Mar 1, 2012
Conklin Fashions offers 10,000 different products, such as earrings, necklaces, bracelets, pins, novelty items, body jewelry, sunglasses, and reading accessories available at heavily discounted wholesale prices. Offering both generic and name brand department store jewelry, as well as closeouts, Conklin has an enormous line of merchandise, highlighted by thousands of different styles of earrings. Most items are available by the dozen, usually with free shipping and a free display.
According to owner Jerry Conklin, Conklin Fashions stands out from the competition because the wholesaler sells its products at such low prices. "Would you fill your car or truck with gas at 36 cents a gallon?" he asks. "This is what we do at Conklin Fashions, sell jewelry wholesale for ten cents on the dollar. A lot of the items that we sell, you would normally see in a department store for $15. I sell them everyday for 62 cents. We're talking less than five cents on the dollar there."
Currently, Conklin Fashions has a liquidation sale on a very popular line of children's jewelry that is marked between four and six dollars retail. "We're selling it for 28 cents apiece. If you take some of our department store goods, in eyewear, sunglasses, and reading glasses, we've got some huge margins that our retailers can't make anywhere else on other items," notes Conklin.
The wholesaler's 150,000-square-foot main warehouse is completely filled to the brim, which Conklin notes is especially remarkable due to the size of the merchandise, as jewelry takes up far less space than furniture or other big ticket items. With a warehouse that is six stories high and features fourteen loading docks, Conklin Fashions has quickly grown over the past 26 years from an initial investment of $50 to four major buildings in Bainbridge, NY. "We've grown because our customers' needs have grown, and we have successfully fulfilled those needs," Conklin adds.
"They've asked us to branch into different areas. If you're selling earrings to a customer, and know they could use sunglasses, or reading glasses, or bracelets, why not supply them?"
Conklin always has new products ready to hit the market. However, the problem with having such an extensive line of merchandise is keeping the company website up-to-date. Conklin noted that in December, more than 1,000 new styles of earrings arrived in one day. Although the company has a full-time photo department and a web programming department to set up the product pages for every item, it still took time to put all the photos online. "Each one of those styles can require up to six pictures, and every one of those pictures needs to be fixed and put in a group shot," Conklin adds.
While a shopping cart is available online for easy purchasing, Conklin recommends that customers call and speak to a sales representative directly, rather than simply adding the items to their cart. "I do not always advertise my lowest pricing online," he adds. "I encourage customers to call and get a sales rep that they will work with on a regular basis. The sales rep can then work with the customer to make sure they get the right kind of merchandise for their store, based on their store type, location, and needs." Different locations around the country require different types of merchandise. Conklin's philosophy is to make sure that each sale is a perfect fit for each business, because if a sales rep sells something just to make a sale, it is likely that the wholesaler will eventually lose them as a customer. Not only will the sales representative sell what they believe is the perfect merchandise for every buyer, but also whenever new merchandise comes in that they feel is a good match that rep will call the company directly. "When the customer gets your merchandise and they sell out of it, the next time they see your name on the caller ID, they will pick up the phone and say, ?What have you got for me?' That's what I look for. This is the kind of relationship that we have with our customers, and why we are successful," says Conklin.
However, just because things are going well does not mean that Conklin is ready to take his foot off the gas pedal. He notes that he did seven trade shows in January alone, and hired seven new employees at the start of the year, something that is incredibly rare during this slow economy. "I have so many goals," he notes. "I think as I get older, I look to increase rather than slow down, and we push harder when things are going well. I'm really looking to expand, train new people, and get them to become specialists. I see so many different new markets that we can satisfy. I'm excited for the future, and I just cannot wait to see what is coming next."
For more information:
9-11 Johnson St.
Bainbridge, NY 13733
Toll Free: 888-563-4411
Topic: Company Profiles
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Article ID: 1551
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