Predicting the next hot look in sunglasses sometimes requires paying attention to celebrities, as consumers are influenced by the styles Hollywood starlets and heartthrobs sport in fashion magazines. As online wholesalers seek out the next big trend in eyewear, there are a few key themes that are expected to carry over from 2012 to 2013.
Kirk Bachelder, CEO of CTS Wholesale, LLC, has been in the sunglasses industry for more than 20 years, with a background in retail. "I have been on the wholesale side for seven years now," Bachelder says. "I carried over some of my retail expertise to my current work, so I feel equipped to predict and understand what will be hot in the marketplace." Using a full schedule of trade shows to test the market, CTS Wholesale's 2013 catalogue will include many unusual styles. "The more unique, the better, as of late," Bachelder points out. "I predict offbeat twists on wayfarer style sunglasses will be our biggest sellers. They came back in style and are going to stay hot for a while. Neon wayfarers, as well as polka dot, smiley face and other printed sunglasses, are some of our foremost items." Every year, he adds, there is a strange novelty craze as well, and for 2013, one popular novelty involves eyewear with a mustache hanging from tiny chains. Other trends Bachelder has noted include aviator sunglasses with mirrored frames and lenses. "What is on its way out is the shutter shade, with the blinds on the sides," he notes.
CTS Wholesale currently carries more than 700 styles of sunglasses and adds to that number regularly. The company also stocks a line of display racks that it upgraded this year. There is no minimum order, and Bachelder offers a pack of one dozen pieces for first-time customers, so that they can see the product before placing a larger order. Every dozen ships with four or five variations of the style ordered. Sunglasses wholesale from $8 per dozen to $45 per dozen for those with polarized lenses, and average $20 per dozen. "The retail markup is great on sunglasses," shares Bachelder. "You pay around $1.66 a pair, but when you have a hot style, you can sell them at retail for up to $15.99, which makes them an attractive item for many kinds of sellers."
Another sunglasses supplier is Pacific Link, which is still observing a high demand for neon looks. "We try to create new designs and colors all the time," says Ron Bryan, sales manager, "but neon is what keeps customers coming back." At Pacific Link, ideas are often taken from television. "Trends can change overnight," Bryan points out. "All it takes is for Brad Pitt to wear new aviators and the next thing you know, that is the hottest ticket in any store. We stay on top of the trends so our buyers can stay up-to-date." Pacific Link's average wholesale price is $24 for one dozen, selling lots of 12 of one style. "Within that dozen you can receive a few different colors, all of which will retail between $10 and $20 a pair, depending on the market." New customers receive free shipping on a $200 order. "We are a volume oriented business, so the bigger the order, the better the discount," says Bryan.
Aside from the retro wayfarer and aviator styles, Florida based West Coast Sunglasses Inc. is seeing an uptick in demand for 1980s styles, such as zebra and leopard print frames. "In terms of color, the main shade we are being asked for this year is white," says Jonathan Otero, VP of service and sales. "The fashion industry is always changing, and rapidly at that. The trick is to keep up." West Coast Sunglasses styles wholesale for $1 to $3 apiece and retail for at least $10 each. The minimum order is one dozen pieces. "We keep our prices low so that our customers have a greater profit margin," Otero notes. "We also offer volume discounts and free displays with qualifying purchases." The company has a full replacement warranty on all of its sunglasses, beach toys and display racks. "We strive to present the newest and the best quality sunglasses to our customers and to their businesses," remarks Nev BenDavid, company president. With clearly arranged sections for displays, the catalogue, company information and contacts, West Coast Sunglasses keeps its online business organized and easy to navigate.
Sunglasses continue to undergo a litany of changes in styles, size and fabrication since their invention in 1929. From thin wire frames to neon wayfarers, and plain glass to polarized lenses, the possibilities to earn a high markup with these products seem endless.
For more information:
CTS Wholesale LLC
3525 Brady Court NE
Salem, OR 97301
1223 Coronet Drive, Suite 3
Dalton, GA 30720
West Coast Sunglasses Inc.
14770 62 Ave., N, Suite A
Clearwater FL 33760
Toll Free: 866-228-3888
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