By Christina Johnson |
RED BANK – By shining a spotlight on quality merchandise produced by local businesses, All Things Local is hoping to carve out its own niche in the gift basket business.
The borough’s newest business owners believe there is an untapped market for artfully-packaged, locally-made creations. They bet there are customers out there who will support local artisans if it’s easy enough and because, in an age of mass- produced imports, local items are unique and buying local feels good.
“We want to give vendors a chance, who might otherwise get lost,” said All Things Local co-founder Anne Hamilton, 47, of Highlands, who developed the idea after a career in global finance and a shorter stint in financial advising in which she became inspired by Americans who are launching their own micro-manufacturing businesses.
On Sunday, Oct. 1 at noon, All Things Local will hold a grand opening at its new retail space at 11 Globe Court, a courtyard retail center between Mechanic Street and East Front Street in downtown Red Bank.
On a recent visit to the small showroom, individual shelves displaying curated collections of New Jersey-based vendors were set up with their marketing materials and business cards. There are about 40 Etsy-style artisans represented right now. The vision is to accommodate 200 in an expanded emporium, which might not be hard to do since the annual Made in Monmouth show drew over 250 local vendors last spring.
In the center of the shop, business associates were busy at a table working on the marketing plan, vendor management, bar-coding, and a new e-commerce website to debut in November that will be connected to professionally managed Instagram and Facebook accounts featuring professional product photography.
A long workbench against the wall is set up for packaging, with colorful rolls of curly ribbons dangling from a pole, ready for the finishing touch, and tags advertising “Made in New Jersey.” The plan is to utilize baskets and reclaimed wooden boxes as stylish, branded containers.
Merchants who sign up with All Things Local promise they created the product themselves, adhering to Weichert appropriate regulations, if necessary, and are responsible for delivering the goods to
the store. If they are accepted following a team review, they will be represented in the Red Bank store, on the website, and at potential pop-up stores with sales, marketing and distribution services.
After an item sells, All Things Local takes 50 percent of the product’s sale price, and the vendor receives the other 50 percent within 30 days. Vendors can continue to sell their items on their own websites, but must agree not to undercut the All Things Local price.
The idea is that the customers can browse the store or online site to create their own one-of-a-kind gift box from locally made products such as candles, preserves, hot sauce, coffee, pottery, ornaments, jewelry, and gift cards, or choose pre-made baskets with a theme. Visitors on Sunday can choose items from Double D’s Doggie Delights from Howell, Wood Box Soap of Leonardo, Hexagizmo 3D printing from Red Bank, and Maxwell Lanfrank’s of Rumson organic lip balm and hand sanitizers, among others.
The owners hope to capture some of the corporate business flowing to flower and fruit basket sales, as well as time-strapped consumers who want to give something meaningful and different from what is found in stores. “Hopefully people will start trusting us,” said Hamilton.
A vacant office space next door will eventually be joined with the store and dedicated to cultivating the local crafting, artist and producer community. It may be outfitted to be a conference space for educational talks and events. It may include co-working space, where vendors can book private offices for professional meetings.
Although they are starting out with Monmouth County vendors, the team plans to expand to include all of New Jersey at some point and then consider a tri-state model. “The bigger long term vision is, ‘Wouldn’t this be great in every state?'” said Hamilton.
This article was first published in the Sept. 28-Oct. 5, 2017 print edition of The Two River Times. The company has opened a new entrance at 19 Mechanic Street in Red Bank.
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