Where To Find Wholesale Suppliers With A Difference
The standard place to find wholesale suppliers is at trade shows. You see it yourself which shops buy predominantly at trade shows, they all carry the same stock, the same vases and the same jewelry, the same bags and the same cushions are everywhere and you’re stuck trying to find anything different.
That’s why shops that have a range of different suppliers that aren’t at trade show end up getting such a good name for having something different that is perfect. Let’s face it, who wants to be the same as everyone else?
It is fine to have some goods from trade shows but not your entire inventory. A mixture of trade show suppliers and ones you’ve sourced yourself can create a product mix that your competitors don’t have.
A particularly important bonus of having suppliers that your competitors don’t have is pricing. You can set your own pricing on pieces that others don’t have. Yes, you need to see what your customers will pay but that could be a 20% premium on standard recommended retail prices. Sometimes you can get products that just don’t have any local competition you your customers will pay a premium for them. This can only happen for goods that you’ve found somewhere other than your local trade show.
So go hunting online for ideas. Often you’ll be able to find independent designers or makers of goods who have their own website and you can order directly from them. They might be overseas and this often gives you an added advantage with your competitors because of the distance you’re bringing them in from. Payment really isn’t a challenge because of the convenience of PayPal and credit cards. You might want to get insurance for the goods in transit so you are covered or loss or damage but that would be the same as when you are getting deliveries from local suppliers.
Different currencies shouldn’t be too much of a problem as you figure out the exchange rates and look at what the costs are in your local currency. There are heaps of online currency converters you can easily check out.
If you are shopping in US dollars or UK pounds from places like Australia, Canada and New Zealand you’ll find the currency difference to your advantage and they are all stable and democratic countries with healthy growing economies. So are more than safe to do business with. If you’re importing goods from some European countries such as Germany, you’ll need to double check about insurance as some don’t offer it. The simple solution might be using a more expensive delivery service like FedEx or DHL. Don’t let a little exploring stop you from getting that special supplier that gives you the edge in your area.
I have a number of overseas customers who love having a successful and popular jewelry range that their competition doesn’t and they have found me online. I like doing business with them because they tend to be the ones who are building successful businesses and place regular orders with me.
Sometimes you have to follow up inquires with businesses you’ve emailed because technical problems do interfere with emails sometimes and when they do you usually have no idea about it. So if you like a designer and didn’t get a response to your email send another. I know I’ve had some emails get caught up in my spam filters, had emails sent to the wrong email address, get caught out when a mail server went down, arrived when I was away on holidays so were answered when I got back, there’s all manner of reasons so follow up to get who you want.
When you are making contact with a potential supplier get a conversation going with them either over the phone or via email so they get to learn about you and you about them. I get some email requests saying “Send me your wholesale catalog” and nothing else. I don’t send them any information. If they can’t be bothered writing a proper email to introduce themselves and have some manners then what sort of customers are they going to make, difficult ones? Are they really customers or are they trying to market research me as their competition?
People who have a wholesale supplier side to their business only want to give their prices and product information to authentic customers, not people trying to get the wholesale discount for personal use or businesses who are spying on you.
With information you can build trust and sense of who they (you) are. So tell your potential supplier who you are, what your business is like, what your customers are like, what you like about their products and how it might fit with your business. Provide contact and postal details so information can be sent to you.
Remember your suppliers are human as well and good manners and sincere interest goes a long way to create good relations.