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A French-Inspired Garden and Home by Judith Stringham

Pop Up Home Business Wholesale Market Access

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Wholesale Market Access  

Starting a Pop Up Home Business Series
Topic #2 

If you are turning your dreams of a home business into a reality, then Starting a Pop Up Home Business Series is a good resource for you. Knowing how to start a small business can be a challenge, especially for those of us who do not have a college degree in business. The good news is you don't have to have a business degree to start a small business. 

But you do need to research what to do. 

In this series I share what I have learned in the past six years from hosting my French Country Christmas Event pop up market. You can learn from my research and experiences which will shorten the time you need to get your new business up and running. 

Don't we all love having a friend who shares insider secrets!

Any advice in this series is not intended to be professional legal information. Always consult a lawyer and your local government agencies for accurate information that applies to your location.  

Seeing what goes into creating a small business

 is not only useful for new entrepreneurs. 

Seeing behind the scenes is also useful for 
customers to understand small business dynamics. 
And, what goes into prices... 

Where do you start? What permits are required for a pop up business in a home? What besides government permits do you need to hold a sale in your home? These three questions, and more, were answered in the first article in this series, Pop Up Home Business Location, in case you missed it. 

What else do you need to know when you start a new pop up home business? 


Items for Sale 

You probably know what goods you plan to sell in your business. Maybe you plan to offer handmade items, or second-hand furniture you have repaired and painted, or vintage items you found in estate sales, garage sales, flea markets... 

Vintage silver spoons and embroidered white linen napkins from a Paris brocante are the kinds of things I love to offer in the French Country Christmas Event. 

However, you may want to supplement your special items with items from select wholesalers. Items not readily found at the local big department stores in your area give your customers a unique shopping experience. 

The Chic Antique - Denmark display at the Maison Objet international wholesale market in Paris, France is filled with beautiful things that are reproductions of vintage French furniture and home accents. No, none of these are available in my pop up shop because the shipping charges from Denmark would make the retail price of the items too expensive. 

Wholesale markets closer to home allow me to offer beautiful clips like these wooden reindeer with glittery antlers. They add an extra touch to my hand-painted gold letters NOEL banner. Little things make a big difference.  

Profits cannot be made from buying items at retail prices to sell in your pop up shop. You may need wholesale priced craft supplies to create your handmade goods, centerpieces, flower wreaths, etc... 

If you live near one of the major wholesale markets, it will be worth your time to go to the market to shop for select items to go with your pop up shop inventory. 

Wholesale Major Market Venues 

Each market has its own registration requirements for buyers. Use the links to go to each site for detailed information. There are also smaller regional wholesale markets in Denver, CO, Gatlinburg, TN, Las Vegas, NV, Minneapolis, MN, etc...  

Dallas Market Center

Owners of small home businesses can access Dallas Market Center. Registering is not as scary as it first looks. 

Since I live in the greater Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex, the Dallas Market Center is where I shop wholesale vendors. The drive is about 45-60 minutes which means I do not have plane travel or hotel expenses to attend the twice annual Home and Gift Market. 

Home businesses must update their credentials every two years. You may register online and present your photo ID upon arrival to get your required buyer's badge. 

Required* documents for "Business in Home"  

An * appears before each required document. My comments and suggestions are below each requirement. 
  • *Copy of state Sales & Use Tax Permit with appropriate SIC or NAICS codes.
    • The state Sales & Use Tax Permit is sent to you after you file an application for it. 
    • In Texas, businesses are required to display their state Sales & Use Tax Permit prominently in the place of business. 
    • Do not submit your original Sales & Use Tax Permit. Submit a copy
    • *Invoices of $10,000 in wholesale transactions within the last 12 months, or a signed quarterly state sales tax return with payment check or e-file receipt. The filing must show sales and taxes paid. If no taxes are paid, then you must provide wholesale invoices. 
      • You do not have to have $10,000 in wholesale transactions. That is the first option.
      • All you need is a signed quarterly state sales tax return or e-file receipt. 
        • Sell a few items weeks in advance of the Dallas Market Center's Home and Gift Market and your pop up shop dates. Then file a quarterly state sales tax return before the Home and Gift Market registration. Sell to friends or neighbors to get your first sales so you can file the sales tax return. 
        • There is no required minimum amount of paid sales tax. 
    • *Personalized, imprinted business card. (Only valid for owners.) 
      • Print your own business cards on your printer using Avery business card forms. 
      • Order business cards from vistaprint online {no affiliation} for fast, inexpensive professionally printed cards. 
    • *Provide a copy of a paycheck or personal corporate credit card to add buyers of full-time employees. 
      • You are not required to have a personal corporate credit card if you do not plan to add buyers from your company to attend the Dallas Market Center. However, a business credit card may be needed to order from some wholesale vendors.
      • Apply for a business credit card from a company with which you already have a personal credit card. 
    • *Photo ID to receive your market badge. 

    A Dallas Market Center wholesale vendor has this beautiful reproduction French-style carved wooden mirror.

    And, YES, this mirror is for sale in this year's French Country Christmas Event.

