One common challenge for most independent garden centers is the obstacle of getting through slow seasons. Most businesses see peak activity in the spring, but shed seasonal workers and slow down significantly during the summer and fall.
To keep revenues up, many companies take on supplemental services and departments to fill the gap – some host community-supported farmer’s markets, some offer landscaping services and many deal in holiday-themed giftware and other hard goods. At Nature’s Garden Center in Saline, Mich., owner Steve Sclater has found that fairy gardening products continue to be a profit center for his store into the fall and winter months.
Sclater says many customers look to fairy gardening products as presents for loved ones during the holidays, while Christmas-themed fairy décor also sells reliably.
“The stuff that sells during Christmas is not the Christmas [themed] merchandise as much as the regular stuff – people are buying it as gifts for [loved ones to use] next spring,” he says. “The people that are buying the Christmas fairy [products] are the people that are buying for themselves.”
At Nature’s Garden Center, the holiday season starts early. Christmas decorations and merchandising are set up in the store in October – not leaving much room for fall-oriented products and promotions.
“This store doesn’t get into fall décor, because we start setting Christmas up Oct. 1,” Sclater says. “We do a little bit with [fall] fairy gardens, like the miniature pumpkins and some of that kind of stuff but not a lot. Before Halloween is over, we’re already pushing the Christmas merchandise into the area.”
In order to emphasize winter holiday-themed fairy gardening products, Sclater says he focuses on signage to inform customers of new offerings.
“We bring new product in. We bring in the Christmas [fairy] houses, the small candy canes, the miniature snowmen and reindeer, we bring all that stuff in. Signage usually just promotes what we’ve got, the Christmas fairy stuff that came in.”
Sclater adds that Christmas-themed miniature decorations easily fit in with the rest of the store’s winter stock.
“We do a decent business with the rest of the Christmas merchandise in the store – the artificial wreaths, the glass ornaments, that type of stuff,” Sclater says. “It’s a natural fit. The customers just flow right over into that [fairy] area and they start buying.”
As with most categories of products, Sclater says it’s important for a retailer to invest in a fairy gardening department if they want the category to succeed at their store. The popularity of fairy gardening alone isn’t enough; the department needs space and attention to thrive in both spring and fall.
“The fairy garden stuff sells all year-round and our department is much bigger than most. I think what’s going on is that a lot of these garden centers are getting into it, possibly some gift shops are getting into it, but they only dedicate a small area to it and they don’t give the resources to that area.”
To find product solutions for your business, try Wholesale Fairy Gardens.