A year ago, when I decided to open my own business online selling knitting supplies and things that I've made, I never thought I would have this problem.
I've been contacting several yarn wholesalers, because, to be honest, my stock is quite low and I need to build my inventory.
My mistake is twofold: firstly, I don't have an ACTUAL, PHYSICAL storefront to sell my product; secondly, I couldn't afford an actual, physical storefront even if I wanted to. A business via ebay had been the most logical choice for me at this time.
Wholesalers are actually turning away business, turning down potential customers, and argue that this isn't discrimination, but rather policy. How is this not discrimination?
I'm trying to run a business here, and what I do is no different than those who pay a lease in a plaza somewhere. I would be buying the same quantity of materials as any other store, and my customer base is so much bigger because I make it available online. So what's the actual problem?
The wholesalers (whom I won't mention, but they know who they are) argue that it's the experience of shopping at your LYS* for yarns. Interacting with staff, actually touching the yarns in your hands, that's what these wholesalers want.
When was the last time any of us went to our local Michaels, Wal-Mart, or Zellers to pick up yarn and had a whole conversation with the staff of our yarn purchase? In my years of knitting, this has never happened, ever. With the exception of going to the cashier, there has been no other interaction between myself and their staff. These stores are so UNDER staffed that it's hard enough to find someone on the floor, let alone anyone that knows about knitting.
And what about those LYS's that sell yarn and knitting supplies exclusively? Well, they're so few and far between, that they're not easily accessable. The rare occasion that I do get to go to one of these stores, that whole staff-interaction business has yet to happen with me.
So, I'm very disappointed, to say the least. To not say the least: I'm also discouraged, frustrated, angry, bothered, and annoyed at these wholesalers, and you know who you are! This policy IS discriminatory, and it's unfortunate.
(and here rolls in the sarcasm!) But, I suppose the advantage is that you now earn less money because you've one less customer, and have begun a bad relationship with potential customers by cooking up some bad blood between us. Congradulations.
*LYS = local yarn store