See the related episodes of The Art Biz below for examples of the wide variety of ways that my artist-guests are making money from their art.
To that list, I can now add wholesaling.
In this episode of The Art Biz, I asked Katie Hunt to give us some basic basic information about wholesaling your art and products. What is it? Who is it for? Who is it not for?
We’re talking basic stuff. This episode is for you if you are curious about what wholesaling entails.
What’s the difference between wholesaling and retailing? Where does licensing fit in?
Katie is a wealth of information, and generously shared 4 considerations for wholesaling as well as 4 things she assesses when making business decisions. Those are outlined below.
Here’s my conversation with Katie Hunt.
Katie's 4 Considerations for Wholesaling
- Is the product line strong?
- Are all of your sales tools in place?
- Do you have a solid marketing plan?
- Are your operational systems in good working order?
Katie's Assessment for Business Decisions
- How much time will it take?
- What is the potential income?
- Does it excite me or drain me?
- What kind of impact will it have?
📄 This Week's Assignment
Because I want The Art Biz to inspire and motivate you to take action that is meaningful for you now, I always have an assignment at the end of each episode.
This week’s assignment has 2 options.
- Option 1 is to review Katie’s 4 considerations for wholesaling to decide whether or not it’s a direction you want to go. These are above and discussed in more detail in the interview. I love how Katie’s format is so straightforward and that she is clear that wholesaling isn’t right for everyone.
- If you know that wholesaling isn’t for you, go for option 2, which is to write out her list of considerations for making business decisions and keep it nearby. Adjust it to your needs and revisit it often to stay on track.
New for 2023: the Art Biz Accelerator
for busy artists who like knowing there is someone nearby to help
- Key differences between wholesaling and retailing. (4:20)
- The importance of selling in larger quantities at a lower price for wholesale. (6:53)
- How is licensing different than wholesaling? (12:20)
- What type of artists are a good fit for wholesaling? (13:41)
- Focusing on one revenue stream at a time—before wholesaling. (17:58)
- Consideration #1: Make sure you have a strong product line. (20:20)
- Consideration #2: Get your sales tools in place. (26:20)
- Consideration #3: Outreach and marketing—detailing your artwork and your terms and conditions. (29:18)
- Consideration #4: Solidifying your operations and systems. (31:07)
- Handling criticism and rejection while wholesaling. (32:38)
- Paper Camp, Labs, and other Proof to Product resources (including a free course) for artists considering wholesale. (35:52)
- Katie's assessment for making decisions in her business (4 more considerations). (40:50)
Katie Hunt Quotes
“There are so many ways we can sell our art, and each one requires a different foundation.”
“With wholesale, we’re talking about a very different system of the sales process, the marketing process, even the fulfillment process.”
“Artists don’t have to wholesale everything they make. They can create a special segment of their product line that is for wholesale.”
“Before you take the plunge into wholesaling, you need to know you have an audience.”
“The more we experience with the pitching process and putting ourselves, our art, and our talents out there, the stronger we become.”
I’ve featured a huge variety of ways artists make money here on The Art Biz and corresponding posts in the past. For example …
- I talked about teaching with Elizabeth St. Hilaire, Lorraine Glessner, and Angela Fehr (among others).
- Mary Erickson shared how the gallery system sustains her.
- Maria Brophy tackled niche audiences and touched on licensing.
- Instagram has been good to Jeanne Rosier Smith, Betty Franks, and Sara Schroeder.
- Ali Cavanaugh and Adele Sypesteyn left their galleries to better control their prices and markets.
- Maria Coryell Martin has a secondary business with artist products.
- Sean VanderVliet and Alicia Goodwin have production lines.
Not to be outdone, Helen Hiebert gave us a peek at her numerous streams of income.
About My Guest
Katie Hunt is the founder of Proof to Product, the host of a podcast with the same title, and a business strategist who supports product-based business owners. She has helped thousands of brands get their products on the shelves of large retailers like Target, Nordstrom, The Container Store, and Starbucks, as well as independent boutiques around the world.
Katie’s work has been featured in Forbes, New York Times, Entrepreneur as as well as dozens of business podcasts. She brings experience, education and a love of learning into her programs. Her strengths lie in connecting people and bringing ideas to life—brainstorming, making a plan, and implementing.
Follow Katie on Instagram at @prooftoproduct