One of the most common questions we’re asked is “Where do your products come from.” Every time, we answer proudly, “From artisans around the country.” Today we’d like to go a little deeper and share how we acquire products for the Wine Shop, from inspiration to testing new items.
First Comes Inspiration
Before anything makes it into the shop, we have to be inspired. This can come in the form of a request from a customer like you, a personal challenge we run into when drinking wine or entertaining (i.e. I have dogs but want my house to smell good), the need to find a unique gift for a friend (you know, the one who has everything), or just window shopping.
Then Comes the Search
Once inspiration strikes, we start looking for items that fit our criteria for items we stock in the Wine Shop. While not every item fills every single criterion, we make an effort to hit as many as possible.
- Artisan or small batch- The vast majority of our items are artisan-made or made in small batches. Mass-produced items have their place but it is very rarely in our shop. The only time we’ll stock something like that is if there’s not a good artisanal alternative. We focus on artisan items because 1) we love supporting artists and other small businesses, 2) you’re not likely to find these items when you walk into just any store, making them more unique and special, and 3) the love and care that goes into artisan and small batch products tends to make them higher quality.
- Eco-friendly- Whenever possible we buy products that are recycled, use locally sourced ingredients, or come from businesses that use eco-friendly practices. The wine industry can be hard on the environment (wine bottles, corks, shipping long distances, etc.), so when possible we try to do our part to reduce the amount of waste and treat our planet with care.
- Made in the USA- Most of our items are made in the U.S. We will occasionally stock items that are made abroad if we can’t get a certain item from the U.S. or if it’s just something really special that we know you’ll love. Most of the time, however, the customs and shipping costs make the items prohibitively expensive. We also like to support the local economy.
- Value- This arguably should have been the first criteria because it is possibly the most important. We will never stock items that we don’t believe are a good value for you. This means they have to be high quality and a good price for that quality. Candles need to have long burn times and strong, lasting, realistic scents. Soap must have a nice lather, scent, and good for your skin ingredients. Charcuterie boards must be created to last. Towels have to be printed nicely and last. Mixes must taste good, be easy to make, and not have too many crazy additives. Painted glasses must be heat treated for durability.
Sometimes these criteria result in higher priced items than you would find elsewhere, but we want you to have confidence in the quality of the items you are buying and know where they came from.
Last, We Test
Once we decide to order a new item, we have to test it. This takes place in two stages.
First, we use it. We check to make sure it’s functional, performs as advertised, and tastes or smells good (if applicable). We can’t stand by our products if we don’t like the way they look, taste, or perform, so we use ourselves as guinea pigs before anything is added to the shop.
Once we’ve tested an item, we take it to in-person markets. This gives us the opportunity to see what you think of it. We listen to your feedback and take that into account when deciding whether to keep items, order more, or stop stocking them.
You can learn more about where individual items came from in the About the Maker section on the product information pages. We do our best to include this on each item and keep it as up to date as possible.
Is there something you’d like to see in the Wine Shop? Send us a message and we’ll see what we can do!