So throughout the time of being in business, I was never interested in becoming a wholesaler to PCC Natural Markets, Whole Foods, or Trader Joes. I had always thought that if I sought a venture down that path, I would lose a lot of control over my business. And the thought of losing some control over my product being housed on supermarket selves, hiring more staff to accommodate demands, and not quite sure how fast or big my business would grow absolutely terrified me, so I made many excuses as to why I didn't want to expand my business into those markets. But then, one thing just lead to the next.
Getting accepted into Phinney Farmers market required me to start sourcing some of my ingredients locally, and having appropriate labels to go along with my kimchi, which in turn required me to source custom jars to meet that need. As I prepared for Phinney's market, I just thought to myself, well now that I source my ingredients locally, and having jars with FDA (food and drug administration) compliant labels, why not entertain the idea of getting into the aforementioned supermarkets?
The main reason why I shied away from looking into getting into the supermarkets was the cost of custom jars - or so I thought. Starting out, I was purchasing Ball Jars for under one dollar a jar. It was convenient to go to Target and pick up the amount of jars required for the week. The drawback was that the Ball Jars have their own engravings with their brand name and created grooves and uneven surfaces to properly label jars. So I started doing my research on where I could procure custom jars with smooth surfaces in order for me to label correctly. Well, the end result lead me to Uline, and for 12 jars that I was currently paying at the time for under $10, the cost of buying custom jars from Uline amounted to about $40 to include delivery fees. There was no way that was going to work, because I would be paying 4x as much to have custom jars, and I told myself that my operation was not big enough to sustain those prices.
I am not at all disparaging Uline, because I source my craft paper bags for customers to have from them. And I love the product! The bag imparts upon my product a very homemade, crafty appeal to it. But I could not very well pay $4 a jar and charge the same price I was going to charge and wholesale to supermarkets at the same time. It didn't make any economical sense.
So the week prior to my start date at Phinney Farmers market, I was invited by the market manager there to come take a look at the place and to get myself oriented and what to expect. I started to look around, and I came upon a honey vendor that had just the jars I was looking for, so I approached her and asked her if she would entertain a business enquiry because I would be a vendor at the market the following week. She happily obliged, and I asked her where she got her jars from. She responded that she gets them from a local company in Seattle. I asked her about how much she spent per jar, and she informs me about $1 per jar. I was pretty taken aback by the revelation, and I was very excited by the news. There it was, I could finally find jars I could label correctly that costed just a tad more than what I was paying for my Ball Jars.
The reason I am now looking into wholesaling to PCC, Whole Foods and Trader Joes is due to necessity, and not due to a natural progression of growing my business. Ideally, I would like to participate in two year-round Farmers market, which would allow me to reach critical mass where I do not have to worry about not being able to meet expenses and getting evicted from my apartment. There are a lot of challenges ahead of me in order to get into these year-round markets, and, with the Farmers market season closing to and end, I only have one Sunday market that I am a vendor at, and, it by itself cannot sustain my business. I thought about toughing it out until the next season, and picking up a part-time job to sustain myself, but that would only leave my business in hibernation, and I am trying to grow. Thus, I believe wholesaling is the next logical step, as one of my customers pointed out to me.
I would absolutely love to be in two year-round Farmers market, because I can still produce enough by myself to meet demands at those markets. The supermarkets would force me out of my comfort zone too fast and too soon, but it seems that is the viable option at this point. And this is the reason I am looking at the option of wholesaling.
My apologies for the disjointed paragraphs. One of my professors suggested that I use transitions in my paragraphs, but I do not even know what those are. I like to have every one of my paragraphs to be its own entity.
Thank you for understanding!
-The Kimchi Whisperer-