How to Locate Wholesale Merchandise

Independent artisans are sources of wholesale merchandise.
Independent artisans are sources of wholesale merchandise. (Image: Jupiterimages/BananaStock/Getty Images)

Department stores, boutiques and other entrepreneurs buy wholesale merchandise to sell to make a profit. The various venues to locate wholesale merchandise vary by product. Certain merchandise comes directly from the manufacturer, while other merchandise goes through a distributor then to the retailer. All companies that supply wholesale merchandise require their customers to have a business license to buy the goods. Ads on TV, radio and the Internet offering wholesale prices on merchandise are generally a marketing campaign to sell a product—but not at the true wholesale price.

Things You'll Need

  • Vendor's or resale license number
  • Business to business phone book
  • Various trade publications

Access the Thomas Register Directory either online or at the library. In the library, use the index books to locate wholesale merchandisers listed by product or service. The index books list the places a particular company is listed in the registry. The register is a multi-volume collection of books. Navigation of the ThomasNet website produces the same information and is more up to date.

Locate wholesale merchandise by researching your local business-to-business yellow pages under the type of merchandise or service you require. Contact a company to request a wholesale catalog and price list. Ask to speak to a sales representative for further information.

Obtain a trade journal or magazine for the merchandise you want. Review the business advertisements to find companies that manufacture the desired product. Contact those companies for more information on wholesale products.

Attend a trade show specializing in the products you need. A clothing trade show carries wholesale merchandise of every kind, from jewelry and handbags to adult novelties. Name brand merchant representatives are at each booth to answer questions about pricing, delivery, minimum orders and sales. Even wholesale companies have sales.

Visit local craft shows and festivals to find artisans who sell wholesale merchandise. Some of the craftsmen are sole proprietors who offer their wares only at the shows. Negotiate a reduced price by buying in large quantities, or offer to sell the craft for a commission.

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