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How one of Faire’s best-selling brands preps for Faire Market

June 10, 2024 | Published by Faire

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Since 2014, Sweet Water Decor owner and designer Melissa Horvath’s mission has been to inspire customers to elevate daily moments with everything from candles to coffee mugs. Featured in Forbes and Country Living and on Good Morning America and the Today show, her company was named one of Amazon’s Woman-Owned Businesses to Watch—and recently sold its two-millionth candle.

There are a number of channels and tactics driving Sweet Water Decor’s continued growth and deep customer love, but ahead of each year, the wholesale team circles two key dates on its sales calendar: Faire Market, our biannual virtual trade show. The event features several days of shopping, exclusive discounts, and new product discovery—all from the comfort of your nearest phone or computer screen. 

“Faire Markets are such a great opportunity for us. It’s when our Faire shop page sees the most traffic,” says Sophie Williams, wholesale account manager at Sweet Water Decor. “Since it’s only twice a year, we take that time to offer our biggest deals of the season.”

Participation in Faire Markets is free, and Faire matches all brand discounts up to 5%. During the winter 2024 Faire Market, nearly 57,000 retailers made a purchase from 25,000 brands, and the average retailer ordered from five different brands.

Sweet Water Decor has participated in Faire Markets since their inception in 2020, leaning further into the experience each year. To help your team make the most out of Faire Markets, we spoke with Sophie about how the team at Sweet Water Decor approaches this lucrative time of the year. We’ve broken down her tips by time frame—year-round, six months out, one month out, one week out, during the market, and after the market wraps.

Faire Market is running from Tuesday, July 23, to Thursday, July 25, 2024

Tens of thousands of independent brands and retailers from across the globe come to Faire Markets to sell, shop, and build partnerships right from their home, shop, or showroom. Participation for retailers is free, and Faire Insiders get early market access on Monday, July 22. To help your brand offer the best prices to buyers and inspire new connections, we’re matching discounts of 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 last market in January 2024.

Year-round: Build Faire Market into your product-release cadence

Sweet Water Decor bundles its product releases into two collections: Spring and Winter. As Faire Market has become a more and more critical piece of its sales mix, the team has begun optimizing its production cycles to ensure its latest products are in stock (or available for pre-order) during these moments of high demand.

“Year after year, we’ve homed in on our Faire Markets strategy,” says Sophie. “This starts very early in our product development lifecycle.”

Six months out: Sharpen your strategy and prep for pre-orders

Six months before a Faire Market, Sweet Water Decor will start to develop its marketing strategy. It also takes inventory and ensures it’s properly stocked for the inevitably high demand, with a particular eye on bestsellers and pre-orders.

“Pre-order items are big during Faire Markets,” Sophie explains. Sweet Water Decor began utilizing the option during the summer 2023 market, and it was so successful the team wasn’t quite ready for the influx of orders. It’s since re-evaluated its timelines to ensure it’s prepared for the spike and remains transparent with customers about when they’ll get things in. Maintaining a confident handle on timelines ensures customer satisfaction, particularly since the markets attract a lot of first-time buyers.

In the months leading up to each market, Sweet Water Decor also makes a point to stay on top of product listings and ensure they’re thoughtfully crafted with the right names, relevant details and descriptions, and compelling imagery. 

One month out: Encourage retailers to get their carts ready

About one month before a Faire Market, Sweet Water Decor will ramp up its marketing efforts for all customers. (A smart move: At Faire, we’ve seen that the brands that drive higher sales during markets send campaigns to their customers starting a month or more in advance.) 

When it comes to timing, the team notes when Faire sends retailers an advanced list of participating brands to take full advantage of that context. “We let everyone know we’re going to be at the market and what new things they can check out,” Sophie says. 

Sweet Water Decor also encourages retailers to add items to their cart before the market starts. “To get them as excited and ready as possible to buy, we’ll share deals and encourage them to fill their carts,” Sophie says. 

 There are so many things retailers want to get during Faire Market, so having their carts ready and knowing what to expect ahead of time is best for everyone involved.

Sophie Williams, wholesale account manager, Sweet Water Decor

Naturally, a lot of brands are vying for retailers’ attention (and wallets) during this time, so this gives Sweet Water Decor an easy leg up: Retailers love to plan ahead, and this way, all they have to do is log into Faire and check out when discounts go live. 

“There are so many things retailers want to get during Faire Market, so having their carts ready and knowing what to expect ahead of time is best for everyone involved,” says Sophie. 

One week out: Ensure relevant retailers have all the details

At this point, Sweet Water Decor will segment emails to target top customers, those who haven’t opened their emails, and those who might not be subscribed to regular emails yet. “We try to reach customers from every angle for Faire Markets,” Sophie says. “We want everyone who might be interested to be aware of the deals.”

During the market: Monitor and stay agile

While the market is live, Sweet Water Decor will meticulously monitor sales and questions, answering each one as quickly as possible and paying special attention to new customers, who receive a tailored welcome message and service. 

“We try to make everything super easy for them and start to build that partnership by answering questions and offering recommendations,” Sophie says. “That’s a huge component of our follow-up after the market, and beyond.” 

Because there are so many retailers shopping—particularly new ones—and in such a short window, it’s imperative to have the answers to common questions ready to go so you can close sales quickly. Pro tip: Download the Faire app for brands so you don’t miss a message and can respond as efficiently as possible. 

By keeping its finger on the pulse of what’s happening, Sweet Water Decor can send out additional emails as needed. “We look at our returning customers, check to see if they shopped with us yet, and ensure they’re aware of our deals again,” Sophie explains.

After the market: Measure performance and nurture new buyer relationships

When measuring the success of the market as a whole, Sweet Water Decor looks at the return rate of customers and gauges whether they’re happy and enjoying the new products. They’ll also check to see how many new customers come through via market deals and analyze click and open rates for campaigns and certain specifications. “It’s super fun tracking each day and trying to beat the last Faire Market,” Sophie says. 

Sophie also reminds fellow brands to ensure any new buyer relationships you form during the market aren’t lost in the shuffle. “We always send a welcome message to our new customers to make sure they feel seen and have all the information they need,” says Sophie. 

Messages like this open a dialogue for any customer service questions that arise and are an opportunity to offer recommendations on merchandising. For example, Sweet Water Decor links a Dropbox folder that includes high-quality imagery for a retailer’s website or displays.

Faire Market runs each January and July, and while it’s a landmark event for our community of wholesalers, we know many brands like yours rely on in-person trade shows as well. To help you prepare for trade shows of all sizes and types, we’ve put together a handy guide, which includes tips on curating collections, upping your product-display game, setting promotions, nurturing relationships, and more. Armed with these tips, we know you’ll kick off 2024 with a successful trade show season.

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

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