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Meet Caitlin Minges of Fun Club

Today we’d like to introduce you to Caitlin Minges.

Hi Caitlin, can you start by introducing yourself? We’d love to learn more about how you got to where you are today?
Fun Club (like most businesses) has taken a winding road to get to where we are today. In 2015, I wanted to throw a surprise party for my then boyfriend (now husband) and wanted to find some party decor that fit our humor. I was looking for balloons with funny, sarcastic sayings on them and found nothing. I had a few custom made, and people loved them! I was working full time with animals at the time, so started selling a few balloon styles on the side on Etsy. A store reached out to me asking if I offered wholesale products, and I actually had to google “How To Sell Wholesale”. I eventually added stationery and some other items and quit my full-time job! We started under a different name, and I quit my job and rebranded my entire company in 2017. I started in a tiny front room of my house, moved to the back studio, eventually took over the garage, and then moved to our own warehouse! We now offer a ton of gift items, not just party decor!

Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
NO! Emphatic NO! In 2016, about a year after I started the company, I decided to try my first trade show. I knew absolutely nothing about trade shows and ended up picking one in NY. It cost almost every penny I had made off my products to do it and I got a total of six orders! MASSIVE financial loss. Not exactly what you would call a success. What it DID teach me though was a lot about trade shows, how to minimize costs, how to sell my products better, and what products people responded to. It has been so important to not see the “failures” as failures and look at them as learning experiences instead. I have had (and continue to have) many missteps, but the lessons I learn from DOING are invaluable. I have made mistakes with products, thinking something would sell and investing a lot into it to find out it’s a total flop. I have made mistakes about who to partner up with, directions to take the business and so many more. If it was smooth, I would not have learned as much as I have to get the business where it is today.

As you know, we’re big fans of Fun Club. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about the brand?
Fun Club aims to be your one stop shop for gifts for everyone in your life who has a sense of humor. Someone who loves to laugh doesn’t take themselves too seriously, isn’t afraid of profanity. Someone who can say “YES, life can be HARD, so let’s laugh together!”. We sell so many different products. Pens, totes, candles, stickers, keychains, balloons, and more! Our best selling products are our pen sets, Favorites include the “Demotivational Pen Set”, which is basically the exact opposite of any pen set you have seen that says “Hustle Harder!”, or any similar motivational saying. Sayings on that set include “Your Face Is Weird”, and “You’re For Sure Getting Fired”. We have another best-selling pen set that is basically just a variety of most people’s favorite 4 letter F word (no idea if I can include profanity in these answers!). We have some nicer stuff too, but funny is what sells the best! People want to laugh! A personal favorite product is our tote bag that says “Bag of All My Kids Crap”. I have a newborn baby girl, and they sure do require a lot of stuff. Our primary business is wholesale, and we sell to thousands of stores across the country. We do have a retail site where we sell our products, in addition to other brands we love. You can visit that here: www.shopfunclub.com.

Where do you see things going in the next 5-10 years?
There is a huge shift in the wholesale gift buying industry currently. It used to be you needed to attend trade shows and work with rep organizations to be able to get your name out to the stores across the country. Online wholesale platforms like www.Faire.com have come in and completely changed the game. They make it so that store owners do not have to dish out a ton of money for travel to these trade shows and can access thousands of brands and their offerings online. They also are able to offer various terms that small businesses like mine can’t always extend. For my specific niche of business, I think it will be important to continue to, and even more so, make products with strong messages. As the next generation gains more buying power, I think it is extremely relevant to pay attention to the kinds of products they want to align themselves with. Companies that have strong voices, strong morals and ethics, and align themselves with their view of the world will thrive.

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