Wondering how to sell wholesale on Etsy? My answer might surprise you, because I definitely DON’T recommend listing your products for wholesale in your Etsy shop.
In this post, I’ll go over some tips for making the transition from Etsy seller to wholesale business owner as seamless as possible. I’ll also share my experience journeying into wholesale. I’ll also be talking about Faire – which is a super easy way to get involved in Wholesale (and is basically like the Etsy of Wholesale websites!)
Research your target market
Research your target market: Before you start reaching out to potential wholesale buyers, it’s important to have a clear understanding of who your target market is and what kind of stores or boutiques might be interested in carrying your products.
Look for stores that align with your brand and target a similar customer base. Pro-tip: find some local stores that you think would be a great fit and actually go there! Walk in, take in your surroundings, talk to who is working about the store and their founding story.
This will help you find the perfect type of store for your products and make some connections in the process.
Create a Wholesale Line Sheet
A line sheet is a document that provides information about your products, including pricing, available quantities, and any relevant details. This is what you’ll use to pitch your products to potential buyers, so it’s important to make it as polished as possible.
But remember: Done is better than perfect.
When I created my first line sheet, I used a template from Etsy. If you go to Etsy and type in “Wholesale Line Sheet” there will be tons of options that pop up that make for an easy creation experience.
Reach out to Potential Buyers
Once you have a clear understanding of your target market and have created a line sheet, it’s time to start reaching out to potential buyers. You can start by sending an email introducing yourself and your brand, along with a link to your line sheet.
When it comes to finding potential buyers as a wholesale business, there are a few different routes you can take. Here’s some ideas, but remember, building relationships takes time. Sometimes you have to kiss a few frogs before you find your prince retailers:
Attending trade shows can be a great way to connect with buyers and get your products in front of them. Look for trade shows that are specific to your industry or target market, and make sure to have plenty of product samples on hand.
There are a number of online wholesale marketplaces that can help connect you with potential buyers. One popular option is Faire, which is specifically designed to connect independent retailers with makers and artisans from around the world. More on this in the “my experience” section!
Attending networking events can be a great way to make connections and introduce your products to potential buyers. Look for events that are specific to your industry or target market and try to attend as many as possible.
This can be a bit more time-consuming, but reaching out to potential buyers directly can also be a good way to connect with them. Try looking up store buyers on LinkedIn, or using google search to find their contact information. Follow up your message by sending them a link to your website, line sheet, or catalog
Ask your existing customers if they know of any other stores that may be interested in your products. It can be a great way to find new buyers, and they’ll likely be more willing to trust you since they’re coming from a referral from an existing customer
Ultimately, finding potential buyers will depend on your specific business and target market. It’s important to be proactive and explore different options, whether that be attending trade shows, joining wholesale marketplaces, or reaching out to buyers directly.
Once you’ve secured a wholesale order, it’s important to negotiate terms that are fair for both you and the buyer. This might include issues such as minimum order quantities, payment terms, and shipping costs. Just remember to be flexible, and don’t be afraid to walk away from a deal that doesn’t feel right.
Prepare for Increased Demand
Selling wholesale can lead to a significant increase in demand for your products, so it’s important to be prepared for this. Make sure you have a solid production process in place and consider working with a manufacturer if necessary. And don’t forget to stock up on coffee, you’ll need it!
Another great platform for transitioning from Etsy seller to wholesale business owner is Faire. Faire is a wholesale marketplace that connects retailers with makers and artisans from around the world. I like to think of it as the Etsy of Wholesale selling – you set up a shop similar to your Etsy shop and retailers can search on Faire and find products like yours to sell in their shops. You can even directly import listings from Etsy to Faire!
Some key benefits of selling on Faire include:
- Easy onboarding: Faire makes it easy to get started selling wholesale by providing a simple onboarding process and a wide range of resources to help you succeed.
- Large customer base: Faire has a large and growing customer base of independent retailers, giving you the opportunity to reach a wider audience and potentially increase your sales.
- Flexible terms: Faire offers flexible terms, including net 60 payment terms and the option to offer retailers free returns, which can help make it easier to do business with you.
- Customer support: Faire provides excellent customer support to both retailers and makers, making it a great platform for those who are new to wholesale.
If you’re interested in selling on Faire, the first step is to sign up for a maker account and create a profile for your business. You’ll then be able to start adding your products. With its easy onboarding process and large customer base, Faire can be a great platform for transitioning from Etsy seller to wholesale business owner.
Understand Faire’s Winter and Summer Markets
Another important aspect of selling on Faire is understanding the importance of the winter and summer markets. These are events hosted by Faire every year in the summer and winter when retailers place orders for the upcoming months, and they are important opportunities for you to showcase your products and secure wholesale orders.
I’ve been using Faire for one market so far, and the amount of orders I received during that market was 50% of the total orders I’ve received during my entire time on Faire! The markets are definitely something to prioritize and prepare for on Faire, because the traffic and sales potential are extremely high.
My Experience with Wholesale
If you’re unfamiliar with my founder story, you can click here and read all about it, but here is a short summary:
- I started my Etsy shop selling handmade party supplies in 2019.
- I took my business full time in 2020.
- I ventured into wholesale selling in 2021.
I started selling wholesale the good, old-fashioned way: by pounding pavement. I made a big list of all the local boutiques I could think of that my products would fit in, and then saddled with a 7-month baby bump, I went to ALL of them on the list. Next, I created a line-sheet, followed up with boutique owners, and made some sales. It was exhausting and rewarding at the same time.
I had to work really hard for each sale and each new account, but my return order rate on those clients is still quite high. That’s the importance of building connections with your business.
In 2022, I joined Faire. It was a total game-changer and let me tell you why:
I didn’t have to work so hard for each individual order.
Like I said, I kinda think of Faire as the Etsy version of Wholesale selling. Actually, Etsy once created a platform called “Etsy Wholesale” that was very similar to Faire but they discontinued that platform in 2019. Faire is better and more widely used, and I have secured several new wholesale accounts through them in just the 6 months since I joined.
Considering the only work I do on Faire is listing new products, it’s a huge time savings in my business to get new wholesale clients than the pounding pavement method.
However, my return customer rate is lower than my in-person accounts I’ve developed over the years selling locally.
But I think that comes with the territory of selling online and not face-to-face. I’m currently working on some more strategies to infuse the story of my business into my Faire shop so buyers can see that easily.
Faire also has some awesome email list capabilities to advertise to past clients, which I plan to take advantage of for the first time this year. I’m super excited to see how it goes!
Making the transition from Etsy seller to wholesale business owner can be a bit of a challenge. With careful planning and a bit of hard work, it’s definitely possible. I believe in you!
And remember, there’s no “right way” to do it. You’re wholesale strategy can look like whatever you want it to. It’s your business, after all!
Do you have questions about selling on Faire or wholesale in general? Comment them below or DM me on Instagram. I’d love to help out!