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How to Decide Whether Going to the Wholesale Markets Are Worth It

Mar 09, 2020

We loooove to travel. We seriously have adventure in our DNA. And our guess is that as an entrepreneur, you do, too. Starting a business is the adventure of a lifetime!

And of course, we are all obsessed with beautiful decor. Sooooo... what could be better than a trip to shop the latest trends?! When you are ready to buy wholesale though, you are likely squeezing every penny, so we want to help you decide whether going to the wholesale markets are worth it.

Whether you go to a furniture market or shop online, the important thing is to stop paying retail prices. As a home stager, if you pay retail prices for your inventory, you are losing valuable profits. Furniture sold at retail prices is normally marked up around 2.5 times the wholesale price, so even after factoring in shipping costs, the savings for home stagers who buy wholesale are monumental. That’s why we say that shopping wholesale is a home stager’s #1 key to profitability. However, actually going to market is not necessary for buying wholesale. This blog is meant to help you decide whether or not the trip is worth it.

So should you go to furniture market or skip it? There are lots of factors to consider–but the biggest takeaway is that you should buy wholesale, online or at market. Here are some things to think about when considering whether to attend market.

Factor in the cost of your travel when considering going to market. There are several major furniture market ‘show’ events each year that home stagers can attend to shop wholesale: Las Vegas, Atlanta, High Point and Dallas. However, traveling to them can be expensive.

If you are not buying very much at market, the price of your flights, meals and hotel may mean that $400 sofa actually cost you $2400 with travel expenses included!

Before attending market, you should budget how much you plan to spend and which items you want to buy. If you don't plan on investing more than $5-10k on inventory, making the trip is probably not worth it. Remember–many companies have a minimum opening order of $5k.

Going to market gives you a chance to check the quality of your purchases. We once ordered 3 dining tables we thought were going to be gorgeous–only to find out the top was basically contact paper. We were never able to put those in a house, so we put them to use as sorting tables in our warehouse. Being able to actually see the quality and color of the items on the showroom floor is very valuable and should not be under estimated. 

Market is great for trendspotting. You will stay ahead of the curve and pick up on trends that will likely take weeks or months to start showing up in retail or the blogosphere. Although accessories are not always best bought at market (due to order minimums, etc.), it can be a perfect place to clue in to what to look for on your next HomeGoods run. Of course, following the right blogs and social media accounts can give you a similar effect, but there is nothing like getting the info firsthand.

Build relationships with vendors. Attending market is a great way to start creating rapport with furniture vendors. There's nothing quite like meeting face to face, however, you can still make a good impression with your vendors without meeting them in person. Simply communicating efficiently, paying invoices on time, and being friendly go a long way. Sending them referrals is another great way to give your relationship a boost.

So, do you have to attend the big market events in order to buy wholesale?

No way. While there are some great advantages to going to the big market events, we have been there and done that for you! Our Buy Like a Boss: The Stager’s Guide to Wholesale online course includes a list of all our favorite wholesale vendors, along with their contact information. If you do decide to go to market, our Buy Like A Boss course will guide you step-by-step on how to navigate them.

We’ve been attending furniture markets and developing relationships with wholesalers for over a decade, so you don’t have to. You can reach out to them directly about purchasing their products. Catalogs are generally available online, or you can request that they send one to you. 

For most of these wholesalers, it’s a simple process to request an account online. After completing their forms and submitting your documentation, you just may have to wait a few days for approval. 

Our favorite way to get a deal on wholesale? Join the Real Estate Staging Association's buying group. They have negotiated great prices for you and we definitely recommend joining. 

Staging Studio was created FOR Stagers BY Stagers. Everything we teach, and all the resources we offer, are because we used them in our own business first. 

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