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Housewares & Gifts Summer Forecast

Jun 1, 2007
by Christopher Heine

June can be an extraordinary month for retailers in terms of finding a fantastic mix of hot products and cool prices. After all, merchants need to serve their customers' outdoor and indoor summer needs, and many wholesalers are liquidating those items as they look to ramp up on fall and holiday items.

Without question, it makes for a perfect storm for retail ROI in the summertime. Retailers can find an awesome array of lawn décor, kitchen gadgets and even functionary products like durable all weather storage bags.

"We sell a lot of flatware, and baking sets do very well in the summer months," said Scott Schmeizer, vice president of CSB Commodities, Inc., in Westbury, NY. "For example, the 37 piece Baker's Secret Set will be one of our popular products as we move into June and July. It is attractive to consumers who do a lot of barbecuing and picnicking."

Web users who visit www.shopbobandjoyce.com and enter "37BS" into the product search tool can see exactly the item that Schmeizer is talking about. Made in the USA, the set includes two cookie sheets, one 8 inch square cake pan, two 9 inch round cake pans, a pair of 9 inch pie pans, two large loaf pans, one 12 cup muffin pan, an oblong cake pan, one biscuit brownie pan, and a 12 inch pizza pan, among several other pieces.

There are also more than a few year round big sellers for CSB Commodities, including the "Love and Hugs Salt and Pepper Shakers" ($22.99 per unit). If you are looking for delightful tableware to add some spice to your store shelves or displays, look no further.

These charming, people-like salt and pepper shakers come together in a warm embrace to brighten up any dinner table. Identical in shape, they differ only in color and the number of holes in their faces. Designed to connote racial harmony, the shakers form a bit of a resemblance to the Yin/Yang symbol.

Another intriguing possibility is "The EX" knives holder, which is designed to hold three 8 inch knives (chef's, bread and carver), as well as a 5 inch utility knife and a 3.5 inch paring knife. The knives are slid into the human shaped figurine holder, which appears to be slightly falling backwards, as if it is absorbing the blow right at that moment. At any rate, the stainless steel knife set adds an edgy, humorous element about the subject of jilted love (divorce, perhaps) to one's kitchen. They come in five colors that start at $59 for set/holder, while a chrome version costs $99 per unit.

"Both products do really well, no matter what month the calendar is on," Schmeizer explained. "You could say that it is always gifting season when it comes to those uniquely styled items."

Salco's Espresso Maker
Every so often, as a consumer or businessperson, you see a high quality product priced so attractively that you can hardly believe it. Well, here is one of those instances: Salco Distributors just received shipment on the Bennoti Espresso Maker, an exciting, new, As Seen On TV product that costs only $125 per unit. It lets consumers make espresso and cappuccino in the comfort of their own homes without breaking the bank. The suggested retail price is $199 at Salco's main site, www.ezdropshippers.com.

"The quality of the machine is comparable to the ones you see on the market for up to $500," said Sal Maggio, president of Salco Distributors, Largo, FL. "I think it is a great deal for everybody involved."

The machine's 20 bar pump processes the espresso beans, which come in various blends and in premeasured capsules, that stay fresh for 18 months. Users can make a cup of gourmet espresso within a minute or two. Meanwhile, the capsules are proprietary; no other packages work in the machine.

Why are the machines priced so affordably? Because the Bennoti Company makes its money in subscription programs, where the consumer customer regularly gets a month's worth of capsules in the mail. "They really are giving the machine away at that price," Maggio explained. "But the replacement capsules are where they make profits."

Moving forward, he suggested that Salco's selection of Travel Space Bags will fly off the warehouse shelves during June and July. The product is designed to create up to four times more airtight and watertight storage space, while protecting against bugs, moths, dirt, mildew and odors.

A single tote holds up to one complete bedding set and pillows, plus 12 sweaters or jackets. Consumers can store the 25" by 20" by 6" space bags under the bed or stack them on shelves. They start at $2.99 per unit, depending on bag size and volume ordered.

"Space bags are always steady sellers for us this time of year," Maggio said. "We expect them to continue to do well because they are such a strong consumer product."

Blankets at Ultimate B2B
Indeed, products do not have to always be new and exciting to raise the interests of wholesalers and retailers. Sometimes, the trusty, winning items being made or distributed by veteran companies are the best way to go.

