Q & A with the Buyers from Uncommon Goods: Part 1


Are you looking to branch out and wholesale your work? I had the opportunity to submit your questions to the buyers at Uncommon Goods to discover how they select the handmade goods that they sell on their site. Have you heard of Uncommon Goods? My husband and I have been fans for a while. He gets so excited when their catalog comes because it is always filled with so many amazing and unique gifts. They are super supportive of the handmade community, the focus on sustainability and with every purchase they donate $1 to the non-profit of your choice. Click here to check out all of their handmade items and read on to discover how they were picked!


Where do you look for potential sellers for your site?

[Erin Fergusson] We are looking for outstanding creative design that makes us think, “Wow I have never seen that before!” This can mean that the product solves a problem in a unique way, is made of an interesting material, or is a really innovative combination of form and function.


Do you look for a certain type of merchandise or a certain look?

[Erin Fergusson] Not necessarily –our products have a wide range of aesthetics. We have some sleek, modern design products and other handcrafted natural-looking items. However, everything we sell has an element of creativity that earns it a place on our site.


As a buyer of goods from handmade artists, what advice would you  give an artist seeking to place products with your company?

[Melissa Bishop] Have a clear point of view and be able to articulate your story, your inspiration, and your process. Figure out what makes your items different, and the best way to showcase them – we are a web and catalog company, so we need an item to have an impactful presentation in a photograph as well is in person. Be friendly and open – we’re in the business of supporting artists and small business owners, and we like to like the people we work with!


Do you have some kind of benchmark for what the minimum amount  would be that I would have to produce monthly? 

[Melissa Bishop] Great question – but not really. It would depend on a number of factors – what kind of marketing presence it has (are we showing it in a catalog? in an email?), how expensive it is (a higher ticket item may sell at a slower unit velocity than a lower ticket item – though that is certainly not a rule), how fast inventory can be produced, etc. I would say that having a healthy production capacity makes catalog placement more possible – ie: we couldn’t grant catalog placement to an item that has a low production limit, as we wouldn’t get the return on investment for our marketing dollars. I think that being upfront with production capability is important, too, as we can help troubleshoot and brainstorm with artists who are reaching their limit, but it is better for everyone (and for everyone’s sanity) to not run into the issue at all.


When you select a product for your site from a handmade artist, how many units of a product do you typically request (for a purchase order)?

[Heather Thompson] It totally depends!  How much does the item cost? What’s the retail?  Is it Drop Ship (shipping directly from the vendor/artist)? Is the item planned for a catalog?  Speaking [very] generically, Retail orders (and casepacks) are planned in dozens.  Hopefully that helps!

A super big thanks to Rocky Taft from Uncommon Goods for helping me put this post together! Stay tuned next week for Part 2!

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