The Disadvantages of Faire

disadvantages of faire

Over the last several weeks, I’ve been exploring the potential pros and cons of Faire (formerly Indigo Fair) here on the Lucky Break blog. Today I’m sharing some of the disadvantages as part of an ongoing blog series about emerging wholesale marketplaces. While there’s certainly a lot to love about working with this wholesale platform for artisans, there are notable disadvantages of Faire, too. I shared a few of those disadvantages in a previous blog, and I’m back with a additional thoughts to help you determine if Faire is the right opportunity for your brand.

 

The Disadvantages of Faire

dowside of faire header image_part2

 

I’m pleased to share that Max Rhodes, Faire’s CEO, graciously provided answers to a tidy list of queries I sent his way. In the final two blogs of this series, I’ll share his responses, my final thoughts, and the results of the Lucky Break community survey.

 

FAIRE FAVORS BUYERS ABOVE BRANDS

There’s a general feeling among many makers and product designers that retailers are getting the better deal when it comes to Faire. They enjoy generous ordering incentives, including free shipping, free returns on first orders from any brand, and $200 cash to spend when signing up through a brand’s Faire link.

 

ERIN

 

However, artisans often believe that they’re getting the shorter end of the stick. We’re enjoying an increase in exposure, but we’re also paying a princely sum (up to 28% of the order) for the privilege of being seen. Thankfully, we’re not saddled with the burden of product returns, though passing the baton to Faire on that front creates separate issues that are worth exploring.

 

SLUGGISH CUSTOMER SERVICE

I frequently hear criticism about slow responses from the Faire team, especially as it pertains to reviewing applications for new makers. Despite those rumbles of frustration, artisan satisfaction with Faire’s customer support team appears to increase exponentially once we gain acceptance onto the platform.

 

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How to Sell on Faire

How to sell on faire

If you want to know how to sell on Faire, then you’ve come to the right place! This blog is part of an ongoing, deeply researched series about selling on Faire (formerly Indigo Fair). The first post, What is Faire?, detailed how Faire works, how much Faire charges, and what kinds of products Faire sells.

 

HOW TO SELL ON FAIRE

 

 

How to sell on Faire

 

In this installment of the series, I’m unpacking some of the nuances of the platform. Because Indigo Fair/ Faire is a rapidly evolving marketplace, it’s important to recognize that this data is accurate as of the time of publication. The Faire executive team is pioneering in spirit and ambitious in scope, so their efforts are an ever-changing experiment. It’s akin to building the runway as you fly the plane, but that’s to be expected when you’re- quite literally- trying to “reinvent wholesale.”

 

Getting started with Faire is deliciously straightforward. Whenever I speak to artisans within the Lucky Break community, the onboarding process is something that earns rave reviews. Co-founder Max Rhodes has often boasted about how easy it is to use Faire.

 

“Makers can apply to join Indigo Fair, and once accepted, they just send us their product catalogue to get their profile up and running. Most makers receive an order within a week, and they get paid as soon as they ship the goods.”

 

HOW ARE ORDERS RECEIVED THROUGH FAIRE?

 

Buyers shop through the Faire interface from a seamlessly curated selection of products that are chosen for them based on an algorithm that considers numerous factors. While only the Faire executives and the software development team fully understand the mechanics of the algorithm, we do have some clues about how the system works. The aesthetics of the shop and the frequency with which any particular brand is ordered factor into which products are displayed for any specific buyer.

 

Faire dispatches an email notification to the brand once a buyer places an order. Brand owners then log into the system to discover several options at their fingertips, including:

  • Accepting the order and selecting a ship date.
  • Editing the item availability to backorder an item.
  • Canceling the order.

 

Payment for orders is settled upon shipment. Because buyers often enjoy trade credit (commonly known as “net terms”) via Faire, brand owners can pay an additional 3% fee for immediate payment. If they choose to agree to net 30 terms to settle the invoice, then they can forego the additional 3% fee. In all instances, Faire guarantees payment even if the buyer defaults on their obligation.

 

HOW DOES SHIPPING WORK ON FAIRE?

Shopkeepers often enjoy free shipping on Faire, and I can confirm that there’s almost nothing that they cherish more than zero shipping fees. But who pays for that?

  • When you notify Faire that an order has shipped, you attach the tracking number for the parcel and notate the shipping cost. This has been the process since Faire’s launch.
  • Faire reimburses for the shipping fees alongside the settlement for the merchandise, according to the schedule you’ve selected. (Immediate payment for an additional 3% or settling the invoice in 30 days for no additional fee)
  • Faire passes the shipping charges on to the buyer unless the shopkeeper is taking advantage of a free shipping special. In that case, Faire absorbs the cost of shipping.
  • In February 2019, Faire rolled out an optional, automated process for printing shipping labels within the program.  This eliminates the need to manually input shipping costs and tracking numbers.  Swing by the Faire FAQ to read more about Faire’s new shipping program.

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Missed the Wholesale Matchmaker Screen Share tour?

Wholesale Matchmaker Screen Share Tour

Earlier this week, I hosted a live screen share tour of my Wholesale Matchmaker service. I invited visitors deep into the belly of the software and behind the curtain of my matchmaking process in a candid peek at this powerful wholesale tool, which is designed to streamline buyer outreach efforts while keeping you focused and accountable.

