More so than traditional retailers, kiosk and cart vendors benefit from regularly refreshing their product mix with new merchandise that will cause busy mall shoppers to stop and look. It doesn't matter how often they've passed the vendor's location. Here are suggestions from suppliers that cater to kiosk and cart operators. Low minimums are required and vendors don't have to buy from them exclusively.
Consumers find new jewelry designs hard to ignore. Paul Accettullo, owner of giftsandsales.com in Billerica, MA, began operating kiosks back in 1985, when they were a nearly unknown phenomenon. This led him to develop his company's "Template for Success." He has developed costume jewelry packages that meet the template's criterion.
The template calls for products that are in high demand among consumers and provide the vendor with a generous markup. That's why giftsandsales.com offers top fashion costume jewelry at mass market prices.
"When a celebrity appears wearing something new on a red carpet on Saturday night, the consumer wants that jewelry Monday morning," he reasons. "We are constantly adding updated styles that keep pace with the latest fashion. Hollywood drives the fashion trend."
"While the typical customer can't pay what the celebrity pays, she'll happily buy a $9.99 look alike from a kiosk vendor," he says. His company adds new designs weekly and sets wholesale prices that, "give the vendor a lot of wiggle room on pricing," he says.
Often the prices enable the vendor to use these pieces for promotions, such as buy one, get one free. The jewelry does well when used as a gift with purchase of another item the kiosk sells.
In another jewelry market segment, stainless steel jewelry for women and men is hot this year. Manufacturers initially turned to it because the price of sterling silver escalated. Now it's a fashion metal in its own right. Sales One, based in Norwalk, CT, introduced the Inox line of contemporary designs. Inox began with men's jewelry and has now expanded the brand to women's pieces, reports Guy Pineda, Inox brand manager for Sales One.
Both Pineda and Accettullo know that kiosk and cart vendors don't have a lot of space for excess inventory. Both also recognize that these buyers' need to keep costs down, so they don't require big initial investments, and they'll replenish stock quickly.
Accettullo offers tiered programs. The smallest package is just $150, and it can include up to 1,000 pieces, and earn the vendor $1,000 at retail. The higher the volume of an order, the lower the wholesale cost.
In addition to fashion jewelry, giftsandsales.com offers other general merchandise. "We keep our eyes open for other kiosk product opportunities," Accettullo says. "It would be crazy for us to push anything but best sellers, and we're always looking for them."
While there are kiosk and cart vendors that carry only product from giftsandsales.com, he says, "our products are very compatible with other fashion related products. Some vendors of unrelated products use ours as free giveaways," he adds.
In addition, the giftsandsales.com staff members are always available by phone to offer advice and suggestions. "We spend as much time as we can helping our vendors succeed," says Accettullo.
The Inox line encompasses classic contemporary designs and "hip, edgy and bling bling," Pineda says. Many come with gemstones, CZs and a few contain actual diamonds. These are all prong-set, not glued.
Sales One adds between 20 and 30 new designs a month. There are bracelets, rings, cuff links, pendants and necklaces. "Not too many suppliers offer stainless steel necklaces," notes Pineda.
The Inox line offers other unusual pieces. It utilizes a PVD, physical vapor disposition, process to create gold colored stainless steel. "This allows the steel surface to actually absorb the gold," Pineda explains. "The same process is used to produce pieces in a black and charcoal color, and they are very popular."
The minimum order requirement is $250, and it can contain a selection of all Sales One products, including Inox, other fashion jewelry and body jewelry. The average Inox ring has a wholesale price of $6 a unit and retails for between $25 and $30 a unit. "Typically vendors sell the products for about four times wholesale," Pineda says.
He also says, "it's perfectly fine if a vendor combines our product with merchandise from other suppliers." It is particularly compatible with fashion jewelry and/or with body jewelry, he adds. "Many of our customers that sold body jewelry are moving to stainless steel. It's a natural transition."
