Whole Foods. We went to Chicago to pitch to them. Big time, right?   They have a “holiday show” in April where the buyers from the Midwest region stores come and check out vendors wares for possible inclusion in their stores for the holidays.   This opportunity came to us from Renegade Craft Fair in Chicago in December. One of the buyers was running (literally) through the fieldhouse and he stopped briefly at our booth. Over the next couple of months we went from thinking we would just send them some samples to realizing that they wanted us to exhibit   at this show, which requires a lot more work!

Carrie’s resourceful dad built us this awesome back drop which folds flat and works really well for hiding sodas and cell phones on the table behind it. We made a few new products for them and were super happy about the way our table looked. There were about 50-75 other vendors there, and we thought our table looked about the best. We definitely put the most thought into display.

Now, a few words about big box stores. First, they aren’t used to dealing with small time companies. We want our small time company to go big time, so after SEVERAL discussions regarding whether we should chuck the whole thing, we decided we should go ahead and jump through these hoops in order to show at Whole Foods.

Big box stores expect you to buy your own UPC codes, provide solid packaging, and sometimes (like the last big company we dealt with, not Whole Foods) adhere to 42 page shipping regulation documents. And if you do something wrong, they can charge you for it. At least that’s what the shipping document said. Like if you send your items in a box that is not 24x12x12, you get charged $200. And then if the UPC sticker isn’t in the lower left hand side, it’s $200 plus labor for them to fix it.   So you could end up spending more than you made!

And then there’s the terror of it actually working out and your little company suddenly has to create 1000 recipe card boxes and figure out how to fork lift them onto a freight truck!   All I’m saying here is this: before you make a product, make sure you price it so that it’s still a good profit for you at 50% or less of the retail price. You don’t want to have to turn down a great opportunity like Whole Foods or Anthropologie, and you don’t want to be bitter about it later because you didn’t make much money.   This is a public service message provided to you by 1canoe2.

~Beth