For me, the answer has quickly become a resounding, “YES” for 3 reasons:
- My go-to Hancock Fabrics store near me is about to close.
- Joann’s is consistently out of stock on bolts of SF101 when I need it for projects and online orders have meant Wonder-Under arriving at my doorstep instead of SF101. This is especially aggravating when it means approximately 1-1/2 hours of time wasted plus the gas to get to the store and back or time spent trying to educate the customer service rep on the difference between Shape Flex and Wonder Under.
- When I reviewed my biz financials and saw the total I spent last year on supplies for t-shirt quilts, sewing camps/classes, and stitching club at school, I KNEW I could meet the annual minimums required by several wholesale sewing vendors.
Most wholesalers are geared toward retailers. However, if you look, you will find a handful of companies that cater to cottage businesses. EE Schenk and Checker Distributors are two that I suggest you try if you need a company that supplies a little bit of everything. Should I decide to start vending sewing notions in my Etsy shop, it will be an easy transition for me as I already have a wholesale supplier set up.
Buying wholesale means you save on a per yard basis on the fabric you buy, but you are required to buy an entire bolt. That could be 10-15 yards of fabric, depending on the manufacturer. That’s enough for at least 2-3 quilts.
Will I buy wholesale for everything? Of course not! My approach to fabric & notions purchasing will mimic how I spend the library budget at my day job. I often visit the local bookstore to preview unfamiliar titles before I commit to buying them with library money. I’ll likely by a yard or two of fabric from my LQS to see if it’s worth springing for the entire bolt. Or I need a FQ of a particular college sports team to use in a baby quilt. Or I need a single spool of a particular color/brand of thread I don’t have on hand. I’ll still support my LQS, but wholesale purchasing will allow me to be more profitable in terms of $$ spent on supplies and in time spent sourcing frequently used materials in my business.