This time last week, we were at the Philadelphia Gift show in Oaks, PA where for the first time ever we became a vendor at a wholesale market. A wholesale gift show is not open to the public, however open to those who own gift shops to buy multiple items at wholesale prices to be sold in their shop. The whole experience was like a whirlwind of craziness. Preparing for a wholesale gift show is very different than preparing for an art fair or craft show. The biggest difference is that we don't bring a large volume of products to be sold at the event, like an art fair, but a little bit of everything to show all that the vendor has to offer. For us that meant bringing all of the fragrances we offer in the two different size jars we offer, plus our mini Hawaiian jar Collection, incense sticks and bath teas (we only had a few to show off due to space limitations), sales sheets, and all of our display furniture. For this show we chose to not bring our shelving but paint 19 wooden crates white incorporating that in our display. We got it done, but with the holidays time was against us not to mention quickly bouncing back from selling out of a candles during the holiday season too. So, here's a few things we have to share about the experience...
1. We love the venue. It was huge and there were a lot of variety of vendors.
2. The staff at the show was very friendly and super efficient in filling requests. Show food was good too!
3. Since this was our first time doing a wholesale gift show we had low expectations on what to expect, and cannot gage our success based on past experiences there. We believed it was a good show despite the fact it seemed slow in foot traffic. This could be due to our booth location or perhaps due to many still having to deal with the aftermath of Super Storm Sandy. We did get a couple of sales and quite a few promising prospects which we will be following up with in the next few days.
4. We expected a lot of the show goers to be just gift shop owners, but many that came were from places like camp grounds, gift basket businesses, and yes small gift shops.
5. Not only did we get a good response from show goers, many of my fellow exhibitors were very impressed by our products and display. Some came by at the end of the day Tuesday to buy some candles to try out. A win-win as not only do new people get to try our candles, we got a little bit of instant cash and less stuff to haul back home.
6. At this show we announced a new collection, The Wild West Collection which consists of four candles: Tombstone Sarsaparilla Sharpshooter, Carson City Wandering Cowboy, Cheyenne Clary Sage, and San Antonio Saddlery. All were a huge hit at this show! We'll be adding info about the collection real soon via our website.
All in all it was a great experience and a great way to kick off the New Year. We're looking into doing another wholesale show this year, possibly with Philadelphia again in July, but right now we're just trying to recover from standing on our feet all day and putting our booth display away. If anyone would like to know more about our wholesale options or obtain a wholesale packet, click here.
Happy New Year! ~ Michelle Sholund, owner and candle maker
I am the owner of By the Bay Botanicals. We want to stay connected to you, and through this blog we aim to share with you tips and tricks to buying and burning candles as well as read up on what goes on behind the scenes at By the Bay Botanicals. Feel free to comment, and comment often as well as share with your friends and family.
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