The wholesale trade show and gift show scene has changed drastically over the past 10+ years, but even more so in 2020 when the Covid-19 pandemic hit. More and more wholesale vendors and makers are turning to the internet to find a better ROI on doing gift shows while seeking different alternatives to attract customers and ultimately get their product and wares into the hands of their customers. In comes Faire.com which is one of those sites that is basically a virtual gift show that is open 24/7 catering to small businesses/makers that wholesale. Destinations Scented Candles has been a vendor on Faire for just over 1 year now and here's why we have chosen to be on this radical new wholesale website.
What is it like to be a hand made craft artist vendor selling on faire.com?
First, what is Faire.com? In a nutshell Faire is a curated online wholesale platform that helps vendors grow by attracting over 60,000 independent retailers who come to shop Faire’s marketplace to discover new products and to take advantage of their risk-free terms. Wannabe vendors need to apply and pass a strict acceptance process where approval is dependent upon if a category is oversaturated, your social media following, and product photos meeting their standards. Once approved you get to set up your brand portal, adding your products, create a shop profile, add shop settings and the like. If you already have wholesale customers you are encouraged to add them to your listing. That's it in a nutshell.
The perks... Once set up you are live and selling to those 60,000 or so retailers vetted to buy on the site. Having an account is FREE for vendors - meaning no monthly expenses to sell and market on the site, granted there are fees if you do get a wholesale order. Their customer service is excellent with multiple ways to reach out for help including a special Facebook group just for vendors to share suggestions and get advice from fellow vendors too. Payouts occur 1-2 days after your shipment of orders go out. Another perk is that Faire assumes all risk and issues that may arise with the buyer such as issues with the order arriving damaged or not what they expect - such as the size of a shirt being incorrectly advertised. All shipping is handled through faire and is paid and billed to the buyer and protected under their shipping protection program. Faire frowns on allowing Amazon.com sellers and does not allow them to be buyers on the site. Lastly, they have great marketing options from email marketing options and widgets to promotion options - which will help you get featured on their site or in searches.
The cons... While there isn't a commission fee for buyers you add yourself to faire, there is a 25% commission fee for those who faire finds and they buy from you. This is a pretty high fee HOWEVER, this is their way of earning revenue. We see it as a similar expense to having booth space at a trade show - a cut in the sale. Considering how high show fees, pre-advertsing for the show, and even travel expenses can be for trade shows, the 25% commission fee isn't that bad. The plus side is the rate also decreases if the buyer reorders from you.
A few other cons include the product description area is limited to a set amount of characters nor do they offer bullet points or other font options (like bold or italics). While for some this may not be a con, but faire has buyers of all kinds ranging from primarily online to brick and mortar stores and in our case we see a lot of new retailers to the site who are not familiar with reasonable wholesale expectations and policies. There are quite a few that will use - without permission, your images to try and pre-sell items to see if there is interested among their customers and then place an order with the vendor. The down side to this is there is no guarantee that the vendor will have that given product in the quantities they request and be able to ship them in a specific amount of time. The other con involves the rating system. Buyers can give a negative 1 star review because the order arrived a day late yet everything arrived ok and their customers loved it. Negative reviews will hurt vendors chances to be seen by buyers on the website.
Pros and cons can vary from one vendor to another as some "bullet points" may not matter to other vendors.
Considering both, what is Destinations Scented Candles reason for going with Faire? It boils down with getting exposed to 60,000 people we may never see even if we did do trade shows. This small business is a one person operation and does not have the budget to do trade shows and keep up with retail orders both online and at retail events like farmers markets. However we are put right in front of people who are looking for local makers of hand made products - our target market. We like that faire does take responsibility as a go between if there is any issues with orders - which we have not had any yet to date. If any merchandise goes back to faire goes into a "marketplace" where other buyers can buy them whom may have never seen our profile before potentially being a new wholesale buyer for us. All in all, faire has been very supportive to us and makers alike and take good care of us and that is the other reason why we are supportive of them as well.
Are you a wholesale buyer and curious to see our storefront on Faire? It's destinationsscentedcandles.faire.com
Have questions about this topic? Leave a comment below and we'll answer it!