Do you ever feel like there are so many small online shops that it’s hard to keep track of all of them? Me too. Rebecca Butler launched a new website this week where she does all of the hard work for us. It’s called Queen For Dinner. I was pretty excited about supporting small vendors so naturally, I had to sit down with the Etsy Curator and learn more.
We love Queen for Dinner and the product that you’ve curated! Can you tell us more about how your company evolved?
I came up with the idea of QFD from being both a seller and a buyer on Etsy. I love Etsy and love what they’re doing, but from a consumer point of view, it can get really overwhelming when you search for a necklace and over 250 pages of results come up – more than half of which I’m not even slightly interested in. It makes it hard to find things as a consumer, and hard to stand out as a seller. Yet, still, I always want to support small-vendors and small-business. Basically Queen For Dinner is my solution to this. We require a much more strict approval process, and we only feature items that we would want to purchase for ourselves. Most importantly, we don’t allow for any paid promotion – i.e. you can’t pay more money to have your item featured more frequently or higher up in search results. Promotion is solely based on what we like and what we think you’ll like, not money. In coming up with the tag line, “Cool stuff for cool girls,” it was really important to me to emphasize that we’re not saying, “buy this and you’ll be cool;” instead we’re trying to support every girl’s own unique cool self and style by providing them with things they might like. We don’t want to promote the idea that you need things or to look a certain way to be cool; we want to support women in being the cool girls they already are.
What’s your selection process like?
Sourcing vendors and products right now happens in two different ways. We have a submission form, through which we get a lot of great vendor submissions (as well as some that don’t quite fit into the QFD style). If we want to work with them, we send them the details on how exactly Queen For Dinner works, which items in specific we’re interested in, and a few of our forms they need to sign off on (including a quality standard form). Other than vendor submission forms, we find most of our vendors from Instagram actually. We’ve established a great presence on Instagram and are growing everyday. I find a lot of vendors just by digging through layers and layers of instagram accounts and photos. Some are found through Etsy and random places like craft fairs and farmers markets, but right now the majority I’m finding through Instagram. In order to be allowed on QFD (other than having really cute products), you must have a somewhat smaller following (i.e. a somewhat undiscovered artisan), and you must have reasonable prices (once again, we ask the question, “would I buy this?”). We love items made by other women, ethically made products, and US made products, but we don’t exclusively sell those things. We like to give all small artisans equal opportunity. Items are only on the site for 2 week batches and then we rotate vendors and items. After items ship, we do a quality check with customers to make sure they had a great experience and their purchases were as they had hoped. Vendors who receive below a four out of five rating will be reviewed and may not be allowed back on the site. The idea is that even though we’re a community of small vendors, we should be able to compete with (or be better than) the big boys. Quality and professionalism is extremely important to us.
In the future I see Queen For Dinner evolving into a more app-based platform. It seems to want that more instant and quick form of interaction because it is a flash-sale style site. Therefore, with an app it could easily update users any time a new batch was released so they can purchase the goods before they sell out since these are limited quantity products. I also think QFD could easily branch into a subscription based arena as well (similar to BirchBox) where women could sign up and receive a box of our favorite small vendor goods a few times a year – once we’ve built our reputation as trustworthy lifestyle tastemakers that is. Anyway, these are all quite a ways down the road, but I just think this idea has a lot of potential for growth and expansion.
Shop more from this weeks batch over at Queen for Dinner and be sure to follow them on Instagram for daily updates. Photos by Celisse Beruman. Content by Heather Day.