Gift and independent retail stores, unlike big box stores (i.e. Wal-Mart, Costco, etc.) or grocery stores, prefer new and unique products. They are not interested, necessarily, in a “proven product” that has great sales volume, but would rather buy locally-made items, the newest item on the market, or something they will not find in every store in town! Because of this, gift stores make a great venue for new or smaller gift producers that cannot or do not wish to “mass produce” their products!
Unique products, on the other hand, are very different from products sold in consignment or craft booths and stores.
Whereas consignment stores and craft stores are interested mostly in anything handcrafted, gift shops are looking for products that have more professional appeal. Unique and appropriate packaging, logo and/or labeling adds to the professional look of a product.
On the other hand, most crocheted or knitted products, for example, would not be an item gift shops would want to purchase for their shops. A balance between the mass produced look of big box products and the homemade look of crafted mall items is the type of products gift buyers will be interested in purchasing.
Although gift stores are interested in unique products, there is a limited to HOW unique an item is! As a general rule, buyers will want to order 6 or 12 of an item and have them look reasonably similar. For example, if you are selling handcrafted jewelry, the pieces you show the buyer can be available in blue, pink or purple. The pieces are mostly the same and vary in color only. But if your craft is so unique that you cannot make several of the same item, it may not a good product for wholesaling. An example could be a wooden bowl made from a rare burl (imperfection in a tree). Art galleries would be a better fit for this type of product.
To sum up: If your product looks like your grandma made it, retail shops won’t be interested. Or if your crafted item is one-of-a-kind, it may not be a good product for gift shops either. Products between these two extremes might just be the newest hot item in the gift market!