Considering wholesale?

There is a few things to think about when it comes to wholesale, and unless you are currently doing wholesale, or you own a shop – then chances are you will know very little about it.  Please take note all example prices are in pounds – just pretend it’s in your currency instead… they are just examples.Here’s a few points to take into consideration if you’re hoping to wholesale your pictures:


Shop margin:

You get a whole load of cards printed.  These cost you £1 each to have printed.  Proper nice cards with envelopes and all, and you’re well chuffed.  You yourself would like to earn £2 per card, after all it’s your talent on display, and then it’s the time it took to process the image, and order the cards.  Which means, each card would have to be sold for £3.

Shops work on a 2.5 – 2.8 margin, I will use 2.7 as an example here, as I’ve found that more and more shops have increased their margin to that.

The margin means – if the shop buys the card from you for £3 – then they will take that price and times it by their margin:

£3 x 2.7 = £8.10

Do you seriously expect anyone to walk into a shop and buy a card for £8.10?  The answer is simply no.

Chances are the shop would be able to sell cards for £3.50.  That means, for it to be viable for them to purchase from you (it’s no point for them to purchase items that doesn’t sell), they would have to buy one of your cards for £1.30.  Would you be happy with the 30p profit you make?

Now, unless you know how the retail business works, you might think “greedy bastards – they could have stuck 50p on top of the £3 and sold them for £3.50!”… let me explain…

If a shop bought 10 cards from you for £1.30, that ends up costing the shop £13.  They are retailing the cards at £3.50 each.  It is not until they sell the 4th card that they start going into profit, before that they were just covering the initial outlay.

Out of the profit they have overheads.  Many overheads.  They will either have a mortgage on their shop, or pay rent.  They will have business rates, and possibly VAT/tax.  They will have electricity, phone, internet and water bills to pay.  They will have staff wages (and if employees, they also have to pay them even when they’re off on holiday + getting extra cover for the shifts).  They will have accountant bills to pay, and insurances.  There is also the upkeep of the shop, advertising, stationary, etc, etc, etc.

Suddenly the 2.7 margin doesn’t sound that bad does it?  😀

So take into consideration on how much you want, how much they need to price it up to, and see if it all adds up to something that could actually work.  For example, you might be able to get free prints online, and buy cheap and cheerful frames at the poundstore.  Suddenly you got a small 6×4 framed pic.  Does it look like it’s worth a tenner?  If so, then you could sell it to the shops for £3.50 (making a profit of £2.50 yourself), and they could sell it for £9.45… and everyone is happy.


Prepare to be rejected:

You will be rejected.  Time and time again.  Are you prepared to be told “no” 9 times out of 10?  If not, then you might as well give it a miss straight away.

You will be spending hours upon hours on the phone trying to get appointment to show off your work, you will spend hours walking the towns and cities, lugging examples with you, in the hope that if you catch someone off-guard they’ll order some of your stuff.

However, you will learn it’s nothing personal.  This is business.  Remember – the worst people can say is no.  😀


Remember to take outlay into consideraton:

Not just what the product cost you, remember:  Phonebill from calling, petrol for driving.

How will you deliver the items?  By hand?  Then there will be more petrol involved (unless it’s the cornershop a stones throw from your house).  Are you gonna ship them?  Is the shop going to be paying for it?  Are you gonna be paying for it?

And time… oh my goodness you will spend time.


Get yourself a business card and an online gallery:

Business cards is a must.  Even when rejected, always smile and say “I’ll just leave you my details” (and don’t be scared of calling them back in three months time, persistance pays off!).

There are a few things that are important with a business card:

Make sure it represents what you do!  If you’re selling photos, don’t get a bloody card with a cartoon on it!

Make sure it has your name!  Who wants to get in contact with someone if they don’t know their name?

Make sure it has contact details!  You don’t need to hand out your home address on it, but e-mail address and phone number is a must, even if it’s just a mobile/cell.

Make sure it has a web address, where people can see your work!  This doesn’t have to be a snazzy website, it can be something as simple as a flickr account, or maybe your wordpress blog.  If they happen upon your card in the future, although previously rejecting you, it could very well be that they suddenly want photographs… and they will want to see what you’re offering.

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