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

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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.

 

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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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The Inevitable Downside of Faire

downside of Faire

As part of my ongoing blog series about emerging wholesale marketplaces, I’ve been exploring the potential of Faire (formerly Indigo Fair). While there’s certainly a lot to love about working with this wholesale platform for artisans, we don’t often hear much about the disadvantages. I’ve spent weeks studying this wholesale platform and speaking to retailers and brand owners who have a stake in the marketplace. I’m eager to share what I’ve learned about the disadvantages of Faire so that you can make an informed decision for your business.

 

The Inevitable Downside of Faire

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Faire executives have agreed to address my concerns, and I look forward to sharing their response in an upcoming blog.

 

FAIRE CHARGES A HEFTY COMMISSION, ESPECIALLY ON FIRST ORDERS

A significant downside of Faire wholesale is their fee structure, which has evolved over time. The rate for new makers onboarding in early 2019 is 25% on the first order from any buyer.  It then becomes 15% on subsequent orders from the same buyer. Faire frequently extends net 60 terms to shopkeepers, and makers can elect to pay an additional 3% fee for immediate payment. You can also choose to wait thirty days for payment and skip the 3% fee.

 

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That translates to a substantial commission of up to 28% on Faire orders. As a consultant who’s had the privilege of coaching hundreds of brands through the mechanics of product pricing, those margins make me cringe. Let’s explore how that breaks down for a product that retails for $30.

 

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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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How to Pack a Pallet

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More and more Lucky Break clients are packing pallets these days (hooray!). Whether they’re bound for Anthropologie, Home Goods, TJ Maxx or subscription box companies, many of us are tackling big corporate purchase orders and the mondo-sized shipments that go with them. I thought a tutorial on how to properly pack a pallet might prove helpful. If you’re ready to start working with products at a larger scale, then I hope this post takes some of the mystery out of the process!

 

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How to Pack a Pallet of Product

Step 1: You’ll use case packs and larger shipping boxes, much like you likely already do. For instance: if you’re shipping candles, we wouldn’t want to pack large boxes of 48 candles each. That would be hard to stabilize and leave the product vulnerable to damage. A better option would be to pack those candles into case packs of 6 or 8 candles each.

 

Once those smaller “case pack” boxes are packed and taped shut, you’ll then load those case packs into a larger exterior shipping box. So we might have one large shipping box that contains 8 case packs containing 6 candles each, for a total of 48 candles. A series of those boxes are prepared and individually weighed, carefully noting the weight of each.

 

Step 2: You’ll load those larger boxes onto a wooden pallet.  You can often pick these up free locally- check home stores, flooring stores, etc. Note that your boxes shouldn’t overhang the edge of the pallet… everything should fit inside the pallet’s “footprint.”

 

Step 3: Start with your heaviest boxes and layer them on the bottom. Unless your boxes are square, I recommend packing the layers “criss-cross” style. So layer one boxes all go in one direction, layer two boxes are rotated 90 degrees, layer three boxes are packed the same way as layer one, and layer four boxes are packed the same way as layer two, etc. Don’t pack much higher than you are tall!

 

Step 4: Once all the boxes are loaded, then wrap the pallet with plastic wrap. Wrap multiple layers all over the pallet, starting at the bottom and working your way up by physically walking around the stack. Be certain to wrap the actual pallet as well- if you simply wrap the cargo on top of the pallet, then it can slide off. Be careful to wrap the top half of the wooden pallet itself once it’s loaded with cargo to effectively attach the boxes to the pallet.

 

 

 

 

 

Step 5: Affix a shipping label with the destination clearly displayed. I recommended typing this in Microsoft Word (large type!) or a similar program, printing the label on regular paper, then affixing the label to the wrapped pallet via clear shipping tape.

 

Step 6: Affix a detailed packing list in a clear shipping pouch to the exterior of the pallet, next to the shipping label. The packing list should list your contact details as the shipper, the contact details of the receiver, and then carefully note the number of boxes per pallet, along with the contents of each large shipping box.  Be certain to reference any purchase order numbers attached to this shipment.

