A Case For Wholesaling | Julie Spako | Episode 907

A Case For Wholesaling | Julie Spako | Episode 907

Julie Spako | Episode 907

Julie Spako and I lives in Austin, Texas with her husband and twin boys. Julie started with ceramics in High School and continued to get a minor in ceramics from Syracuse University in 1995. Julie makes high fire stoneware and porcelain serving and dinnerware. Julie loves pattern and surface texture. Julie handbuilds all of her pieces. This allows Julie a freedom in form, and the ability to concentrate on the surface design.


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Is it comforting to know that your work is already sold when you are making it?

Yeah, for sure. And the way that I work now with shops and galleries is a lot of times they will just give me a budget. This is how much I want to spend. And I get to put together the whole order. I get to make whatever I want and do whatever designs I want. Sometimes they say, I don’t like the birds or I just want 80 percent blue or some people will say, Make 12 cups, I don’t care what you do on them.  That’s my preferred way to work and that’s mostly what my orders are.

Is that because you have grown to a point where they have a certain level of trust for you?

I think so. Because I have a line sheet and I have style numbers. Some people do like that and do use that but it’s A typical and I say right away I try to keep it flexible because I have so many different designs there is no way I could have a design number for each design. People will send me a screen shot. Just send me this. Send me everything in this picture. Or , you know I keep it flexible even though there haven’t really been very many misunderstandings. But it keeps it interesting.

Does that also help with re-orders, to be able to have those relationships?

Last year I only took on one new wholesale account. There was a time when I had thirty wholesale accounts but they were all pretty small orders. And then   I would say maybe now I have ten that I keep. And I would transition from wholesale but it’s not the same guarantee of income and  I actually really cherish my relationships.

So it is comforting for you to know that there is almost a guaranteed flow of income. 

Yes, for sure. I just take an order and fulfill it. I don’t have to worry. When I was doing shows and craft fairs  I might work for six months and hope to sell things. There was no guarantee. That I might make 500 dollars for  months of work. That’s not sustainable. And I do take custom orders. I need to get more streamlined. That is my goal is to not have so many options but limit it on my orders.

So what I hear you saying is that is better to have fifteen or twenty customers as apposed to trying to have a thousand customers to re-buy. A thousand individuals. 

Yeah, I never thought about it like that. I do have collectors. And sometimes my work, once I start advertising it will sell out before it even reaches the store. And I do make half of that income. The problem with it is I give my suggested mark up and it’s fifty percent but not everybody sells it for that. Some people sell it for a lot more. And I don’t know how much they sell it for unless they put it online. That has helped me realize that I could make a lot more money. When you are starting out you are just happy to be working and have some money coming in.

How do you find your wholesalers? Or how did they find you?

Well mostly through Instagram. But one of the biggest investments I ever made was working for a company called Wholesale in a Box And the woman who runs it, Emily, she also started a program called One Mill School, but she is basically a business coach where they would send you twenty leads a month. It was basically cold calling in the beginning. I would send out an email with my line sheet and hope people would open it. And I did get responses.


Influence by Robert B. Cialdini



Instagram: @spakoclay