The definition of Pokemon distributor varies quite wildly. In the eyes of the Pokemon Company, a distributor is anybody that sells the product to retailers (e.g. stores), whereas most people see a distributor as somebody that buys the products wholesale and sell to customers.
If your definition is the former, then the answer is “you won’t be a distributor”. If you are planning to sell Pokemon cards to the end consumer, then you just need to find a distributor to work with. For the purposes of this page, we do want to point out that we are going to be using this definition of a Pokemon distributor, even though it isn’t the one that the Pokemon company uses:
Selling the cards directly to a customer, either through an online store or physical retail outlet.
The truth is that people reading this article will never become ‘true’ distributors i.e. wholesale companies. You have to have been doing business as a wholesaler for an incredibly long time, and often you will need in excess of $500,000 in capital to purchase cards. This is before you consider marketing.
How Do You Become a Pokemon Distributor?
Alright. Let’s assume that you want to buy Pokemon cards. You may want to buy them in bulk to crack open for singles so you can try and sell those at a profit, or you may want to be selling sealed products.
In order to do this, you need to find a company that deals with wholesale Pokemon cards. GTS is the largest distributor in the United States, but there are a few more too. We will discuss those in the next section.
Due to strict requirements from the Pokemon Company, these wholesalers will often only sell to you if you meet the following requirements:
- You run a legitimate business
- You have a reseller license (if in the United States)
- You meet minimum order quantities
Now, the brilliant thing about the Pokemon Company is that they place fewer restrictions than other card retailers e.g. if you wanted to buy Magic the Gathering cards wholesale, Wizards of the Coast requires that you hold regular MTG tournaments. Pokemon doesn’t have any requirements like this, but your wholesale prices and access to products can change if you run regular tournaments.
If you are not a legit business, no distributor will work with you. If they are willing to work with you, then they are not a legit distributor and you won’t be paying actual wholesale prices.
Once you feel that you have all the requirements in place to work with a distributor, you can get in touch with them. That leads us neatly onto our next section.
Where Can You Find Other Pokemon Distributors?
The Pokemon Company maintains a list of all current Pokemon Distributors that can be found here.
If you are not working with a company on this list, then you will not be paying wholesale prices for the product.
Do bear in mind that this list only covers European and American distributors. It also includes Australia and New Zealand. This is because Pokemon cards issued in Japan are different to European and American offerings.
If you want to sell cards to American customers, do not buy Pokemon cards from Japan. Obviously, the language is going to be different, but the game also plays slightly differently.
Because the Pokemon Company doesn’t sell to businesses directly (you also have to go through a distributor) they do not maintain a list of similar sellers. However, checking out this page should give you a rough idea of where the major sellers are located. This is because major Pokemon tournaments are listed here.
How Much Are Pokemon Booster Boxes Wholesale?
Surprisingly, Pokemon booster boxes are not that ‘discounted’ when you buy them wholesale. The average price that you can expect to pay will be $80 to $85. Of course, the retail price of the box will be around the $120 mark.
This means that if you buy Pokemon booster boxes in wholesale, you will need to be selling quite a few of them (or breaking them for singles) to make any sort of profit.
That being said, the Pokemon Company can offer discounted prices if you are a physical outlet. However, they don’t really talk about what these discounted prices are (they vary from store to store).
Did you know Pokemon booster boxes usually sell for more than the suggested retail? This is mostly caused by supply and demand. Click here to check out the current market prices of these booster boxes and you may be surprised at just how lucrative it is to hold onto booster boxes and sell them at a later date.
These discounts will be limited, so they will not be a long-term thing. In order to gain these discounts, you have to meet the requirements laid out on this page.
Basically, if you are a physical outlet and you run regular Pokemon tournaments (that are actually attended by more than 8 people), then you can get discounts on Pokemon card products. This will mostly be pre-release packs, but can also include prizes.
The price that you pay, and the amount of stock you can get your hands on, will be dependent on how many people attend your events.
These discounts will likely not be available through the distributor that you normally use. You will also not be able to enjoy these discounts if you are an online-only store.
This is because the Pokemon Company needs to know that you are out there actively getting people into playing the game, rather than somebody looking to make a quick buck.
If I Cannot Become a Distributor, How Can I Buy Pokemon Cards at Wholesale Price?
You don’t. The only way to obtain Pokemon cards at a wholesale price is to be approved by one of the distributors. If one distributor turns you down, then there are still a dozen or so to check out. Although, do bear in mind that they will only be working with you if you are an actual business!
There are companies out there that will sell you Pokemon card booster boxes at a price that is a bit lower than the MSRP, although do remember that since the margins on selling Pokemon cards are so thin, you would probably not be making that much money if you did buy them.
Maybe a few dollars on each box if you sold the cards sealed. $10-$20 average per box if you split up the box into singles (which is slower)
Honestly, if you do not get approved as an actual Pokemon card distributor, then we recommend that you spend a lot of time working out why it never happened.
You can then work on getting approved in the future. You simply cannot succeed in the Pokemon Trading Card business if you are not an approved reseller. Even approved resellers find it tough to succeed with the awful profit margins.
Becoming a Pokemon distributor is not going to be easy. The process has been designed this way. It helps to ensure that the prices of Pokemon cards remain fairly stable and helps to ensure that local trading card stores can make a bit of cash.
If you are willing to put in the effort, then starting up a store can be incredibly rewarding. Perhaps not so much in terms of profit margins, but who hasn’t dreamed of selling Pokemon cards?
It is incredible amounts of fun, particularly if you are lucky enough to have premises where you can run tournaments!