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Selling Wholesale

Wholesale 101: Your Questions Answered

what-is-wholesale

Whether you’re just here to find out what wholesale means, or looking for information on buying wholesale or selling wholesale, stick with us as we run through some wholesale FAQs.

What does wholesale mean? 

Wholesale as a noun refers to the practice of retailers buying goods at a lower price directly from suppliers, and selling them on to the end consumer — essentially, wholesale for resale. When it’s used as an adverb, it can also refer to buying food or other goods ‘in bulk’ at a lower price for personal consumption — think places like Costco. 

Here at CREOATE, when you see the word ‘wholesale’, you can be sure we’re talking about the first option; wholesale for resale. In fact, only registered businesses can use our site to source stock from suppliers. For the rest of this post, we’ll be digging deeper into some FAQs around this type of wholesale. 

 

How does wholesale work? 

Okay, so let’s stick with explaining the first definition of wholesale here. 

Some retailers only sell their own products, but many sell products from other brands. In this case, the retailer pays a ‘wholesale’ price for each item, which still leaves them room to make money when they sell the item on. 

That’s the basics. The actual arrangement each brand has with their retailer will vary a lot. Not only will the margin (the difference between wholesale and retail price) be different, but some retailers may pay for stock upfront, whereas others will opt to pay on consignment. 

When paying on consignment, the retailer (aka ‘consignee’) sells the brand’s goods and takes a cut. The difference is that they only pay for the goods that sell, once they sell (and after an agreed period, may return items that have not sold), rather than trying to predict how much will sell, and buying this all upfront. 

If you think about something like artwork, or other high value and possibly unique items, the consignment model makes sense — but for cheaper goods, paying on consignment is rarely beneficial for a wholesaler in the long term (although it may be a good way to start a relationship with a retailer).  

Brands selling on CREOATE get paid for their items upfront, rather than working on consignment, and can set an order minimum of anything from £75 and up. And although we do offer retailers 60-day returns for unsold stock (when they buy with a new brand for the first time), the brand is still paid in full if anything is returned, and the goods are returned to us.

 

How can I buy wholesale? 

When it comes to sourcing wholesale for your store, there are a few different options. 

Trade shows are still a popular way for brands to connect with potential retailers. Several hundred set up booths displaying their products, and retailers wander around meeting the different brands, and browsing their lines. For many, the opportunity to meet a brand owner and hold the products in their hands is something that’s hard to replicate — and certainly when you think of larger department stores and multi-store retailers, this feels like a worthwhile thing to do. After all, you’re potentially buying several thousand of these products, and it’s the job of one (or several) dedicated ‘buyer(s)’ to source them. 

For smaller independent retailers, wholesale marketplaces — like CREOATE — often work better. These sites (which have only been around for a few years), and are designed to make it easier for retailers to source directly from independent brands of all sizes, leaving more traditional trade shows as a ‘nice to have’ rather than a necessary route. Think of them like your favourite B2C marketplaces (eBay, Etsy, etc), but for your business — you can browse and buy from the comfort of your own home (or shop).  

 

How do I find wholesalers? 

Wholesale marketplaces (such as CREOATE) all showcase thousands of brands which are able to trade in wholesale volumes. You can buy from multiple brands at once, and check out in just a few clicks — again, very similarly to if you were just buying a single item for yourself. 

Outside of this (and trade shows, which we already covered in the last section), you can often find new wholesale partnerships by approaching smaller makers at local craft fairs. Just be aware that these markers may not be able to produce at the same volume as brands selling on CREOATE, and other wholesale marketplaces. In this case, an arrangement where you take products on consignment may work better for both of you. 

 

How do I find wholesale in the UK?

Wholesale marketplaces (like CREOATE, but also Faire, Handshake and Ankorstore) can help you discover wholesalers in the UK, as well as across Europe, the US and Canada (depending on the website). 

CREOATE is a London-based company, and we’re proud to have a wonderful network of independent UK brands and retailers — and you can use our location filters to shop from only UK brands. That said, if you’re open to buying from further afield, you can do so safe in the knowledge that there won’t be any nasty surprise fees or customs paperwork to take care of — we’ve got that covered for you.

 

Which wholesale website is best?

There are several different wholesale websites, and the question of which is best is a difficult one! Popular wholesale websites (aside from CREOATE) include Alibaba, Chinabrands, Handshake, Ankorstore, and Faire. 

Alibaba and Chinabrands are both China-based and slightly different to the others, with a big focus on rock bottom pricing. Handshake and Faire are both US-based wholesale marketplaces showcasing smaller, independent brands. Ankorstore’s headquarters are in Paris, and CREOATE’s are in London. 

While on the surface many of the core benefits are the same, here are some factors that make CREOATE a little different: 

  • Retailers shopping via CREOATE get 60 days to return anything that doesn’t sell — and this includes seasonal items, which other sites sometimes exclude.
  • Brands are rewarded for several different behaviours on CREOATE, rather than just having the biggest budgets. We don’t take payments for higher rankings and being promoted on certain pages because we want to give even small brands a level playing field. Instead we reward things like speedy shipping and repeat orders.
  • We make cross-border shipping simple and transparent for everyone involved. Retailers are aware of any extra costs associated with shipping across borders at the point of payment, whereas other sites either estimate this cost, or refund the total at a later date (meaning you still have to pay for them upfront, and deal with customs paperwork and delays)

 

How do I start selling wholesale? 

Starting to sell wholesale is a pivotal moment in the life of any independent business, and can really catapult your growth in a way that’s hard to replicate in the B2C space. But you need to make sure your pricing strategy and production capabilities are in place first. 

We have a whole guide to selling wholesale, so definitely check that out if it’s something you’re considering for your brand. 

 

What is wholesale pricing? 

The wholesale price is the price you — the brand/supplier — are paid for an item if you’re selling wholesale to a retailer, rather than the end consumer (the person who will be using the product). 

Wondering how to set this price? Here’s a quick breakdown of the typical margin retailers expect depending on product category: 

Category

Suggested margin for retailers (minimum)

Beauty and wellbeing 

35 – 40%

Homeware and home decor

45 – 50%

Kids clothing and items

50 – 60%

Stationery

45 – 55%

Fashion and accessories

45 – 55%

Pet accessories

30 – 40%

Food and drink

30 – 40%



So let’s say you have a face cream with an RRP (Recommended Retail Price) of £10, you should set the wholesale price around £6-£6.50

If this wholesale price brings you close to your cost per unit, without a comparable level of profit to what you’re giving your retailer, then it may be worth looking at your supply chain (to see where you could be more efficient, or where you could benefit from scale), and your pricing strategy.

 

Is selling wholesale worth it? 

Selling wholesale can be a great opportunity for smaller brands, but it’s very much a numbers game — it’s not right for every brand, at every stage. That said, with a little planning and number crunching, it’s something most brands can (and should) at least try. With platforms like CREOATE, you only pay commission on orders we bring you, and there are no ongoing or joining fees, so it’s an easy way to test out this new side of your business.  

 

What are the best wholesale clothing websites in the UK?


Whether you’re looking for wholesale women’s clothing, wholesale men’s clothing, or wholesale kids’ clothing, we have hundreds of great wholesale fashion suppliers selling on CREOATE Many have order minimums as low as £75, and lead times of just a few days. Just select ‘United Kingdom’ under the Country filter to see just UK brands, or leave it unfiltered to check out options across the globe. Here are some of our favourite Spring/Summer picks

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