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How to Find Craft Supplies from the UK & Abroad

By: Rachel Newcombe - Updated: 17 Oct 2012 | comments*Discuss
 
Crafts Craft Supplies Uk Abroad Internet

If you’ve set up a crafts business selling raw materials for craft products, then stocking your shop and ensuring you’ve got the best selection of products available is likely to be your aim. So how do you find great craft supplies from the UK and abroad?

When you’re starting up a crafts business, part of your research before you embark on it should be to find relevant wholesalers in the UK and, if appropriate, abroad too. Finding reliable suppliers, who have a good range of well-known and unique crafts products available, is crucial, as with supplies your business may not survive. Getting craft supplies for a good price is important too, as you’ll have to subsequently sell them for a higher price in your shop or online store in order to make a profit.

Depending on the exact crafts products you’re intending on stocking, there are various craft suppliers available. The big name wholesalers and crafts companies are well worth approaching, even if close competitors are already selling their products, as customers will always want basic supplies and well known names. But it’s also good to try and find some unique products to sell too, or even specialise in, as this can add to your unique selling point (USP).

It may take more hard work in the first instance to find unusual products, or for you to negotiate with foreign suppliers, but it’s worth it in the end if your shop or store becomes well known for the unique products it sells.

Doing Your Research

It’s important to do your research carefully and find out what’s available from where. The Internet is a valuable research tool, as you’ll be able to locate specialist suppliers quickly and effectively, whether they’re based locally to you, nationally or internationally.

Alternatively, seeing which products any competing stores or shops sell is helpful too. If you happen to know the proprietors, then you could always enquire to see who they buy supplies from – if they’re willing to tell you. But you should be able to get a good idea from looking to see which makes of products they sell. The major craft manufacturers and producers usually sell stock to businesses, as well as to consumers, so if you’re in the dark and can’t find specific craft wholesalers, then approaching craft producers is the way forward. If they don’t sell direct to trade, then they’ll tell you straightaway and usually give details of any wholesalers they sell to.

Once you have located relevant suppliers, either phoning or emailing them should be all it takes for you to find out if they’re taking on any new buyers and whether they’re willing to ship supplies abroad to you. Many of them make use of the Internet by having a catalogue online, whilst others operate large warehouse stores which can be visited by trade customers. Either way, they should have a good stock and you should be able to buy any seasonal products well in advance, so you’re stocked ready for customers.

If you are buying from abroad, then don’t forget that you may have to pay a surcharge on top of the fees to the suppliers for tax and customs charges. In the UK for example, only parcels sent from the US and costing £19 or under in value aren’t taxable. Parcels from abroad can take varying times to arrive – sometimes they’ve amazingly quick, but if they get held up in customs and inspected, then it can take longer.

Once you’ve found and purchased from a wholesaler or trade stockist, try and build up a long-term relationship with them. Over time, you may get to benefit from special offers and extra discounts, which can be a positive benefit for your business.

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