While romance is in the air year round, there is one special day set aside that celebrates lovers. That day is Valentine's Day, and nothing is more popular for amorous gift giving than greeting cards and merchandise that say "Love." This year, wholesalers are offering retailers merchandise that is both traditional and trendy, giving customers the opportunity to say the age-old "I love you" with a contemporary twist.
Stockwell Greetings manufactures thousands of greeting cards in every category imaginable in its Chicago, IL, headquarters. "People thought that paper greeting cards were going to go away with the onset of ecards," says John Fenwick, owner. "But with social media and emails, there is so much online communication that ecards dont stand out. A paper greeting card is special and people appreciate it." While interest in greeting cards has not changed, styles have. "The old fashioned traditional roses are out," Fenwick asserts. "More youthful and colorful cards are popular today, and our best selling designs have very bold colors, even inside the product. The generals, cards you can give to any loved one or sweetheart, are very popular now, as are cards for kids." Stockwell is always introducing new cards, and 90 percent of them are designed in-house. "Customers love the quantity, quality and variety the company offers," Fenwick notes, and they also appreciate the prices. "The industry standard is .25 cents per card but we keep ours at .18 cents to help retailers, because times are hard." Retail price is $2.75 and up. There is no minimum order, but orders of $350 or more receive free freight. Cards are packed by the half-dozen in order to give buyers the most freedom of choice. Stockwell provides a variety of displays, free with cards and shipped directly to stores, with freight included in the total cost.
In addition to greeting cards, Stockwell sells gift bags, giftwrap, reading glasses and vintage posters. "We brought on posters because we are, first and foremost, an art studio. We buy all of our artwork from American artists and we print everything in America. Posters are another artful product and not many people are selling them."
Customers can view Stockwell Greetings' merchandise at its website, which was completely redesigned and relaunched this past August. "It's a digital library," Fenwick declares. "When people click on the galleries they can see every design, and when they want to see a particular design up close, double click on it and it enlarges to see every detail." More and more retailers are shopping from their computers. "Once people find out about a company, through Web Wholesaler for example, they prefer to shop online, if they can see the products clearly," Fenwick adds. Buyers can create and return to an account, find pricing and shipping information, and check on order status. "We made the website more intuitive so it is easier for people to buy," he adds. Dedicated to quality products and purchasing ease, Stockwell Greetings works with more than 7,000 buyers around the world.
Noah's Ark Distribution carries a broad line of inspirational products, many of which are popular for Valentine's Day gifts. "We have 2,000 titles of DVDs and a couple hundred T-shirt designs," says Scott Vanyo, president and founder of the company. "For Valentine's Day, movies like 'Fireproof' are very popular, as well as the Hallmark-type romance movies and books on marriage. As far as gift items, we have a lot of crosses that say 'Love' on them, and sales of those spike for Valentine's day." Also popular for the holiday are love songs for Christian couples on CDs, wood roses, and a line of inspirational greeting cards. "They are always a number one seller for Valentine's Day."
"We have a unique niche," says Vanyo. "A lot of secular stores have an inspirational line and it does very well. Many believers are shopping in the regular stores, so the market is there." Noah's Ark Distribution is known for its package deals, adds Vanyo, who runs the company with his wife, Lupy. "In this day and age people are pressed for time, so we put together good mixes of $99 and $199 packs. These are especially good for independents to sell at a blow out price. I think these packs are unique to our company and we're expanding this offering," says Vanyo.
Vanyo started in Christian retail in 1988 and then began selling wholesale. "We had a couple of retail stores, so we understand what retailers are going through. We really do care, we aren't just here to sell to them, we want to work with them." The minimum order is $50 and the purchase can be of mixed product. The typical wholesale discount is 60 to 65 percent off of retail. Wholesalers and retailers who wish to shop and buy online will find thousands of products at shopnoahsark.com. Products are organized by category, including Featured Items, Daily Deals, Closeouts, Kid's Corner, and Bestsellers, among others. To make it easier to find a particular item there is a search feature.
WholesaleMart LLC is another Internet based business-to-business importer and wholesaler of gifts, collectibles and home décor. Launched in 1998, the company sells thousands of products including angel gifts, apparel, scented candles, collectibles, fairy figurines, holiday décor, jewelry, incense, picture frames, wind chimes, luggage, bath and body merchandise, and much more. Many of the wholesaler's products easily lend themselves to Valentine's Day sales. Examples include the pink "#1 Mom" jar candle, $6.96 wholesale and retails for $21.95; a spun glass rosebud vase wholesales for $9.09 and retails for $27.95; the "Love You" frog prince figurine sells for $7.94 and retails for $24.95; and a set of 50 greeting cards that sell for $2.65 wholesale and $8.95 retail.
WholesaleMart's website, while showcasing its extensive product line, is easily navigated as it has categories listed in the sidebar, plus both category and product indexes and search functionality. Sections include Best Sellers, New Arrivals, Monthly Promotions, Deal of the Week, Online Live Chat Help and Bulk Quotes. Wholesale pricing is posted and customers save ten percent on orders over $1,000. WholesaleMart offers order tracking and hassle free returns, and there is no minimum purchase.
Smart Blonde.net distributes about 4,100 novelty signs and license plates in numerous categories including state flag, patriotic, religious, zodiac, military, senior citizen, Route 66 and Spanish. The company's warehouse and manufacturing facility is in Phoenix, AZ, and uses the highest quality aluminum and embossed aluminum. Smart Blonde's website has a holiday section which displays, among other things, its Valentine's Day collection. "We have about 12 Valentine's Day designs that are brand new this year," shares Chris Eveland, company spokesperson. Examples include the Love in Our Hearts Valentine Kitty, Valentine Frog and Love is in the Air Valentine license plates. "Like many of our products, we designed them in house," she points out. "Our design station really sets us apart. You can pick out any of our backgrounds or templates from our clip art, or you can upload your own picture and add text to it. This was launched around 2007 and it is our top seller." License plate wholesale prices range from $3.10 to $3.50 and retail for $10.95. Smart Blonde.net launched its website in 2006 and did a major revamp earlier this year. "We have a new logo, new product display and a more modern template," Eveland shares. Customers can create an account online, allowing their order totals to accumulate in order to reach club discount levels for permanent pricing discounts.
Wholesale prices are on the site and shipping calculates automatically when checking out. Customers can choose their shipping preference based on price and delivery times. Orders placed by 1 p.m. PST will ship that same day, Monday through Thursday. Orders placed after 1 p.m. ship the next business day. Buyers receive confirmation and tracking emails. Online orders over $500 ship free in the domestic U.S. or receive $25 off international shipping fees. The company offers drop shipping and all-inclusive retail display packages. In addition, the wholesale catalog, with pricing, can be downloaded as a PDF.
Whether with greeting cards, romantic music, or novelty license plates, wholesalers are ready to share the love and stock retailers' shelves for Valentine's Day. With low prices as well as intuitive, all-encompassing websites, wholesalers are offering both the products and convenience independent retailers require.
For more information:
5410 W. Roosevelt Road #308
Chicago, IL 60644
Noah's Ark Distribution Inc.
28545 Felix Valdez Rd., #B-4
Temecula, CA 92590
Email: Online Form
3923 139th Ave NE Ste A
Lake Stevens, WA 98258
Toll Free: 800-637-0786
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