How To Approach Soapy Gnome About Carrying Your Products (1 of 3)

Soapy Gnome loves carrying products by small businesses, especially makers from the US.

Since we are a shop of makers, we get lots of requests from folks to carry our products. Some people are rip, ready to go with their wholesale. Most still have a little work to do before approaching a shop.

I'm a maker too. I remember the first time a shop approached me about carrying our products. The thought of having my products in a shop was thrilling! But, I had no idea where to start with pricing, packaging and shop communication.

In the last six years I've learned a lot, especially approaching wholesale as both a maker and a buyer. We've all started at the beginning. But, there are some basics to cover before you reach out that first time. Hopefully this will give you some vocabulary and a place to jump start your research.

I'll walk you through how we choose brands for our shop and how to approach us if you are interested in working with Soapy Gnome. Every shop will be different, but most will be some similar variation.

Please read through each of the three posts in their entirety before approaching us about carrying your work.

What do we look for in new products?

Half of what we sell are body care items that we manufacture in house. In addition, we work with almost 200 businesses to do our purchasing. Buying takes up a large percentage of our work week.

We look for businesses that fit our philosophy. Please read our business manifesto on our home page.

Soapy Gnome is an uplifting and cozy brand. We are not snarky and we do not carry products that have swear words or insults on them. We look for brands that are uplifting and inspirational.

Brands we carry generally have several of these features:

  • practical
  • cozy
  • beautiful, whimsical
  • handcrafted, artisan, high-quality
  • Female made, Latinx made
  • inspiring, uplifting, empowering
  • nature-inspired, upcycled, recycled, eco-friendly
  • support nonprofits, employs underemployed individuals
  • made regionally, made in the USA, or fair-trade.
  • moderately priced, we don't carry luxury priced items
  • fit within categories we already carry: body care, bath, practical gifts, essential oils, kids bath toys, men's grooming, teas, stationery, stickers

We do not generally carry items with these features:

  • snarky, offensive
  • new age, religious
  • farmhouse chic, minimalistic
  • decorative only
  • cheaply made, imports of unknown origin, poorly crafted items
  • crafty/craftshow type items
  • brands easily found at box stores
  • kitchen items, cleaners

Who do we buy from?

We like to buy directly from artists as much as possible. That way they keep a larger percentage of the cost of the items. But we do purchase from some sales reps and sales rep websites that represent artists. All of our buying is at wholesale price. Wholesale is 50% (or more) of the Manufacturer Suggested Retail Price (MSRP)

We don't do much consignment. Occasionally, we will do consignment to test out a product, or if it's something that takes one special buyer like original artwork, custom hats or jewelry. Please note that consignment in our shop is a rarity, of the 200 vendors we carry only 4 are on consignment. 

Selling Wholesale to Soapy Gnome

We LOVE discovering new artists and makers! If you have something fresh and new we will probably want to see it if it fits our checklist above. But, there is still more work to do if you are new to wholesale.

We are always looking for items in these categories that would be a good fit:

  • Facial and hair care
  • jewelry
  • tea/tea pots
  • empowering gifts for big kids, tweens, and teens
  • Goshen and Indiana specific gifts, clothing, and accessories
  • beautiful stationery with positive messages
  • soap dishes and bath accessories

To be considered:

1. Follow us on social media--Facebook and Instagram.

You'll get a feel for our shop, our brand, and our voice. See if you can picture your items in our shop.

2. Send an email intro with what you like about our store.

A photo is nice with links to your website and Instagram. Include a price list. If only certain items are available for wholesale, let me know that too. 

3. You could send or drop off a sample if you are pretty sure you're a good fit.

For example, if I found out about a flower shop called, Gnome's Garden, you bet I'd be sending them a soap sample with our price list and a handwritten intro!

4. If I'm interested, I'll send you an email to request more info.

I don't have enough hours in the day to get back with everyone. If you want to follow up, try again in about a week via email. If I say I'm not interested, please remove me from your list.

5. Please don't call the store to try to sell me stuff.

6. Once we ask for more info, feel free to add us to your mailing list and check in with us to see if we need restock.

Sometimes it takes me a year from the point I look into an artist and the time I actually order. If I've expressed interest, follow up to keep yourself top of mind. Please do not add us to your newsletter mailing list until we've expressed interest in your product-- that's spammy.

7. If we didn't get back with you, and you're sure you're a good fit, try us again when you introduce a new product or line.

Our needs are constantly changing.

8. We are not interested in buying any MLM products.

Read the next blog post for Hard Truths About Wholesale: 

January 14, 2019 by Jennifer Frech

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