Do you know where to find delicious foods and wonderful gifts to add in your gift baskets? At the end of this article, you’ll say, “gift basket products, so easy to find!” Read on to learn where to look.
Three places with potential
Long before I found low-cost suppliers to purchase high-quality foods, snacks, and gifts to fill my gift baskets, I knew about locations where items were easily found. Those easy locations sold items either haphazardly or at high prices. Those places included:
- Thrift stores
- Retail shops
Nothing is wrong with these three places that sell foods and gifts. Many new designers start a gift basket business with items found there. Still, prices are already marked up so these retailers profit. If I purchased products at those places, the cost would be high, and I’d immediately lose money when selling my gift baskets.
Even if I bought products in the stores’ clearance section, I used lots of time and energy removing price labels and making sure the product had not yet expired.
In addition, buying one product at a time would limit my ability to make gift baskets for corporations, the one type of business with the potential to order dozens of gift baskets at one time.
I’m not putting these stores down or saying that a designer who follows this buying method is wrong. As a person who makes gift baskets on a full-time basis, these product locations are just not for me.
Using stores to find foods and gifts
Supermarkets are mentioned in the book, How to Start a Home-Based Gift Basket Business, as a place to find numerous gift basket items.
The way I use supermarkets and other retail stores is to see what’s on the shelves. It’s important to review products you can see and touch so you recognize what’s available in the area and what potential buyers want in their gifts.
That knowledge helped me to determine what to buy and where not to buy.
I never wanted a customer to come to me and say:
“Hey, I can get this chocolate bar at (store name).“
Like you, I need to be unique in a world where competing gift basket makers fill their designs with pasta sauces and potato chips sold everywhere.
My way of thinking was, and still is, to follow how owners of specialty retail businesses think, which is:
Where can I find products that help me stand out and be different so customers come back to me again and again for all-occasion gifts and baskets?
Food and gift items are everywhere, but the products I buy, and hopefully the ones you buy, aren’t on every retail shelf. Whether you want your gift baskets to be unique or want to simply begin making them with items you can get at local stores, there are plenty of places that will accommodate you.
Let’s go shopping
I’ve already mentioned supermarkets, thrift stores, and retail shops as possible locations for everything from baskets to bows. However, that’s just the start.
Let’s break down the many places that are available to you within popular categories, and keep in mind that this is a very short list. A more-extensive list is made by you as you find resources online and in your local area.
A plentiful variety of goods are sold in the following places. As mentioned earlier, this is where you can research potential items available as well as for purchase.
- Party stores
- Home Goods
- Hobby Lobby
- Amazing Savings
- Sam’s Club
- BJ’s Wholesale
Most wholesalers will let you purchase from them as long as you have a business license that allows you to resell the merchandise you buy. However, some will let you buy without a license. How do you know which is which? Call or email and ask, and don’t worry. The worst answer you’ll hear is “no.”
The first three wholesale suppliers are found online through an easy search.
- Nashville Wraps
- Restaurant Depot
- Suppliers in your local area
Online ways to find products
One of the most-underutilized ways to find foods and gifts is through your state or country’s online product listing. Yes, it really does exist, but you have make time to look for it. These listings don’t magically appear in front of your eyes. It can be buried within the sites you visit, so put on your detective hat and start sleuthing.
For example, if you live in North Dakota, begin your search by visiting the North Dakota Department of Agriculture website. Fruits, grains, and vegetables are promoted here, but that’s not all. Look for:
- Farmer’s markets which also sell honey, preserves, and nuts of all type.
- “Made in (state) or (country” listings featuring many types of wholesalers selling soaps, candles, and more.
- Product directories that are either available as online downloadable lists or by mail as a print catalog.
Look in each website’s horizontal or vertical menu for more details. Open the menu to see the links, and click if a link name sounds as if it contains the sources you want. This is what I do to find delicious and valuable products throughout the world. It’s available to you, too.
If you’re in a country outside of the U.S., such listings are online waiting for you. Where, on your country’s website, do you find agricultural products? Start there, because agriculture is all about food, where it’s grown, and where to buy it.
Don’t overlook this one
Here’s another place to find foods and gifts, and this one is a hidden gem. Trade shows are places where retailers like you visit in person twice a year to see the latest gift and food items they can buy for their stores. Guess what? Most trade shows include an exhibitor list on their website. That listing is in the online menu, and that let’s you see:
- Who’s exhibiting
- What they sell
- Where they’re located
The entire list lets you virtually visit the show without traveling or spending money to get there.
Gift and gourmet trade shows are available throughout the world. Some of the big trade shows in the U.S. are located in:
- New York
There are others, too, in Washington State, Missouri, Arizona, Mississippi, and other locations. Gift Shop Magazine keeps an updated calendar of where and when shows occur.
Two popular questions
Students in my online gift basket classes have lots of questions about finding and buying products. In every new session which occurs each month, these two questions always come up.
“Can I buy things from places like Victoria’s Secret and Bath & Body Works and put it in my baskets?”
Yes, you can buy from these places and put them in gift baskets. Keep in mind that buying from these retailers increases the cost of making your designs to the point where you may not make money when selling the gifts. There are wholesale suppliers that sell similar quality merchandise for a much-lower cost, and you can find them through online research.
” Where can I find Disney products?”
Three known places to find and purchase Disney products are at:
- Authentic Disney shops in malls
- Disney’s worldwide theme parks
- The Toy Fair, a trade show held yearly in New York City
Disney products are not sold at a discount.* You will have to pay full price for authentic products. This again, increases the price you pay to create gift baskets that include Disney merchandise, but the person who receives the gift may be priceless in the customer’s eyes.
*News flash! I found a discount store in my area selling Disney-branded baby goods. Is such a store available in your area?
An easy way to find foods, gifts, and supplies
Sometimes, even after reading this road map on how to find gift basket products, you’re still unable to find what you want. I know this all too well, because gift basket designers like you email me to ask for help.
That’s why I created the 100+ U.S. Wholesalers You Want to Know list. When you don’t have time to comb through websites and listings to find foods and gifts, that’s when this list is the answer. It can take hours to sift through websites with no results. That’s frustrating, right?
Instead of wasting time and increasing stress, you can have this list sent directly to you by email. Then, you’ll have a concise and complete list of where to buy baskets, bows, foods, personal care items, and supplies that cater to gift basket makers like you.
Now that you know all about gift basket products, what will you look for first to create your beautiful designs?