Where to Buy Wholesale Craft Supplies
Finding wholesale craft supplies and sewing supplies is not easy. No one ever wants to share their wholesale sources – and even if you find them, often the minimum orders are too high when you are just starting out. Many wholesale craft supply sites wnat a minimum order of $500 or more. That can be tough to do if you are starting your business without debt and with little capital.
Here are some ways to find supplies at wholesale prices:
* Fabric coops – there are dozens, if not hundreds of coops on Yahoo and other group sites. Coops are run by one or more group leaders who arrange a group buy. They take orders in advance for materials, such as several prints of a designer fabric. They collect all the money, then send in the order. When it arrives to them, they cut it, package it up and collect shipping payments. Coop prices are usually a little above wholesale (to account somewhat for the leader’s time and materials), but the slight increase is definitely worth it when you can’t afford a whole order on your own. Some coops also order custom fabrics or have materials made for them.
Coop leaders vary in their phiolosphy about how much they should mark up materials. I ran a small coop for a couple of years. It is incredibly time-consuming and takes a lot of work. So, I beleive it is more than fair for a coop leader to mark things up 5-10%. On the other hand, I have seen some coops charge double or more what I can get a fabric for at wholesale. In my mind this violates the point of a coop, but if people are willing to pay the price, it is all fair. Just be aware of this possibility when looking at coops. Also, there are good coops and bad ones. In a good coop you may need to wait several weeks or months to get your stuff, but you will get it. In a bad coop, well, let’s just say a few coop leaders have run off with money. So, do your research and look for a coop where the leader has a good reputation over a period of time.
You can find coops by searching Yahoo groups or forums related to your products and materials.
* Wholesale suppliers. Try doing a Google search for suppliers by typing in the key word and “wholesale.” Be wary of scams and false sites, but you can often find great suppliers this way. If your first search doesn’t work, try using different key words such as name brands.
* Sales – It may sound silly to shop sales for your business, but when you are just starting out it really makes a difference. Anything over 40 percent off is pretty close to wholesale price, so you can assume you are saving enough to make it worth your time. Just buy as much as you can at once so you are not running yourself ragged. It is better to have 5 yards each of 5 prints of fabric so you can save time creating in bulk, than to have to spend the time taking pictures and listing items individually.
When shopping locally, be sure to bring a copy of your business license and tax certificate so you can avoid paying sales tax on materials.
Some places I find great sales online:
Fabric.com has great deals on fabrics of every kind. Watch for their sales and free shipping offers.
Create for Less has a huge selection of craft items and they are all at great prices.
Joann.com everyday prices are not great, but their sales are awesome. Watch for seasonal sales and weekly ads.
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