Saving time and money most likely rank within the top 10 items of your permanent to-do list as a Work at Home Mom or Dad. You created your own site design -- or found a low-cost designer to do it for you. You also filed your own sole proprietor paper work, and possibly even requested your own tax-ID number. And working at home has saved you tons of money in rental fees, utilities and more. Despite the low overhead, you still have expenses each month. As a manufacturer of baby slings, cloth diapers, quilts or other crafts, one of your main expenses is fabric.
With Profit Margins Already Slim, You Need All The Savings You Can Get Wouldn't it be great if you could save some money on fabric as well? Profit margins are already razor-thin in the WAHM world, so even the smallest increase could give you some breathing room. If you are currently buying your fabric at retail prices, purchasing at wholesale can save you a bundle in the long run. Sounds great! However, there are a couple of downsides.
Don't Let Minimum Order Requirements Deter You 1. Many wholesalers require you to order a minimum amount up front. While this will make your initial costs higher, you will save in the long run. For example, let's say that you normally buy 25 yards of your favorite fabric for $252. Your wholesaler requires you to purchase 100 yards, which will cost $600. Ouch, right? Think of it this way though: At retail value, the fabric is $12 per yard.
When you sew your sling, you use 2 yards of fabric. So, you're spending $24 per sling, which you then sale for $32. Your profit, not counting the thread used or other business expenses: $8. Now, let's say you went out and purchased the wholesale fabric for $600.
You make your sling, using 2 yards of fabric. Only now, those two yards cost you just $12. When you sell your produce for $32, your profit is $20.
You have more than doubled your profit for that item! Another way to look at this is, with the retail fabric, you are making $4 of profit per yard. You purchased 25 yards, so your profit for that fabric purchase is $100. With the wholesale fabric, you are making a profit of $10 per yard. For the 100 yards of fabric you purchased, your total profit is $1,000. Wow! Now, that's no so much of a downside when you look at it.
Finding Fabric Wholesalers Is Tough Work 2. Where in the world do you buy fabric at wholesale? I've seen this question asked over and over again at WAHM message boards. The most common answer is the call the manufacturers of the fabrics you are interested in purchasing. Typically, the retailers you purchase the fabric from are very protective of their wholesale sources, so you may not have any luck asking. Often though, you can look at the ends of the fabric bolt itself to see the name. Some fabrics have the information printed onto an unfinished edge of the fabric.
On solid color fabric, denim and others, the manufacturer information may be hard to find. You can also use a search engine in order to find wholesale fabric lists. However, be careful to research the company to find out about the fabric quality, turnaround time from the time you place the order until it is shipped and the level of customer service they provide. Research can include using search engines to find reviews or forum discussions about the company, asking fellow work at home moms and searching messages boards or resource websites that you are a member of for comments on the company. Finding wholesale fabric for your business maybe a tough job -- but in terms of saving money, it will be well worth it in the long run.
Michelle Waters, owner of Watersweb Shops, recommends the following wholesale fabric information sources: http://www.waterswebshops.com/WholesaleCraftFabric, http://www.waterswebshops.com/WholesaleFleeceFabric and http://www.waterswebshops.com/GuidetoWholesaleFabrics