I have several handmade suppliers in my shop, all of whom I love. The way I usually choose what to stock is common sense. "Would I buy it?" is first and foremost. Sometimes they're items I've purchased at markets and fallen in love with and then approached the creator to see if they want to supply. Most importantly it has to be original. There's no point in me stocking something everyone else has.
I think this blog I read today said it perfectly:
January 22, 2012 By
I think it's important to distinguish yourself from everyone else. I'm definitely no marketing guru or branding expert (I have my own challenges in the shop with that!) but I think when it comes to handmade baby clothing and children's clothing it's definitely a competitive market. Everyone is making pillowcase dresses, applique t-shirts, hair clips, headbands, baby singlets etc. So when I stock these things I want to ensure I have a product that is so different to everyone else's that people will come back for more.
A perfect illustration of this is my lovely supplier SquigglePop. Mrs SquigglePop is a mother who loves to sew. She is a fantastic sewer/artist and she has come up with the most amazing yet simple idea. She created the bungy cord. What's that you ask? Well it's an elasticised cord that has a loop and toggle at one end and a clasp at the other end. It's similar to the old fashioned dummy cords but this one is stretchy so you an attach one end to the pram or car seat and the baby or toddler can stretch the toy, bottle, dummy or whatever up to their mouth. The elastic loop at the other end can be adjusted to fit something as small as a dummy or as big as a wide neck drink bottle. Honestly I don't know how we survived before she came up with these!
Mrs SquigglePop also makes gorgeous terry backed bibs. Now there's nothing different about that I hear you say. But when she puts them into cute little noodle boxes with her bungy cords they all of a sudden become this very original baby shower gift idea!
So now here's what happens when you hand make something and it becomes a hit. I now have mothers coming in saying "so-and-so i my mothers group had this gorgeous bib and matching dummy cord by SquigglePop and she told me you sell them" Viola! The rest is history.
I've just put a big order into SquigglePop as her bibs and bungy cords were so popular in the lead up to Christmas that I've almost sold out. Every time I receive a parcel from her it's like opening a present because unlike buying from big name labels, I never know what designs I'm getting. I can't wait for this lot to arrive!