CO-OP Distribution: Distribution as a Profit Center
At present, if you want to have your products distributed, it probably won't be easy. After a while you'll find that, unless your products are already selling well in a number of places, your products will be of little interest to anyone. If you do already have your products selling in a sizeable number of retail outlets, due to your own self-distribution efforts, you can then find one. Finding one that won't eat up most of your planned profits is another story though. Once you've added the cost of slotting allowances, free products, off invoice allowances, quarterly promotions, catalogue fees, etc., you may find out that your profits no longer exist, and it's you who is working for the distributor, and not the other way around. Whether you've experienced this or not, this is just how it usually is.
If you'd like to do something about it, there may be a way now. That way is for a large number of small producers to create their own "Co-op Distribution". If this sounds too farfetched and complicated to you, when you calculate how much you might spend on distribution in a year, and the profit it leaves you with, you may reconsider.
How would it work? The pyramids started with a single stone. If a small group of committed smaller producers joined forces, creating a small distributor could happen. The result, there would be actual profits from this operation which could be divided among all participants. Rather than paying for distribution, it could actually become a profit center for everyone. Why would this be a good idea? Because this is how most large, profitable companies operate. If you look at the drivers door on a Walmart tractor trailer, you'll see it says "Walmart Transportation LLC".
It would seem that if there were a dozen individual small producers interested in discussing this, it would be enough to get things started. If you'd like to be added to this list, you will be contacted when the list reaches a dozen. To be added to the list, just send a quick email to firstname.lastname@example.org , with the subject "Co-op Distribution Meeting"