For most holidays, consumers purchase decorations and merchandise that promote cheer or comfort such as bunnies for Easter, snowmen for Christmas, or a Thanksgiving cornucopia. Halloween is the time of year, however, that people explore a darker side and look for witches, skeletons and haunted houses. A celebration of all things spooky, October 31st can be celebrated with an array of merchandise provided by wholesalers that keep retailers' shelves stocked with all things horrifying.
Founded more than a century ago, The Beistle Company has more than 7,000 party goods and decorations available for various holidays, themes, seasons and special events. Because Beistle handles most of their own design work and manufacturing, on top of distribution, out of Shippensburg, PA, the company always has inventory on hand and ready to ship whenever needed. "For Halloween, we stock 360 products, and we are always adding new items and designs," says Dave Goode, VP of sales for Beistle. "Our Halloween line includes cutouts, clings, door covers, beads, costume accessories, and numerous other products. Plus, we are well known throughout the industry for providing outstanding product designs, quality, and value."
Examples of Beistle's Halloween products are the Spinnin' Hangin' Skeleton, a five-foot-tall skeleton that invokes fear through sound and motion; the Skeleton Backseat Driver Clings, which drivers can put in the back seat of their cars to make it seem like a skeleton is lurking behind them; and nine-and-a-half-inch Halloween cutouts that feature pumpkins, haunted houses, witches, black cats and more. The website lists the suggested retail price and number of items included in each package for all of Beistle's products.
Online ordering is only available to companies that become distributors for Beistle by calling (717) 532-2131 or filling out an online form. "We can provide a catalog, price book, or any additional information they may need to begin selling our products," Goode notes. "If they are selling online, all of our product images are available digitally and our product information can be provided in a spreadsheet. Our distributors find our website very helpful and convenient, as it provides the ability to browse products, review new item introductions, access special promotions, place orders, and track shipments." The minimum order for U.S. based distributors is $500 for the initial order and $150 for reorders, with rotating special deals and promotions available to all customers. Typical gross margins are 50 to 60 percent, depending on the products. Beistle also does custom manufacturing for in-store POP displays, private label manufacturing, and custom product displays upon request.
My Southern Home Place carries about 3,000 different home goods, home décor items, gifts, home accents, and seasonal decor products for all times of the year. What started out as a part time business that put on home shows and parties, My Southern Home Place launched its website in 2007 to be a unique family-friendly site that provides everything necessary to decorate a home. "Halloween has become a really big holiday for decorating," says Shirley McNeal, owner of My Southern Home Place. "We carry a lot of candles and candleholders, including some for Halloween, and we also have a nice variety of decorations that are really good for the holiday." The wholesaler's Halloween offerings also include items such as lamps, wall décor, plush products and figurines with skeleton, witch and dragon imagery.
Although some of the company's Halloween decorations may be a bit spooky, McNeal wants the site to reflect her values. "I try to word everything that I put on our website in a way that is personal," she notes. "We're a family-owned and operated business, and I wanted to reach other families, as well as businesses, since we do sell wholesale. To me, this is not just a business. This website is something that I really enjoy doing, so it's not something designed just to make money."
The website is set up to be easy to understand, with detailed information about the products and the company, including a navigation bar that divides the items into dozens of categories. "There is a lot of information that I have on here to fully explain our policies, because I feel people need to have an informed decision about what they are buying," McNeal adds. "This includes how our website works, what they will be paying when they get to checkout, and a chart that shows shipping cost before they make a purchase." My Southern Home Place identifies itself as a place where buyers of all sizes can pay wholesale prices, so there is no minimum order. Most products are sold at 50 to 85 percent off the suggested retail price, giving the opportunity for a significant markup.
Of course, Halloween is also a time to indulge in sweets. Groovy Candies has sold bulk candy for the past 12 years out of its Cleveland headquarters. With a total of around 3,000 SKUs, Groovy Candies carries about 2,200 items at any point in time, depending on the holiday, so there is no shortage of variety in the wholesaler's offerings. "We work with over 150 different candy vendors in the U.S.," says Joe Martin, marketing director. "If it's a candy made in the U.S., we probably sell it."
