Gift boutiques are one of the largest categories of buyers on Faire, accounting for a huge portion of the more than 700,000 retailers in our community. WINK SF, a gift boutique born in San Francisco’s charming Noe Valley neighborhood, was one of the very first.
WINK SF was founded by two artists who wanted to bring together cool, beautiful objects with characteristics of functionality, wit, inventiveness, craftsmanship, heart, and soul. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, “The common thread linking the items in this long-standing gift and accessories shop are founders Marcy Israel and Teresa Hagiya’s eye for design.”
Co-owner Marcy says she and Teresa used to find unique items for their shop at gift shows, but that they stopped attending during the pandemic. That’s when they decided to switch most of their buying to Faire. Marcy and Teresa now turn to Faire as their primary source for new products and vendor relationships.
“Gift shows lost their focus years ago,” Marcy says. “The costs for vendors became extremely expensive, and gift shows began promoting Amazon sales rather than brick and mortar stores.”
Marcy first learned about Faire directly from co-founder and CEO Max Rhodes, who previously represented a brand she carried in her shop, while the platform was in its infancy in 2017. She was intrigued by the idea and decided to give Faire a try.
The shop progressively increased its share of buying on the platform, according to Marcy. “I’m sure it’s at least 70% [of our inventory] now,” she says. “It’s significant.” In fact, WINK SF has ordered well over half a million dollars worth of wholesale merchandise on Faire since joining.
We’ve had brands that we keep reordering from, that we may not have ordered had they not been risk-free.Marcy Israel, Co-owner, WINK SF
Risk-free shopping is perhaps Marcy’s favorite thing about Faire. Retailers are offered free returns on opening orders, which Marcy says is a great way to try products and see what works in her store. “We’ve had brands that we keep reordering from, that we may not have ordered had they not been risk free,” she says. “Without gift shows there is no way to actually see and feel the product, or to evaluate its quality and packaging. (Free returns on opening orders) is a very important and crucial aspect to the Faire experience.”
And when a new brand is a hit with shoppers, Marcy utilizes Faire’s zip-code-protection feature, which allows her to differentiate her merchandise from the products found in nearby stores.
WINK SF also enjoys Faire’s 60-day payment terms and has become a Faire Insider member to access additional benefits such as free shipping from North American brands. “I love it,” she says of joining Faire Insider. “It’s really nice to know the cost of the product and not have to factor in shipping, because shipping is significant.”
I love Faire Insider. It’s really nice to know the cost of the product and not have to factor in shipping, because shipping is significant.Marcy Israel, Co-owner, WINK SF
On a monthly basis, Marcy now focuses on reordering products that performed well in the previous months and sourcing new products that will complement her bestsellers. On a weekly basis, she utilizes the “new brand” filter on Faire to find sellers that she might have previously missed. WINK SF also regularly participates in Faire markets to discover new brands each season, including European stockists. “It’s been great,” she says. “I’ve found several new brands and reordered cool items.”
Instead of stocking up for months at a time at trade shows, Marcy now restocks more regularly on Faire, which keeps her inventory fresh and ensures there’s always something new for regular customers. “I always disliked the process of ordering online,” she says, “but on Faire, it’s actually interesting. Faire’s interface is functional and easy to use.”