The name, Inox, is familiar to many consumers. "In some languages, it actually means stainless steel," Pineda says, "and it's imprinted on many stainless steel products, including kitchen knives and pots and pans."
Sales One has counter cards, posters, give away postcards and other merchandising materials. The postcards contain a description of Inox, and vendors can imprint their own name and location on them. It has spinner displays, offered with higher volume orders.
While jewelry is an attention getter with a high margin, it's not the only product addition with appeal. Fashion sunglasses from Vanguard Optical Imports in Pittsburgh, PA fit within the template described by Accettullo. Gerald Wilson, Vanguard's owner, says frankly, "we sell good stuff cheap."
He has approximately 100 different styles of ladies large designer sunglasses with rhinestones that wholesale for $24 a dozen, versus other suppliers that generally charge between $36 and $55 a dozen for similar assortments, Wilson says. His units are price tagged to retail in a range of $29 to $49 a pair.
Equally popular for kiosk and cart customers are magnifying reading glasses with colored stones. "Designer reading glasses are top sellers," Wilson says, and his company offers them wholesale for $2 a pair. Many are tagged, and the suggested retail price ranges between $19.95 and $29.95 a pair.
Vanguard Optical's minimum order requirement is $60, and it can include an assortment of styles. A buyer can order a sample pack of three dozen pair that contains three pieces each of six styles, in order to see which ones sell through best. In all, the supplier stocks about 200,000 units of sunglasses and reading glasses for quick delivery.
Wilson says these sell year round, and a vendor customer is welcome to add Vanguard Optical's products with other related items. "They are especially compatible with jewelry, accessories, purses, scarves and other fashion accessories," Wilson says.
For kiosks and carts that don't specialize in personal fashion products, Cohasset Imports in Lakewood, WA, offers wind chimes from Bali. This home décor product is unusual and attracts shoppers with both sight and sound.
There are more than 100 different styles, all made of bamboo, and each designed especially for the American market. Among the designs are North American bird replicas in actual size and based on the Audubon Society models. Greg Anderson, owner of Cohasset Imports, will help a vendor select the bird designs that are associated with the region in which the kiosk or cart operates.
There are novelty themes, including cartoon birds with heads that bob in the wind, and Southwestern designs depicting cowboy hats or cactus. All are made by hand and highly detailed. The assortment ranges from simple bamboo wind chimes in natural bamboo color to the highly decorated painted units.
Sizes range from 12 to 36 inches long. Wholesale prices start at $7.50 a unit and reach $20 or more for the largest and most intricate. The suggested retail price is generally double wholesale, beginning at about $15 a unit and reaching $45 or more.
Cohasset is strictly wholesale and does not sell to big box retailers, which gives kiosk and cart vendors something unique. Anderson says the wind chimes are very compatible with home furnishings, patio accessories, and all products related to gardens and the outdoors. "They also do well with bird feeders and flags," he reports.
In recognition of kiosk and cart vendors' limited storage space, Anderson does not require case quantities. Typically, he calls for orders of $100, and it can include an assortment, including just one unit of different designs. While his company doesn't carry displayers, he has affiliations with companies that do and will order displayers for his vendors and have them drop shipped.
In displaying, Anderson says, "visibility is important. Give the units enough space so they can move," he advises. He also suggests that vendors highlight one of the units that has a bobbing head, noting that motion gives it added impulse appeal.
The following people at these companies were interviewed for this article:
Greg Anderson, owner
3827 100th Street SW, Ste. D
Lakewood, WA 98499
Toll Free: 800-668-0247
Paul Accettullo, owner
Six Rolling Hill Road
Billerica, MA 01821
Guy Pineda, Inox brand manager
Sales One LLC
151 Woodward Avenue
Norwalk, CT 06854
Toll Free: 866-507-2537
Gerald Wilson, owner
Vanguard Optical Imports
2908 Smallman Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15201
Toll Free: 800-433-1325
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