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Eye appeal is critical to building sales volume at kiosks and carts. But traffic alone, and even traffic with volume sales, is not enough to build a successful kiosk business. High profit margins are critical to ensuring that vendors have income left over after the rent is paid.
Here are two very different kiosk product providers that have put together the winning combination of high appeal, brisk sales and big profits. They are sunglasses supplier, Kachina LLC, based in Santa Ana, CA, and TAT International LLC, which provides a turnkey temporary tattoo program and hails from Grand Rapids, MI.
"Sunglasses sales are a number one moneymaker," says Julia Lemke, marketing director of Kachina. "That is why you will undoubtedly come across several sunglasses kiosks in every mall throughout the U.S. and abroad," she notes.
Her own company supplies kiosks worldwide, and they feature Kachina LLC's Euro Eyewear Collection. "It is definitely eye catching," Lemke contends, "not only because of the high quality, fashionable styles, but also because of the presentation."
"In order to catch people's attention and make them want to stop and try on the sunglasses, you have to make sure your display stands out," she advises. "Make sure you have a great looking, sophisticated presentation that enhances the product on display. No matter how fabulous your sunglasses are, if they are not presented properly, people will just pass right by."
Toward that end, Kachina offers a variety of displays. Among them is the D-253 countertop unit. It is made of acrylic, rotates and has mirrors on both sides. "This display immediately gives people the impression they are looking at a high end, must have sunglasses collection," Lemke says.
Guy Weizmann, Kachina LLC's general manager, suggests the overall initial investment in a sunglasses program from his company is about $1,000 and up, "depending on the quality of the display and the assortment of sunglasses. The selection that works depends very much on the demographics of the kiosk location," he adds.
"But, to start, a vendor needs at least 25 dozen different styles, each style in assorted colors, so there is an attractive looking mix," says Weizmann. The company offers a variety of different lines and the typical markup ranges from 500 percent to a whopping 1,000 percent.
New lines, "the hottest and trendiest styles," arrive every couple of months, Lemke reports. Among the most popular newest styles is a bamboo look, a new version of the popular Jackie O look, and a new iced purple design, which Lemke says is one of the fastest moving newcomers.
"Sunglasses sell best when the entire kiosk is devoted to sunglasses," says Lemke. An exception would be the addition of sunglass accessories, such as cases.
Kachina LLC is at the ASD Show in Las Vegas; August 10-13, at booths 9102-9104, on the upper floor of Sands Expo. The booth can be spotted by a huge, yellow Euro-Eyewear balloon that flies above it.
"Our staff can provide some valuable advice on how to improve kiosk displays," says Lemke. It is also an opportunity to view new styles that just arrived. Buying from Kachina, she says, offers access to a friendly and knowledgeable sales team that is constantly researching new marketing ideas and offering ideas for setting up a successful kiosk business.
"The team's goal is to provide excellent service that helps its kiosk vendors sell out of newly ordered sunglasses, as quickly as possible," says Lemke. Repeat business, as well as referrals from satisfied clients, is what has made Kachina LLC one of the fastest growing companies of 2008, she points out. The staff can provide vendors with lists of the best sellers in their particular market area.
Tattoos were once associated only with fringe social groups. Now they show up in the finest of places: on runways, red carpets and in country clubs; in fact, everywhere. They have appeal to people of all ages and both genders.
You can't tell by looking if they're permanent or temporary, but the latter are particularly popular for obvious reasons. "Parents love them," says Kirk Knapp, owner of TAT International LLC. He should know.
Knapp and TAT International pioneered the development of a temporary airbrush tattoo system. He has owned and managed cart operations in malls for more than 15 years. In the summer of 2002, he owned and managed 11 that offered TATs exclusively, and has proven the system is a money maker.
Kiosks and carts that offer temporary tattooing on the spot are sure to grab attention, he says. They hit on a cardinal principal of kiosk and cart merchandising, and that is to drum up excitement. Most importantly, they carry a high margin of profit. "What costs 10 cents earns $10," Knapp says, noting that once a system is in place, the only replenishable component of the system is the ink.
TAT International has developed three choices of what Knapp calls Power Systems. They are designed for starters, professionals and entrepreneurs. The least expensive starter system is $2,497, and it contains everything needed to get into the business. That includes compressors, air hoses, spray guns, stencils, display and body ink. It also includes a TAT training DVD and unlimited technical support via a toll free number.
There are thousands of stencils, each can be used hundreds of times, and each is guaranteed for a year. An organizer for them is also included. The stencils are copyrighted, ensuring that they are exclusive to TATstores.
The company's proprietary, Power Pallet color changer, with airbrush, allows the operator to switch colors and blend adjacent ones to create new colors and subtle shades by turning a dial. The compressor, Knapp says, is silent and odorless.
TAT International supplies Duratat ink, a water based formula that is non toxic and non allergenic. In addition, Knapp says, "it lasts twice as long as conventional inks on the skin.
It takes just one to three minutes to put a tat on a customer, depending on the intricacy of the design. According to Knapp, an operator can do 150 tats a day. He also says the Power System kit can provide an operator with up to $15,000 before there's need to replenish a supply. "On a reorder of ink at a cost of $195, the vendor can do another $20,000 in retail sales," he adds.
In addition to the training DVD, which can be used over and over to train sales staff, the company provides posters and a document outlining ideas to jump start the business. "There are pricing suggestions, promotional ideas, trifold handouts and our secret selling techniques," Knapp says.
The larger professional and entrepreneur systems cost $3,497 and $4,497, respectively, and contain more stencils and more ink. The entrepreneur version includes two Power Palettes, so a kiosk can do multiple sales simultaneously. The smaller systems are upgradable, and financing is available for all three.
In addition to the equipment, supplies and marketing materials, Knapp and his staff members are available to share their own experiences with running successful mall operations. That includes tips on the best kiosk locations, rent rates, hours of business and business plans.
While the business can be sustained year round, Knapp says, "it does best in summer." That is the opposite of seasons for many successful kiosk and cart operators, he notes. As a result, "a lot of our people buy the system to hold their place in a mall, and then they discover how much they can make in what was once considered an off season."
The following people at these companies were interviewed for this article:
Guy Weizmann, general manager
Julia Lemke, marketing director
1640 East Edinger Avenue #L
Santa Ana, CA 92705
Toll Free: 800-550-1231
Kirk Knapp, owner
TAT International LLC
4950-A Plainfield Avenue
Grand Rapids, MI 49525
Toll Free: 800-280-8198
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