Wholesaling Your Art

Many artists want to move beyond Etsy and the show circuit but aren’t sure how to branch out. Selling art on a wholesale basis is one popular way, and in today’s market, you can choose to do it online, in person or both.

Online sales

The internet is rife with websites that do a lot of the work for you. All you have to do is upload your designs, and they will print, fulfill and ship.

Transferring artwork to a product on Society6 is simple. Artists upload a digital image of their work and make it available for sale in a variety of products. When a product sells, the company will manufacture, package and ship it for you while you get paid.

ShopVida will take a watercolor painting, photograph, sculpture, sketch or anything else you can submit in a digital format, and showcase it on a product — clothing, shopping bags, jewelry, wall art, you name it. ShopVida will then create a branded page for you to share and will produce your designs as they are sold. Artists get paid a percentage from the net sales of all products that incorporate their design, as well as a portion for all sales they refer. In addition, artists can adjust pricing to increase the amount they earn.

It works pretty much the same way at Redbubble. Once you’ve finished your latest masterpiece, simply upload it to your RB profile, choose your products you want to market it on, and set your pricing. Your work can be discovered by the site’s regular visitors, and you can also direct your customers to your RB shop.

Chairish focuses on home interiors consignment. For a 20% cut, it will provide polished listings and manage payment and shipping details.

Zazzle is a free marketplace that enables artists to sell their artwork to new audiences. They just upload their designs on any of Zazzle’s products and it does everything else, from printing to shipping to handling customer service. Artists set their own margins and determine what they will earn from each sale: -Choose any royalty rate from 5% up to 99% and Zazzle adjusts your product pricing accordingly.

Minted uses a method called “design meritocracy,” in which artists submit designs, and the Minted community votes to tell them what to sell. Winning work goes into production, and Minted ships all products to consumers. The winning artist receives a portion of every sale and earns a Minted Store to sell their designs using the Minted fulfillment platform.

Faire (previously Indigo Fair) believes that the future of retail is local. It is essentially an organization of sales representatives who help artists get their products into retail stores. Faire charges a 15% commission on all orders. It offers easy payment, returns and shipping options.

Other online retailers are often on the lookout for great art. Consider the following:

UncommonGoods, a certified B corporation, offers designs by independent makers, with a goal of making a positive impact on people and our planet.

Artful Home has been at this for 30 years, successfully connecting artists with customers who buy and commission artwork via their website, email marketing and print catalogs.

The Grommet also has a local heart, with a flair for the unusual. If your art is unique, innovative or just really neato, talk to these guys.

They say go big or go home. Artists who want to go REALLY BIG can sell with the biggest retailer on the planet: Amazon Handmade.

Trade shows

Trade shows are similar to conventions but instead of just attending seminars and workshops, artists can set up a booth marketing directly to retailers of all kinds. Sometimes you’ll sell your product then and there, but most of the time you’ll be making connections and taking orders to fulfill when you get back from the show. Some shows (for example, Licensing Expo) focus on branding opportunities as well.

USMadeWholesale provides a database for trade shows around the country.

Other wholesale calendars can be found at the following sites:

Wholesale Central

10times

Salehoo

Gift Shop

Gifts Wholesale

Great Rep

As an online trade show, WaresItAt makes it simple. They sell home decor and giftware lines for the wholesale trade only, specializing in modern country, rustic country, garden, lodge and cottage styles.

Want to read more about getting into wholesaling? Here are a bunch of articles to get you on your way:

 Beyond Etsy: A 4-Step Guide to Selling Your Art and Jewelry in Local Stores

How to Sell Your Product in Stores

Selling Art at Home Interior Stores

What You Need to Know to Crack the Wholesale Art Market

Sell Your Art in Museum Stores

Trade Shows for Craft Gallery Buyers

Wholesale or Bust

7 steps to start selling wholesale and bring in the big bucks

How to Sell to Major Retailers, Part 1

Selling Your Art in the Modern Economy: Wholesale

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