The #1 question we get each day? "Why isn't SorBabes at my local Publix/Kroger/Safeway anymore?"
It's true - we don't have world domination just yet. But we're working on it.
The process of how brands, especially small ones, end up on certain store shelves, and not others is oh-so complex. And time intensive. And we get it – waiting to find your fave product near you may make you want to tear your hair out (same, trust us!)
You're not alone if you've ever searched in vain for your favorite ice cream or that trendy new vegan cheese puff, just to realize your store doesn't carry it. The saddest!
So let's dive in and unpack exactly how small brands wind up on grocery store shelves.
Why Are Some Brands in All Stores and Others Aren't?
If you've ever wondered why you can purchase SorBabes at your Whole Foods but not at your Walmart, or why you might not see us on shelves where you used to these days, this post for you.
Psst...struggling to find us and don't wanna wait? We get that.
We offer nationwide shipping as we work on expansion, so you can stay home and we can bring the sorbet to your doorstep. All packages arrive on dry ice and nice and frosty, even in this heat. And if you're wondering why online orders are so much pricier than in-store, read this!
The TLDR short answer to this question of how brands end up in stores or not is: there's only so much shelf space, and brands don't get to just decide which stores they're in. It's all up to the stores' buyer!
Here's how it all goes down.
First, You Have to Land a Meeting
To even have a shot at being brought into a store, brands like ours have to land a meeting with a buyer. Each store has one, and they're the person who makes the call on which brands and flavors to stock.
But landing one of these coveted meetings? No small task in itself.
For many small brands like ours, even getting on the store's meeting calendar can take years. Especially if you're doing it all on your own without a big corporate partner or broker budget.
Then, It's Pitch Time!
Once you get a meeting (yay!) it's pitch time, baby! That happens to be right now for us through the end of the year.
This means lots of Zoom presentations, lots of catching red eye flights, new cities, hotel rooms, rushing home to be there to put our kids to bed whenever possible. It's chaotic, but an important and exciting time of year for our brand growth. Most people don't realize brands only have this once-a-year chance to wow a store! (No pressure.)
When you're at the pitch, you have a bit of time to make your case for why your product should win some of that oh-so precious shelf space.
It's Not as Simple as Just Having a Yummy Product!
The competition for shelf space is intense. So, buyers are considering many factors. Including:
- Shelf space, of course
- Competitor brands (we're up against the biggies with the budgets and corporate backing to match!)
- Which brand/flavor will do well in a certain city or store, based on demographics, psychology, and a bunch of other fun geeky stuff!
- How well you sold last year. Probably the biggest factor! These are business meetings after all, so you gotta have the numbers.
It doesn't matter how delicious or wonderful or innovative your product is, if these other factors are off! There’s so much that goes into getting onto a store’s shelf.
To Get Picked up As New Brand, You Better Have Thick Skin
This process as a new brand can and often does take years. It requires consistent outreach. Never giving up. And LOTSSSS of rejection. We've heard no far more times than we've heard yet in our years!
We always say, if you're the type of person whose self-confidence can't handle the rejection and adversity, this probably isn't the business for you - just keeping it real. You have to have a thick skin to be a business owner.
And once your product starts to do well in a few key places, appointments start to open up and things can explode quickly. We're all working to hit that magic tipping point where things start to flow.
The "magic" is the part you might see on social media or notice when you see your fave product suddenly seem to appear on shelves *everywhere.* But what you don't always see are the years of hustle and rejection that went into it.
Why Do Brands Leave Stores Sometimes?
Just like there are many factors that go into bringing a brand into a store, there are many factors that determine if a brand stays on shelves.
In our case, we went through a strategic downsizing over the course of the pandemic, when so many small brands were struggling to stay afloat.
Sadly, this meant our list of stores shrunk! We focused on surviving the global supply chain headaches and the pandemic, but now, we're happy to report we're in growth mode once again!
We know you might be missing us in your hometown where we used to be sold. We hear you, and we're working on it. It may take some time to grow our store list back up, but the future is looking bright for SorBabes!
What Can You Do to Help Your Fave Brands Get Into Stores Near You?
A major step you can take if you want to see, say, your very-favorite non-dairy sorbet at your local store, is making requests!
Ask to speak to the manager next time you’re at your local grocery store. Let them know you're wanting to purchase SorBabes (or whatever the brand!) at their store. One request alone doesn't change everything, but requests add up. The manager starts to realize there's a real demand for this product and they better get on it!
Each time you request us at your store or tag a retailer on social media letting them know you want to see them stock SorBabes, it totally makes our day.
Now that you know the complexities of how a brand gets into a new store, get out there and use your consumer voice! And speaking of, where would you like to see SorBabes sold next? Send us a DM, leave a comment (and don't forget to tag the retailer!) and let us know.
Thank you so much for your support, patience, and love as we grow our brand and reinvent sorbet - one bar, one store, and one city at a time.