"We have just about everything," Martin adds. "We have wrapped and unwrapped bulk, in a variety of different types, from hard candy to chocolate to sugar free, with all the traditional basic candy bars, as well as premium chocolate such as Giaradelli and Lindt. We also have a lot of retro candies, like Bit-o-Honeys and Mary Jane candy, dating as far back as the 40s and 50s. If it's still made today, we usually have it." Groovy Candies also sells Halloween-themed candy, such as candy corn, different varieties of Peeps, and novelty items including ghosts, pumpkins, mummies, and skulls produced specifically for the holiday. In addition, the company will make their own candy mixes, repackaging products together with themes like chewy items, snack sized candies, or gums. "We probably have the biggest variety of candy online, especially in regards to holiday candies," Martin notes.
The website is grouped into categories by event or holiday, broken down in the most common ways people search, Martin says. Groovy Candies also gives potential buyers detailed knowledge about the products via the website. "For every one of the candies, not only do we take pictures of how the boxes and the cases look, we shoot every piece of candy against a ruler," he adds. "Because you're not at a candy store, we want to give people a sense of how big the candy is, or how long a licorice rope is. We put a lot of effort into showing the visuals as if you were in the candy store. Plus, on every one of the candies we provide nutritional information."
There is neither a minimum order or volume discounts, as Groovy Candies cuts the price of everything 16 percent across the board, regardless of size. The company usually ships all orders within 24 hours and receives excellent shipping rates, which are passed along to the customers.
For all the things that flash in the night, and sometimes the day, Bongo Flashers was established in 2002 to focus on products of all types that are illuminated. "We carry over 2,000 LED light up items, ranging from gloves, swords, necklaces, sunglasses, and bracelets," says Mark Cohen, owner and CEO of Bongo Flashers. "Pretty much anything that lights up, we have it." The wholesaler has nearly 200 items for Halloween alone, including sets of flashing LED Skull Gloves, wholesaling for $16.99; Color Change LED Skull Sword Sabers, featuring three different color changing effects, wholesale for $3.49 each; and Halloween Light Up Rings, available in assorted varieties such as pumpkins, ghosts, witches and black cats wholesale for $1.69 each. Each product has quantity discounts available, which are noted on Bongo Flashers' website.
In addition, Bongo Flashers does custom work, including logos, and prides itself on being ahead of the curve in this unique segment of the marketplace. "People are always looking for something new and different, and we're right on the cutting edge," Cohen adds. "We have the most competitive pricing, and we'll bend over backwards for anybody who wants to order." The website is categorized in detail, Cohen notes, with excellent searchability. In addition, Bongo Flashers is heavily invested in social media efforts, utilizing Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and QR Codes, with a mobile version of its page available as well.
Glimmers, Inc. has two light-up products for the Halloween holiday, waterproof stars with orange lights and a set of pumpkin earrings, both of which are ideal for special events, corporate parties, and fun at home. Since 1990, Glimmers has specialized in light up and clip on stars for businesses and families. "I think we are the only one in the marketplace that has an upscale, good looking, elegant style with a light up product," says Jill Flynn, founder and owner. "All the light up products have become so frantic looking. We aim for people who like fun and festivity, but not so much that it detracts from the theme of the party. They are elegant, with some pizzazz."
The orange lights, available either in a pack of four or twelve, are waterproof and FDA approved, so they can be used in drinks, scattered on tables, stuck in pumpkins with the included rods, or clipped to children on Halloween night to keep them safe. The batteries are hermetically sealed, so they cannot be replaced, but they will last for about 15 hours. The pumpkin earrings feature flashing eyes through a yellow LED light, which can also be used as a pin if desired. "I think we're synonymous with fun and attractive," Flynn adds. "All the light up pieces in the marketplace are either on with a pulse, or a bright, slow flash, but there is nothing with that random twinkle, which is what distinguishes us."
The website is designed for easy checkout, with multiple photos of all of the products lighting up. Markup can range from 40 percent up to 100 percent, depending on the quantity purchased, although there is no minimum order size.
For more information:
The Beistle Company
1 Beistle Plaza
Shippensburg, PA 17257-9623
My Southern Home Place
457 Hill Farm Road
Alamo, GA 30411
7480 Brookpark Rd.
Cleveland, OH 44129
Toll Free: 888-729-1960
Toll Free: 866-707-5483
3130 La Selva St., Suite 304
San Mateo, CA 94403
Toll Free: 800-578-8276
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