    Wholesale Vendors  

    Each wholesale company sets its own requirements for new buyers. A few common practices are given. 
    • Buyers (that's you) must register and be approved with a wholesale company before orders may be placed. Registration with Dallas Market Center gets you inside the market to look at showrooms. Registration with individual companies allows you to BUY from companies. 
    • Usual registration requirements
      • Business Card 
      • Copy of state Sales & Use Tax Permit 
      • Completed Sales & Use Tax Resale Certificate 
        • Texas companies can download a blank Sales & Use Tax Resale Certificate
        • Take several copies of both the Sales & Use Tax Permit and Sales & Use Tax Resale Certificate to give to all the companies from whom you may want to order.  
    • Minimum opening (first time) purchase varies, $100, $250, $500, etc... Ask the showroom representative for the required minimum purchase. 
    • Reorder minimums are usually less than opening minimums. Example: $250 opening; $150 reorder. Once you order from a company all of your future orders are reorders; not just reordering the same products. 
    • Opening purchases usually must be paid by credit card. 
    • Minimum number of each item ordered is often required by wholesale companies. You usually can see the minimum number of an item on the price tag/listing of the item. Minimum quantities can be 1, 2, 3,... or as high as 12 or 24. Price tags/listings may also indicate lower wholesale prices for greater quantities ordered. 
    • Items must be ordered in multiples of the minimum number. If 3 is the minimum required, then you cannot order 5. You must order 3 or 6 or 9.... 
    • Shipping charges are added to your order and show up on your invoice when the goods are shipped. Ask the showroom representative for an estimated shipping charge. 
    • Shipping dates vary. Ask when your order will be shipped. Specify a cancel date in case your order does not ship in time for your pop up shop dates.  
    • A company may require you to sign a document that requires you sell its goods at its manufactured suggested retail price and/or prohibit you from advertising its products at prices lower than its established minimum price. 
      • Two companies that I buy from have new policies this year regarding minimum retail prices/advertising. 
      • Part of the reason for new minimum pricing policies is Internet sales. One of the two companies included in its signed agreement form specific details regarding Internet sales. 

    Large rustic ceramic French-style hearts are perfect accent pieces for French-inspired rooms in neutral colors.  Found at a Dallas Market Center wholesaler, these are available in this year's French Country Christmas Event and will also be available in my online Botanic Bleu shop.

    SUGGESTIONS for shopping wholesale vendors 

    • Introduce yourself to a showroom's representative. 
    • Ask for showroom representatives' business cards. 
    • Ask for help in completing the company's required application. 
    • Ask for instructions for viewing products and ordering on the company's website. 
    • Cash and carry sales are not usually possible. However, in late Fall, showrooms may have cash and carry sales for samples. You can purchase fewer items than the normal required minimum. 
    • Shop with companies that offer several different kinds of products. A required opening purchase may be easier to reach by buying several kinds of items. Michel Design Works is one of my favorite wholesale vendors, and the company offers many kinds of products in both non-holiday designs and Christmas designs: kitchen towels, potholders, oven mitts, lotion, candles, stationery, shower gel, matches, small soaps, wooden trays, glass soap dishes, paper napkins, paper plates, paper placemats, foaming soaps, etc...  
    • Make a list of items (by name and by item #) you would like to buy from all the companies you visit. Take photos with your phone if allowed. Place your orders after you compare prices and after you determine how much money you can spend. 
    • Order from 2-3 companies your first year to establish your required minimum orders. Then each year add another company. This system allows you to spend the same or less amount of money each year. Example:  Company A, B, and C each have a minimum first-time order of $250 which means you must invest $750 the first year. The second year Company A, B, and C have a minimum reorder amount of $150 which means you invest $450 with them. You have $300 left in your budget to make a first-time order with a fourth company allowing you to offer a greater variety of goods in your shop's inventory. 
    • Create an online account with each company. Look up items online for sizes, colors, minimums, etc..., as well as place orders directly with the company. 
    • Highly recommended. View items in person in showrooms to see firsthand the colors, sizes,  and quality of the items. Photos online can be deceiving. 
    • Order early in the year, and specify early-year shipping dates. Popular items sell out and are shipped following customers' shipping dates. Customers with late shipping dates will not receive sold-out items. Note: Companies take orders in good faith, but sometimes their suppliers fail to fulfill a larger than expected order. Or, items are damaged in shipping which must be replaced leaving less inventory to ship to other buyers. 

    Wholesale market purchases are a good way to supplement custom made items sold in your pop up home business. A variety of items increases the number of items customers can buy. 

    I hope my experiences make it easier for others to start their own small businesses. When I first began, I was rather intimidated by the wholesale markets at Dallas Market Center, but no more. 

    If you would like a guide the first time you visit Dallas Market Center, I am considering offering a guided tour, to a limited number of participants, for a nominal fee. We would visit a few of my favorite wholesale showrooms. Let me know in the comment section if you are interested. 

    Leave your questions in a comment, and I will answer either directly by email or in the comment section. 

    You may also enjoy reading 

    Pop Up Home Business Location, the first article in this series. 

    Thank you for reading Botanic Bleu. 

    I hope you find the information about starting a pop up home business helpful. 
    I wish there had been a summary of similar information when I began. 
    More pop up home business posts are planned to help you. 

    Please let me know if you have suggestions for topics about other posts/series you would enjoy. 

    Of course, upcoming posts are planned for decorating for the Christmas season. 

    Plus, upcoming posts will show what latest renovations and updates have occurred to my
    French-inspired garden and home.