Last year my little dollmaking hobby kind of exploded into a hobby business. I closed my Christmas orders in August and was sewing and posting dollies until 3 days before Christmas. During that time I was dashing down to Spotlight at least twice a week, and it was becoming unfeasible to keep buying some things in such small amounts. I had to think bigger! I opened an account with Birch, and started buying my stuffing in lots of 6kg or 9kg. This pic is my 30m roll of elastic … I haven’t run out and had to dash to Spotlight half way through a job yet! I did go rather crazy on my first order, but I don’t run out of the basics anymore, and that’s been a real timesaver. Also, by buying in bulk direct from the distributor I am saving quite a lot of money as well! On average I pay $4 per kg less for my stuffing (and I like the quality better), and picked up a 9m roll of red sequin elastic for almost the same price than I was paying per metre at Lincraft.
There are a few things to consider if you’re a crafter thinking about buying in bulk. First … you must factor in the shipping. My orders from Birch cost $10 to ship. I have another friend with an account, and if either of us are ordering we let the other know. If I just want a little bit, I’ll just get her to order for me and we split the shipping. I also belong to a Facebook group for sewers & crafters in my local area, and always put the word out that I’m going to place an order. The more people ordering, the less we all pay for shipping.
The next thing to consider is how frequently you do use particular items. I go through anywhere from 15-25kgs of stuffing per year, so buying 9kg at a time is perfect for me. But if you don’t really use that much polyfill, then the 3kg minimum order may be excessive, and you’ll have to store that excess stuffing for a long time. For me, there’s no point ordering huge rolls of yellow ribbon, because I hardly use it. But black 6mm bias binding … well, I’m half way through that roll already!
It’s worth taking some time over a cuppa to consider whether you have the space to store the goodies you want to buy in bulk, and if you really do need that much. Consider whether you may be able to split an order with friends (all love ribbon? order a roll each and split it out between you). If you decided that you’re sick of frittering away your time and money buying pre-packed stuff, and going through it so fast that you’re at the shops every week stocking up, then do give it a thought. There are some great Australian distributors including Birch and Simplicity (oh the beautiful trims!) … and that’s just to start!