10+ Small Business Wholesale Suppliers With the Perfect Products for Your Business
You have a business idea. You’ve researched its viability. You’ve made a plan. Now, you’re ready to bring it to life.
Not all product-based businesses are also manufacturers. In fact, many online brands buy everything from wholesale suppliers. These suppliers sell products in bulk at affordable prices so direct-to-consumer brands can brand it, add a markup, and sell it for a profit.
And while you might think wholesale is only for big-box retailers and global companies, even small businesses source from wholesalers.
- What Are Wholesale Suppliers?
- How Do I Find Wholesale Suppliers?
- Marketplaces and Wholesale Companies for Small Businesses
- Choosing the Right Supplier for Your Small Business
- Summary: Finding the Best Wholesale Suppliers
What Are Wholesale Suppliers?
Wholesale suppliers are business-to-business (B2B) entities that sell products at a discounted rate to other businesses. The buyers then sell the products in individual units directly to consumers for a profit. Wholesale suppliers may or may not manufacture the products themselves. In some cases, they even do a mixture of both.
Wholesale vs. Dropshipping
You’ll see mentions of both wholesale and dropshipping when we look at some of these small business wholesale suppliers. In the case of wholesale, you purchase the inventory from the supplier, who ships the items to you to store in your warehouse, stock room, basement, spare bedroom, wherever you keep your product. When a customer makes a purchase, you are then responsible for picking, packing, and shipping those items.
Dropshipping, on the other hand, is a more hands-off approach. So while you control more of the logistics and customer experience in wholesale, you leave this up to the supplier in the dropshipping model. Essentially, a customer makes a purchase from you, but the supplier picks, packs, and ships it. You never buy the inventory from them in the first place, and they are responsible for storing merchandise. This is also less risk, though margins are typically lower.
How Do I Find Wholesale Suppliers?
Every search starts somewhere – in this case, you can begin with a Google search. This will bring up a list of wholesale suppliers to try. You can search by product, industry, and even location to pull up an initial list.
Bear in mind – wholesale can be a scary place. Not every wholesaler is legit, so you need to do some vetting beyond the first page of Google. Search for the company name and add keywords like “reviews” and “scam” to your query to unearth any red flags.
When you use a platform like Handshake, you can rest assured all the suppliers are not only legit but also sell high-quality products. Every supplier has been carefully handpicked.
Marketplaces and Wholesale Companies for Small Businesses
Handshake is a directory of wholesale brands you can explore and use to connect directly with handpicked creators. Categories span apparel, candles, baby, soap, and more – and you don’t have to limit yourself to just one supplier. Wholesalers on Handshake have different policies for order minimums, shipping, and how many units come in a pack.
First on the list of wholesale suppliers for small businesses is China-based AliExpress, which is connected with the Alibaba online marketplace. It’s well-known for having a wide range of products – more than 100 million – at competitive prices. They ship globally and there’s no order minimum. Buyers beware, though. Not everything you see on AliExpress is worth the investment. There’s little vetting or quality control.
Like AliExpress, DollarDays has something for just about every kind of business in every industry you can think of. The difference here is an extra focus on serving non-profit organizations with affordable pricing, though for-profit businesses can also purchase their wholesale goods. DollarDays is one of many wholesale companies in the USA, though they also serve small businesses all over the world. Also, like AliExpress, order minimums don’t apply. They also have a dropshipping model.
Liquidation.com operates on a wholesale model that leverages inventory surpluses to offer brand-name goods at affordable prices. With more than 500 product categories, they have all kinds of items for sale, spanning from apparel to cosmetics and home goods. Their pricing works on a bidding system, while Liquidation.com DIRECT skips the bidding and allows you to purchase goods in bulk. Liquidation.com ships internationally except to Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Sudan, and Syria.
OrangeShine’s product offerings are limited to apparel, accessories, and beauty. If you need more variety, you’re better off checking out one of the other wholesalers for small businesses.
SaleHoo is another wholesale directory. You can browse thousands of suppliers with all kinds of products on the site. Order minimums vary and international shipping is available. SaleHoo is based in New Zealand and also has dropshipping options.
Wholesale Central is exactly that – a one-stop shop for all things wholesale. You can find products in virtually every category you can think of: food and grocery, music, novelties, apparel, religious items, and even tools and hardware. International shipping is available, and order minimums vary. You can also use Wholesale Central to find dropshippers.
Worldwide Brands has a directory of wholesalers and more than 16 million products to choose from, so there’s no shortage of variety here. Worldwide Brands sources products from trade shows and directly from manufacturers, making them available to small businesses everywhere. There’s usually an order minimum, though it varies depending on the supplier. You can also find dropshipping with Worldwide Brands.
Choosing the Right Supplier for Your Small Business
There are a few key things to keep in mind when finding suppliers for small businesses:
- Price. Though not the only consideration, price is a big one. You need to find a wholesaler who can sell goods at a price low enough so that you can add a markup and still make sales at a profit.
- Product range. When you use a marketplace like Handshake, variety becomes less of an issue. Handshake has a range of suppliers to choose from, each with its own distinct products and branding.
- Location. Choosing a local distributor not only cuts down on shipping time and costs, but it also avoids import taxes and duties. Plus, there’s no chance of your shipment getting stuck at customs.
- Shipping policies. Free shipping is always a bonus. Some wholesalers charge for shipping while others offer it for free if you order a certain amount. Others offer free shipping regardless of order size. You’ll also want to check out carrier and delivery time options.
- Order minimums. It’s hard to come up with the capital needed to make a significant inventory investment. If the order minimum is too high for you to invest, consider reaching out and asking for samples. The same idea goes for order maximums – if you anticipate needing a large quantity, make sure they’re equipped to handle that.
- Reputation and reviews. As we mentioned before, it’s important to do your due diligence on the suppliers before you hand over your credit card information. In addition to your own online research, don’t be afraid to ask for any business licenses and other documentation as proof of their legitimacy.
If you consider a combination of the above, prioritizing what’s most important to you at this stage in your business, you’re more likely to set yourself up for success.
Summary: Finding the Best Wholesale Suppliers
With so many options to choose from, it’s both difficult and easy to find a small business wholesale supplier. Take your search over to Handshake, where you can find handpicked creators who make unique and high-quality goods.