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Thread: Co-op buying?

  1. #1
    Senior Member qwkslver's Avatar
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    Have you all done any co-op buying or is that a bad idea? Shipping is bad on stuff. Wonder if we could order in quantity and share. Has anyone done that?

  2. #2
    Super Member raptureready's Avatar
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    If you can find enough people in your area you might try it. We used to do it with some things when I was working. Seems like someone always felt like they got shafted when they had to pay their part of the shipping charges. Just make sure that everyone is clear on everything right up front. If something gets backordered it can turn into a major nightmare. Make sure you decide whether shipping is divided equally or in accordance with whatever someone buys. If the shipping is by dollar amount then it should be divided by the # of dollars and each person pay accordingly. If it's by item then divided it that way. If it's by weight don't even mess with co-op buying because it creates a horrible mess.

  3. #3
    Power Poster dkabasketlady's Avatar
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    I'm with raptureready, I used to do when I worked and the same thing happened. Someone was always mad about the shipping and sometimes people order, but don't seem to have the money when the items come in(I'll pay you later kind of deal, but later never gets here).

  4. #4
    Moderator Up North's Avatar
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    I belonged to a food co-op when my kids were little, it was wonderful and we had a great bunch of ladies.

  5. #5
    Super Member Rebecca VLQ's Avatar
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    It's good if you're buying like-items...I've done co-ops for yarn and stuff and it's worked out well. The "hostess" has to be very organized though and have it figured out ahead of time. You know, cost of discounted item, estimated shipping cost, when the payments are due, when they should expect their item, etc. Not to mention there's got to be some history of SUCCESSFUL co-ops. Everyone's gotta start somewhere, but I don't wanna be the one burned for a couple hundred bucks...

  6. #6
    Senior Member kapatt's Avatar
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    I've never done that but I was wondering how you would go about it after you got a group together? Would you buy wholesale and if so, would you need a business license?

  7. #7
    Power Poster Lacelady's Avatar
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    Our little quilt group does it all the time. But then we are in Ireland, with few LQSs and much higher prices than in the US. When we band together, we share the shipping costs which saves a lot too.

    I just put everything on my credit card, and they pay me back when the goods arrive.

  8. #8
    Super Member featherweight's Avatar
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    I agree with you guys. I used to order when I worrked and someone always b*****d about shipping. From then on I would order my own and pay for my own shipping. No problems or mad people that way.

  9. #9
    Senior Member crochetetc's Avatar
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    I do group orders for bird toy parts all of the time. I just put a few rules in place and if you followed the rules no problems if you didn't the next time you were not in on the order. I have been running it now for going on 4 years without any problems.

    I made anyone ordering pay up front by paypal, they covered the shipping charges split among the items ordered. I just increased the price to cover it. (I don't pay shipping since I do all the sorting and repackaging and mailing out).

  10. #10
    davidwent's Avatar
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    Could you just buy from someplace like Connecting Threads where over 50 bucks shipping is free? In my mind that is the reason to do co-op. My 2 cents
    David

  11. #11
    Super Member featherweight's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by davidwent
    Could you just buy from someplace like Connecting Threads where over 50 bucks shipping is free? In my mind that is the reason to do co-op. My 2 cents
    David
    That definately would be the only way I would ever do it again!!!

  12. #12
    Super Member Deborah12687's Avatar
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    I did some research on wholesale fabric were you can get cuts by the yard or bolts just have to get a tax ID to get in with them. I got a full list of suppliers. Atleast it cuts down the cost of the fabric by buying it this way. Just make sure you claim sole propriatorship and pay the taxes.

  13. #13
    Super Member scowlkat's Avatar
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    I have two very close friends that I do share shipping with but wouldn't open myself up to it with anyone else!

  14. #14
    Senior Member vickimc's Avatar
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    WE have done it with order books thru AQS, the more books you by, the better the discount. One person orders and we all pay her. been a few years, cause the gal doing it moved away.

