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Having your candles in peoples shops.


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I got a phone call the other day from one of the store owners that has our candles in his shop.

He asked me in a most accusatory manner if we had been at the markets in his suburb - in fact I think right across from his store, the previous weekend selling our candles!

Apparently some other store owner in the area had told him she thought it was us!

He was most upset at the idea and I think jumped to conclusions because of course it WASN'T us at all (we were off camping!) but whoever it was had exactly the same jars as we use and was selling one of the fragrances WE sell ....to him!

After about ten minutes of trying to calm him down (he really was quite upset!) and point out that in Australia there are only two major candle suppliers who sell pretty much the same jars AND fragrances that it's not unlikely that other people are out there too selling similar products to US! Actually it's FACT....we know they are!

I mean, after all, this "snitch" lady told him it wasn't our label on the jar.........so I really can't understand his paranoia.

Anyway....it leads me to ask this, since we have never done the whole dealing with shops business before.....

We are thinking about starting up the party plan thing selling our candles......This MAY involve doing parties in HIS territory.

That's ok though isn't it?

I mean it's not that we are , or have ever said we would be exclusive to him alone!

Should we discuss this with him at all.....?

I don't want to rock the boat in any way with him, and we are extremely happy that he is stocking our candles in his store because it's a GREAT shop and he's a GREAT salesman.

He seems not very happy that we have mentioned, in the past that we would eventually sell at markets (and yet again I don't understand him jumping to conclusions because we've always said we wouldn't sell at markets near his store because we don't want to do HIM out of business!) and even said something about taking our phone number off the labels because I mentioned that a lady rang the other day asking if she could buy direct from us.

I told her no, we would rather she buys from either of the stores our candles are in as we don't want to start selling from home unless it was a huge wholesale order or for a fundraiser or something.

Now, I TOLD him this, because I wanted him to know that we ARE directing people to HIS store - but his response was to question taking the phone number off! Like he simply does not trust us!

I'm left feeling a little, well, frustrated!

Anyone had experiences like this and how do you deal with it?


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The store owner sounds like a jerk! If you are happy about your candles being sold in his shop it looks like you are going to have to put up with his paranoia. At least you know something about dealing with him now so you can be prepared for his future panic attacks.:laugh2:

I think all you can do is just calmly reassure him and leave it at that. If he gets worse then you may want to rethink your business relationship and maybe move on.

I think you know the answer to your question. If you do a home party in his area and he finds out he will be peeved. If you are willing to deal with that then go ahead with your plans. I don't see that it is any of his business since you did not guarantee him exclusivity with your products.

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You may want to discuss this issue with him BUT reassure him that you will be charging the same amount, if not a little more, when you do the party plan so it should not effect his business. In fact it might help him because the more people that are exposed to your company then the more people will recognize it and possibly buy it when they see it in his shop because they have already seen/tried your quality. As far as doing markets, I do a TON of them and it has definitely helped the stores that I have them stocked in because I always direct people back to the stores when they want more. I have definitely seen an increase in sales at the stores as a direct result of it.

That said, I do agree with Candybee. If he continues to overreact then it might be worth rethinking your relationship with him and find other stores to stock your products. You DO NOT work FOR him, you work for yourself so there is no way he can expect you to sell ONLY to him, well unless he wants to spend $100 a candle cuz that is what it would cost to make it worth while for you to stay in business with no other customers. :P No matter how good of a sales person he is he does not have the right to bully you. I have cut a vendor like this off before and will do it again if in that situation without a second thought because they were replaced with an even better one.

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Hi thanks.

The thing is he is charging quite a bit for the candles he sells in his shop. He buys mostly from the US actually so I can understand that with extra shipping costs etc, and the fact that they are pretty much exclusive to his shop (never seen US candles anywhere else here) that he may have to charge more for THOSE.

He's selling ours slightly cheaper but still at a price that we personally would never dream of selling them for, particularly not at markets!

It makes it hard because we've had to re think our prices because of this.

We're not really sure WHAT to sell them for doing the party plan thing but if we were to sell them as much as he sells them for in his shop I don't think we'd be doing any repeat parties!

We really have to give this all some serious thought.

I never thought it would get complicated like this.

But what you say makes sense, and we should bring that up with him about "exposure to our product."

That can only be a good thing.


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You are in business to make money. So you need to explain to him that if he wants an exclusive area, He need to pay a price, say 100.00 month extra or something you feel comfortable with for a 10 mile radious. Explain to him that you have hundreds of cusotmers and you sell to many stores. Try to do it in professional way, so that he understands that you cant make money if you only sell to him. You have to make a profit. I have product in 7 stores locally here. They all ask me where is your product at. I tell them that they are 5,7 , 10 miles from you. But this nice thing is that you have a different client base and it wont effect you. Infact when they see it somewhere else, people want it because it is popular. Its like ebay.. no one wants that item till someone bids... then everyone wants it. I think dealing with the store owners are something I have mastered after ten years, but there used to be tears long time ago.Even if you did sell at the market next door, he really shouldnt say who or where you sell to. Also, next time you go to a new store.. lay the foundation of the" rules" persay. So you no what you are in for. Hope this helps


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I have been in a non-candle business for 10 years now and I deal with a lot of big customers in my line of work, so I can say this with a big voice- Unless you made a contract with him that you would sell your candles exclusively in his shop, then I would tell him to hit the bricks for even mentioning to you that you were selling your candles elsewhere, or he'd better be selling enough to pay the mortgage, the electric bill, the gas bill, etc., etc. $100 minimum a month??? That covers maybe 6 bottles of FO!!!! Candle making and selling is your business...don't let ANYONE tell you how you're going to run it. Whoaaaa....no one would even dare to ask me!!!!

