I am a wholesaler. When I began my first business almost 25 years ago things were different. Much different. We didn’t have as much competition. We didn’t have Walmart. We didn’t have the internet. We relied strictly on shows and sales representatives, it was our only option. I remember in 1995 being an exhibitor at a gift show when the aisles were packed with potential customers, store owners from salons, spas, bookstores and boutiques where they had to take a number and come back for an appointment. Ohhhh, the good old days.
Fast forward to 2019. I sold my original company in 2016. I have since created a new, natural health and wellness gift company, Seriously Shea. What I have noticed is that in our industry many things have changed, and some things have stayed the same. Sadly, it seems the requirement for success is to participate in large gift shows. I see booths from some highly successful and well-known brands, ones I admire and aspire to be even though they are everywhere in the market and sometimes 10-15 years in.
I notice two other things. First, the aisles are often empty, certainly not what they were 20, 10 or even 5 years ago. Secondly, my business partner son and I both notice the substantial cost of attending these shows. A typical show costs us $8,000-10,000 from booth costs, shipping, samples, hotels, flights, food and commission. From a wholesaler’s perspective, if we attend 3 of the largest shows twice a year, that translates into an expense of $50,000-60,000+.
I can’t help but think about all the store owners. Walking showroom to showroom for days with multiple staff members and their added expenses. Let’s all be honest with each other, times are tough and competitive, we need to watch our expenses. All of us do.
I am the type of person that embraces change. I don’t get angry. I don’t look for negatives. I know that as the industry evolves, accepting and welcoming change will make us more successful, not less. With ecstatic enthusiasm, we are thrilled to partner with Faire Wholesale to showcase our products online where they offer perks and promotions to retailers that I could never offer selling direct. I see this as nothing but positive for both retailers and wholesalers.
60 Day Terms. FREE Shipping for a year. $100 off your first order. Up to $2500 credit limit. And if that’s not enough, FREE returns on unsold inventory which allows the retailer to try products absolutely risk free.
I read a chat on Facebook a few days ago that some of the largest representation companies in the USA were digging their heels in and giving ultimatums, refusing to rep companies using Faire, or that buyers were refusing to use it. This not only disturbs me but also perplexes me.
I think when someone disrupts the way things have been done and accepted for so long, they are bound to ruffle some feathers. Taxi companies fought against Uber and now they are becoming obsolete. The wholesale industry is changing, and as it changes, we need to find a way to use it to our advantage. I for one believe that attending trade shows as the only option for buying is archaic. Certainly, it is an option, but it shouldn’t be the ONLY option.
As a new company we are quickly growing through word-of-mouth and after many conversations my son and I have decided to no longer participate in wholesale gift shows. Risky? Yes, of course. But what we find most important is that we continue to keep our prices low and would rather pass savings and promotions directly onto our new customers. We can’t do that by continuing to have the expenditures of shows where attendance is going down. After all, that $60,000 in show expenses would have had to get built into the wholesale cost somewhere. This would mean that you as a retailer and your customers would be the ones ultimately paying the higher price. Maybe no one else wants to say it out loud, but that is the truth. As part of our commitment to savings, all our individual products will now come beautifully gift boxed at no additional cost, elevating our brand while highlighting the natural formulations with essential oils.
Being on the Faire platform has allowed us to do that, while also offering other monthly specials and promotions.
Something to consider from a retailer’s point of view, besides the expense of attending shows, they often miss out on finding the hottest and most popular new products. It’s like looking for a needle in a haystack with the enormous venues filled with thousands of showrooms and temporary booths. No one is suggesting taking away the option of attending shows and working with sales reps. Everyone can continue to do that. Faire allows the store owners the potential to find and try new products with the click of a mouse, it’s a bonus. A plus. In 2019, we are all looking for a way to build our businesses and save money wherever we can.
We at Seriously Shea are grateful for the opportunity to be showcased on Faire as we are proud to pass savings directly onto our retailers, where they in turn, can pass it onto their customers. As we look ahead to the future, we look forward to growing our brand as they grow their platform.