Jewelry and watches continue to be among consumers' most wanted and purchased gifts this holiday season. Gift givers stretch their wallets this time of year to wrap up a little bit of luxury.
They will, however, be looking to buy wisely, according to many suppliers. In order to maximize the sales potential of these two prime gift categories, retailers will have to assemble collections with high appeal.
They will also be wise to offer exciting displays and provide added value, such as attractive packaging. Gift with purchase and free with purchase promotions will also be popular among consumers, some suppliers suggest.
Silver Streak Ind., a supplier based in Tempe, AZ, arguably offers among the most imaginative and eye catching displays in the jewelry industry. "We have about 100 different display programs for different merchandise," says Mike Mallon, CEO. "We design and develop new innovative packaging and display programs on a continual basis."
They are built around themes. For example, this summer Silver Streak Ind. offered a life size woman and surfboard display, and the board was bedecked with appropriate summertime jewelry.
Among the newer display programs, particularly appropriate for the Christmas holidays, is based (literally) on the Manzanita tree. There is a large version and a small one, and both consist of natural Manzanita tree branches mounted in a pot. An assortment of the company's jewelry is hung on the branches. The smaller unit is 24 inches tall by about 24 inches wide. It holds approximately 150 pieces. The larger unit stands 72 inches tall and 48 inches wide. It holds about 300 items.
To ensure that the displays contain a variety of top sellers, the items are assorted by computer. Typically, items in the program wholesale for $3.30 and retail for $9.95. On orders of $600, the small tree display is free. On orders of $3,000, the larger one is free. "It turns huge volume," Mallon reports. "One 72 inch Manzanita tree display will turn 10,000 items in a season," he adds.
The company offers silver plated, gold plated and sterling silver jewelry, primarily with semi precious stones. The assortment covers all jewelry categories. "Our number one specialty is jewelry containing semi precious tumbled stones," Mallon reports. "Our second top selling assortment is crystal jewelry."
The company focuses primarily on items that retail for under $10 and carry a three to five time markup over the wholesale cost. Wholesale costs begin at approximately $1.50 and reach to $15. The minimum order is $100, and can include an assortment of any of the company's pieces.
Among watch wholesalers, Any Time Wholesale, based in Thorndale, PA, has mastered the art of providing displays for retailers. The company carries approximately 400 different styles of fashion watches, "Typically at the lower end of the market," says Michael DiLeo, owner.
They wholesale for between $4 and $9, and the suggested retail prices range between $19.95 and $49.95. "We have all types of displays for retailers," he says, "including locking countertop units. We also provide signs and other marketing materials to help spark impulse appeal. People love to buy watches for themselves and as gifts," he says. "If they see something they like, and it's affordable, they'll buy on impulse."
To add to impulse appeal over the winter holidays, Any Time Wholesale has added some special holiday theme watches and display. There are units with Santa faces and religious themes. Among the package deals for these watches are countertop displayers, "so retailers can keep them near the register to maximize their impulse appeal," DiLeo says.
"The key trends in fashion watches," he reports, "are Hip Hop styles and big faced watches for both men and women. Ladies' bangle bracelet styles also continue to be very popular," DiLeo adds.
Although all jewelry and watch suppliers don't offer displays, most of them have gained years of experience in how to display for maximum impact, and are ready to share winning suggestions.
"Gold jewelry shows up best on a white background," says Moises Pontes, president of The Masterly Products Corporation in Miami, which markets the Belatriz brand. "For silver pieces," he suggests, "a background of white or light grey. Rings should be displayed on a pad inside the counter," he adds, "and earrings should also be shown on a pad." Sets, according to Pontes, sell best when they are displayed in individual boxes.
Belatriz jewelry encompasses gold plated and sterling silver rings, earrings, pendants, necklaces and chains. They are made in Brazil and feature either CZs, natural gemstones from Brazil or semi precious stones. "We cover all categories and several price ranges," he says.
There are more than 5,000 styles in inventory. That includes some pieces for men and children, along with religious themed pieces. There are sets containing matching earrings, bracelets and necklaces and others that also include a pendant.
Units cover all styles, from traditional to contemporary, and there is also a broad pricing spectrum. At the lower end of the market, Belatriz wholesales units for as little as $1, and Pontes says they provide a return of between four and six times wholesale. At the upper end, wholesale prices are about $7 to $8, and they offer retail returns of between three and four times wholesale.
The minimum order is $250, and can contain an assortment of any Belatriz items. Having been in business since 1992, the company is able and willing to suggest which items sell best in particular markets. "We'll also help retailers select our top sellers," Pontes adds.
While it is best known for watches, Inventory Adjusters Inc. in Phoenix also sells jewelry. Both are first quality closeouts, name brands, which the company acquires from barter companies and through bankruptcies.
