If you are new to the craft business, it can be extremely tempting to pay retail prices for your materials - believe me, I have done it when buying for Butterfly-Crafts! But, by doing this you will have to price your items high therefore reducing your profit margin.
Finding a seller who will sell wholesale will take a lot of time and leg work but it will definitely pay off in the long run. You may be extremely lucky and know a fellow craft business owner who is willing to share their sources, but if not, a trade show is a great place to start.
It can take contacting several sellers before you discover the perfect match for your requirements. It is important not to settle for the first quote you receive, you must base your decision on the quality of their products, their competitive prices and the customer services. Another suggestion would be not to buy an extremely high quantity to begin with just to take advantage of bulk pricing. You should make sure the item you wish to make with the supplies will be a seller and then increase your purchase when appropriate.
All wholesalers have a minimum order requirement. Keeping the idea of cost control in the forefront of your mind, order the minimum quantity. Check what payments will be accepted. You are likely to find that as a new buyer, you will need to pre-pay with a cheque, credit card or perhaps cash on delivery. If you become an established buyer with your seller, you can probably set up a 30-day credit account.
One final thought on production is that some of the best materials can actually be free or very low in cost - fallen leaves, sea shells, thrift store items, charity shops and vintage bedding all make fantastic supplies and materials. But, it is important to remember that these sort of materials are not always readily available therefore collect and gather when ever possible. Taking the children to the beach? Have a hunt for shells or such like! You never know when that pretty little shell / vintage throw / oak leaf will come in handy!