Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Oh Fab, You are Fab-u-lous!

Are you a small vendor pondering the possibility of offering your product on a flash sale website such as Fab.com? I took the plunge and haven't looked back since. Here's a bit of the low down on how it went for us!

The actual screen shot from our sale!
More details after the jump!

It all started a couple months ago when I was approached by Fab.com to have our caramels on their "flash sale" website. For those that might not be too familiar with "flash sale" sites, think mobbing the store, but it's online. The sale is limited, for hours, days or a week {like ours} and it's deep discount shopping or limited editions. Is it the most discounted shopping deal ever? Depends. For us, yes, considering we don't typically offer any sales. 

Up until Fab.com approached us, I hadn't considered offering our caramels on one of these "flash sale" websites for many reasons. Most of my hesitations revolved around the timeliness of our production {our caramels don't have preservatives, thus can't sit around for weeks waiting to ship}, the scale of our business {we're still quite small}, and the lack of a predictable slow time of the year {It seems there is always a holiday we're gearing up for!}

Why now? We were actually approaching our "slow time of the year {a whole 2-3 weeks of it}" and I thought, it was now or never to gain exposure and see how our product does outside of our typical handmade marketplace {Etsy.com}. Our buyer at Fab.com was great at letting us book the week that worked for us and we were able to scale our volunteers, bulk up on supplies and prepare mentally and physically for the long haul ahead.

So how does this work? Essentially a buyer contacts you, you discuss details and fine print. Read it. All of it! It's critical. Don't forget to ask lots of questions. The buyer is there to answer them and the buyer we worked with at Fab.com was very accommodating.

You schedule your sale - deadlines for photos, written requirements {info for the website etc} and when it goes live.

You prep for your sale - order supplies, gather volunteers or schedule your workers to make sure they are there to help you. Clear your schedule and prepare for the onslaught of orders ahead.

I mentioned stocking up right?
Your sale starts - you sell out within minutes and you get to work.

You work - If you have the capacity, prepare as many items in advance as possible. Chances are you are selling your most popular items {we were} and you know they will sell {you've set your limits, so you know the capacity of each product}. So be sure to have things like enough labels on hand, jars {for us} or boxes for you, etc to ease your stress on the production end of things.

Tons of cut paper for our caramels in preparation!
Work some more...For me, I was working 15+ hours/day until our execution was accomplished {15-16 days}. Yes, I have a small and mighty workforce, namely our Apprentice that I stole away from her friends/family when I could. In addition, I have some amazing friends that helped me label jars, alphabetize packing slips and categorize our orders.

Work some more...slow and steady wins the race right???

We didn't get a "pick list" like we do with our Etsy orders, so we did old school tracking.
Work some more....

A handful of the jars for Fab.
Did I mention work?

You ship...lots and lots of boxes. Small, medium and even large {man in TX that ordered 15 jars} boxes.
Thank goodness for Uline.com being about 1.5 hours from here!
Make nice with your UPS man, and ship some more.

Shout out to UPS. They were awesome! Our driver "Jack" was a rockstar!
Then you finally get to celebrate finishing, take some time for R&R and then reap the benefits of your hard work.

Lump sum paycheck. {Ha! Our account was significantly depleted given the amount of resources we bulked up on.} But how quickly I forget when a large check arrives in the mail. Promptly and within the time-frame they mentioned. {FYI}

More sales. Yep, it's not over. Because the customers loved our product SO much, they came back. And guess what, they may just purchase way more than you could ever imagine.

Is it worth it - perhaps, it's up to you to decide. For us, absolutely! We look forward to another Fab.com sale in our future!

Fab.com was indeed Fab-u-lous for this tiny caramel company!

Until next time,

Your Founding Caramel Girl

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