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Thank you both.

I guess part of this is just that it's all so completely new to us.

You're absolutely right though, we ARE trying to make a profit and it's not going to come from the two shops we are supplying ALONE. We have to branch out in whatever other areas we can so we can get out candles OUT there and in the process compete with other candle makers in the area as well.

I would not ever be so indiscreet though to sell at a market that's virtually across the road from a shop our candles were in.

That would just be silly because obviously at street markets your prices ARE lower so that would be taking business away from HIM. I still can't understand how he could think we would DO that!

But to be a fair distance away I think is reasonable and darn it I'm going to tell him that! lol!

We plan to have a face to face meeting with him this coming weekend and get things all laid out and straight!

We're happy to compromise on things where it makes sense but he's got to see it from our point of view too!


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Sounds like he has just "assumed" some things, i know bigger companies we deal with will only wholesale to 1 or 2 shops per town so i guess he just assumes everyone does it that way?, i don't sell my soaps yet but put the feelers out to a shop in town to see if she was interested, she was but expected me to sell to her exclusively, i have a shop of my own and told her that No i would not sell to her exclusively BUT i would be prepared to make up soaps with Scents that where exclusive to her and put made exclusively for etc etc, maybe you could offer him a range of scents "exclusively" ? especially if he is a good buyer.

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You have EVERY right to sell right across the street at the market if you so choose! Yes I would let him know that you are going to be there as a courtesy BUT he has no right to tell you that you can't. I just did a BIG street fair a week ago right down the street from one of the shops I have product in. Yes I ran specials that ended up being a little less than what they sell for but they were just that "Specials" for the event. I had printed up little clear labels with the other locations that carry our product as well as the next few shows we are doing and stuck them on the back of some of my business cards to pop into the bags with products. Hopefully this will help drum up some new business for these shops so they will get more products. It's like free advertising for them.

I also wanted to say that you should take a good long look at your retail prices. You want to make sure that you aren't short changing yourself when you go to sell direct. It made me wonder if that might be the case when you said he was charging way more than you would imagine doing. If you are charging too little people will question whether it is a quality candle and it will hurt you in the long run. I am saying this from experience. When I first started selling I was way under charging for mine until a CUSTOMER said that I was not charging enough. I talked with some other candle making friends and decided to try raising my prices to 3-4x my cost (sometimes more) and my sales went up significantly (piece count AND $$ profit). If you dont; respect your hard work no one else will either. Yes there will always be bargain hunters out there but I have a "scratch & dent/discontinued" basket at all my shows for them. MANY of them return as regular customers (@ regular price) because they love my stuff after trying the lower priced stuff.

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All very good food for thought here.

I hope Richard - my husband is reading this (he is away interstate at the moment)

Platypus moon...We are trying to keep the scent lines in both shops as different as we can. His is a more "prim/country" shop so we're using a lot of "food" type scents with his and we've even decorated his jar candles differently to the other shop which is more "pretty".

Selling at markets though we'll probably offer a selection of both because it gives more choice for people.

Still we can't control what OTHER people here are selling and no doubt they are selling some of the same scents as us because they are buying from the same wholesalers as us!

We've just put a big order in from the US so we can buy scents that are completely unique! (hopefully)

We made it clear to him from the start that we would be looking at other shops AND be doing markets at some point.

I think he was just upset thinking it was us selling right across the road from him.

MParadise...I have been saying to my husband, after seeing a few other people selling candles here, that we should raise our prices as I think we're selling them too cheaply at markets. Well, we WERE.

We've moved from Perth to Sydney and over there we ended up at one particular market where really to try and fit in with the crowd we were selling too cheap.

I know exactly what you mean about how selling too cheap can make people question the quality.

But like I said, I really think what this guy sells HIS candles for in his shop is quite unreasonable - to me it is anyway.

Certainly not what you could realistically hope to sell for at a market in comparison to what the general price out there that others are selling their products for.

But yes, definately something we should be looking at once we have decided upon which market we are going to be going to.

I feel better anyway about the party plan thing now after reading all these responses even if they happen to be parties that are in the same area as him.

They will be a form of advertising too for our product and there's no reason why we can't promote the fact that our candles are in the stores they are in whilst AT the parties.

He should feel happy about any way in which people get to know about his shop!


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Tracy, even if you are starting with the exact same fragrances don't forget that you can always take 2 or more and make your own custom blends so they seem familiar but are just enough different from everyone else that they are uniquely yours. If you haven't done this before you can take a qtip or cotton ball to dip in a fragrance then repeat with a new one for the next fragrance then pop them in a bag and seal it for a little while to let them mingle before smelling them. I have come up with a few really good blends this way.

Also, you can always rename your scents too to make them stand out from the crowd and seem different from what everyone else is offering even if they really aren't.

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Thanks, we've not tried blending any scents but yes that could work.

At the moment we're finding that because prices have gone up here that even with the shipping costs it's actually cheaper for us to get our scents from the US!

We are waiting with great anticipation at this first orders arrival.

If we like the scents I think we might just stick with buying from over there because it is so much cheaper!

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I get ALOT of my FO's from Bittercreek but have heard great things about Nature's Garden too. I think you will be in great shape with either. Let us know what you ordered and what you thought of them when you get your shipment.

I am actually putting together an order for some samples from them myself because they have some interesting Christmas scents.

Edited by mparadise
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