It is easier than ever for retailers to stock up on gift and novelty merchandise in preparation for successful holiday sales. This is because online wholesalers not only stay on top of hot trends and have plenty of popular merchandise available, they also continue to invest in website functionality that enables buyers to quickly see what is new, peruse colorful catalogs, avail themselves of web specials, and place and track orders online.
Squire Boone Village, in New Albany, IN, wholesales about 14,000 products in a broad array of categories including earth science exploration, jewelry, carved wood, Wild West and Native American, gifts and souvenirs, and candy and specialty foods. "Candy is number one for us. We do seasonal candy and we are adding more to this line and developing more Christmas candy items," says Karen Dutton, national sales manager. "We manufacture our own rock candy, which is our most popular candy. We modify and theme the packaging and we offer a Christmas three pack in red, green and white." Personal and personalized items are always popular for the holiday season, she adds. "Our ponder stones, with sayings like "Love" and "Trust," are great stocking stuffers and are big sellers for the holidays. Candles are also very trendy and we have a lot of candles, candleholders and other fourth quarter gift items," Dutton points out. "In addition, we are launching a line of candles made of 100 percent soy that burn smooth and clean and don't tunnel." Soy candles will be available in several vibrant colors in series such as "Home," "Spa," "Fireside" and "Rainforest." Of Squire Boone Village's products, candy offers the highest margin at three times that of wholesale pricing. "The majority of our merchandise retails for $10 or less," Dutton adds. The company offers free freight on orders of $1,200 and half freight on orders of $750.
To help customers access product information at their convenience, Squire Boone Village posts its catalogs, which contain pricing, online. "When people call in and haven't seen our catalogs, we ask them to go to the site and register," Dutton explains. "We ask for contact information before people view the catalogs, but customers can see the catalog covers and get a general idea of what we have without logging into the site. Once they register, their information goes to our sales associates who will contact customers for appointments or to answer any questions." The site provides a list of sales associates as well as the company's trade show schedule and an "About Us" section that shares the company's past. Squire Boone Village is deeply rooted in America's history and is located on land where Squire Boone, younger brother of Daniel Boone, lived and worked. In 1971, Fred Conway bought the land and turned it into a historic and natural wonder attraction that annually teaches 20,000 school children about Indiana history and earth science.
Cajole Online, a family-owned and operated business in La Quinta, CA, has been selling high quality gift merchandise since 2009. The online wholesaler supports its line of innovative gifts, jewelry, accessories and collectibles with packaging and marketing materials that showcase and help sell the products. Cajole Online is launching a new line of personalized souvenir products it expects to be popular for the upcoming holidays as well as year round, says Jason Barlow, partner. The line, which highlights tourist destinations, includes a cell phone case with a strap, a mid-size tote bag and a larger bag. The souvenir line will be introduced at the ASD show this month. Another product that consistently produces strong holiday sales is the Magic-Mat, Barlow notes, because it is a great gift for almost anyone. The Magic-Mat is a sticky pad used on a car dashboard or anywhere consumers need to secure items such as a GPS, cell phone, radar detector, iPad, sunglasses, pen, toll pass and more. A polyurethane gel product, it works without magnets or adhesives and does not leave residue behind. "Stores are constantly calling for reorders. In the holiday season, retailers typically go through ten times what they will during the regular season," he notes. A package of 50 Magic-Mats with a cardboard POP display wholesales for $150. "The price point is good at $10 or less so it's a great pickup item at the register," Barlow points out. The company also carries Phat Head Gang string dolls, Neck Art bendable jewelry and the Arctic Chill Towel. "We try to get our customers really good margins, where they can triple wholesale, and also give end customers good value," Barlow stresses.
Cajole Online recently launched a new, fully functional wholesale website to make it easier for customers to get pricing and place orders. "Wholesale.cajoleonline.com will make the process easier and more informative," Barlow says. "Customer feedback has been great. We have a small catalog online and buyers just create an account to see pricing and place orders. We get their information so we can follow up and they can contact us with any questions," Barlow adds. "It's nice for the mom and pop stores across the country, because they can order any time and get on with their day." Cajole Online generally ships items the same day they are ordered and most products are in display packages. "We offer marketing ideas that help customers display and advertise the products they sell," Barlow emphasizes. "Finding the right items that work in a lot of markets is important. We know the products we have are solid for customers to sell."
Kalan LP, in Lansdowne, PA, specializes in novelty items like coupon books, key chains and shot glasses with sayings; party items like super jumbo cards and cake toppers; fashion accessories like neckties and fingerless gloves; and product themes such as "zombies" and "bachelorette party." For more than 40 years, Kalan has been bringing cutting edge ideas and designs to retailers throughout North America. "We stay on top of the trends in movies, music, clothing and color, and we modify our line to reflect those trends," explains Jackie Pope, senior sales representative with Kalan for 28 years. "Right now, anything with zombies is selling. We have a line of family decals that allow you to build and display your family, which started with the zombie family." Breaking again from convention, the line now includes the Farting Family and the Build Your Own Family line, which includes the military and business dad, executive and hippie mom, texting and angelic daughter, and gamer son, just to name a few. Decals wholesale for $1 and retail for $1.99. Another big seller, now and for the holidays, is animal prints, Pope points out.
Ninety percent of Kalan's products have displays available and the company offers rack deals on many items. Retailers can visit either of the company's two websites, as it offers censored and uncensored versions. "Some of the stuff we do is a little edgy and we don't want to offend anyone," Pope explains. Both websites share wholesale pricing and accept PayPal. Visitors are encouraged to submit funny stuff, Pope adds. "People can get paid for original product ideas and unique one-liners." In addition, Kalan provides another online avenue for retail buyers and is a member of WholesaleCentral.com, the Internet's largest wholesale directory and marketplace of active wholesalers, importers and manufacturers.
"We cater to many independent retailers across multiple customer categories that rely on us for style, quality and service," Pope stresses. The company is recognized by many customers as a preferred vendor and has a reputation for consistent operational excellence, she adds. "We have very little employee turnover so our sales people know our products. We stand behind our products and we want our customers to succeed. If a product isn't selling, we'll take it back. We don't want to waste our customers' space."
Now is the time for retailers to visit their favorite web wholesalers' online stores and research trends and specials as they stock up on holiday merchandise. With the convenience of online shopping and the dedication of web wholesalers to make the experience pleasant and profitable, it stands to be a winning fourth quarter for retailers and consumers alike.
For more information:
Squire Boone Village
406 Mount Tabor Rd.
New Albany, IN 47150
51813 Avenida Vallejo
La Quinta, CA 92253
97 S. Union Ave.
Lansdowne, PA 19050
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