Here at Yumbles we're passionate about remarkable food and drink and look to champion the producers who make it.
It's never easy to turn away any passionate producer - we wish we could support them all! - but sometimes we have to let them know that our platform isn't the best fit for their product, even if they make great quality produce.
Here's what we look for.
1. Strong point of difference/ product story
Every producer on Yumbles has been hand-picked because we believe that what they do has a really compelling point of difference - a strong brand / product story.
There's thousands of passionate small producers in the UK but we're looking for those not only making fantastic quality produce but are also doing something really quite different from their peers.
You won't find even very lovely tasting strawberry jam on Yumbles - unless there's a clear and very strong point of difference. For example significantly less sugar than typical recipes or perhaps only produced from surplus fruits.
The point of difference can be a completely new genre of produce, unusual flavour combinations, the way in which it has been produced, or where it is produced.
Tell us what makes your produce truly unique. The fact that it's tasty and made with quality ingredients isn't enough - so many can say that - what is the real story, what makes it standout?
2. How it's made and what goes in it
Yumbles fans care about what they eat, and so do we. We like to make sure that we understand what goes in to the produce particularly that it is all-natural ingredients (barring a few exceptions we make e.g. for decorative elements on gift items).
We're also looking to make sure that the producer is sourcing ingredients responsibly relevant to their produce e.g. from sustainable sources or under fair trade conditions.
We champion produce that as a team we are genuinely enthusiastic about and core to that is taste.
We run weekly sampling panels with the whole team and any visitors to YumblesHQ which for some reason on sampling day is usually quite a few....
We have a good look at the produce, it's appearance, it's packaging (including in what condition it arrived) but above all we all try it. If the majority (or better yet everyone) around the table are grinning like children in a sweet shop then we know we've found a gem.
4. The product formats available are suitable for online
Buyer behaviour is different online. Product formats that work well for you in offline channels may not be optimal for online sales.
Without the physical trade, online purchasing is less impulsive and driven by stronger needs. The format you offer your produce in online must be addressing specific needs and make it worth the while of the buyer to order, pay shipping and wait to receive it for a day or two, maybe more.
When it comes to high repeat usage items such as snacks, chocolate bars and such offer them for sale in meaningful quantities. For more specialist items individual/ smaller quantities may make more sense but consider larger format sizes and/ or offering them as part of a product selection.
For gifting - make sure it works as a strong standalone gift that could be ordered on it's own. A cute gift box of 6 chocolates for £4 makes a nice market stall offering but when listed online with a £3.50 shipping charge it won't sell.
5. Fantastic packaging and general presentation
We're looking for produce where care and attention has also gone in to the packaging. Not only (and very importantly) so that it will ship successfully but also so that the outside lives up to the quality of the product on the inside.
Small batch produce quite rightly often has higher price points than mass-produced, generic alternatives but for that reason customers also expect the presentation to live up to their quality expectations.
If the items are targeted at gifting then the bar on packaging is extra high - we're looking for gift recipients to get the wow factor from the moment they open their parcel. See our packaging guide.
6. Product images that show it off
Amazing produce with a great story and in great packaging is all for nothing online if the photography doesn't do a good job at showing the produce off.
The first thing buyers see online are the images and if they don't like what they see they won't look further at the produce information.
Product photography is key for all e-commerce but for food especially. Product photography must capture the essence of the product and evoke the taste. See our guide to product photography.
7. High customer service standards
The final aspect we consider is whether we feel the producer is committed and able to provide high levels of customer service. From fulfilling orders on time, to responding to messages quickly, to dealing promptly with return & refund issues. Excellent customer service is all part of the Yumbles experience that we expect our makers to provide.