Are Minimum Orders Important?

Should artists and craftspeople set a required minimum opening order for wholesale customers? We say “Yes” and here’s why:


Placing a wholesale order


When artist are first starting out in business, there may be some confusion as to whether or how much to set as a minimum order. How much makes sense? Should the minimum be a dollar amount or a quantity of merchandise? These are decisions that should be thought through carefully, because it makes a big difference in how you are perceived by your wholesale customers. Setting no minimum shows a lack of confidence in the exhibitor, or even desperation.

Artists with a history of success have often actually increased the amount of their minimum opening order. They well know that the customer needs to make a commitment and buy into their concept and their brand. The opening order is an investment in enough merchandise to create impact in a store display, and make a statement.

The result? Vendors who demand minimums tend to have higher sell-through and more repeat orders than those who do not demand a minimum.

If a buyer disputes your requirement to place a set minimum order, you might ask them, “How will you make sales of my work without a good collection to show? The merchandise will look picked over before any of it sells.” That’s pretty undisputable, as it is common knowledge in retailing that a full display tends to sell more briskly, and as stock dwindles, sales will slow.

There is little purpose in not setting an opening minimum. It encourages personal buying, which doesn’t serve the artist. And it says that the buyer either has a lack of confidence in your work, or doesn’t take it seriously. How much effort will they put into making sales of your line when they don’t “buy in” to your work and order a sufficient amount of merchandise to allow for successful sales?


Do you set a minimum wholesale order of your work? What have your results been?


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