Shopping wholesale bead shows can be exhausting, there is so much to look at and be distracted by, you could get lost for days and not accomplish what you came there for....
Here are some helpful tips on how to make your next wholesale buying trip more productive:
- Budget before you go. Know exactly how much you can spend and how much you have in terms of “emergency funds” in case you find some really great deals.
- Make a list of things you need for your business, things you want but won’t die if you don’t find, and things you are interested in exploring in the future.
- Wear comfortable shoes, and layer your clothes. The indoor climate may vary from being over air conditioned to overheated.
- Bring a medium sized bottle of water with you, and maybe some light snacks. A lot of jewelry supply buyers forget to do this in their excitement and end up paying dearly for paltry bottles of water and stale packaged food.
- If you plan on buying supplies for a few months worth of work, a small wheeled suitcase may be helpful. There’s nothing worse than trying to carry bags of beads around in wholesale bead shows.
- Bring all your business qualification materials: copies of your resale number certificate, lots of business cards, and government issued photo ID.
- Some charge admission, but if you get on their mailing list, most will forward you free passes for future shows.
- When you first walk in, figure out if there are two separate sections. If there is a special trade only section go there first, register, get stamped, and walk into the wholesale show.
- Do at least one walkthrough before you buy, just to get your bearings and see what the trends are and where the price points are at. The larger bead shows with wholesale sections give you an exhibitor map so you can quickly locate your favorites, but you can also use the map to mark the vendors that interest you.
- I tend to do my purchases on the second walkthrough, and usually go after the exhibitors that I’ve purchased from before, just to keep building my professional relationship with them. I find that the more you spend with a vendor the more likely you will get good deals and advice on what is “hot” on the market. Vendors that you do business with regularly are more willing to hold things for you or look through their showroom/warehouse for things that you really need.
- Remember these are wholesale bead shows and not your local bead store. Unless something is shown loose, everything is sold by the strand. No exceptions.
- Ask for business cards from all your suppliers, even ones that you end up not buying from. They may prove to be useful contacts in the future.
- When you get home, it is always a good idea to take pictures of your bounty, with a business card in each shot, so if you run out of something, you can refer to your pictures to see where you purchase your beads from and try to reorder.
- Record your purchases in your accounting system immediately after you get home…before you get lost in sifting through your beads…and forget where you put all those receipts!
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