Most people do not realize that the largest part of our business is wholesale sales, or perhaps better put, selling gourds to other stores all around the country. You can find our gourds in every state except for Hawaii. We even have a store locator set up on our website for you to search for some of the stores that carry our product.
Wholesale sales work a lot different than selling to the general public. It all starts in late December. We first have to choose the new products we plan on carrying, and then we need to get our catalog printed. Once our catalog is printed we have to do a mass mailing to over 1,200 stores that carry our product. But that is just the start of what is to come.
January brings the largest Gift and Home Furnishing trade show in the country, The Atlanta Gift and Home Furnishing Market. A wholesale trade show is nothing like the festivals and craft shows that most people are accustom. This market is 3 buildings of at least 15 floors of wall to wall businesses selling their goods to the 100,000 buyers that will be walking the floors for 7 days on end. We have found our niche in a Building 3 Floor 2; it is the juried Made in America section.
We will spend a day setting up our booth, then once the show starts we will get visitors from all over the world through our booth. The store owners that visit this show are from catalog companies, chain stores, big box stores, garden centers, gift stores, furniture stores, kitchen stores, and the list goes on. Some buyers will set appointments with us to go over our line of products and make decisions once they go home and evaluate everything they looked at.
Our favorite types of buyers are the ones that come in and order for all of the seasons at one time, often these buyers pick the ship dates for when they want the products to arrive. We like these orders the best because it allows us to plan our production for the year. Another type of buyer is the business that trusts us to just make their order for them. These customers have usually been doing business with us for many years and trust that we will put the product in their stores that will sell. They place their order by coming to our booth and giving us a dollar amount they want to spend per season, and after they leave we take the time to figure out the order.
Lastly, we have new customers. We never know what we are going to get with a new customer. New customers often times just want to try the line to see how well it sells. We always recommend starting with our fall line because it has been our strongest line. Most new customers order small, but reorder if things work out well for them.
After the biggest show in Atlanta, we will travel to a smaller show in Oaks, Pennsylvania. The show is hosted by a company called Market Square. This show is much smaller than Atlanta, but it brings in a different clientele. The store owners that go to this show are more regional, these stores range from small boutique stores, galleries, flower shops, country stores, and primitive stores. Once the shows are done we do not rest. We spend the next weeks and months trying to get customers to order as early as possible. Not that we need to ship the product right away, but more for us to plan our production around what gourds we should be making each week. We make close to 3000 gourds per week, so we don’t want to make the wrong gourds.
Finally, we reach the busiest time of year for wholesale, basically running from July 15 all the way to December 15th. This is the most stressful time of year because it is when the bulk of the orders come to us. It is also the time of year where we learn what products are really popular. We know this mostly by reorders coming in over the phone. My favorite thing to hear on the phone is something along these lines “I just opened my boxes and my customers bought everything before I could even get it on the shelves, I need to place another order”. Needless to say, it is nice, come to the end of the year when we can take a breath and reflect on everything that happened during the year. But just a few short weeks away come January and the Atlanta Gift and Home Furnishings Market.
If you see our products while traveling drop us a line, or mention it on Facebook. Store owners, we love to see displays of our products. Send pictures to firstname.lastname@example.org so that we can share them with others.