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The Art of Wholesale: Tips and Tricks for New Designers

The Art of Wholesale: Tips and Tricks for New Designers

Suki McMaster blog wholesale tips

The February trade show is not always good for me so I decided to give it a miss this year but I always do well in August so I will attend the August trade show this year.

I receive messages from  new artists/designers every year asking how to prepare for the trade show so here’s some tips for you!

Suki McMaster blog wholesale tips for artist

Do Your Research

My first trade show was a complete disaster. Simply because I went to one that is not where my target audience shops. The event organizer can tell you everything that you want to hear and show you all the numbers that seem to “make sense”, but unless you actually go there and spend half a day to check out who’s going to the show, you don’t know if that’s true or not. And just like going to markets, just because someone’s telling you that trade shows are good, it may not be good for you, so always do your own research. 

Suki McMaster blog wholesale tips

Prepare your order process. 

Do a few role play at home, ask your friends to be a client and ask you questions like, how to order, where your products are made, what’s the minimum order, when will the products be ready, etc, 

Do you want to take orders on the spot? Do you want to take orders with your ipad? Work out a system. 

Allow extra time!

No matter how prepared you are, there’s always something you forgot, or didn't come in time, always  give yourself extra time so you can run to kmart or officeworks to get extra stuffs. 

Set your expectation

Just like going to markets, except making lots of money, there should be other objectives like getting feedback of a new product launch, increase your email subscribers by X, and at trade show, that maybe getting how many leads? or getting to know other exhibitors? 

And honestly it matters how many orders you took at the show, but it also matters how many shops order after and continue to order in the future, so don't let the numbers disappoint you, you have to look at it more like a long term investment. 

The shops that placed an order 7 years ago is still ordering today and to me, that's a great success of that trade show.

It's ok if you don't go

From a shop owner's prospective, trade show is for bigger brands that every shop has, so to me, sometimes it's boring and competitive, that's why I love to find my products somewhere else, maybe on Instagram, maybe from markets. 

My advice for you if you want to reach out to retailers by email is, please do your research and send all the relevant information. 

People send me emails about their products everyday, but most of them don't even know what I sell, like, we have a fun, colourful gift shop, and someone will send me a black and white packaging candle, so to me, it's like you haven't done your homework, and I won't even look at the content of the email. That extra bit of work to research who the shop owner is and what they sell is really important.

And if you think that shop is a good match, send a catalog or a few photos, your price list, website and social media. A lot of people reach out without price list, I understand that you may think it's a "secret" but we can figure out easily what the wholesale price is if we go to look at the RRP on your website, but for shop owner to do that extra step to research who you are is hard, if we don't have all the relevant information in one email, 99% of the time we just move on. 


So here it is, some tips from a buyer and exhibitor point of view. If you love what you're reading or think this is useful, leave me a comment or share this with your friends! 


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