Gift basket products and supplies were once easy to find, but now it’s not so simple. This problem made me wonder – where are the affordable baskets? Here’s the story.

The big basket dilemma

$11 for that basket?!

That’s what I asked myself, in complete shock, when looking at a single basket’s price at a wholesale supplier in my local area. I could not believe the cost, and the basket was plain. No wow factor whatsoever. I was horrified.

Gift basket products are often easy to find if you know where to look as explained in another article. However, suppliers come and go, and you must stay aware of which companies are open and which are closed. Here’s how I handled the situation.

I needed 15 baskets for an in-person gift basket class at a library. Sure, I could have ordered the baskets from a faraway source, but I’ve done that before and was not pleased. Some of the baskets were damaged, and others had a handle that dislodged from the basket when grasped. You can buy from a non-local supplier in most cases, but with one week before the class, I needed fast help.

The main basket source I’ve counted on for years closed their business. They’d operated for over 40 years and closed shop after accepting an offer for the property. It had to be a several million dollar deal. I’d have closed, too.

Searching far and wide

My only solution was to search online for another source, and sure enough I found one 40 minutes away from my studio. I called before arriving and was told this new supplier had baskets. I drove north through rain and fog with my mom, Mae, and Pepi (Yorkie twins) in tow. The trip brought me to a converted home that, on the outside, looked somewhat promising, but I was still skeptical.

One of the owners led me to their basket room. Jackpot. The baskets were the right size, shape, and color. Plus, they fit in the shrink wrap bag I brought to ensure the bag and basket matched. The cost for this large vessel – $5 each. I was elated.

The co-owner inserted the baskets in a large plastic bag while I chose pretty red berry enhancements also in stock. After checkout, my purchase was placed in the car’s trunk and back seat leaving just enough room for Mae and Pepi to lay down. I smiled all the way back to the studio while driving through increment weather.

Three methods end the madness

Why is it so difficult to find quality baskets? It seems that plenty of variety is found on the U.S. west coast because Asia, the manufacturing center for most baskets, is closest to that area of the U.S. I’m familiar with many suppliers in California and Washington State that sell baskets. However, when it comes to the Midwest and east coast, supplies are either slim, not attractive, or simply too expensive. The experience is daunting.

If you’re in an area where baskets are hard to find, here are some tips to make the search quicker and fruitful.

  • Choose your internet search words wisely. Had I not used words identifying my state, wholesale requirements, and other specifics, the supplier I found would not have appeared in search.
  • Look at basket tags in retail craft stores. Most retailers leave the supplier’s name attached to the product. Take a picture of the tag and then research the supplier’s information.
  • Use more containers than baskets. Customers are drawn to the diversity of non-basket gifts. Designing with trunks, boxes, and other vessels is a natural extension of your talent.

Where are affordable baskets?

You expect prices to increase for gift basket products, but some prices are out of proportion for what you want. Changes also occur in terms of suppliers. One day they’re in business, and the next day their doors may be closed.

The best defense is to always know numerous places to buy supplies while staying keenly aware of pricing. Having trouble find supplies? This supplier list gives you more time for designing while lowering your stress.

The only time I’ll buy an $11 basket is when it’s a beauty that’s perfect for a gift made at a substantial retail price. Where are affordable baskets in your area, or are you also having difficulty finding good supplies?