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Buying from wholeseller

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  • Buying from wholeseller

    Hi all,

    I have been looking at fabric wholesalers (thanks to all for the hints and tips) and I am planning on visiting a couple of the retail places I've been tipped off about, but also want to visit a couple of wholesalers but I am wondering what I will need to be allowed to buy from a wholesaler - proof of business etc?

    Can anyone advise on what I would need - I am not a registered business as yet so dont have a company number or a business bank account. Any help?

    Thanks x
    Last edited by Buca's Bags; 05-01-2013, 08:10 PM. Reason: Terrible Spelling!!
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  • #2
    A business card or letterhead might be enough, depending on the wholesaler. Or give them a phonecall or drop them an email to ask what they want.

    Just tell them you are a sole trader, which I assume you are - sole traders have no need for registration at companies house.

    I have had no problem getting into trade warehouses as a sole trader; the far bigger problem is sometimes the minimum purchase amounts which are set. I don't mean a monetary minimum so much as an 'numbers of items' minimum, which sometimes makes buying from a wholesaler quite silly in my case!


    • #3
      The wholesalers I use asked for a copy of the header of my business account bank statement and to see site of the bank card, plus my Unique Tax Reference. some also ask for references, this is a bit chicken and egg as when starting out hard to supply references if you have not got accounts and then cannot get without references. If you mention that you are just starting out some will waive the reference bit or ask for a ref from your business banking account.


      • #4
        Brilliant thanks guys - am going to try and visit one thats open today and see how I get on!! Am armed with business cards and a couple of invoices. Worst they can say is no I suppose!
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        • #5
          Depends on the wholesaler.

          The ones I've dealt with have never asked for more than a business card or headed paper, and many ask for nothing.

          Just give them a call and see what their policy is. For some, the cost savings won't be great unless you buy in very large quantities.

          Good luck.

          ~~The old ways are the future~~


          • #6
            Originally posted by Lenny View Post
            Depends on the wholesaler.
            For some, the cost savings won't be great unless you buy in very large quantities.

            The cost savings will not exist at all unless you sell everything you buy. So buying a smaller amount from a retailer for a slightly higher price is more cost effective if you're sure you'll sell everything.
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            • #7
              I sell both retail and wholesale. Just ask each seller is the best advice. I have a general rule of an order over £200 can be wholesale, but I have regulars who spend under that regularly and get a good discount, but if you email me and ask for wholesale on one length of knotting silk (under £2) I'm not going to agree (It has happened)


              • #8
                Thanks all, In the end I had to have a change of plans today but I still intend to go to the wholesalers, but will do as you have suggested and give them a call first.

                Blackwillow I totally agree with your point, at the moment I am interested in finding out the price differences with what I am buying retail to wholesale - I know there will be a minimum qty to buy (its fabric and from googling this varies from £100 to 100meters dependant on the supplier). But if I dont use and sell it all, it is pointless!

                I am also interested in visiting bag wholesalers to see if they have product that I can customise from a shell really, rather than having to source the individual bag parts from china, as I am coming up against a similar stumbling block there with MOQ being way too high and all uk suppliers are really expenisve!

                All food for thought really!
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                • #9
                  Always worth enquiring about how fixed MOQs are - the big numbers are sometimes there to deter timewasters who might want to buy one or two only. If you ask nicely often they will still do business with you because business is business and sales is sales - but that does mean no endless questions and faffing. That's a time is money issue


                  • #10
                    Just to add - most of the wholesalers I buy from take the view of if you buy in the 100s -pounds or units- that's wholesale. One or two wanted to check what I was doing but my website says it all and they were happy with that.

                    Are you aware of the end of rolls merchants? There is a layer of fabric sellers who spe******e in buying up end of runs, faulted fabric, bankrupt stock etc., obviously cheaply, which they then sell on to us lesser mortals at cheaper than the normal shop prices. You don't have to buy loads but you do have to seek them out. The draw back is their fabric is a one off buy, you can only pick from what they've got, you have to seek them out, and you have to be cany - go to them, rather than getting stuff posted - if you want to keep your costs down.


                    • #11
                      Are you aware of the end of rolls merchants? There is a layer of fabric sellers who spe******e in buying up end of runs, faulted fabric, bankrupt stock etc., obviously cheaply, which they then sell on to us lesser mortals at cheaper than the normal shop prices.

                      That's brilliant - can we have some contact details ? Please.
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                      • #12
                        Well, bear in mind I'm after wool and linen, cotton velvet and damasks and brocades with specific patterns (Tudor lookalikee stuff) for £5 a metre if I can get it and £7 a metre tops (John Lewis can charge £22 a metre for plain linen!) so my eye skims over modern fabrics and dismisses them but I have spotted polycottons for £1 a metre.......

                        My haunts are:
                        Ali Anwar in Hatfield He tours the country doing historical fairs but I've raided his garage as I spend £200 to £400 a time with him.
                        Bernie the Bolt, Godmanchester, Huntingdon way. I find him at historical fairs, I raided his barns when he lived at Romford, he used to do ordinary markets - I bumped into him on Dartford market but he had a heart attack and was told to slow down but OMG after years of having to track down his phone number someone's made him a website!
                        Fabric8 - shop at the top of the High Street in Colchester and they are in Felixstowe too. They'll post you stuff if you know what you want.
                        A shop near the station in the Goldhawk Road, London, or for modern stuff it's even cheaper on the market across the road underneath and along the railway arches.
                        A shop across the road from Upton Station, London. Watch out it has a weekday when it's shut.
                        A series of shops Soho way in London. I start at John Lewis' in Oxford street, cross the road, walk south a block then wander back towards Oxford Circus parallel with Oxford street, but like under it (on thr A-Z). I pass the ex Ells and Farrier bead shop and come to MacCulloch and Wallis, if it helps. Bewick Street! That's the road and the shop might even be the Bewick Street Cloth shop but I wouldn't swear to it.
                        My latest find is a crazy shop in Brighton. It's in the Lanes (I think) (just wander past loads of antique shops) and it's stuffed to the gunnels with cheapo rolls of modern stuff. It was so stuffed I wasn't allowed enough check it out time by my menfolk (never shop with others unless it's a DIL with the same adictions as you!) so it remains a treasure trove to be rifled through at a future date . Just done a google and it could be The New Fabric Fair. The mess in the picture looks right

                        Last edited by AnnieAnna; 07-01-2013, 11:52 AM.


                        • #13
                          Thanks AnnieAnna, I know of a few roll end merchants - I'm fine with ever changing fabrics, I like the fact there can only be a couple the same and then it changes, makes them more unique! Ill check out the ones with websites thanks (am waaaaay further north than you!)
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                          • #14
                            Oh and I love the name Bernie the Bolt!!!
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                            • #15
                              Just thought I'd post a quick update to this - went to visit wholesallers today! What was I worried about???!! Only 1 out of the 20 or so asked for a business card as proof, a couple of others gave me wierd looks, but by that point I had been in a few and wasnt bothered!!

                              Oh and when I walked into the door of a bag wholesaler (for inspiration and ones to customise!!) I heard a man say to the woman behind the counter - follow them, I dont like the look of them!!! And she proceeded to stay about an inch from me at all time while pretending to read signs!!! Ah well, I had no intention of stealing anything, but then again neither did I buy anything!!!

                              But definately glad I went, and hopefully will be very lucrative!!!
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