Wholesale Giftware Buying Tips: Trade Fairs

1) Go with a budget in mind – even the most seasoned wholesale giftware buyer can get carried away and sticking to a figure will ensure you really think about every item you order. This will automatically steer you towards more commercial objective decisions. It also avoids upsetting the bank manager we find!
2) Have a good look round as much of the fair as you can before making any commitments and make a note of outstanding gift items/wholesale suppliers so you can easily find them again
3) Make a list of “must have” bread and butter wholesale giftware items and themes you intend to follow, make sure you have all these covered first before you start considering more peripheral or new stock ideas
4) Research potential wholesale giftware suppliers before you go – look on the internet, talk to other traders in your area, call suppliers, talk to them and ask for references from existing clients if you want more reassurance. Any reputable company will be happy to do this
5) Spend time looking at as many wholesale suppliers as possible don’t take the easy road and buy from the first big glitzy stand, choosing suppliers is a little like choosing a husband/wife, the surface isn’t as important as what’s inside and you need both your partner and your supplier to be honest, supportive and prepared to put you first
6) Check the wholesale price of a couple key giftware items you are familiar with if they are competitive look further, if expensive move on, waste no more time as you won’t ever have enough (see point 8) 7) Keep an open mind to new ideas that fit in – there are very few hard and fast rules to buying wholesale giftware and new idea can lift old ranges and really boost profits 8) Allow enough time to cover the area you need to
a) If you’ve done a few shows before then all you need to do is be honest with yourself (as a family buying team we are well aware that we only walk as fast as the smallest member and if the girls are off on their own we need to allow time for gossip and giggles!)
b) If you haven’t done a wholesale giftware show before, think how much time you might need and double it. You automatically get faster the more fairs you do as you develop processes and ways of working but first time it’ll be a whirlwind of exciting things to look at and agonizing decisions to take
9) Watch other people – you’ve probably already got an idea of who your typical customer is so if you spot someone on a stand that fits the profile, look at what they pick up. If they are fellow buyers you’re looking for something they like personally – good clues are comments like “Oh I love that but it wouldn’t work in our shop” or “Wouldn’t that go nicely in the hall/kitchen etc.” because this indicates that they are responding from the heart not their business head
10) Keep hydrated and don’t forget to eat – it sounds silly but you lose a heck of a lot of fluid walking around all day and both hunger and dehydration addle your brain. You’ll be more likely to make a bad decision, fail to make any decision at all or argue with your fellow buyer/s. Hissing and snapping at each other when trying to work is not fun – we’ve been there and just about lived to tell the tale!

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