for them. No. Then that is not actually a purchase.

In general, people who contact new sellers asking about "wholesale" are not on the up-and-up, in my experience and opinion. If he doesn't answer you back- well, that's probably a good thing.
( 13 comments — Leave a comment )


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