  15. #15
    Dkm
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    I thought it was a good ideal.....until I ordered somethings before Thanksgiving and am still waiting for the other person to pick up and pay for their things. That is the chance you take.

  16. #16
    Super Member JUNEC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by davidwent
    Could you just buy from someplace like Connecting Threads where over 50 bucks shipping is free? In my mind that is the reason to do co-op. My 2 cents
    David
    Fabric.com has an over $35.00 free shipping

  17. #17
    Junior Member Donnasue's Avatar
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    Deborah12687,
    Wondering if you have to have a specific tax ID. I have a business, but it does not involve any type of crafting. Mine is property management.

  18. #18
    Super Member featherweight's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Donnasue
    Deborah12687,
    Wondering if you have to have a specific tax ID. I have a business, but it does not involve any type of crafting. Mine is property management.
    No, it won't make any difference. The reason for the tax ID is so you can file and pay taxes all at once.

  19. #19

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    anybody know any good wholesalers?

  20. #20
    Super Member jitkaau's Avatar
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    One of the groups that I used to be in did a big order from the "States" once and once only. The shipping costs made no difference to the prices they would pay here and they waited a long time for it.

  21. #21
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    Fabric.com ships free for orders over $ 35 -- lots to choose from too!

  22. #22
    Super Member sewingsuz's Avatar
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    there is a food co-op I have used here and it is Bountiful Baskets. it is real good. fresh stuff in summer and fall.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by qwkslver
    Have you all done any co-op buying or is that a bad idea? Shipping is bad on stuff. Wonder if we could order in quantity and share. Has anyone done that?
    I have not done any for fabric but I have a huge jewelry making group on Yahoo, over 6,000 members and I run some massive Co-op buys. Everything is coordinated by me, shipped to me, and mailed all across the country and some international orders. I even have one vendor that I use that will drop ship for me.

    For a first time organizer, it can be a "very" big headache, so I strongly suggest, start out small and work up to more buyers, if possible or have a mentor or helpers.

    As for the shipping, most of my buys are equally split shipping...total shipping cost divided by number of buyers. Only for items weighing a lot, like the copper wire I offer is by the pound instead of ounces, those people must pay more as it is not fair that a buyer that orders only 4 or 5 ounces of wire has to pay the same amount of shipping as someone who orders a pound or more of wire.

    Another thing to consider is charging a buy fee. A hostess should never do this for free because there are expenses. While you can use priority shipping and get free supplies, or if you do it locally, and everyone picks their stuff up, you still have expenses, because you really need to print out invoices for each of your buyers as some people use these on their taxes. Believe me, that can add up. My usual buy fee is $1.50 per buyer, in some instances, it may be more.

    There are a bunch of other things to consider but if you get a good bulk discount, the savings can be tremendous.

    If you ever have a question on running buys, just email me. I have been doing them for 11 years now so I think I have run into every obstacle imaginable. I would be more than happy to help you. Email [email protected]

  24. #24
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    Another thought, if you do a buy, you should "always" collect up front. If for some reason it is so much easier and you, as a hostess, should not be expected to pay for everything then bill people. You are just asking for trouble that way, with people that suddenly don't have the money when it comes in.

    If you collected too much, then everyone is happy when their order gets there and they have a refund. :D

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dkm
    I thought it was a good ideal.....until I ordered somethings before Thanksgiving and am still waiting for the other person to pick up and pay for their things. That is the chance you take.
    On a bulk buy, you should always collect the money up front. Your vendor wont ship it to you without collecting their money first why should you?

    Most people understand that and are really more than happy to pay first. It is like they teach you in sales, if you don't get the sale right then, after they sleep on it, chances are they will decide they don't need it.

    Most people are impulse buyers. Same with a coop buy, if you don't get the money up front, you run the risk of people deciding they don't want it and they don't pay you. Then you are stuck with whatever... maybe the ugliest piece of material you ever saw and now, you can't get rid of it. :(

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