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How to Find Wholesalers for Your Business

By: Rachel Newcombe - Updated: 16 Nov 2010 | comments*Discuss
 
Wholesalers Small Business Newspapers

Once you’ve taken the plunge and set up a crafts business that’s involved in selling craft products or raw materials, then you’ll need to find wholesalers you can use to purchase supplies from.

There are various ways in which you can track down potential wholesalers and, as with many areas of business, it’s worth exploring as many avenues as possible in order to find out which wholesalers would be the best for you to use. Wholesalers tend not to advertise their services so widely, and certainly not to consumers, so they can be a bit tricky to find in the first instance if you’ve not had any prior business experience.

If you’re keen to find a wholesaler in your local area, then the good old Yellow Pages, or Yell .com, is a good starting point. If you’re lucky enough to locate relevant wholesalers in your local area, then it can considerably cut down costs, as you could collect goods and avoid having to pay any delivery charges.

Depending on your area of focus, and especially if it’s quite specialised, you may need to look further afield than your local area and look on a regional or national basis. Checking in trade directories is useful, as you may find companies listed in there – you should be able to find relevant directories in a library, or via enquiring from business organisations. It’s also a good idea to browse the ads in any craft trade magazines or newspapers, as wholesalers often advertise within these. Again, if you’re not familiar with any craft trade magazines, looking at the magazines on offer in a library is often helpful for locating niche publications such as this.

The task of finding wholesalers has generally been made much easier thanks to the Internet, as many companies have an online presence. If you want to find wholesalers via this means, then try searching for ‘craft wholesaler’ and you should come up with a number of leads. There are also several wholesaler directories, which you’ll locate through using any good search engine, and this may bring up some relevant craft specialists.

The other great way of finding relevant crafts wholesalers is to attend one or more of the many trade events that take place across the UK each year. This is one of the primary ways in which wholesalers will advertise their services, so if you want to know who’s doing what and offering what sort of products, then you need to get yourself to a trade show and browse what’s on offer.

Sussing Out Wholesalers

Once you’ve found one or more wholesalers you’re interested in – and it is a good idea to try and use more than one, in case one goes out of business – it’s time to suss them out.

Whilst most craft wholesalers will belong to a trade association and be perfectly legitimate, there are unfortunately some unscrupulous businesses that set themselves up as wholesalers and are less than trustworthy. As a small business yourself, you need to ensure that the wholesaler you’re buying from is a legitimate seller of the products and is approved by the manufacturers, as you don’t want to unexpectedly discover you’re selling unapproved or illegal products.

Don’t be afraid to do a bit of research into the background of the wholesalers and find out how long they’ve been trading for, which (if any) trade organisations they belong to, what kind of shops and businesses they typically supply stock to and which manufacturers products they have.

The wholesalers should be happy to spend time talking through the basics with you and answering any questions. If you ask, they may well be able to provide references and contact details of current happy clients who’ve used their service. As well as finding out their background, some other important questions you should ask include:

  • What are their payment terms?
  • What are their return policies?
  • What do they charge for shipping and delivery?
  • How soon do they deliver orders?
  • Is there a minimum order?
Most wholesalers will have a minimum order in place and, as they sell products in bulk quantities, rather than individually, you will need to have cash at the ready to pay for your order. Although initial orders may have to be paid up-front, as time goes by and you become a regular buyer, more credit options may become available.

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