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Dec 1, 2007
by Christopher Heine
With those two examples, it is clear that both veteran brands and dot com startups are experiencing tremendous sales growth in this products niche. This is why droves of smart merchandisers are finding the best fragrance and scented items in the Perfume and Gifts channels at WholesaleCentral.com.
They can discover top shelf wholesalers like FragranceX.com, SweetRock.com, Designer Fragrances, Evolve, Gifts for the Senses, Inc. and Laura's Country Candles at WholesaleCentral. Like all great businesses, these players keep their ears to the ground and are great sources for what fragrances and scented products are currently moving.
FragranceX.com Offers Chic Scents
"Celebrity scents have been hot and continue to be hot," said Ron Yakuel, President, FragranceX.com, Long Island City, NY. "The power of celebrities is still driving sales in the fragrance category; there is no doubt about it. The allure remains." Yakuel's firm not only offers celebrity brands from the likes of Paris Hilton and Jennifer Lopez, it also sells other chic lines, such as Juicy Couture, Unforgivable and Cool Water. The wholesale median price for the items usually falls between $10 and $20 per unit, but the cost can greatly vary from brand to brand.
"The men's scents like Cool Water have such consistent and loyal customers that they are almost like subscribers to a magazine," Yakuel explained. "So, they are excellent items to pick up for your store shelves."
Visitors to www.fragrancex.com should look for the "Wholesale Info" links located at the top, right hand corner of the homepage and at the bottom. The company offers high end retailers, gift shops and dollar stores one of the world's largest online perfume varieties, while shipping to 35 countries. The firm's 20,000 square foot facilities house 15,000 products.
The four year old firm started showcasing the Bill Me Later payment feature to retail patrons six months ago and has more recently let wholesale customers use the option. "Smaller companies are responding to the Bill Me Later offer in a big way," Yakuel said. "It is a win-win situation. They do not have to set up a new credit card account as long as they already have a Bill Me Later account. We just need two pieces of information, including the last four digits of their Social Security Number and their birth date."
Orders at FragranceX.com get shipped to customers within two to five business days. Yakuel credited his customer service staff for providing quick turnaround, while adding that the firm's order processing software helped hasten deliveries.
"We have custom technology that is the best in the business," he said. "There are so many fragrance products and varieties that it is hard for most wholesalers to keep their orders straight. We have a zero percent rate of error."
Alternatives & Originals At Designer Fragrances
In some niches, the start of December represents a time when wholesalers are getting ready for Valentine's Day, Easter and Mother's Day. Christmas is already an afterthought. But in the fragrances and scented products sector, many key players are still fulfilling last minute requests.
"We are busy in December because fragrances are one of the most popular gift choices among consumers," said Bonita Lawrence, Sales & Marketing Manager, Designer Fragrances Inc., Flint, MI. "One thing we have to communicate is that our products are not 'dollar store.' We have higher end products. And they sell both during the holidays and year 'round." As Lawrence suggested, it is true that the marketplace often gets flooded with discount fragrances. However, Fragrances Inc. offers only top of the line alternative fragrances.
For retailers that are new to this niche, by law, alternative or imitation fragrance products can contain the same smell and character of brand names and be of the same quality. They have to be in different packaging. These products are completely legal as long as the packaging is original. "We have lively pictures on our packaging that our retailers love because they sell," Lawrence explained. "We get excellent feedback from our customers about how the products look on their shelves."
DesignerFragrancesInc.com's variety of proprietary alternative fragrance lines have a unique quality because of their parfum extra strength. "Parfum" means they have more oils and character than other knockoff lines, while maintaining the personality and character of the original fragrance. "We work closely with our chemists to get the right character and substance of the designer originals," Lawrence stated.
Generally, the parfum items at www.designerfragrancesinc.com wholesale for under $10 per unit. If a retailer wishes to buy only six bottles, he or she can buy six. Designer Fragrances, one of the largest distributors of fragrances and colognes in the nation, has no minimum order. Additionally, it offers original products, such as Sex In The City (women's), Estee Lauder (women's) and Acqua Di Gio (men's).
"We have 30 to 35 fragrances for men alone," Lawrence said. "Usually, fragrance products firms offer women's items at a 3 to 1 ratio compared to men's. That is another thing that separates us from the competition. We target the men as well as women. Females are more specific and may want the originals. Men, on the other hand, are not really concerned about the label. They simply do not want to smell cheap and want it to last long. And our products really stay with them the way in which they want."
