Finding great things in little, local, indie places.

Somewhere along the line, we all got the idea that you could only find the highest quality products in the Big Chains or Amazon. We’re here to change that.

As a budding pre-teen, my family went on a big road-trip around the northeast. We happened one afternoon into a little store in the little Main Street of a little town.  I guess you could say it was a “boutique” though that word was not yet in my vocabulary. They had everything from shampoo to lamp shades. That afternoon changed my life and my point-of-view forever.

There were things in that store that my untraveled, suburban eyes had never seen before. I was enthralled. It was full of “finds.” I didn’t want to leave. I wanted to touch and examine everything, and eventually, exhausted, sat down on the floor turning every page of one of the counter-culture magazines they had there. The owners were okay with that. They were there to open eyes and to help people find new ideas and treasures. It was truly a curated experience.

A lot has changed in the world since then. Today there are so many fewer stores like that, so many fewer.

Society has gotten so engrossed in national bricks-and-mortar chains and online mega-shopping that the idea of small, indie “curated retail” seems suddenly FRESH and NEW!  

We’ve fallen into a way of thinking that tells us that you can only get the really good products at the really big stores, like Ulta and Sephora and, yes, Amazon.  Lots of small, indie, local shops have seemingly given up on even trying to compete.  It’s hard to find new, emerging brands, and those brands don’t want to sell to small places, they want to GO BIG.  As soon as they get called up to the majors, they’ll stop selling to the little stores, so what’s the use in trying to start something in your store with an emerging brand?  How could your little store actually retail something amazing and unique that is only available in little stores like yours?

What kind of crazy people would invest their time, talent and treasure in starting a new brand meant to be sold exclusively to indie stores?  CULT+ KING, that’s who.

Take our Barber’s Straight Razor, for instance.  It’s highest-quality, gorgeous (!), built-from-the-ground-up to be a lifetime possession.  It’s the kind of razor that helps define each day by giving the user a feeling every time they pick it up to use it.  You don’t have to cut it out of a hard plastic clam shell package — it comes in a beautiful wooden box that you can store it in forever.  It makes a lasting life improvement simply by being different and better than the same identical tool 350,000 other people have.  There’s something real in that.  But few if any of our wholesale accounts buy it to retail it in their stores.

The lure of direct-to-consumer is strong, and we wavered for a second. 

So last month we removed three of our consumer tools–Barber’s Razor, Safety Razor and Double Edge Platinum Razor Blades–from wholesale sale.  “Maybe we can actually start making some money around here at CULT+KING.”  We figured few of our wholesale accounts would care, and they didn’t. And we immediately sold a bunch of them!

Then last week, we got a telephone call from an indie barbershop owner, who is trying to build a unique, curated business full of finds, just like that place I marveled at as a kid.  He said, “I’ve been looking for interesting safety razors like yours for a long time. And now when I find them, you don’t offer them wholesale!” This struck a chord.

After all, our business ethos is a three-legged stool: Good for People; Good for Planet; Good for Local, Indie Business.  

Overnight, we changed our strategy back to the way we started with these items.  It reminded us how important the Local, Indie Business future is that we hope to encourage through our actions.

Start believing again … that small, indie stores can stock the very best products in the world on their shelves.  Every CULT+KING Authorized Retailer across the country is living proof of that. Find a list of them all here.