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Home Furnishing & Housewares Review

Jun 1, 2008
by Christopher Heine

The diverse nature of the Home Furnishings & Housewares niche always makes this an exciting time of year, due to the great many products being released on the wholesale market. It is right at this point on the calendar where retailers are starting to hone in on the most unique products for the holiday season.

If one surveys the landscape for wholesalers with the most interesting items, there are an unusually high number of great tabletop items, fanciful outdoor décor products, sublime candle holders, exotic art for living rooms and rugs for the dining room, just to name a few. What are some of the other leading trends merchandisers are seeing as the nation moves from spring into summer? What are consumers spending their money on in this hopefully rebounding economy?

Michael Denault, owner and head designer of Denault Glass Studios, said that extreme high end and low end products seem to be moving the best. In other words, middle of the road items, in terms of cost, have been slumping. "Right now, nationwide, things that wholesale for less than $65 are doing very well," he said. "And things that wholesale for more than $250 are doing very well. The in between items are not doing so well. It is due to the economy."

Classy Glass Tabletops
Denault runs his company out of Acton, MA, where he crafts sophisticatedly designed glass tabletops. He employs a traditional glassmaking methodology called kiln form to create one of a kind, museum quality works of art for homes.

Interested retailers should double click the "Home Accents" tab at the top of the homepage at www.denaultstudios.com to see the fantastic array of items he has developed. His company also offers supplies for entrepreneurial, home based gifts and jewelry makers. It accepts customized wholesale orders as well. "We continue to roll out other glass pieces that fit the Home Accents line," he explained. "Just this week, we are going to put 60 more pieces up at the website. We have free shipping, while most of our orders go out within 48 hours. Home Accents products that are customized might take a bit longer, understandably."

Wholesale prices are available for all retail stores and galleries, upon showing proof of a valid resale license. Roughly, though, his glass creations start off at $12 and then go up, depending on the piece at hand. Meanwhile, gift outlets, specialty retailers and gallery shops make up the thrust of his company's buyer audience. "We specialize in centerpiece dish units and small decorative items," he said. "Each piece is unique. We only do original work, focusing on contemporary modern designs that we do ourselves. Start to finish, everything is done by us."

Planters Selling Rapidly
As Denault's company showcases, having unique products is invaluable in the world of indoor home merchandising. The same can said about outdoor items. For instance, Georgetown Home & Garden offers a product line of outdoor furnishings that irresistibly combine a sense of the rustic with modern panache. What that stylistic combination has meant at www.georgetownusa.com is continuously increasing sales.

Angie Walls, a lead sales rep with Georgetown Home & Garden, said that her company's top yielding category is 'planters,' which are adorable, metal made plant holders that depict dogs, cats and other pets. Some of the products involve lovable characters, such as, "Muttley The Square Headed Dog," "Glamour Cat," and, "Chessie Cat."

In particular, she and her team have seen mini planters (smaller versions) of the items recently flourish. They range in wholesale price from $10 to $18 at www.georgetownusa.com, which recently underwent a sharp redesign. "The new website has all of our emerging products," Walls said. "People can register with the site quickly and request a catalog, among other useful things. All told, it takes fewer steps to get information from us. Viewers can drill down into the product categories in a more targeted fashion as well. They can also see what trade shows we will be attending, and what our current special offers are."

The consumers who end up buying Georgetown Home & Garden's products from retailers are comprised of mostly women between the ages of 45 and 65. Walls added that the ladies normally hail from middle income households.

"Part of our success comes from the fact that we do our own designs," she said. "The planters are extremely cute and have a lot of emotional appeal. They are very well put together, so they will not fall apart. Even after a few years outside, they get a neat rusty veneer, but they do not fall apart. Some people like to utilize them as indoor décor as well. Simply put, there is nothing else like them."

It's also worth noting that Walls and her team are dedicated to administering top notch customer service for orders coming via www.georgetownusa.com or over the phone. Her firm is kept busy by a wide base of small mom and pops in the gifts niche, as well as attracting garden centers, mail order catalogs, online retailers, etc. The firm also offers breathtakingly pretty lines of sun catchers, wind chimes and garden stakes.

