Jump to content
njcurley

OMG, we have been approached for wholesale. HELP!

Recommended Posts

Well we did our normal market today and were approached by the owner of a well known, high end spa about carrying our candles with their branding.  I have the prices already figured, that was the easy part.  Now where do I go?  I'm at a total loss, I can handle the candle part, luckily we have been investigating new jars to carry and they are a more upscale jar.  We have been holding off on them because we were afraid of the cost.  They will work perfectly in this spa setting and we actually just got the wicking/wax perfect after months of testing.  We have also been accumulating samples of scents that we were thinking about for these jars, so we are all good on the candle end.

 

Now as far as the business end I am  working my way thru every thread I can find and I am open for any advice all the pros have for us

 

Should we just do a written proposal to begin and offer to meet in person to discuss and bring samples of scents and bring samples of the jars with their branding on it to show them the finished product?  How many scents should we offer?  Does anyone have an example of a contract, no prices of course.  What do you charge extra for?

 

See I have lots of questions.  TIA for any help you can provide.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Congrats on the offer! Feels good to know your candles are really appreciated doesn't it?

 

First thing I noticed when I was reading your post is that you want to use new jars. My question is what jars were your potential customer looking at? I ask because if they are looking at the jars you intend to switch out for the new they may or may not like the new ones.

 

My suggestion is to make a sit down appt. with them. Bring samples of your candles in both jars so they can choose which they like. Before you go to this appointment list all the things want out the wholesale account and what you are and are not willing to do.

 

For example,

What is your wholesale price, will it be one price or will you have price points based on volume?

Are you willing to design custom labels if they ask? and if so, what will you charge for your time and artwork?

Same thing for custom scents, are you willing to do this and what will you charge, what time line to fill the request and how many samples, etc.?

Will you have a minimum for orders, for first time wholesale customers?

What is your turn around time for orders?

What forms of payment are acceptable?

Do you want payment on delivery or will you bill the customer and for a how many days must they make payment? If they don't pay on time do you charge a fee?

Will you accept returns and do you have you a return policy for damaged goods? what are you responsible for and what is your customer responsible for?

 

Those are a few questions off the top of my head that I work out with my customer before making any decision to do business with them.

 

The best advice I can give you is to know exactly in detail what you want before you meet so you are less likely to be surprised.

 

Personally, I wholesale by the case with few exceptions. I also charge by the case. Customers can mix and match. I don't do private labels and no longer customize. Too much of a headache for me but for you it might be fun.

 

Because I decided to sell by the case I take 12 sample candles with me to a meeting. Often at a meeting other people show up from the store and that way I always have a bunch of candles to show them. It also showcases all my scents since I also make them in a line of 12 scents. By having the 'case' its easy to carry, present, and gives the potential customer an idea of what a case can hold.

 

Good luck and my last piece of advice is if you have second thoughts about this person after you meet with them and talk with them trust your feelings. If you didn't like talking with that person and it felt all wrong think this, would you want to do business with this person? If the answer is no, then don't... trust your feelings!

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Great information Candybee....I will keep this info if I ever sell wholesale. 

And good luck to you njcurely!!

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
14 minutes ago, Candybee said:

Congrats on the offer! Feels good to know your candles are really appreciated doesn't it?  It feels amazing!  I think I am still on cloud 9 this morning.

 

First thing I noticed when I was reading your post is that you want to use new jars. My question is what jars were your potential customer looking at? I ask because if they are looking at the jars you intend to switch out for the new they may or may not like the new ones. We have been working on these jars for months and luckily, we had two of our testers with us.  We had the rest of our candles set up for the market so they have seen everything we have to offer and were really interested in the new jars.

 

My suggestion is to make a sit down appt. with them. Bring samples of your candles in both jars so they can choose which they like. Before you go to this appointment list all the things want out the wholesale account and what you are and are not willing to do.  I do want to do a sit down with them to show what we can offer.  I think this would be best because of the price of the candles.

 

For example,

 

What is your wholesale price, will it be one price or will you have price points based on volume?  Thanks, I had already worked out a wholesale price and after your hint I sat down and figured out acceptable volume price points.

