How to avoid ‘feels so good’ wholesale buying

Kanga - Zanzibar - easy feels so good buy

“I should never have added extra ones. Now I am stuck with them”

It is like walking a tight rope.  On the one end a seller, the other end a buyer, both tugging on the rope.  I learned that buying out of charity does not help my business. Wholesale ‘feels so good’ buying results in potential problems. I learned how to avoid them.

Who feels good in buying and selling

  • The Maker – feels good when I buy from them
  • The Buyer – feels good when I sell to them
  • Me – I feel good when I do not tumble off the tight rope

The crucial point of control is where I buy from the maker. At that moment in time, giving in to ‘feels so good’ buying might get me into trouble.

Impulse buying also happens wholesale

“Spur of the moment, unplanned decision to buy, made just before a purchase. Research findings suggest that emotions and feelings play a decisive role in purchasing, triggered by seeing the product or upon exposure to a well crafted promotional message. Such purchases ranges from small (chocolate, clothing, magazines) to substantially large (jewelry, vehicle, work of art) and usually (about 80 percent of the time) lead to problems such as financial difficulties, family disapproval, or feeling of guilt or disappointment.”

For a business, if you impulse buy wholesale, you may end up with cash stuck in stock.  It is acceptable as an investment.  I hold artwork by artists who sadly passed away but these potentially increase in value over time.

Retail stock however must sell and keep in mind that Cash is King. Read this article on managing working capital and why running out of cash can lead to trouble.

This is how I got unstuck from ‘feels so good’ wholesale buying

I included African wrap-around kangas in my range 7 years ago.  It is a beautiful wearable piece of clothing but selling them in Australia turned out to be difficult.  They compete with sarongs on price and design. Few Africans swim for leisure and beach-attire is almost non-existent. Until we wear wraps away from the beach, kangas will be hard to sell.

Then there is the situation where the artist offered me 10 more bangles, just in case, while I was already buying 60. Or when the carver raced after me on a bike to sell me 10 necklaces when I already bought 20 birds.

Everyone is on a continuous learning curve. I learned that for some items it is too difficult to cross a cultural ‘divide’ for alternative use. I also learned that buying out of charity does not help me in my business. These experiences alerted me to the delayed effects of ‘feels so good’ buying.

Wear a trader hat to avoid ‘feels so good’ buying

Making realistic business decisions is crucial for every trader. With disadvantaged people in the mix, fair traders run the risk of ‘feels so good’ buying.

In fair trade we look for potential long-term business relationships and it is your responsibility not to raise expectations.  For many disadvantaged and small groups selling wholesale overseas is a big thing so they get excited. 

They may already sell locally to tourists who usually buy above market price and just a few items at one time. Bargaining may not be their forte and this leaves the impression money is easy to spend. As there is no contact between the parties after the transaction this impression remains.

It works against what I as a fair trader try to achieve. It warps the idea of what we like, what we are willing to pay and our quality acceptance.

Trade for the long term

“Fair Trade is a trading partnership, based on dialogue, transparency and respect….”

This is relevant to each partner in the business relationship. It is essential that we take every opportunity to teach and learn about trade in our respective spheres.  

Money is a currency that everyone in trade understands. The effects of where it is earned and spent however is not. This understanding is important to arrive at a fair price to agree on. In my experience I am usually more knowledgeable across the maker’s environment than they are about mine.

When you provide an insight into how your market works a seller may be more understanding. Asking questions about their business also helps moving towards a partnership that works.

Fair and ethical is about capacity building for both parties. It also makes saying ‘No’ less frustrating and avoids the potential problems of ‘feels so good’ wholesale buying.

Fair and ethical trading has a long life – impulse buying shortens it

“Cultures differ, values differ. It took me many years to develop a ‘thicker’ skin and I am now OK to say ‘No’ to wholesale buy requests. I realise that I need to keep doing well here because if I don’t, my ability to make a difference there will disappear”

Carina – Nov 2019
How to avoid ‘feels so good’ wholesale buying

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