 

I captured the tour on video in case you couldn’t make it to the live event. I hope you’ll pour a mug of something delicious and dive in for an intimate peek into the biggest project in Lucky Break history…

 


I’m proud of the way that Wholesale Matchmaker has helped hundreds of creative, product-based brands save time while building their confidence and building smart business systems, too.

 

If you’ve been thinking about joining my Wholesale Matchmaker community, then there’s no time like the present. Last week, I announced that I’m retiring LBU Live, the intimate wholesale mentorship that I’ve taught for the past three years. I’ve merged the LBU curriculum with the matchmaking power and software tools of Wholesale Matchmaker to help my members create unstoppable retail programs.

 

I’m calling this new membership tier the “LBU Cohort” and it’s designed to amplify the education and support within Wholesale Matchmaker in a big way. This video explains more about the LBU Cohort, but here’s what you need to know right now: the cohort is open for enrollment twice per year for just ten days.

 

The doors are open right now, and I’ve rolled out the red carpet for members through Monday, February 13th. There is a cap on participation so that I can be absolutely certain that I serve each of my members well. And if we reach capacity before February 13, then I’ll need to pull up the drawbridge and seal off the cohort early. Long story short: I wouldn’t dilly dally.

 

Have questions? Reach out to my Client Concierge team and they’ll be happy to get you squared away. Ready to reserve your seat in Wholesale Matchmaker? I’d love to have you!

 

How to decide which of your products are best for wholesale

Deciding which of your products are best for wholesale

Deciding which of your products are best for wholesale

 

Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to wholesale every product in your line! If you’re building a company from the ground up, then offering 100% of the collection to wholesale buyers is ideal. However, if you’re already in the marketplace and aren’t in a position to wholesale everything, then that’s fine, too. Here’s how to decide what works best on the wholesale stage!

 

1. WHAT PRODUCTS HAVE THE MARGIN FOR WHOLESALE?
We’re going to need to get your wholesale price point down to half of your retail price point. What products from your current collection will sustain that margin? If you need help crunching your numbers, then I humbly recommend my Price-O-Matic software.

 

2. WHAT PRODUCTS CAN YOU SCALE?
Intricate creation or packaging processes may be viable when you’re working in small quantities, but those processes can quickly become a BEAST when you begin scaling up. Think strategically about how you’ll scale a product: how will the creation process change? Does the packaging need to be amended? Can you outsource the creation to a larger manufacturer? Could you obtain a piece of machinery to help you keep production in-house? You’ll need to think two or three steps ahead to decide what’s likely viable.
Examples of potentially problematic products:

• Whipped shea butter
• Hand-embellished cards
• Intricate wire work in jewelry

 

3. WHAT PRODUCTS CAN YOU PRODUCE CONSISTENTLY?
Wholesale buyers bank on consistency: consistent quality and consistent delivery timelines. You’ll need to refine the creation process so that it yields consistent results. You’ll also need to have at least two suppliers for every raw material that goes into creating your product collection. Shore up any vulnerabilities with your suppliers and production process, and think carefully about building products which feature materials which are available sporadically or in limited supply.

 

 

 

The five hidden benefits of wholesale

Hidden Benefits of Wholesale

Hidden Benefits of Wholesale

 

Focusing on wholesale has been an enormous boon to my business over the past 14 years. It was one of my smartest decisions and it’s delivered a host of benefits, many of which you might not immediately think of, including…

 

  1. IT’S LOWERED MY COST OF CREATION.

Working in wholesale has allowed me to reach scale, meaning that I buy my materials in larger quantities at lower prices. And that scale has also both necessitated that I refine my creation process, and given me the cash flow I need to buy the kind of machines I needed to make the same products in less time. All of this means that I can generate handsome profits, even at wholesale prices. And it increases my profit margins when I retail through my website…

 

  1. IT’S STEADIED MY CASH FLOW.

Because I mix both wholesale and retail channels, I enjoy fairly consistent cash flow year-round. Sure… I still feel the summer drought, but wholesalers are ordering on a different schedule than my retail shoppers, which means that I didn’t feel the crunch of non-buying seasons nearly as deeply.

 

  1. IT’S GIVEN ME THE KIND OF CASH I NEED TO MAKE BIG INVESTMENTS IN THE BUSINESS.

And stores by hundreds-to-thousands of dollars’ worth of merchandise at a time. The cash infusions from large orders have enabled me to take things up to the next level: professional graphic design, product photography, professional web development, and bookkeeping. Those investments have made all the difference in how my brand is perceived and they’ve empowered me to charge a premium for my products.

 

  1. IT’S GIVEN ME GREATER CONTROL OVER MY SCHEDULE + CREATION PROCESS.

Farmer’s markets and craft shows necessitate the creation of a large volume of inventory which may or may not sell. With wholesale, I only create products that I have orders for, eliminating the need to carry lots of inventory. Many makers believe that they need vast amounts of space to wholesale, but that’s not necessarily true. Storing unsold products, booth displays and signage consumes space and you can free that space when you move into wholesale.

 

  1. I’VE NEVER LOADED MY CAR AT 5AM TO STAND IN THE HOT SUN AND THEN PACKED UP ALL MY THINGS AT THE END OF THE DAY.

I have never once loaded a minivan, SUV, or station wagon at 5am to make it to market. I have never once packed up what didn’t sell. I’ve never stood in the midday sun, sweating my ass off, and trying awkwardly to make conversation with passerby at a market. I’m convinced that this is my personal version of hell.