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INDEPENDENT RETAILER magazine is now the official news outlet for Wholesale Central visitors. Each monthly issue is packed with new product ideas, supplier profiles, retailing news, and business strategies to help you succeed.

See new articles daily online at IndependentRetailer.com.


Retailers Smell Success with Scented Products

Dec 1, 2008
by Christopher Heine

Relatively inexpensive and enjoyable gift products sell all year. Birthdays, anniversaries, baptisms, bar mitzvahs and other occasions prompt consumers to constantly be gifting.

The product niche of Fragrances, Candles and Incense Items remains a steady workhorse for mom-and-pop retailers and etailers around the country. American consumers have loved ones who appreciate perfumes, scented candles and melts and aromatic incense to improve the experience of life.

WholesaleCentral.com offers the best available selection in this category. There are many opportunities to browse online stores at www.wholesalecentral.com. Some of the best sellers include SummitSensations.com, SkinnyDipCandle.com, FragranceNet.com, LilFlickers.com and ScentimentalGifts.com. These sites offer top products at the best prices.

"My hottest-selling items are the tarts and melts," said Vicky Wallette, Owner of Summit Sensations, Grand Junction, CO. "They go into the electric burners that so many households now have for aromatic pleasure, then melt the wax and release the scent."

At SummitSensations.com, the wholesale cost for the melts and tarts ranges between $2 and $10. For Wallette, specificity is huge for her brand and its product line.

"I am very particular that my scents smell exactly as their name describes," she said. "I have some unusually-named items, but even those names give a hint as to what they are. For example, 'Waking Dreams' is my number one seller. It is lavender and lemongrass. Lemongrass wakes you up and gets your spirit going. Lavender is relaxing and calming."

Indeed, Wallette's experiential line of tarts and melts fit nicely into an emerging product category. More and more consumers are falling in love with their electric and ceramic burners, which need tarts and melts to create their desired aromas. Her company also sells burners at www.summitsensations.com.

"The burners themselves are as varied as anything else," Wallette said. "We have everything from wildlife burners that look like tigers, lions and bears to the more upbeat, urban styles, which will go with any home décor. A lot of retailers that buy from me are artisanal accessory shops and people looking to go into craft shows themselves. I also have quite a few dropshippers. We get our orders out as soon as possible, and try to stay ahead of the curve by practicing the most friendly style of customer service."

Being ahead of the curve is what every businessperson wants. And SkinnyDipCandle.com was the first wholesaler to offer lotion or massage candles that are made with cosmetic ingredients.

These are not novelty products. Skinny Dip Candles were created to make a truly noticeable difference in skin elasticity and moisture. They only use cosmetic grade, top quality cocoa butter, shea butter, avocado butter, coconut oil and vitamin E for their emolient, skin nurturing properties.

On average, the items at skinnydipcandle.com cost $6 wholesale. Retail pricing is usually $12.95, depending on the local market, the clientele and other products buyers are marketing.

"We started off primarily servicing gift stores, because we were originally a gift store ourselves, but we have really branched out from there," said Karen Porter, President and Founder, Skinny Dip Candles by Scents of Décor, Inc. "We sell to gift stores, day spas, professional massage therapists, beauty salons, nail salons, and interestingly enough, we even have a lot of specialty retailers."

The appeal of Porters' items only begins there. "This morning, I got a call from a lady who is in the horse industry. She owns a tack and feed store. She said people who work out private horses have these incredibly dry hands, and they were using hoof balm. Well, now they are using our three-in-one product. It is a candle; it is a lotion when it melts, and it is also a massage oil. Our competition has been trying to copy our formula."

What separates SkinnyDipCandles.com's line of products from the competition is that they were developed with input from professional massage therapists, who are actually using the candles as substitution for professional massage oils. Also, it burns like a candle, but has a lighter fragrance.

While the company was founded in Austin, TX, it now operates out of Missoula, MT. Porter said that many of her best clients reside on the East Coast and are satisfied with ship times. Retailers with a strong Valentine's Day crowd should take note and log on to skinnydipcandles.com.

"We market our items as a Valentine's Day gift for couples because they are playful and romantic," Porter explained. "We started off selling locally in our own gift store, but then we started getting lots of wholesale requests. Several months later, we put up a website and took our products to trade shows. Wholesale is now our bread and butter."

Meanwhile, retail buyers are finding that they can take advantage of excellent wholesale perfumes websites. Etailers have been reporting significant annual sales spikes for years now.

