Imagine growing every sales transaction by a percentage or more. That's the potential represented by adding fashion accessories to the merchandise mix.
While increasing the size of retail tickets always helps the bottom line, during times of gas price volatility, when consumers contemplate cutting back on trips to the store, it can mean the difference between just treading water and succeeding.
Many fashion accessory suppliers are helping retailers obtain a selection of popular products with minimal investment, in order to get more share of wallet when customers come into the store. Marlon Sison, marketing director of HerDirect.Com, based in Woodside, NY, suggests that, 'tweens, from as young as five to about 13 years old, are a ripe target for fashion accessories, especially when the items are tied to popular licensed characters."
"Headbands with attached scarves (headwraps) are the hottest fashion accessory trend in the market today and for over the past three years," says Craig Weil, president of Accessories Palace Inc., Lake Worth, FL. His company wholesales the product for 50 to 60 cents a unit, and they are featured at between $8 and $12 a unit at retail, he reports, noting that current celebrities are behind this hot fashion trend. Headwraps aren't the only fashion product that's doing well.
Weil's company carries thousands of different items, including jewelry.
Hats of all styles have returned to popularity, according to Henry Kim, owner of UBI Hats & Accessories LLC, based in Carlstadt, NJ. "Newsboy styles and Ivy Gatsby styles are especially hot," he says.
The looks of the moment in handbags include styles that carry the licensed image of celebrities, "Bling bling western rhinestone buckle bags and cutie polka dot bags," says Rosanna Tran, vice president of Aliz International in Orlando, which also operates Aliz California in Commerce. Her company offers a sample pack of 15 units of its best selling styles for a wholesale cost of $200. "The total retail value is $600," she says. In addition, on request, the company provides retailers with point of sale flyers promoting its styles.
Tanner Leather Wholesale in Boston, IN, carries all things leather, from apparel in all styles to approximately 10,000 different belt buckles. "There's no such thing as too small an order," says Karen Byrd, a principal, echoing the motto of David Tanner, owner. "We will tailor a sample pack for individual retailers, based on their market, geographic area, price level and other factors," she says.
Furthermore, the company will provide all the materials a retailer needs to sell custom belts with personalized buckles. That includes 60 inch long leather belts, a rotary punch so the belt can be tailored to the customer's size, a strap end cutter so the length can also be adjusted to size, blank buckles and a letter set that allows the retailer to put a customer's name, initials or saying on buckles.
"These are very popular," Byrd says. Every one of the company's belts comes with a buckle, and Byrd says, "Everything is made in the U.S. and all products are designed to give retailers a minimum mark up of 100 percent. Often they can get as much as a 200 percent mark up," she adds.
The licensed accessories from HerDirect.Com typically wholesale for $1 a unit and retail for $4 a unit, according to Sison. The company now caters to independent retailers with a variety of sample packs that include hair accessories, jewelry and bags.
Typically a pack contains 144 units and comes in a displayer touting the licensed character. The Tinker Bell and the Princess displayer sets, for example, each contain a mix of rubber bracelets, wrist bands, beaded bracelets and ring and earring sets.
Among the company's licenses are a whole cast of popular Disney characters, including Snow White and Sleeping Beauty, Sponge Bob Square Pants, Strawberry Shortcake, and many others. "Dora the Explorer is particularly popular," Sison says.
Aliz International's "Queen" collection, which features bags carrying a crown logo, "in celebration of today's women," Tran says, are among the company's most popular current items. She suggests that retailers, "Always buy products in groups and display them in groups, preferably by color. Always carry matching pieces, such as overnight bags and wallets, in order to upsell," she adds.
The Aliz products typically wholesale in a range of from $5 to $55 a unit, with the $10 unit price making up the greatest share. The suggested retail prices span from $15 to $150 a unit.
Tanner advises beginning retailers to buy between 20 and 25 items, in order to keep the wholesale cost under $250. "That's a modest starter, considering how many different products we offer," Byrd says, "but a retailer can add from there, based on initial success." Initial success with leather, she notes, can lead a retailer to higher ticket items, such as the company's motorcycle, rebel and fashion leather apparel.
Kim provides retailers with a UBI Hats & Accessories catalog for free, in order to acquaint them with the company's full line of products. "Then, we work with customers on an individual basis," he says, "to help them pick a mix that will sell best in their store and market."
A majority, 80 to 90 percent of the company's products, wholesale in six piece packs. The least expensive units wholesale for $3 a unit and retail for a suggested $9.99 a unit. Others wholesale for $5 to $6 a unit and retail in the $14.99 range.
These suppliers agree with Weil of Accessories Palace when he says, "Variety is the spice of life. Offer an assortment of fashion accessories to capture the impulse buyer," he advises.
Of his own company, Weil says, "We don't sell what people need; we sell what people want." And in all economic climates, these suppliers say, people look to fashion accessories to give both their spirits and their wardrobes a boost at an affordable price.
The following people at these companies were interviewed for this article:
Craig Weil, president
Accessories Palace Inc.
1953 Tenth Avenue North
Lake Worth, FL 33461
Toll Free: 866-725-2234
Toll Free Fax: 866-582-1435
Rosanna Tran, vice president
Aliz International Inc.
11136 Satellite Blvd.
Orlando, FL 32837
Aliz California Inc.
6830 East Washington Blvd.
Commerce, CA 90040
Toll Free: 888-289-2549
Marlon Sison, marketing director
6714 41 Avenue Ste. 4E
Woodside, NY 11377
Karen Byrd, principal
Tanner Leather Wholesale
307 North Salem
Boston, IN 47324
Henry Kim, owner
UBI Hats & Accessories LLC
55 Triangle Blvd.
Carlstadt, NJ 07072
Toll Free: 800-852-0212 and 888-618-7560
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