Self-Sufficiency Series

Monday, July 19, 2010

Wholesale or retail....hmmmm....


Folks keep asking us where they can buy a tankard. Trouble is, we're exclusively a wholesale business. We do a couple of retail shows a year and that's about it. I dunno, should I set up a retail page? Will it be worth it? Whaddaya think?

24 comments:

  1. They're really cool looking. My first thought was "where do I get one?" Setting up a retail page, even just on this site with the use of Google Checkout is really easy.

    - Ranger Man
    SHTFblog.com

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  2. Of course you should. Web space is cheap, taking CC's might be a hassle but start with paypal or something only at first and see what happens.

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  3. I have a great book you might consult as a resource guide to help your figure this out. It's The Home Craft Business and I feel certain the author will have included some relevant thoughts on this point.

    LOL

    Seriously, if you can figure out a way to do it without losing money or pulling your hair out and wasting time, I'd love to see you go for it. It appears to me your blog following is growing steadily...thanks also to WND?...and you've grown from 3 readers to at least five in recent months.
    Uh..Kenny...where are you???? lol

    Therefore this might be an idea that could build into a reasonably productive base. I mean, after all, it ain't like you're gonna be sellin' a bunch of purple velvet frammerjammers!

    A. McSp

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  4. Dealing directly with the paying public can be a real pain in the posterior. Be prepared for returns, complaints, "lost in the mail" and all sorts of other claims. These will undoubtedly be the rare examples, otherwise there would be no one selling online. If you can handle the time and expense of dealing with the occasional complaint, then why not go for it?

    Try it, you might like it. If you don't like it after trying it, you can always fulfill the orders you get and then pull the plug on retail sales.

    I mean, what else have you got going on in your life? LOL

    Anonymous Twit
    USA

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  5. Hi, Patrice,
    The wife and I would love to order a few of your tankards! If you can't sell them retail, could you at least let us know from whom we can buy them? Also, does dog fur break down in your compost pile? Dog and people hair is constantly jamming up our plumbing. It never seems to break down! Thanks.

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  6. LOL - okay, we'll set up a retail page. We're in the middle of a busy spate at the moment - I leave for Portland (OR) for a week starting Wednesday morning - but after I get back I'll try working on a retail page. Not sure how to handle the sales, it will probably have to be a "first come first served" deal or something since everything we make is different and unique. I'll think on it.

    AFA dog fur - yes, it breaks down in a compost pile. Takes while, though.

    - Patrice

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  7. I would totally buy one or two! If you would ship that far.
    Holly, Maryland.

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  8. Yes Patrice, you have so much sweat invested here that I would say go retail until you can't justify it anymore. AT has it right. It's a pain you can't get rid of but it could be a risk worth taking. This is from the point of view of someone who has never takin' a risk like this. Something to consider.

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  9. Oh, Boo!

    I wanted that one that's 13th from the left!!!!

    Bill Smith

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  10. I stumbled into selling microphones on-line back in 2000 when I had a few mics to sell. Since then the products I sell have expanded somewhat but still revolve around microphones of various sorts, one of which is a product I make myself (the others I buy wholesale).

    I have a full time day job in the audio industry, so these sales are very much a part time business for me. The on-line sales have added up to a very respectable side business for me.

    I believe what has made this work in my case includes the fact that I really know microphones, and therefore can answer customer questions much better than the average retailer. Microphones are also small objects that don't take a lot of space to store, and are light weight enough so they are not that expensive to ship. Various companies have asked me to sell their products, but I have kept things mostly limited to microphones and related products for the above reasons.

    The websites I use to sell these products are extremely simple, and I write the HTML code for them by hand after teaching myself how to do this by reading on-line sources of information. Most of my sales are paid for via PayPal, and I use the PayPal shopping cart system on the websites.

    I ship mostly via UPS Ground, but also use Priority Mail for some shipments. For international shipments it is often cheaper to ship via the US Post Office than to use UPS or FedEx.

    It seems to me that it would not be difficult for you to supplement your wholesale sales with retail on-line sales. You obviously understand your product. They are small enough that you could probably find the space to keep a small stock of them. They are not heavy, and should not be that difficult to ship. In many ways your proposed on-line retail business is not all that different from my small on-line retail businesses.

    Go for it!

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  11. Have you thought about putting them on Etsy? Handmade, one of a kind items, "easy" shop space set up, and you only need to post things for sale when you have them available, and you can link to your Etsy shop from your blog. Just a thought. I don't know what the fees are.

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  12. And just WHAT exactly, is wrong purple velvet frammerjammers? I have five in my collection and am looking to expand!


    Steve Davis
    Anchorage, Alaska

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  13. Last one of many I have bought I went to Valhalla renn fair at Lake Tahoe specifically to buy one of Don's mugs. Shipping from Idaho would definitely be cheaper. I need another one for my wife since I had to abandon mine when I left Kansas. (sure do miss my Ottar 2000). looking forward to your website
    Ottar

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  14. Have you considered adding some other items that would match the theme of the tankards? Maybe a really large tankard/ pitcher? Or bowls and plates with the same checkerboard pattern?

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  15. YOU LOST THE OTTAR 2000??? NooooOOOOOooooo....

    Nope, won't *ever* consider bowls, plates, etc., for three reasons. One, we don't use lathes (which are used to make round things like bowls and plates); two, it's too hard to bring a new product into wholesale production without a guarantee they'll sell; and three, too many other people already make those things for far cheaper than we could (go into an imports store to see what I mean).

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  16. Steve in Anchorage:

    There's nothing at all wrong with purple velvet frammerjammers...I have some too! But have you ever tried to wrap one of those puppies for mailing??? Whoa!

    A. McSp

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  17. Hi Patrice,

    We make and wholesale ulu knives here in AK. We have a website where we also offer knives for retail occasionally or people are welcome to custom order knives at retail. We have found a balance in doing so and haven't had a bad experience yet. (Did when we were selling on Ebay for a couple of years and won't go back it!) We also make wooden bowls but (so far) are only wholesaling those.

    It works for us! We are very happy using Zencart. It sets up easily, has the option of Paypal for payments and plugs into the USPS for convenient calculating of shipping.

    I think your tankards are very nice and it wouldn't hurt to try it and see!

    Best wishes,
    Tamara (AK)

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  18. Try these nice folks...
    http://donlewistankards.weebly.com/styles-and-prices.html

    Tanks 4 U

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  19. You can easily and quickly set up a blogger.com blog specifically for selling your tankards and insert the PayPal code with "Buy Now" buttons. I've done this for several years selling plan books and project parts. In fact, I have several such blog/web sites and they cost absolutely nothing. One example is at www.WhizbangCider.com

    Best wishes

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  20. only way your gonna know is if ya try it! if your doing only wholesale, then ya know someone out there is buying the product..sometimes it pays to cut out the middleman.

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  21. Patrice, I'd definitely buy one of those tankards to drink beer with!

    Jeff
    Olive Branch, MS

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  22. Yes you should - there is a FREE site called ECrater - www.ecrater.com which will let you set up a "storefront" to see from - sends all your items to Google to be searchable there and also will run payments through Google.

    The only thing you pay for is a little transaction fee that is taken immediately out of any payments done through Google.

    The only thing it costs you at the front end is a little time.

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  23. Personally I would look at what the difference between your wholesale price and the retail price are. Consider the amount of hassle and go from there. I do think it would really increase your total sales which does mean more money.

    Money or time, tis one of the biggest balancing acts of life.

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