When sales are slow and production is steady, some handmade artists consider marketing their goods to wholesale clients or taking a chance on a “Daily Deal” site.
Online wholesale companies or daily deal sites all work differently, but they have one thing in common: a large subscription base in which they can promote your products to new and interested buyers. Here’s a little roundup of these companies, so you can compare the facts and see if one might work for your handmade business.
Fair Ivy may be interested in buying your handmade products for inclusion in its surprise gift boxes.
Here’s how it works. If you have something you’d like to offer for wholesale, you can e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. If they are interested in one of your products, you’ll be given some more information on how the process works. Fair Ivy will pay 40% of the normal retail price for your product (so they’ll buy a $10 item for $4), buying anywhere from 40 to 100 of your product (with the average being 60 items). They will also reimburse you for shipping charges, and then mail out your handmade goods as a part of their surprise gift subscriptions.
A benefit to working with Fair Ivy is that you do not have to mail out many individual orders. You will, however, need to package each item as if you would send it to a dear friend, gift-wrapped with information about your handmade shop and the process you used to make the item. Once your items are wrapped and Fair Ivy has agreed on the number they will purchase, you can expect immediate reimbursement via PayPal.
During the month your craft is featured in a Fair Ivy surprise package, you are forbidden from blogging about it or sharing the news on social media sites. However, after the month is finished, you are free to reveal the surprise and your shop will also be featured on the Fair Ivy website. Visit Fair Ivy on Facebook.
The easiest way to describe Heartsy is Groupon for Etsy. Basically, handmade sellers (most have Etsy stores, but some use other mediums), offer a “deal of the day” for Heartsy members, which is at least 50% off normal retail prices. They benefit from having a large amount of traffic to their shop and many orders in just a few days. The orders are shipped directly to the buyers, and never transfer through Heartsy headquarters. Heartsy makes its money by charging buyers a small $1 to $3 transaction fee and selling VIP memberships at $7.99 per month.
To be a featured seller on Heartsy, the first step is to register and set up a free account. Once registered, the seller submits their work to be voted on by fellow registered users. Voting remains open for 3 days, and the stats are compiled to see if the artist’s work would likely translate into sales. Heartsy staff reviews the submission (can take several weeks) and will get in touch with the potential seller to further discuss the deal.
If the seller is accepted, Heartsy will work with them to finalize the best pricing strategy for their deal. For instance, the seller might offer a $19 voucher to their shop, but sell this for $9 to Heartsy members. There is an extra incentive for Heartsy VIP members, which means the seller will offer then am additional $10 of shop credit if they purchase the deal.
One Etsy seller had this to say about selling on Heartsy: “I would recommend it one time in your business career. But be overly prepared for the biggest storm! I thought I was pretty prepared, but find myself still catching up after 3 weeks. So it’s definitely a lot of work, but worth it for the increased exposure!” Visit Heartsy on Facebook.
Sellers are featured for 24 to 48 hours, and Very Jane collects orders for the seller. After the sales period is complete, the seller obtains a spreadsheet of everyone they sold to and their addresses. They can then make their product, and ship it straight to the customers. An advantage of Very Jane is that the wholesale products do not have to be made, and they can be made-to-order.
Very Jane takes a 25% to 30% commission (a higher fee on items priced less than $5, to cover credit card fees) for featuring its sellers. This does not include the shipping fee, which all goes to the seller. To ensure that the product and packaging is up-to-par, Very Jane requests that sellers send a sample product after the seller is booked but before they run their deal. Sellers can be featured multiple times on Very Jane. Communication with Very Jane is prompt and clear. Visit Very Jane on Facebook.
GroopDealz is a Daily Deal site that features crafters in exchange for a 30% commission on the purchase price of the product (not including shipping, which the crafter keeps). Half of the commission is awarded within 7 days of all orders being placed through GroopDealz. The other half is reserved until the featured crafter fulfills all the orders and marks them as shipped through the GroopDealz website.
One perk is that GroopDealz will cover all the PayPal and credit card fees, so the featured crafter doesn’t have to worry about anything but shipping products. In order to be featured on GroopDealz, the crafter must fill out a submission form and send non-returnable product sample to GroopDealz to ensure quality. On the downside, many Etsy artists who’ve tried to get featured on GroopDealz have noted that it can be difficult to hear back from their staff. Visit GroopDealz on Facebook.
Pick Your Plum
Pick Your Plum is a different kind of daily deals site, in that it offers craft supplies at a discounted rate. Think white t-shirts, ribbons and jewelry findings. But, some of the deals border on handmade goods, like personalized wooden signs, so this may be more of a direction in the future.
Deals go up daily Monday through Friday at 7am (MST), and quantities are limited. Their daily newsletter is the best way to keep up with the offerings, and perhaps more information for handmade sellers will be available in the future. Visit Pick Your Plum on Facebook.
Crafty Steals / Stitch Steals
Crafty Steals is a website that offers discounts of up to 90% off retail prices. They major in paper crafting supplies, and interested wholesalers can contact them at email@example.com for more information on having a product featured. Visit Crafty Steals on Facebook.
Stitch Steals is the fabric version of Crafty Steals, selling bundles of quilting fabric for up to 90% off. The deals are typically closer to 50% off retail prices, and past deals have featured layer cakes, fat quarter bundles, buttons and quilting notions. Interested fabric wholesalers can write firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on having a product featured. Visit Stitch Steals on Facebook.
Daily Deal and wholesale websites can offer perks such as:
- Increased exposure in a short amount of time
- Residual traffic to your shop after the promotion
- Reduced marking fees and often purchase transaction fees
But even with these perks, it’s essential to make sure you’ll still make a profit on your handmade goods after the numbers are crunched. With products flying off the shelves at 50% to 60% of the normal retail price, sellers need to count in all the expenses, including shipping and production costs. Also, it’s important to make sure you’ll be able to fill the orders in a given time period, so keep that in mind when accepting an offer.
Do you have experiences with any of these companies that you’d like to share? Please leave us a comment (or question); we’ love to hear what you think!
Out of 402 comments, the winner of the $50 shop credit to Mountain of the Dragon is . . .
#282 Cori! It looks like Cori is a quilter, so I bet she’s going to have a blast looking through the selection of modern designer fabrics. I just peeked at the shop, and there are even some sales going on!
Thank you all so much for the nice comments, and be sure to stop by the Giveaways Roundup which is updated weekly with contests from around the Web. Lots of chances to win fabric, craft books and handmade goodness.