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How paper product pioneer Knock Knock is greeting 4x more new retailers each month with Faire

February 21, 2024 | Published by Faire

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In an increasingly digital world, paper still has the power to make us smile and keep us connected. Union Square and Co., the parent company of Knock Knock and Em & Friends, is the ultimate example, ensuring customers can always find a card, book, or gift that celebrates “our very real lives, hearts, and funny bones.” 

Like many gift companies, Knock Knock and Em & Friends products were traditionally sold through sales representatives around the country. During the pandemic, the team had time to consider moving away from the representative model. “We were seeing the switch to digital across all businesses, and we knew we could either be early adopters or follow the trend later,” says Amanda Porter, the director of sales for both Knock Knock and Em & Friends. “Up-and-coming buyers want to harness the ease of Faire’s technology and order online.”

The cost of business with Faire is much lower than the traditional rep model.

Amanda Porter, Director of Sales, Knock Knock and Em & Friends

When Amanda and Knock Knock account manager Wendy Armington discovered Faire, they realized they had unlocked a promising new opportunity in the wholesale world. “The cost of business with Faire is much lower than the traditional rep model,” says Amanda.

The team started by leveraging Faire with Em & Friends, which was one-third the size of Knock Knock but had a larger portion of direct business at the time, making it less risky to disrupt sales. “Ultimately, it was a decision that would help us in the long run and build a better, healthier division of the business,” says Amanda. “We saw great results immediately.”  

Onboarding existing retailers at 0% commission 

As the team got to work adding Knock Knock to Faire, they found a lot to like about the Faire marketplace, starting with maintaining existing relationships. Already a well-established brand in the gift industry, Knock Knock had a substantial customer base to onboard onto the platform. “Not having to pay commissions on our existing customer base was huge,” says Amanda. “The customer terms were also really attractive.” 

When retailers order through Knock Knock’s Faire Direct link, commission is waived. All the while, those retailers receive all the benefits of buying on Faire, including 60-day payment terms, free returns on opening orders, and easy online ordering. “We couldn’t always offer our customers payment terms, in spite of their requests,” Amanda says. “We knew Faire would be a good transition for them.”

Reaching 4x more new retailers, often in new regions

During the pandemic, Wendy moved into a more rural area and realized Knock Knock and Em & Friends weren’t in gift stores around the country’s many national parks. “Faire helps us reach these more rural customers that we’d otherwise never get to,” she says. This includes retailers that aren’t primarily focused on gifts but want to dip their toe into the gift-giving world. These “second spaces” double as another business, like salons and cafés.

Before Faire, we were lucky to get 10 new accounts a month. With Faire, we average 40 for each brand.

Amanda Porter, Director of Sales, Knock Knock and Em & Friends

The volume of retailers the team is connecting and developing relationships with is growing too. “Before Faire, we were lucky to get 10 new accounts a month, and now with Faire, we average 40 new customers a month for each brand,” Amanda says. “Faire has amazing reach and has enabled our business to grow over the years.”

Saving time, money, and marketing efforts

Since working with Faire, Knock Knock and Em & Friends have enjoyed healthier overall margins. In addition to paying less commission, the team doesn’t have to physically be at as many trade shows to generate business. Previously, they were attending shows all around the country—in small towns and bigger cities like New York, Dallas, and Minneapolis. “Having a presence at traditional showrooms was really expensive and didn’t drive the revenue we hoped,” Amanda says. 

Faire’s virtual trade shows offer a much more convenient option that allows both brands to join thousands of retailers and brands—but skip the expenses and travel time. “Faire Markets exceed all of our physical shows combined, with no overhead,” Amanda says. “We just sit back and watch the orders come through, but we don’t have to physically be there.”

Prior to Faire, the majority of orders were coming in individually, and a team member had to re-key each into their system—but not anymore. Faire’s integration with Syncware takes this tedious but important task and automates it by connecting all order sources into one platform. Instead of toggling between different systems, they can see all of their order data at a glance from a single dashboard. “From an efficiency and operational standpoint, Syncware is saving time, which equals money, even, and especially, as the sheer number of orders is increasing,” Amanda says.

To keep the orders coming, Knock Knock and Em & Friends tap into Faire’s marketing tools. “There are quantifiable metrics after each marketing email or campaign,” Wendy says. Data in hand, the team can pivot in real time to send even more impactful content. “We can see how successful each click-through was and how much revenue we get from each campaign.”

Finding support and synergy moving forward

If they ever have a question, the team at Knock Knock and Em & Friends knows they can reach out to their brand success manager at Faire, who acts as both a support and business partner. “We have a really comfortable, open dialogue with Faire, and if there’s a problem, I feel very supported,” Wendy says. “Our brand success manager even gave us some great ideas on how to stimulate sales overseas.” 

With all this success, the team recently onboarded its new parent company, Union Square & Company (the main publishing arm of Barnes & Noble), onto Faire in early 2023—and their gift and specialty sales have already grown 26%. “We all really love Faire around here,” says Amanda. “It has been instrumental at synergizing the companies.

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