Estimated reading time: 7 minutes
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, or not
Long before I located great places for high-quality foods, snacks, and gifts to fill my gift baskets, I knew where many are found. However, I also knew that there were certain places that would be off my list. Those places included:
- Thrift stores
- Retail shops
Nothing is wrong with these three locations. Many new designers start a gift basket business with items found there. Still, prices are already marked up so these locations profit. If I purchased products in those places, the cost would be high, and I’d immediately lose money.
Even if I bought products in the clearance section, I used lots of time and energy removing 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 that orders dozens of gift baskets at one time.
I’m not putting these places down or saying that a designer who follows this buying method is wrong; it’s 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 shops is to see what’s on the shelves. It’s important to review products you can see and touch so you recognize what’s in the area.
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 at (store name).“
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 traditional retail businesses think, and that is:
Where can I find products that allow me to stand out and be different so customers come back to me for exclusive merchandise on their must-have list?
Such products do exist. It’s not all exclusive, but the products I 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 these places. As mentioned earlier, this is where you can research potential items to buy as well as purchase.
- Party stores
- Home Goods
- Restaurant Depot
- 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 you’ll hear is “no.”
The first two wholesale suppliers are found online through an easy search.
- Nashville Wraps
- 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 to take the 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) listings featuring many types of in-state wholesalers selling soaps, candles, and more.
- Product directories that are either available as PDFs online or by mail as a print catalog.
Look in the listings’ horizontal or vertical menus for more details. Open the menus to see the links, and click if a link name sounds as if it contains the in-state sources you want. This is what I do to find delicious and valuable products throughout the U.S., and it’s all 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 visit 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 listing 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 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, Missouri, Arizona, 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, these three questions always come up.
“Can I buy things from places like Victoria’s Secret and Bath & Body Works and put it in my basket?”
Yes, you can buy from these places and place 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 them. There are wholesale suppliers that sell similar merchandise for a much-lower cost, and you can find them through online research.
” Where can I find Disney products?”
The three places I know of to find Disney products is at:
- Authentic Disney shops in malls
- Their worldwide theme parks
- The Toy Fair, a trade show held yearly in New York
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 your life.
An easy way to find the good stuff
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 50+ 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 sites 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, and supplies of all type at wholesalers that cater to our industry.
Now that you know all about gift basket products, what will you look for first to create your beautiful designs?