A wholesale co-op is an cooperative

arrangement between members to

act together for the betterment 

of each other.

You might be familiar with co-op apartments,

which are basically buildings owned

by the apartment owners. 

There are co-ops in the food business,

in the farming business, in the produce

business, in the garment business,

and in many other industries.

Some of these cooperative arrangements

are informal, but they all seek to

accomplish the same goal.

The idea behind a co-op is to benefit from

the leverage that is created when individual

members come together.

Just like an army benefits from the 

cumulative efforts of its individual soldiers,

a co-op benefits from the cumulative

efforts and resources of its participants.

Without realizing it you might already

be purchasing or selling products

to people and business that are

part of a cooperative entity.

A wholesale co-op is an organization that would

consist of either wholesale buyers or sellers, 

or even a combination of both wholesalers

and wholesale buyers.

The goal would be for the co-op organization

to enable wholesalers to reach more

customers through the collective marketing

power of a co-op, or to help buyers

obtain lower wholesale price through the

collective buying power of the co-op.

By being part of a co-op a member can

also benefit by being perceived in a more

positive light.

Imagine if a small boutique located

in a small town approached

a top designer to set up a

a wholesale account with her.

The designer might not be

willing to supply a small boutique

since she only wants to deal with

large retailers who can buy

a lot more of her fashions

than a small retailer can.

But if the same boutique

is part of a retailer co-op

the designer might pay a lot

more attention to it.

The reason is because the designer

will realize that if she starts supplying

that small boutique, then many members

of the retail co-op might also

start buying from her.

Or perhaps the retail co-op itself

will purchase her wholesale fashions

on behalf of all of the retailers

in its database.

Wholesalers can also benefit from

being part of cooperatives because

they will have the opportunity to

reach more stores

than they could on their own.

If you are a wholesaler with a small

marketing budget you might only

be able to attract a hundred 

customers a month. 

As an individual wholesaler

you might only have the budget to

place a small advertisement in

a wholesale directory.

But if you join forces with other wholesalers,

the combined marketing budget that you will

all have now can bring you many more


Since every wholesaler in the co-op

is contributing to the marketing budget of

the organization, the cooperative

can place larger advertisements

in more wholesale directories.

The wholesale co-op can use its 

marketing budget to attract thousands

of prospective customers to one

central website. Thar central website

would then display the closeout

products that its members have

for sale.

A shopping mall is a great example of a 

retail co-op. Each tenant is charged rent,

and part of that rent is used by the mall's management

to attract shoppers to the shopping mall.

The total advertising budget available to

the shopping mall is exponentially higher

than that of the budget of the smaller individual


Retailers rent spaces in shopping malls

because they want to benefit

from all of the shoppers that will

be visiting.

Yes, the retailers will be faced with more

competition, but they will also

have the opportunity to make more sales

than if they rented a commercial space

in an area with less foot traffic.

A wholesale co-op can pool the marketing budgets

of all the wholesale members and do substantially more

advertising than each wholesaler could do on its own.

The same concept can apply to a co-op for wholesale


The aim of the co-op would be to obtain lower

wholesale prices by placing much larger

orders from wholesalers for its members

than each wholesale buyer could on his own.

For example, let's say that a boutique in

Trinidad can purchase 50 brand name

dresses a month from my closeout business.

Based on that quantity I would give the

boutique owner a wholesale price of

19.99 per dress.

But if 10 boutiques placed an order together,

and they purchased a total of 

500 dresses, I would sell the

dresses at a much lower

wholesale price.

In other words, wholesale buyers

can benefit from their collective

bargaining power when they

set up an organization that does

all of their buying on their behalf.

So how do you form

a wholesale co-op?

You can start contacting local wholesalers

and retailers in your area. You will

want to contact retailers

that are in the same type of

business that you are in.

The retailers don't have to

buy the same exact styles

that you do, but they should be

looking for the same products.

For instance, if your boutique

purchases designer ball gown dresses,

you can form a group consisting of

retailers that sell brand name party

dresses and fashion office dresses.

By focusing on businesses

that are looking to purchase

similar types of products

you can benefit from aggregating orders.

You would use the same approach

if you are looking to set up a co-op

for wholesale suppliers.

The only difference is that 

you can focus on wholesalers

that either sell the same or different

types of products.

The reason why you can have suppliers

of different types of products is because

wholesale buyers might be looking

for a wide range of different types

of products.

In other words a retail store

might be looking to purchase

unrelated items such as

shoes, handbags, and scarves.

You would want your supplier cooperative

to have as many different types

of products as possible so that you

can attract a wide range of retailers.

Also the more products that you offer,

the better of a chance that you have in

attracting stores to the website of the group.

When you set up your co-op

you can charge a membership fee,

or simply focus on the benefits

that come from being part of

the cooperative. 

Instead of forming your own
wholesale co-op you can
also join an already existing
group. Just make sure
that it offers the type of
​​​​​​​benefits that you are looking for.