David Bellow, owner of Oakwood Outfitters, uses Coffee City USA and other vendors to create private labels for his store.
As the winner of a 69th annual Retailer Excellence Award, David Bellow of Oakwood Outfitters in Texas knows a thing or two about making his store a destination spot. Part of his strategy is by adding private-label options to his assortment. “Private label is an excellent way for Oakwood Outfitters to further establish our identity,” Bellow said.
“Your business must stand out and private labeling is a great way to do it.” — David Bellow, owner of Oakwood Outfitters in Texas
In addition to comforting brand names, storeowners would be wise to add new private labels to their product mix, which add uniqueness to their assortment and help reinforce the store brand. The key is to find awesome manufacturers that create high-quality products and are willing to work with you on creating custom branding.
“Private labeling makes our business not seem like a mom-and-pop operation, but as a polished gem that customers want to do business with,” Bellow continued. “I would say that a critical part of private labeling is developing a logo that is professionally done. We private label everything from pickles, salsa and stuffed olives to clothing and cutting boards.”
Bellow recommends Coffee City USA, which is the vendor he uses for his store’s branded coffee line. The company easily allows buyers to select a product (tea, coffee or chocolate-covered coffee beans), packaging style and color, label and even a special name for the product.
Other lines that he’s seen great success with include Gourmet Recipe Experts, which creates private-label pickles, salsas, relishes and jellies, Good Times, which produces frozen slushies, and Game Guard, which manufacturers shirts, hats and bags.
“I would highly recommend each of these companies,” Bellow said. “These products will allow you to interact with your customers and create a longer and more personal shopping experience. Our repeat business is off the charts and private labeling is a big part of that.”
To Bellow, a big part of his store’s success is that he utilizes tactics, such as private labeling, to differentiate his business from others. “Small businesses must differentiate themselves not only from the big stores, but other small businesses fighting for that segment of the market that may want to support small businesses. Your business must stand out and private labeling is a great way to do it. Small-business awareness is on people’s mind and they want to support you, (but you have to catch their attention).”