Sweet Scents From SweetRock.com
There are excellent scented products that consumers buy for home or office décor and ambience. SweetRock.com offers fireproof incense powder burners and a pleasurable line of scented incense powders.
Among more than 60 scent selections, the powders come in everything from Bayberry to Jasmine to Rain. End users load the incense powder into one of the company's 26 burner designs and enjoy the aromatic effect. Each burner kit contains felt tabs to prevent scratching of surfaces, as well as an ash removal brush and a tamp to fill the burner. The incense powders average $1.50 per unit via www.sweetrock.com, while the burners cost from $2.50 to $4.50.
"Our powder price has been the same for 40 years," said Philip E. Rolf, President, Ferra Stone Manufacturing Co., which owns SweetRock.com and is located in Newport, KY. "We have never raised the price because we like being a company that our customers feel comfortable dealing with. They know we are not going to suddenly change things."
Rolf's firm offers scented candles, air fresheners and bamboo sticks, among other items, for visitors who click the "Our Products" section at www.sweetrock.com. The site itself utilizes a smart product viewing feature. Visitors can roll their mouse over numerous products and, in seconds, examine numerous items in enlarged images.
"We have gotten a lot of positive feedback on the feature," Rolf explained. "I think it just makes the navigation a lot easier because they do not have to go through a ton of pages to see products. It is straight forward and to the point."
Green Marketing with Laura's Country Candles
Like Designer Fragrances Inc., Laura's Country Candles keeps busy with wholesale orders well into December. The company specializes in environmentally friendly and soy based candles that are each designed by its founder, Laura Sage. Manufacturing for all of the firm's products is orchestrated at its facility in Allegan, MI.
"We see our Christmas and winter themed scents pick up during this time of year," said Bill Sage, President, Laura's Country Candles. "The aspect that separates our candles from many other lines is that the scent is mixed throughout, rather than simply poured on top. They wholesale from $3 to $9.80, depending on the candle and the candle size."
Visitors to www.laurascountrycandles.com will find candles that come in the following sizes: 6, 8, 10, 18 and 26 ounces. Meanwhile, they are available in 30 different flavors, including Apple Jack, Black Cherry, Kiwi and Cucumber Melon. The firm delivers within three business days and the first minimum order is $180. However, after the initial order, they can be of any dollar value.
"Our organically based candles are popular with gift stores, chains and restaurants," Sage explained. "The main thing is that the candles are very attractive and extremely high quality. The scents positively affect the room, and people love them." Another important thing Sage stated was that his firm's products were domestically made, which resonated with a lot of his customers.
Discover Nag Champa at Evolve
Count on Evolve, Gift for the Senses, Inc. as another company taking advantage of the positive effect that "Made In The USA" stickers can have.
"Our customers appreciate that the products are manufactured in the United States," said Terry Raasumaa, VP, Evolve, Gifts for the Senses, Inc., Somersworth, NH. "In most cases, the items range in price from $2.45 to $5.15. But, we have products, such as the Critter ScentStax Incense Burning Bottle, that cost a little more."
The firm's most popular scented lines include Nag Champa and patchouli, which can be seen at www.evolve1000.com and via www.wholesalecentral.com/evolve0001/store.cfm. Minimum orders are $100 at the sites. In addition, the company offers an array of display kits that can be used on store floors or countertops.
The staffers at Evolve, Gift for the Senses, Inc., go out of their way to employ old fashioned but smart customer service. Raasumaa said that a personal touch still goes a long way - even as the wholesale industry closes in on 15 years of ecommerce.
"We do not give our customers a number; we still go by name," she explained. "While serving everything from bookstores to gift shops to various distributors, we treat customers like people. We know that the approach helps our customers feel important, which in turn, helps us."
For information, contact:
4810 37th Street
Long Island City, NY 11101
Designer Fragrances, Inc.
2925 Corunna Road
Flint, MI 48503
Ferra Stone Manufacturing Co.
518 Hodge Street
Newport, KY 41071-1531
Toll Free: 888-463-3772
Laura's Country Candles
1606 Lincoln Rd.
Allegan, MI 49010
Evolve, Gifts for the Senses, Inc.
22 Canal St. Suite #23
Somersworth, NH 03878
Topic: Product Trends
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