"We treat everyone like our most important customer," Walls said. "It does not matter if they are a big company or a small one."

Terrific Candleholders
Another company that offers almost unmatchable customer service is Global Gift Corp., based out of Vernon, CA. It has two extremely large warehouses that are teaming with products, as well as a help staff that is always dedicated to the job at hand.

"With our brand of customer service, we try to give 100 percent every time," said Remick Taytayan, operations manager for Global Gift Corp. "It doesn't matter whether you are a first time customer or a longtime buyer. Our sole concern is taking care of your product needs."

Taytayan and her team offer superbly designed and manufactured candleholders, as well as tabletops, TV stands, cabinets and other furniture. Due to the slightly high end nature of most of their products, they carry a minimum order of $1,500. "We do extremely well with our metal candle holders," Taytayan said. "We are also very successful with our ceramic and polyresin tabletops, as well as our vases and jars. We are bringing in more small furniture products, too."

All told, the company's items range in wholesale cost anywhere from $10 to $200 per unit. It regularly sells to various discounters, furniture stores, gift stores and flower shops at www.globalgiftcorp.com. Taytayan said that her firm's selection allows retailers to display products in their stores in an IKEA like fashion. "We complement items with other items within our product line," she explained. "This way, retailers can outfit their space with an arrangement of products that will allow the store customer to envision what their whole room could look like."

African Art Décor
Every home has a living room that needs something extra special in order to impress houseguests. That is why it pays to check out a Chicago based wholesaler called Tengemana, which offers the best in African art and home décor.

Antoinette Ramey, owner of the company, said that her best sellers are five and six foot tall, handmade giraffes. She imports the items directly from Africa, where they are carved by artisans, one at a time from wood. The giraffes also come in a four foot size.

"They range in wholesale price from $150 to $250, depending on size, with the four foot versions being the least expensive," she explained. "We have a minimum order of $150. So, any retailer who wants to test the product in their store conveniently only has to pick up one. But the giraffes sell very fast. I have a hard time keeping up with the demand and keeping them in stock."

Ramey said that the giraffes, along with her exotic line of African masks, are getting purchased by a wide variety of independent mom and pops, as well as swap meet marketers and art sellers. Once again, the key reason behind the items' popularity at www.wholesalecentral.com/tengemana/ and www.tengemana.net is their originality.

"What makes them attractive and sell is the fact that they are beautiful, and you do not see them everyday," she said. "They are truly unique. Essentially, the fact they are hand carved makes them one of a kind products. And they can be splendidly utilized within many styles of homes."

Best Rugs & Prices
Last but not least, every home has a room that needs a rug, and no one offers a more stylish and quality line than SmArtful Homes. The company offers the following rugs categories at www.smartfulhome.com: Accent Rugs, Area Rugs and Bath Rugs.

But those categories just scratch the surface. The Fairburn, GA based firm, led by owner Louis Ragy, also provides exceptional opportunities for marketers of bedding, table linens and various types of kitchen and bath accessories. What's more, SmArtful Homes deals in large quantities, which makes it possible to offer the most competitive pricing. While some of the company's clients are among the most respected names in high volume retail, it also happily works with smaller buyers.

For more info, contact:

Denault Glass Studios
1 Coughlin Street
Acton, MA 01720
Tel.: 978-835-0990
Fax: 978-274-2509
Website: www.denaultstudios.com

Georgetown Home & Garden
6616 Flora Ave. S.
Seattle, WA 98108
Tel.: 206-768-1901
Fax: 206-762-2889
Website: www.georgetownusa.com

Global Gift Corp.
3201 Bandini Blvd.
Vernon, CA 90023
Tel.: 323-264-4701
Fax: 323-264-4449
Website: www.globalgiftcorp.com

Tengemana
5009 W. Washington Blvd.
Chicago, IL 60644
Tel.: 773-287-2195
Fax: 773-261-2592
Website: www.wholesalecentral.com/tengemana/

SmArtful Home
605 Bohannon Rd
Fairburn, GA 30213
Tel.: 770-969-8591
Website: www.smartfulhome.com

Topic: Product Trends

Related Articles: housewares  home decor 

Article ID: 647

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