Walmart’s annual Open Call sourcing event is an initiative that supports Walmart’s investment in products made, grown, or assembled in the U.S. and gives thousands of American suppliers the opportunity to submit their products directly to their team of merchants. For the fourth year in a row, RangeMe and ECRM have streamlined Walmart’s Open Call submission process, making product discovery easier for Walmart’s team and the participating brands.
During the application period, interested suppliers and manufacturers can submit their products directly through RangeMe’s limited-time sourcing campaign for Walmart Open Call for a chance to pitch their innovations live to Walmart merchants in one-on-one meetings. Selected participants will be able to choose between in-person meetings at Walmart headquarters or virtual meetings via ECRM Connect.
In 2022, more than 1,100 businesses were selected to pitch their products to Walmart and more than 330 products were chosen to be sold in stores or online. Each brand had a unique experience, so we’re sharing insights from three RangeMe suppliers who were selected by Walmart. Keep reading to hear about their experiences and tips to brands hoping to see the same success.
Rancho Meladuco Date Farm
Inspired by a lifetime of enjoying food, horticulture, and working outdoors, Joan Smith, Founder and Farmer of Rancho Meladuca Date Farm, turned a passion for farming fresh dates into a growing company. Smith, a Certified Public Accountant and mother of three, planted 200 date palms on her family ranch in Coachella Valley, determined to turn dates into the nation’s newest and sweetest obsession. Rancho Meladuca Date Farm’s vintage-feeling illustrated boxes and delicious dates can be found on shelves across the U.S., including Whole Foods, Gelson’s, and Erewhon.
When Smith first discovered Walmart Open Call, she almost shied away from the opportunity thinking her company was too small to compete for Walmart’s attention. After setting fear aside and letting her “go big or go home” mantra take over, she hit that submit button on RangeMe and was selected for an interview. Hopping on that first virtual presentation with Walmart made Smith realize how far her company had come, regardless of the outcome.
To prepare for their meeting, Smith spent a lot of time understanding Walmart’s culture, core values, and the history of its Open Call initiative. “Our origin story is a great American entrepreneur story too, having started my company from nothing with no experience in farming, food, and grocery,” says Smith. “But what I did have was passion, a vision, and a purpose, plus grit, determination, and enthusiasm.” She reflected on her company’s journey, reconnected with the blindly ignorant but wildly passionate person she was when she started the company and found a renewed sense of love, pride, and enthusiasm in the process. Knowing Walmart is rooted in the entrepreneurial start, she was sure her company would complement Walmart’s brand, vision, and priorities for its customers.
Rancho Meladuca Date Farm has been on RangeMe for three years and recently discovered the platform’s full capabilities after participating in Walmart Open Call. Smith now routinely reviews open Retailer Submissions on RangeMe and submits her products to those that are a good fit. She loves checking the brand insights and seeing what retailers are looking at her products and where on the platform they are finding them. Smith has also enrolled her products on RangeMe’s marketplace so buyers can order wholesale directly on the platform.
“RangeMe offers many other great features like easily creating professional sell sheets, removing backgrounds from photos, and an easy-to-use brand platform that’s intuitive and well organized. The more time I spend using RangeMe’s platform and exploring all the value adds, the more I appreciate it, but for sure the number and quality of stores and buyers accepting submissions is a huge plus.”
Joan Smith, Founder and Farmer of Rancho Meladuca Date Farm
Are you a buyer on RangeMe? Click here to browse Rancho Meladuco Date Farm’s RangeMe profile.
Tired of wasting leftover product that won’t come out of the bottle? So was Cheryl Rigdon when she created her first Spatty® product, a mini spatula that lets you get every drop™. “I came up with Spatty when I was trying to get my foundation out of the bottle and none would come out,” says Rigdon. She knew a lot of product was still in the bottle and didn’t want to throw it away. “I decided to make a miniature spatula to get my makeup out of the bottle and Spatty® was born.” Rigdon took her handmade product on Shark Tank in 2012 where she received some great feedback and moved forward with the mass production of Spatty®.
Almost 10 years later with over a million products sold, she submitted her products to Walmart Open Call through RangeMe after receiving an email about the event. While she had practiced going through a PowerPoint presentation she created, it was the smallest part of the meeting. “The meeting with the buyer went great,” says Rigdon. “She was really friendly and interested in Spatty. A lot of the conversation was just us talking about Spatty.”
Rigdon doesn’t have much time to spend on RangeMe, so she focuses on strategically submitting products to relevant sourcing campaigns. Since using RangeMe for a few years, her products have been picked up by Amazon, Beauty Bridge, Albertsons, iHerb, Harmon, and Lowes. Her advice for entrepreneurs is to be yourself and show up prepared for buyer meetings. “If you love your product and believe in your product that will come through in your meeting. Anything worth doing is worth doing right.”
RangeMe buyers can browse Spatty® products here.
Husband and wife team Regina and Christopher Moore fell in love while attending culinary school in late 2013 and have not stopped making high-quality cuisine since. On top of managing some of the best restaurants in Memphis and Detroit and being featured on Food Network’s “Chopped”, Christopher Moore worked as a Chef in Martha’s Vineyard, where he spent his time managing and cooking for high-profile clients, including the Obama’s. Just a few years ago, Regina Moore had the idea to provide their high-quality meals to the community through catering and distribution. When grocers began taking an interest in their Spinach Artichoke Dip, Chef Flavas was born.
Shortly after signing up for RangeMe, the Moore’s submitted their Spinach Artichoke Dip to Walmart Open Call. After being selected for an in-person meeting, they traveled to Bentonville, Arkansas to pitch their product. The couple prepared by taking a deeper look at their supply chain capabilities and watching YouTube videos day in and day out to understand Walmart’s business model to the fullest. Chef Flavas’ Spinach Artichoke Dip can now be found in over 25 grocery stores in Memphis and local Walmart deli sections. Christopher Moore’s advice for entrepreneurs exploring similar retailer opportunities is, “stand behind your product, know your numbers, and make sure your packaging represents the best version of your business.”
Buyers on RangeMe can learn more about Chef Flavas’ Spinach Artichoke Dip here.
While this year’s Walmart Open Call has come to an end, start now to prepare your brand and profile for next year! Check out this resource to ensure your profile is in tip-top shape for when you’re ready to submit to Walmart Open Call or other future retailer opportunities through RangeMe.
Suppliers, learn more about the submission process for Walmart Open Call here.