Marketing for Wholesale Work
By David Knipfer
April 15, 2005

Well...  I admit this topic might not belong in a WW forum...  so I aplologize in advance to the OT police who I may be offending.

That said...  I don't have the time to send 6 individual e-mails with the same information...  so I'll post it publically here for anyone interested.

The topic here is selling your work to wholesale galleries...  and some methods that I've used to earn as much wholesale work as you may wish to have.

Here I'll share those strategies with you...

First and foremost...   you need a body of work that is of a quality to be shown for sale in a fine gallery.   Whether that's one-of-a-kind furniture or production boxes...  it needs to look handmade not homemade.

Second...  you need to be willing to sell your work at 50% of the retail price...  and able to produce enough of it to keep your gallery customers happy.

Is that you?  Good...  read on about how to find and approach those gallery customers.

To begin, you need to prepare some marketing materials...  expect to spend some time and money on these.

At a minimum, you will need the following...

1.  A high quality postcard that shows a high quality photo of one of your 'typical' pieces of work on one side...  and your contact information on the other side.

I buy mine 1000 at a time from a company called Modern Postcard.

In addition to being a key element of this approach to galleries...  the postcards are a great thing to have in your showbooth for people to remember your work.

2.  A wholesale brochure.   By this I mean a well designed brochure that shows phtographs and a brief description of all the various designs you have available for wholesale.

3.  A wholesale price sheet.  Simple as that...  prices for every item on your brochure.

I suggest you print the price sheet seperate from the brochure as prices tend to change a lot faster than your work does. DAMHIKT

Remember...  this is not retail prices.  These are the actual wholesale prices that you expect galleries to pay for your work.

Lastly...  prepare a brief (3 paragraph MAX) letter of introduction.  I'll cover that some more in a bit.

Once your materials are together...  now it's time to find your target galleries.

I read a recent article that stated there are over 8,000 'craft' galleries in the USA alone.

So...  where to begin?

Well...  I suggest you start by reading the same publications that the gallery owners do.

A good example is Niche Magazine.

Niche is a monthly magazine targeted to gallery owners...  and they also happen to publish an annual '100 Best' listing of Fine Craft Galleries.

You can go to and download a printable version of the top 100 galleries...  with name, address and contact info.

Best of all...  the ranking for the Top 100 is decided by an annual vote by people like us who sell their work.

If that Top 100 list is not enough to get you started...  then take a look at other publications like American Style and Crafts Report.  Many galleries advertise in these publications to attract customers.

Your goal here is to sort through a listing of top galleries to find those that are the target for your marketing plan.

Now...  finally...  the plan to earn that business...

You want to send a brief introduction package to every gallery on your target list...  the key point here is brief.

Your introduction package should contain only two items... 
  • that short letter and
  • one of your postcards.

  • Nothing else.

    Your letter should
  • give your name,
  • describe very quickly what you make and
  • express an interest in hearing if the gallery might like to learn more.

  • Your postcard
  • is self-addressed back to yourself... 
  • with a stamp attached...  and
  • a small note in the corner of who you sent it to.

  • The closing sentence of your letter should read... 
  • "Please return the enclosed postcard if you would be interested in receiving more information on my work."

  • IMHO...  it is very important to not overlaod the gallery owner with info at this intorductory stage...  they are trying to run a business and will not have more than 30 seconds at most to review what you sent.

    A brief letter... 
  • with that postcard showing your work... 
  • that's all that is needed right now.

  • Any gallery interested,
  • just needs to slip that postcard back in the mail... 
  • nothing more than that... 
  • if you make it too complicated by expecting visitors to a website, etc.
  • you are reducing your possible responses by 90%.

    Keep it simple at the initial contact.

    Now...  the postcards are coming back...  good...  whats next?

    Now you zap them with the full power of your marketing materials...  everything you have.

    To those galleries that have expressed an interest... 
  • send back a new package complete with
  • your brochure,
  • price list,
  • artist statement,
  • business cards,
  • web site address,
  • customer testimonials,
  • philosophy on life... 
  • whatever you think best describes you and your work.

  • Send along a sample piece even if you can spare it... 
  • just don't plan on getting it back. DAMHIKT either.

  • Then... 
  • call them in 7 days. 
  • Ask to speak to the owner... 
  • sell your work to them.

  • Call again a month later if needed.

    Repeat the entire process from step #1 every 6 months...  or
  • until you have as much wholesale work as you can stand.

  • Thats the plan.  It works.

    For me...  I did this with 87 of the 2003 Niche Top 100...  received 23 postcards back...  and sold boxes to 11 of those galleries.

    6 of them are still customers today...  and thats all the wholesale work I want.

    Thats all.

    Good luck.

    Keep us posted on your success.

    I hope all this typing is helpful to someone out there.


    This site is maintained by:
    Good-Lyddon Data Systems

    Copyright © 2004-2005 Joe Lyddon,