 

Three important things to note:

  • When you arrange the pickup, you’ll need to give the trucking company the weight and dimensions of the pallet. The dimensions are easy enough to determine with a tape measure. But to get the weight, you’ll either need a jumbo-sized floor scale you can roll the pallet over (read here: $$$), or you can weigh each box as it’s added to the pallet. Simply tally them all up and add 20# for the pallet.

 

  • If you plan to move the pallet around your space, then you’ll need a pallet truck. If pallets are something you’ll be wrestling with often, then a pallet truck is a wise investment. You can sneak a peek of one in action in the video below.

 

  • If your facility doesn’t have a dock, then you’ll need to let the trucking company know when you arrange the pickup. They’ll send a liftgate truck which has a hydraulic lift on the back. That lift can lower to the ground and that truck will have a pallet truck inside. The driver will use the pallet truck to guide the pallet onto the liftgate and lift it back into the truck. Liftgates are usually an additional fee of $50-150, but there’s no way around it and no regular truck can pick up a pallet off the ground, so be sure to indicate this need when you first speak to the shipper!

 

 

 

 

What questions do you have? Drop a comment below and I’ll do my best to help! If you’ve packed a pallet, was it easier or harder than you imagined?

 

MANY THANKS to LBU alumni and Coaching Community members Unique PL8Z and Sequoia for generously sharing their videos to accompany this post.  I love watching you ladies take care of business! xo

 

Catching up with LBU Alumni: Kathryn Green of The Smallest Tribe

smallest tribe

Meet the Maker - Kathryn Green of The Smallest Tribe

 

Are you wondering what happens to my LBU alumni post-graduation? What they do with all the momentum + knowledge? Where they take their businesses next? This week is our final in a weekly series where we’ve been catching up with a different grad to see what they’ve been up to and get their thoughts on the program. I hope you’ll join me in cheering on these makers + product designers!

 

This week we’re talking to Kathryn Green of The Smallest Tribe, who creates the softest, comfiest organic cotton clothes for active, inquisitive kids. Welcome, Kathryn!

 

Meet: Kathryn Green
Started her business: 2012
Graduated LBU: Spring 2014
Lives in: Cairns, Australia

 

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LBC: When you first joined LBU, what were you searching for?

Kathryn: A clue?  No, seriously, I was trying to build a business in a field I had no training or experience in.  I hadn’t ever even worked in retail!  I knew I needed guidance on pricing and also knew that wholesale was important for growth, but had no idea how to do that.

 

LBC: How did the LBU experience propel your business forward?

Kathryn: While I was always very clear on what I wanted The Smallest Tribe to be, I finally felt like I had the knowledge to make that a reality.

 

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LBC: What was the biggest surprise or most valuable facet of your LBU experience?

Kathryn: I got way more than I was expecting!  I honestly thought I would learn how to price my products and that would be it. Not only did I get that, but I also have a better handle on my branding, my communication with customers, on delivering value and making money while doing it.

 

LBC: Describe the LBU experience in 6 words or less.

Kathryn: Like a Super Mario power up!

 

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LBC: What have you been up to post-graduation?

Kathryn: Oh gosh, so much, but surely the most exciting is that I just finished up a successful Kickstarter campaign at the end of August to put The Smallest Tribe in manufacturing here in Australia for our Summer. (eeeeeep!)

 

LBC: What’s next for your business?

Kathryn: Next step is manufacturing! Production is due to start any day now on the first range of tees and onesies. I’ve already begun working on the next release and the aim is to start stocking The Smallest Tribe in stores next year.

 

LBC: What would you tell a fellow entrepreneur who’s wondering if LBU is a wise investment or a good fit for them?

Kathryn: You’re going to have to work hard.  You’ll need to be prepared to make changes.  But you’ll come out the other side with a much better idea of what you want your business to be and be less likely to make costly mistakes.  You’ll have a game plan for how to scale your business, how and when to wholesale and more tips and tricks than you ever knew were even possible.

 

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Thanks for catching up with us, Kathryn! We can’ t wait to see what comes next for you + The Smallest Tribe. We’re cheering you on!

 

Are you an LBU Alumni with some big news to share? Drop us a line: hello AT luckybreakconsulting.com. Please use “LBU ALUMNI” as the subject line. We look forward to hearing from you!