A display at Patina

Buyer’s Corner: Patina

{Sponsored} Rick Haase and Christine Ward pride themselves on curating a selection of affordably priced gifts, home décor, paper goods and much more for their eight Patina locations in the Minneapolis/St. Paul metro area.

“I think we’ve built our business on everyday value,” Haase said. “… kind of the best goods at the best price is our overall concept.”

They strive to make their store inspiring for their customers — offering a comfortable and clean shopping experience that allows customers to discover something new around every corner.

Rick Haase and Christine Ward
Rick Haase and Christine Ward

When thinking about his customers and what they’re looking for when they walk through the doors, Haase said it changes: “It’s highly evolutionary. The secret to success is to keep reinventing every category as much as we can — looking forward and not back. I would say in terms of categories, it has been a scramble these days.”

Shopping the Shows

Patina’s team of eight buyers, including Ward and Haase, attend both Atlanta Market and Las Vegas Market with the goal of finding products that fit into their ever-changing shop environment. As they plan to attend the winter editions of both shows, they’re looking ahead to holiday 2022 — as well as looking at anything available for immediate shipping.

“We work quite far ahead, but we are always looking for anything that is a good fit; if it is a good fit we look at it then,” Haase said. “We look at the lines and it is amazing how it sort of evolves. We aren’t really a thematic environment. Lots of little vignettes, but not necessarily planned, predetermined a year in advance. We’re a little more nimble.”

So, do they have any favorite vendors?

“We are not really line buyers; we are more buying the best of items from all lines,” he said. “It’s an odd part of our business; we have 1,000 vendors.”

The team writes orders with at least 300 to 400 vendors, ensuring they have the variety and unique options their customers expect.

“We work pretty hard; the team does a great job,” he continued. “We are relatively split up by category; each buyer has three categories and that does help quite a bit, but I think that the new part of our business is between categories, so it’s important they are speaking to each other.”

Branching Out

Haase knows there’s always something new to discover at Atlanta Market and Las Vegas Market. But if you’re not careful, you could miss it.

“I think it’s also good to walk a show in different ways,” he said. “Sometimes if you get too much in a habit of walking in a certain way, you completely miss out.”

He went on to say that sometimes after he gets excited while writing an order, he could miss another line or products right next to it because he gets so focused on what he’s doing.Patina-shopping

“With our buyers, we spend a lot of time and care looking,” he added.

The team dedicates a lot of time to finding just the right products at the shows — even before they hit the ground in Atlanta and Las Vegas. There’s a lot of pre-work they do with catalogs ahead of time, looking for products that will be just the right fit for their eclectic and varied product offerings.

Most importantly, the team is looking to be inspired.

As they state on their website, Ward and Haase “continue to be inspired by the creativity and imagination of people and the products they create.”

And there’s no better place to see that creativity than Atlanta Market and Las Vegas Market.


Winter Market Dates:

Atlanta Market runs January 11-18, 2022. Register here!

Las Vegas Market runs January 23-27, 2022. Get more details here!


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