 

Are you willing to design custom labels if they ask? and if so, what will you charge for your time and artwork?  They have requested their own branding, but honestly for some reason this is easy for me!  I really enjoy designing the labels and in my head have already designed it.  Now getting it to that point will take some time.  I'm not sure I would even charge for this.

 

Same thing for custom scents, are you willing to do this and what will you charge, what time line to fill the request and how many samples, etc.?  I need to really think on this one.  As everyone knows the time involved in this is astronomical.  What would you charge for something like this?

 

Will you have a minimum for orders, for first time wholesale customers?  Yes Mam!  Do you think it would be reasonable to also request a minimum number per scent?  Below a certain number it is more of a pain to run an order.

 

What is your turn around time for orders?  Got it.

 

What forms of payment are acceptable?  I would prefer Credit/Debit cards, again is this unreasonable?

 

Do you want payment on delivery or will you bill the customer and for a how many days must they make payment? If they don't pay on time do you charge a fee?  I'm having a hard time with this.  Being a small business most of our money is going back into the business.  My fear is they are going to place a large order and we need to order supplies.  Is it unacceptable to request a deposit on a large order, like over a minimum amount of candles?

 

Will you accept returns and do you have you a return policy for damaged goods? what are you responsible for and what is your customer responsible for?  Help!  I'm lost on this one.  What are everyone's return policy?

 

Those are a few questions off the top of my head that I work out with my customer before making any decision to do business with them.

 

The best advice I can give you is to know exactly in detail what you want before you meet so you are less likely to be surprised.

 

Personally, I wholesale by the case with few exceptions. I also charge by the case. Customers can mix and match. I don't do private labels and no longer customize. Too much of a headache for me but for you it might be fun.

 

Because I decided to sell by the case I take 12 sample candles with me to a meeting. Often at a meeting other people show up from the store and that way I always have a bunch of candles to show them. It also showcases all my scents since I also make them in a line of 12 scents. By having the 'case' its easy to carry, present, and gives the potential customer an idea of what a case can hold.

 

Good luck and my last piece of advice is if you have second thoughts about this person after you meet with them and talk with them trust your feelings. If you didn't like talking with that person and it felt all wrong think this, would you want to do business with this person? If the answer is no, then don't... trust your feelings!

 

Thank you so much for taking the time to help this newbie with wholesale!  Just when I think I've got my head wrapped around everything along comes a curve ball, a good one but a curveball nonetheless.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Lets see if I can answer your questions.:)

 

They have requested their own branding, but honestly for some reason this is easy for me!  I really enjoy designing the labels and in my head have already designed it.  Now getting it to that point will take some time.  I'm not sure I would even charge for this.

I have actually done this myself and really enjoy working on labels. I also did not charge for them because I 'had fun' doing them. However, eventually my generosity was taken advantage of and requests started getting bigger and more time consuming at a time when my biz started to grow and I no longer had the time.  Sooooo..... I charged a flat fee to design a label. One label only. If they didn't like it they could pay for another one. I always worked with them and had them write down exactly what was printed on the label. So I had it in their writing and placed in the way they wanted it. I allowed them to make minor color or word changes but usually working things out before you make the label and having all the text beforehand left little room for error. Also, I told them the warning label is my label as the manufacturer and had to have my info on it. So they had no say in the warning label and I designed that one myself. Plus, you must have a manufacturers info on the jar. Typically its the label on the jar bottom or the warning label so thats where I put my info.

 

Same thing for custom scents, are you willing to do this and what will you charge, what time line to fill the request and how many samples, etc.?  I need to really think on this one.  As everyone knows the time involved in this is astronomical.  What would you charge for something like this?

First decide how you want to do this. Say they want a custom signature scent for their store. Ask them to describe what they are looking for. You will need to purchase the FOs, more if you are doing a complex blend. So they will need to pay for the samples, shipping, and scent development & blending time. So, I would tell them I would get back to them with the info you gathered on their scent description. Do the initial research to find out my materials cost, figure my time to produce and test the candle. Then get back to them with your a price and timeline based on that. Say 3 samples per scent, R&D fee up front. I would not do any work unless they are willing to pay for the R&D upfront period. It can get expensive so you could offer a discount on their first purchase. Remember, they may not like it even after all the work you do so get your R&D paid so you don't get left holding the tab.

