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Building lasting relationships at Faire’s virtual markets

July 9, 2023 | Published by Faire

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Items sold at Boston General Store in Boston, MA – including an umbrella from Original Duckhead

Since 2020, Faire’s online trade shows have been a primary destination for retailers and brands to connect and form long-term relationships, and this year’s Faire Market—taking place July 18 to 20 with Insider early access—promises to be no different. The free, four-day virtual event features independent brands from around the world and offers discount matching on brand promotions. Plus, Insider retailers get early access to products from thousands of participating brands. 

Our past events have saved retailers over $12,000,000 and created over 110,000 new relationships between brands and retailers. We recently spoke with two customers who formed an ongoing relationship during a Faire market about how they connected, what they look for in new retail partners, and their tips to get the most out of Faire’s virtual markets. 

Making connections across the world

Umbrellas from Original Duckhead

Morgan Cros, founder of umbrella brand Original Duckhead, began her brand in 2012 with the hope of creating functional, sustainable, and long-lasting umbrellas that people love. Using recycled fabrics and environmentally friendly wood, Cros produced sturdy, wind-resistant, and adorable umbrellas that took London by storm. By 2018, Cros took the project full-time with a focus on wholesale, which eventually brought her to Faire. 

It’s through Faire that April Gabriel, the owner of Boston General Store, connected with Cros and her charming duck umbrellas. While Boston General Store began as a tiny pop-up out of her car, it has grown into two brick-and-mortar locations and a large online presence over the past 10 years. But her goal has always been the same: provide patrons with utilitarian gifts with form, function, and style that they’ll want to keep for a long time. 

When she came across Original Duckhead’s products on Faire, Gabriel was immediately intrigued. “It caught my attention because it’s such an iconic design,” says Gabriel. “I remember as a kid I had a similar duck umbrella, so it just resonated with me.”

When Gabriel attended an in-person trade show shortly after discovering Original Duckhead’s products online, she knew it was a sign. She loved being able to see the quality of the umbrellas in person and was determined to have the product in her store. When Faire Winter Market rolled around, Gabriel decided to take advantage of the market discounts and finally purchase Original Duckhead umbrellas.

Since then, Cros has been getting monthly orders from Gabriel. In fact, Gabriel sold out right away when she first put them on the shelf.

“The customers had the same reaction I did—they were immediately reminded of a memory from their past. That’s the goal with all of our products,” says Gabriel. “To get that emotional connection to something you care about.” 

With orders continuing to flow in, Gabriel and Cros both value how Faire allows them to communicate so easily, whether they need tracking or help with customs. “Faire has really opened the US market for us,” says Cros. 

Creating partnerships based on values

Boston General Store storefront

Gabriel and Cros both agree that the best business relationship is one with a shared ethos. “We value retailers who have a point of view, who have a strong presence in their community, and who really curate their selections,” says Cros.

A brand’s values are important to Gabriel, too. “I’m mostly concerned with the story that a brand is telling,” she says. 

In addition, Cros and Gabriel look to form relationships that will last. “We want retailers who seem like they’ll be in it for the long run,” says Cros. 

“If we bring a brand in, we want to have a long-term relationship. I’m trying to find a brand that has a lifetime here,” says Gabriel. Several of the brands she stocks she’s been working with for 10 years. Many have become friends and sounding boards. “The relationship just changes when you can have friendships with the people you work with. That’s important to me.”

Leveraging Faire Market

Original Duckhead has participated in four Faire markets so far. “Every market gets better and better. Our retailers keep coming back to take advantage of the deals,” says Cros. In fact, the markets are her biggest months. Cros’s best piece of advice for brands new to virtual markets is to keep customers informed of your participation through emails and social media. “We really shout about it, and that makes a world of difference,” she says.

As for retailers, Gabriel recommends putting together a plan and making a hit list of the products you’re looking for. Participants can browse a directory of brands participating in the market early by logging into Faire and heading to the market directory

Faire markets are the perfect setting for retailers to form fruitful connections with brands around the world, like Boston General Store with Original Duckhead. “Faire has been helpful in forging relationships between retailers and international brands,” says Gabriel. “We keep going back for all of these amazing products we may not have found otherwise.”

Faire Market is running from Tuesday, July 18 to Thursday, July 20, 2023.

Participation for retailers is free, and Faire Insiders get early market access on Monday, July 17. To help brands offer the best prices to buyers and inspire new connections, we’re matching discounts up to 5% on all orders. (The average discount before Faire’s match at our last event was 10%.)

New to Faire Markets? Click here to learn more, or check out the highlights from our winter 2023 event.

New to Faire? Sign up to shop, or apply to sell.

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