As you build your jewellery business you will need to buy materials, findings etc in larger quantities. Building relationships with suppliers and finding wholesale deals for buying larger amounts could bring significant savings to you jewellery business. For example, a single strand of a bead might cost £1.30 but you might find the same supplier sells them at £1 if you are buying 10 or more. But there are plenty of trade off in finding the best deals so we’ve put together some top tips.
- Start with suppliers you are already familiar with or can find out about easily. Look at the trade account options for bigger suppliers you might know off such as Creative Beadcraft, CooksonGold, International Craft for example – if you can’t find anything on their website, give them a call and ask if they do different prices for bulk orders and if so how much do you need to order.
- There may also be eBay suppliers that you’ve dealt with before to buy small quantities of materials and like the supplies you’ve received. It is worth contacting those sellers to see if you can negotiate deals for buying in bulk. It is something we have done successfully at London Jewellery School – the supplier will still make a profit and reduce their risk of being left with unsold stock.
- Quality is important – there is no point in ordering a large number of substandard items. If you are thinking of ordering from a new wholesale supplier ask to see samples first. Buying poor quality items, or ones where the colour doesn’t match the photograph, however cheaply, is a cost you may not be able to recoup.
- Make sure you check exactly what the wholesale deal is. Does the price you are being quoted include VAT or not? A whole sale price of £1 per item against a retail price of £1.25 is gret but if the wholesale price is “ex VAT” the actual cost will be £1.20 per item (unless you are VAT registered). Make sure you know exactly what you will be charged.
- Check what the wholesaler’s minimum order is – you might need to buy a lot to get the cheap deal per item.
- Make sure you don’t over-order. It is easy to get carried away when you see something sparkly at a great price. But ordering 100 of something to get the discount when realistically you’ll only use 30 is unlikely to make good business sense.
- Plan before you order in bulk. It is important to sit down and plan what you need. Try to predict how many of a particular piece of jewellery you expect to sell and what materials you need to produce it. Do this for each piece/design you produce. This will give you a realistic estimate for the materials you require.
- Be willing to contact suppliers and bargain.If your calculations say for example you will need 250 of a particular bead and to get the wholesale discount you need to order 1,000, is this a worthwhile deal? However, if the company sells in lots of 25 or 50 at its retail price, it may be well worth your time contacting them to find out if they would offer you a discount on ordering 300. This won’t be as cheap per item as the full 1,000 wholesale price, but it will be better than the retail price.
And one last thought. Researching new suppliers can be time consuming, so remember to value your time and set limits on your research so that you still have time to make and sell your pieces.