We’re talking about what you need to access wholesale-only areas of retail shows, and wholesale-only shows. Besides your business and/or resale license, there may be other proofs required by shows. Advertising, websites, business cards and brochures, line sheets—all of these can prove to wholesale-only show gatekeepers that you’re really running a business. Costs can be high, for these, but then, if you are in business, you’ve probably already created some of them. If you haven’t, here’s a quick run down on the possibilities.
The cost of advertising varies wildly depending on where you place your ads. Are they going into the local shopper’s newsletter? The Yellow Pages? Your newspaper? A craft or jewelry magazine? Local radio or television? All the above? And of course, the cost in each place depends on the size or length of your ad, how long or often it runs, and whether the advertising area is rural or metropolitan. (Print advertising is dying. However, you may still be advertising locally if you are participating in a local show; or in a craft or jewelry publication if you’re participating in a national show.)
The cost of a website depends on who designs and builds it (you, a family member or an outside consultant), how often it has to be maintained and updated, and your server’s regulations. You may be able to trade website ad space with other jewelry makers who sell into the same market place, but whose work is significantly different. The cost and concerns of renting a storefront are far beyond the scope of this post, as are the costs of participating in home or trunk shows, and pop-up galleries.
The cost and convenience of creating business stationery–letterhead, brochure, cards, envelopes–also varies depending on whether you design the piece yourself and print it out from your computer in black and white using inexpensive paper-warehouse stock, or whether you have a graphic designer create an image for you, and print the pieces in four-color on high-quality stock.
With the quality of printers and computers and programs, you can, with some time and thought, create your own stationery and print it on an as-needed basis. But that can be inconvenient if you are printing your cards the night before you’re to leave for a show and you run out of either stock or ink. If you’re doing a quantity of cards or color brochures, the cost of ink cartridges can become painfully high. And if your printer collapses during the process, well, let’s not go there. If you’re doing cards and stationery in bulk, you’re probably still better off getting a price at a local copy shop and letting them worry about the ink and the printer.
All in all, if you’re trying to get something “cheap” but you’re only buying one or two stones or mountings, the credentials necessary to get into a wholesale section are probably not worth trying to get. If you’re working from a home studio, and building a business, you’re already buying in bulk and getting, at many shows, the same discount other qualified buyers are getting. So let’s get back to looking a the parts to pricing.