Pat Carlson, owner, says his company maintains about $3 million in jewelry inventory. It covers all categories, and all of the items are concentrated at the highest reaches of the market. "They are of gold and platinum with real diamonds and colorful gemstones," he says, "and the suggested retail prices range from $500 to $50,000."
His company wholesales for at least 75 percent off retail or more. This provides retailers with the ability to compete with top tier jewelry and make a very handsome profit. Watches from Inventory Adjusters give retailers the same opportunity. "You name the brand; we've got it," Carlson says, "and we provide them better than new."
The company routinely has a half million watches in stock, and it employs 45 watch experts who examine every watch that comes in and add a new battery. "Every watch is inspected by us three times before it leaves our warehouse," Carlson notes.
Among the brands are Bulova, Hamilton and Citizens at the lower end, along a spectrum that reaches to the very top, including Cartier, Baume & Mercier, Omega Movado and Tag Heuer. Virtually every top brand is available and all are listed on the company website, which also shows and describes each model.
Watches that typically retail for between $60 and $65 are wholesaled by Inventory Adjusters for $5, in lots of 100 assorted units. At the next tier, watches that generally retail for $60 to $200, the company wholesales them for about $25, in lots of 100 units.
At the highest ends of the market, those that retail for more than $200 each, Inventory Adjusters wholesales for 25 percent off. The highest end Swiss name brands are wholesaled for between 40 and 60 percent off. The latter two categories are sold in minimum orders of $5,000. In keeping with the image and appeal of these top brands, Inventory Adjusters will sell boxes for merchandising at retail.
Easy Add On
E'arrs Inc. in Gainesville, GA offers jewelry and watch sellers a nearly unbeatable vehicle for adding on to the ticket. E'arrs has developed approximately 50 different items, each designed to make wearing jewelry easier and more comfortable.
They include, "magneti-clasp," which is a magnetic clasp converter that can be installed on necklaces and bracelets to replace clasps that are often difficult and unwieldy. People install magneti-clasp once, and forever after, they need only bring two ends of the necklace or bracelet together and magnets hold them fast. There are eight different models to fit different sizes and styles of jewelry.
The magneti-clasp is E'arrs' best seller, according to Mike Bow, president. But several others are near the top spot. Many people are allergic to jewelry. E'arrs offers liquid plastic that can be applied to the back of a watch, for example. It dries crystal clear, and Bow says, "it lasts 30 times longer that clear fingernail polish, which is what some people have used."
There are also units of FDA grade soft polymer that fit on the back of earrings to prevent allergic reactions. There are necklace extenders, and there is also a gel that soothes sore ears.
"We have the largest range of these types of products available," Bow says, "and we sell them worldwide. Many are products everybody who wears jewelry needs or can use, but maybe don't even know they exist." He also points out that they are not seasonal, "and they are not subject to changes in jewelry fashions and fads." Furthermore, while jewelers see it as a profit center, they can merchandise it as a customer service center.
E'arrs offers a Jewelry Accessory Center that holds 12 packages of the company's items, six on each side. Designed for a countertop, it is less than eight inches wide and 16 inches high and has a six inch high header proclaiming: Jewelry Accessory Center. Each package shows in explicit detail the product's function and describes how it works. A larger, 24 unit Jewelry Accessory Center is also available.
Retailers can choose the E'arrs items they want included on the displayer or get input on an assortment from Bow or his staff. "Those who don't sell necklaces, for example, would want a different configuration that those who do," he explains.
With orders of $100, the 12 unit displayer is free. The wholesale cost of a completely fitted display varies, depending on the items included. Bow says the markup is at least double wholesale and often three times the cost.
As an example of wholesale pricing, he says, "The small gold magneti-clasp wholesales for $15 in a prepack of 12 units, or $1.25 a unit. The suggested retail is between $3 and $4, and it is a typical rate for all of our products."
Retailers should also be aware that a new bill was signed into law on August 14 that lowers the amount of lead that can be contained in children's jewelry. The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 goes well beyond regulations regarding toys to impact a full range of products, including jewelry. It mandates a phased-in ban on lead in all children's products, requiring that lead levels be reduced to 600 parts per million by February 10, 2009; 300 parts per million by August 14, 2009; and 100 parts per million by August 14, 2011.
The following were interviewed for this article:
Michael DiLeo, owner
Any Time Wholesale
55 North Bailey Road
Thorndale, PA 19372
Toll Free: 888-333-3722
Mike Bow, president
1647A Oak Brook Drive
Gainesville, GA 30507
Toll Free: 800-521-1082
Pat Carlson, owner
Inventory Adjusters Inc.
3437 East McDowell Road
Phoenix, AZ 85008
Mike Mallon, CEO
Silver Streak Ind.
1604 South Edward Drive
Tempe, AZ 85281
Toll Free: 800-526-9990
Moises Pontes, president
The Masterly Products Corporation
777 Northwest 72nd Avenue, Ste. 2027
Miami, FL 33126
Toll Free: 877-777-5945
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