Small businesses can seem like they don't stand a chance against online shopping. But with an easy-to-use discovery site, curated online wholesale platform Faire is giving them a fighting chance

Physical retail isn't dying—it's evolving. Now that pretty much any product imaginable is available on the internet, the value of brick-and-mortar is shifting. Shoppers are seeking out local stores for their curation and personality rather than their convenience. And now, there's an online wholesale platform that makes finding products much easier for local shopkeepers.

Faire, launched in 2017, is a site dedicated to promoting and providing unique inventory for local stores, as well as offering online shoppers a curated selection of ethically sourced goods.  The service works like a discovery platform where buyers can browse through thousands of small businesses, or “makers,” that produce small-batch candles, shoes, greeting cards, pins, apparel and plenty more cute, millennial-friendly items.

Faire

Store owners can mix and match their carts, exploring brands by category, location and price. Suddenly, curation becomes as simple as online shopping. Since launching two years ago, the brand has fulfilled over 10 million items.

“One thing we learned was just how powerful and important a lot of these local businesses are in their communities,” says Jeff Kolovson, the brand's COO. “It's both the unique things you can't get online, but it's also the connection and experience that you get from going to local retail. It's beyond just the product itself: It's the experience and the community that is packaged with it.”

Another unique aspect of the site is its analytics platform, which allows sellers and makers to figure out the products that work best for them. Shops get a well-built search function also suggests products that are likely to succeed in each unique store or space. Makers, in turn, get access to an app that allows them to take orders easily at places like trade shows, even without internet access.

Faire

“Community is really at the forefront of our mindset here at Faire—not just how we can help make this industry more successful, but also how can we continue to add coal to the fire that's already showing so much progress already,” says Katie Witkop, the founding designer at Faire. “From an experience standpoint, the design team utilizes both product engineering and data to simulate experiences that are not only aspirational but also efficient. We understand that our retailers are small business owners.”

Faire recently expanded into international makers, taking the first steps into what could be a global expansion. Local retail is still showing strong signs of stability, so a future where brick-and-mortar and ecommerce exist side-by-side might not be too difficult to imagine.

“We see local businesses being places that folks come to congregate, where they have a real connection and relationship with the people who run those stores,” Kolovson says. “I don't think it's an accident that connection's become more powerful in a more digital world.”

Jeff Kolovson and Katie Witkop

Faire

Physical retail isn't dying—it's evolving. Now that pretty much any product imaginable is available on the internet, the value of brick-and-mortar is shifting. Shoppers are seeking out local stores for their curation and personality rather than their convenience. And now, there's an online wholesale platform that makes finding products much easier for local shopkeepers.

Faire, launched in 2017, is a site dedicated to promoting and providing unique inventory for local stores, as well as offering online shoppers a curated selection of ethically sourced goods.  The service works like a discovery platform where buyers can browse through thousands of small businesses, or “makers,” that produce small-batch candles, shoes, greeting cards, pins, apparel and plenty more cute, millennial-friendly items.