For instance, FragranceNet.com, which offers the hottest mid - to higher - end items on the market. For women, some of those proven brands include (all wholesale prices listed below are for 3.4 ounce bottles): Jessica McClintock ($24.50), Lovely Jessica Parker ($27.50), Juicy Couture ($38.50), Euphoria ($45.50) and D&G Light Blue ($70.50), among others.

Newer releases for women's perfumes available at fragrancenet.com involve Viva La Juicy, Emporio Armani Diamonds, Notorious, Magnifique and My Givenchy Dream. The wholesale prices range from $38 to $54 for 1.7 oz bottles.

For men, the site's best sellers include Acqua Di Gio ($48.50), Cool Water ($28.50), Jean Paul Gaultier ($58.50), Eternity ($33.50), Armani Code ($53.50) and Dolce & Gabbana ($61.50), among others. All wholesale prices listed above are for bottles that range from 2.5 ounces to 4.2 ounces.

Newer releases for men at fragrancenet.com include hot brands such as Davidoff Adventure, Dirty English, Hilfiger, Deseo and Emporio Armani Diamonds. Wholesale prices range from $26 to $43 for 1.7 ounce bottles.

Fragrancenet.com clients include big names like Amazon.com, SmartBargains.com and Overstock, but Patti Kapla, VP of Business Development, FragranceNet.com, Hauppauge, NY, said her company services a hodgepodge of retail entities.

"We serve mom-and-pop shops, gift stores and pretty much run the gamut," Kapla explained. "Our orders are processed quickly and go out the door within 24 hours. Everything has a 30 day money back guarantee, too. Customer service is available 24/7 to help you select from our great variety of fragrance products."

Another company sporting a great variety is LilFlickers.com, which offers handcrafted jar candles in 65 scents. The attractive, 18 oz candles wholesale for $10 per unit.

"My signature scent, 'Butter Rum,' is my number one year-round seller," said Arlene Stelzer, Owner, LilFlickers.com, South Padre Island, TX. "It is responsible for 20 percent of my total sales. Butter Rum is such a strong product, it is a knockout. It has a butterscotch scent that fills up an entire two story house. It lends itself to all consumer demographics."

Typically, Stelzer's customers are gift stores, upscale wine and liquor shops, hair salons, backyard, floral and garden stores and home décor outlets. Her candles have an incredible burn time of 120 hours.

"My candles burn approximately seven and a half hours per ounce," Stelzer explained. "If you divide the burn time by the ounces, you will see that mine is near the top in the country for this niche."

As SummitSensations.com, FragranceNet.com, SkinnyDipCandle.com and LilFlickers.com aromatic products remain a huge hit in the consumer marketplace. Scentimentalgiftsetc.com offers bath and body items, potpourris, oils, incense sticks, reed diffusers and smelly jelly products, among others.

"The biggest selling item that we offer is the aroma beads," said Kendra Morgan, owner of Scentimentalgiftsetc.com, Glen Saint Mary, FL. "That is what we specialize in. They last much longer than conventional potpourri, and they are pretty to look at and strong in aroma. The end user can put them in sachets and hang them in his or her car. Some folks actually put them inside stuffed animals or place them in potpourri dishes. Other people melt them down to make ornaments. There are a lot of things you can do with them."

Morgan said that her business-to-business customers normally include gift shops, flea marketers and mall kiosk vendors. Wholesale prices for the aroma beads depend on the number of pounds purchased via scentimentalgiftsetc.com or over the phone.

"If someone buys just one pound, then it will cost $8.50," she explained. "If they purchase 50 pounds, the price may be as low as $6 per pound. It simply depends on their needs and what they are willing to buy. What is unique about these beads is that you can mix and match. People can place them in jars and get their own custom blend."

For more information, contact:

591 25 Rd #B3
Grand Junction, CO 81505
Tel.: 970-241-2089
Website: www.summitsensations.com

Scents of Decor, Inc.
1951 Kensington, Suite 2
Missoula, MT 59801
Tel.: 406-549-8626
Website: www.skinnydipcandle.com

FragranceNet.com, Inc.
104 Parkway Drive South
Hauppauge, NY 11788
Tel.: 631-582-5204
Website: www.fragrancenet.com

Lil' Flickers Candles Company
P.O. Box 3961
South Padre Island, TX 78597
Tel.: 956-761-9451
Fax: 956-761-1538
Mobile: 956-371-1410
Website: www.lilflickers.com

Scentimental Gifts, Etc.
11260 North C.R. 125
Glen Saint Mary, FL 32040
Tel.: 904-259-5436
Website: www.scentimentalgiftsetc.com

Topic: Product Trends

Related Articles: candles  fragrances 

Article ID: 859

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