Saturday, February 18, 2012

Anika Bee - Wholesale

Anika Bee

I first came across Anika's Facebook page when I saw one of her outstanding handbags. I am a bit of a bag lady, well I used to be before the kids came along! And I was bowled over at the workmanship that had obviously gone into making one of these truly gorgeous bags.

In this blog, Anika concentrates on how she got into wholesale. How she works out her prices and presents her products to shop owners. If you think that this is where you are heading, then this is another MUST read.

I want to truly thank Anika for going out her her way to write this fantastic and very informative blog for us. She has been very patient in waiting for it to be published, so a huge thanks from me Anika xx

Introduction to designer and owner of Anika Bee.....Anika Bee!

From hand-stitched felt shoes and stunning European-style winter jackets to striking pinafores and flir...ty ‘minibags’, Anika's ever-expanding kids wear collections are sell-out favourites among style-savvy mums. She uses a mixture of vintage European textiles, unique prints and modern Scandanavian fabrics to add a fresh, modern twist to classic designs. Everything is tried and tested by her nephews and nieces before it hits the market. The ultimate rewards for all the hard work are the oooohs and aaaaahs she receives from mums and dads, and the squeals and giggles from the kids when they rug up in a jacket or slip on a pretty red felt shoe. She tries to reflect that joyous spirit in her designs, and does a very good job of it too!

over to you, Anika.................

Getting creative is my life! The joy of making beautiful things make up my earliest memories – I can still feel the thrill of crafting as a kid. Mum would cover the kitchen table in bright paper and tip out all the goodies I’d need – glue sticks, paint, lace and fabric scraps - and I would happily sit and craft cards, calendars and keepsakes for the extended family back in Germany.

No great surprise then that I decided to study Fine Arts! I decided that sharing the joy of creativity would be my life path, so I went on to do a Bachelor of Education but I realised I needed to do more than my day job to feel satisfied. So I started making handbags and handing them out as gifts to my nearest and dearest. Very quickly the demand for my handbags grew and so did my passion for sewing. Once my nephews and nieces were born, I expanded into kid’s clothing (yep, all stock has been tried and tested by my beautiful family!)

Wholesaling to other business makes sense when you’re starting out. I began by approaching shop owners to stock my bags on consignment (basically, that means if the product sells, the shop owner takes a percentage of the sale and, if the items don’t sell, I collect my product so I can sell it elsewhere). It’s a low-risk way to start – I get exposure for my product and the shop owner makes a cut or can hand the unsold product back. Take heart if they don’t sell everything you leave them – it’s a great form of feedback that will help you work out exactly who your target market is, where they shop, what their budget is and what they’re looking for. It will help you tailor your fabrics and designs more accurately.

So, how do you start? Hit the shops! Go in with a set wholesale price for your product – take a wholesale price list (printed on gorgeous paper, of course!) and a recommended RRP for each item, plus a sample or two of each product on your list. It helps the shop owner work out how much of a commission they would be making so be prepared for haggling – they’re business people and they will often try to negotiate a lower wholesale price. My steadfast rule? Don’t undersell yourself! Price fairly and you’ll find the right shop for your product.

Presentation is crucial – each product has a branded hang tag and are packed in a luxe carry basket for maximum appeal. Professional business cards are vital, as are enough price lists so you can leave one behind at each store (check out Cheeky Chat, part 2, written by Little Big Box, about product branding and establishing a link between your online shop, FB, Blog, Twitter or Pinterest and your products – it’s essential for success!).

Carry an invoice booklet with you so that, when the shops place an order on the day, you can give them a docket detailing the product you are leaving on commission (it will help you avoid any unpleasant miscommunication when it comes to payment for items).

Working out a wholesale price can be tricky – you need to balance the return with the cost of materials, labour and your personal profit. Ask yourself this: when your product goes gang busters, will you still be happy staying up until 1am to finish a wholesale order if you are only just making a return on your expenses? There will always be people who think your products are too expensive and that is OK - you need to value yourself and your craft in order for other people to value them too.

Once you’ve had someone take on your product, check in with them regularly to see how it is selling and whether they are in a position to order more – it’s the best way to build a strong business relationship (you may need them to be understanding if you ever struggle to fill an order on a tight deadline down the track!)

Good luck with it – wholesaling is a brilliant way to start building a profitable business!

thank you so much Anika

Please leave a comment below for Anika, I am sure she would really appreciate it.

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See you all on Tuesday for some serious Time Management Chit Chat. I can't wait!!!




  1. It was really useful, thanks a lot, and I love Anika's gorgeous products!! Anika, I would love to ask you whether you can tell an approxiamte percentage of the commissions, both at consignement and wholesale? Thanks a lot!

  2. Thank you Anika, thank you Ali. I have my work in a handful of shops and I am very bad when it comes to keeping in touch with the owners. I am shy and lack confidence, and so even though I somehow found the nerve to approach the shop in the first place, I fear that they will say something negative and not want to reorder if I go back. But they bought it in the first place didn't they, so they must like it, and even if they do say something negative, I need to hear it. Who knows, they may even want to order more! I can see now how important it is to build a relationship with my buyers so I will find the courage I need to get in touch. Ali, you and your guest bloggers are always a superb kick up the backside!

  3. Thanks for commenting ladies. xx