"People have told me they like doing business with us because we stand behind our products 100 percent," said Fatima Siner, president of Ultimate B2B in Carlstadt, NJ. "Our staff consistently does what it takes to not only make our customers satisfied, but also happy. We get deliveries out the door the same day they are received, so our clients get what they need on time. We have been this way for many, many years."

Siner's firm offers a slew of product categories at www.ultimateb2b.com, such as Luggage, Custom Embroidery, Giftware, Cookware and Tools. One particularly interesting item is the hand powered cell phone charger called Storm Sentinel. Unlike many of the product's competitors, it does not require any additional batteries to work.

"It is a great gift item for people who like to hunt, camp, hike, golf or generally spend a lot of time outdoors," Siner explained. "We have been featuring it on the homepage of our website for a reason. It is a neat, durable gift item that has practical use."

She also believes her stunning line of soft blankets will be a steady producer this summer because they are great for outdoors and indoors. "They are gorgeous, which people will be able to see in plain view with the pictures up at the website," Siner said.

Hot Items from BL Gifts
With the holiday ordering season looming in August, it is tempting for many retailers to start looking ahead. But that would be a big mistake, because summer related products are not close to being finished for the year. Many outdoor décor items sell deep into summer, especially in warm weather climates.

"Lawn and garden items are always good sellers for us," said Brian Black, sales manager for BL Gifts Wholesale in Warriors Mark, PA. "More specifically, outdoor décor is an area we expect to be strong this summer. Things like wind chimes and flag chimes, and we have a 'Hi Ho Welcome Bear' lantern (starting at 8.95 per unit for a box of four) that we think will drive sales."

BL Gifts Wholesale has over 20 categories of the best products anywhere, which can be found at www.blgiftsonline.com. The company offers various popular indoor décor items like bathroom figurines, music boxes and candy dishes. This mid priced gifts wholesaler, which serves flea markets, auction sites, gift shops and mall stores/kiosks, has something to offer for all seasons.

"We have recently done very well with some hillbilly styled outdoor figurines," Black explained. "They have that look of an old moonshine runner, which kinds of taps into the whole lawn aesthetic people seem to like by displaying colorful characters. We do well with fantasy products, such as dragons, and playful looking creatures like raccoons. The combination of price point and quality is what really helps us be successful."

Nature Craft's Bamboo
What helps a lot of companies become successful is differentiating their product lines from the competition. It is a proven method in winning the commerce game. For example, take a gander at the handmade wooden baskets, bowls and blinds that are available at www.naturecraftinc.com. Many of the same products also come in bamboo.

Merchants will be hard pressed to find a more unique and attractive line of gift items anywhere. Pricing varies, but in the case of the wooden baskets, those patent pending items wholesale starting at $16 apiece.

"Our items are second to none in terms of quality," said Randy Tay, sales executive with Nature Craft, Inc., based in Brooklyn, NY. "The thing that separates them from everyone else's is the fact that we make them ourselves. We have our own factory; we manufacturer these on our own. We have skilled craftsmen who remove the stumps from the trees, curry the wood and go through a 10 day process before we actually carve the items. We also have the largest offering of its kind on the East Coast."

For more information on these products, please contact:

ShopBobandJoyce.com, LLC
1400 Old Country Rd., Suite 301A
Westbury, NY 11590
Tel.: 800-318-1039
Tel.: 800-471-1367
Fax: 516-997-2414
Website: www.shopbobandjoyce.com

Salco Distributors, LLC
2088 Lake Ave. SE, Suite A
Largo, FL 33771
Tel.: 727-581-5050
Fax: 727-581-0404
Website: www.ezdropshipper.com

Ultimate B2B Inc.
463 Barell Avenue
Carlstadt, NJ 07092
Tel.: 866-218-2468
Tel.: 201-319-9700
Fax: 201-319-1771
Website: www.ultimateb2b.com

BL Gifts Wholesale, LLC
PO Box 282
2077 Pennington Road
Warriors Mark, PA 16877
Tel.: 814-632-3137
Fax: 814-632-3142
Website: www.blgiftsonline.com

Nature Craft, Inc
9A Rewe Street
Brooklyn, NY 11211
Tel.: 718-389-3989
Website: www.naturecraftinc.com

Topic: Product Trends

Related Articles: Housewares 

Article ID: 231

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