 

What forms of payment are acceptable?  I would prefer Credit/Debit cards, again is this unreasonable?

Whatever you want or need is reasonable. I take both credit and check but then I deal with local customers that I know and trust.

 

Do you want payment on delivery or will you bill the customer and for a how many days must they make payment? If they don't pay on time do you charge a fee?  I'm having a hard time with this.  Being a small business most of our money is going back into the business.  My fear is they are going to place a large order and we need to order supplies.  Is it unacceptable to request a deposit on a large order, like over a minimum amount of candles?

Maybe others do this, but personally I would not require payment or partial before an order is even made or received. Instead, I would start out with manageable size orders until you are in a better position to fill large orders. How many candles can you handle? If you can't handle 4-6 cases you may not be ready to wholesale.

 

Will you accept returns and do you have you a return policy for damaged goods? what are you responsible for and what is your customer responsible for?  Help!  I'm lost on this one.  What are everyone's return policy?

They way I was able to put together my return policy was to look over lots of similar websites and see what they did. That would give me ideas of what I wanted. For wholesale it might be slightly different especially if you are delivering the product to them. That would take out a whole set of problems like jar breakage/damage during shipping. If you deliver then you know the condition the jars arrive so you may not need a long formal policy. However, you will need one in place if and when you do ship to cover and protect both you and the customer.

 

Hope this helps you out. Just think about your needs as you craft your policies and contracts and that will guide you the best.

Edited by Candybee
  • Like 5

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you so much Candybee.  This is exactly the information that I needed.  And thanks for calming some fears.  We can handle 6 cases and I cannot fathom they would order more than six cases for their first order.

 

Thank you again for your insight!  BTW I saw some pics of your Market setup on another thread, WOW!  You do such a wonderful job.

 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In reading through this, I think there is some wonderful advice ... the only thing that I'd like to add is that if you're not going to take a deposit (which I personally would ... if you lose a sale over asking for a deposit, I'm not sure you wanted the order anyway), is to have a customer profile filled out by the customer with a personal guaranty if the order is large.  In this way, you at least have a considerable amount of information about the customer, although if they decided not to pay, it might not get you real far, but it could give you some benefit in trying to collect.

 

 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Congrats + great job ! Candybee, this is awesome advise not just for njcurley but anyone who is considering wholesale accounts. Very well thought out + detailed.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It all depends on what you decide you want to do. If you prefer to take an advance then you should do that. But whatever you do for a large wholesale order you should first get a contract for the purchase that spells out the payment and product delivery with scheduled dates, amounts, so you both know what to expect. With a signed contract you can make the payments any way you want and schedule the delivery in one shipment or several. Again, its what you decide and work out with your customer. This also spells out a commitment on both your parts and can be used as a legal document.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 minutes ago, Moonstar said:

Congrats + great job ! Candybee, this is awesome advise not just for njcurley but anyone who is considering wholesale accounts. Very well thought out + detailed.

 

Over the years I have had lots of wholesale accounts so a lot of this is from experience.

 

The worst experience I had was around the recession period when several businesses went bankrupt or closed. During that time I had some candles on consignment in a local shop that very abruptly closed. The owner could not pay for any of the merchandise so I took a loss. I did go down to the shop ASAP and picked up what she had not already sold. Fortunately for me there was only about 4-6 missing from my count that had obviously been sold. I just took the loss and figured lesson learned. That was when I quit doing consignment and focused on wholesale and payment on delivery only. So far I have not been burned that way and right now have only a few accounts but they are from people I have been doing business with for years.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you everyone!  What great advice you all give.  We've worked all of the particulars of what we want out of a wholesale relationship.  As birdcharm said, if they are not happy with our terms, we probably do not want them as a client.  Of course we are flexible in some things but we do have "must have" terms.

 

Thanks again everyone!

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×