Archive for May, 2008...
Filed under Fashion Business Trends
Filed under Bracelets
Ever notice how the fashion industry never lives in the “now”? It’s always what’s the next hot item? What are next season’s trends? What’s the economy going to do? I’m guilty too! Yes, we have a preview of fall jewelry coming out soon. But today let’s take time to smell the roses.
Summer is just beginning so let’s enjoy what we have, but first let’s put to rest all those jitters distracting us. The polar bears are probably all right-some states set new low temperature records in May and The Canada Free Press is taking about a year of global cooling. That terrifying “recession” word takes two quarters of negative growth and we haven’t experienced the first one yet. Gas prices are costing the average family the price of dining out once a week. World consumption is 87 million barrels a day and production is 85 million. That seems an easy fix and the Asian Times writes the bubble is about to burst on prices. Do we have to beat last year’s figures? No, we just need to be profitable.
Now for the bright side. Jewelry and accessories are bold and bright right now. That is fertile ground for fashion jewelry and accessories. This is Saturday so don’t make me go get all those pictures and links to show you what I mean. OK, maybe only a few.
The picture shows bold jewelry that really makes a statement and only fashion jewelry delivers it. The look is classic, it’s gorgeous, and it’s on customers’ shopping lists.
Now thumb through In Style Magazine and the bright colors jump out at you. Fine jewelry doesn’t give you these vibrant colors and they are really “in” this summer. You got it! Only fashion jewelry delivers this color.
OK, you feel good about everything, but your customers are wringing their hands. Even during The Great Depression women were buying. It is a great honor that in my lifetime I knew Gus Stearn. He survived selling wholesale fashion jewelry during The Great Depression in Dallas and became an icon for the industry in that city.
Department stores talk about the “lipstick effect”. Basically this amounts to women don’t quit buying, they just buy lower priced items like “lipstick”. No problem for the average boutique or accessory store because the business can flow from luxury items to them.
Accessory Wholesale started in Louisiana in 1985-two years after the oil bust in Louisiana sent some oil-dependent cities in the state into depression-type unemployment. This is long before the internet provided worldwide exposure. Business grew every year and was not impacted by the economy, but by fashion trends. When the natural look in the mid-nineties took hold, jewelry was minimal and business was horrible. At the same time the news was announcing the economy is great. Well now the scene is set for successful business with bold looks and bright colors. So put on your dancing shoes and enjoy the “now”.
Filed under Sunglasses
Necklace sets have surpassed everything as the top wholesale jewelry shipping over the last two years for us. Yet Accessory Magazine says in their Jewelry Review of 2007 retail sales says that department stores report bracelets as the top seller. Well there are plenty of gorgeous items to choose from in this category. So in order to avoid tunnel vision, let’s examine some stunning bracelets to find the ones that will go flying out of your shop.
First, let’s take another quick look at a bracelet we talked about last week because we believe it is “the bracelet” for summer 2008-the enameled bracelet. It has everything this season is about-bright colors, bangles that stack, and oodles of designs. Best of all theses bracelets go on easily with a hinged opening and spring closure.
We have to include gemstone bracelets because this stunning jewelry just keeps rolling along with classic trends so prevalent. They started with semiprecious stones that are household words like rose quartz, tiger’s eye, carnelian, rock crystal, and aventurine. These are all still good and this season adds more semiprecious stones that lack wide recognition like tree agate, picture jasper, rutilated quartz, and red agate. We’ve saved the best for last. Nothing beats turquoise this season.
Classic styles have Murano style glass bracelets high on customers shopping lists also. The gorgeous glasswork provides constant surprises of beauty that we will dearly miss if it ever leaves the fashion scene. But as popular as Murano style glass jewelry is, that isn’t going to happen this season or next. Most have size to make a statement and colors are marvelous as well as the craftsmanship of suspended foil, spiraling colors, and islands of metallic particles that create a goldstone effect.
In the past week we have also covered bracelets with engraved messages. Feelings and spiritual messages make these bracelets more than wrist ornamentation and they steadily sell in a quiet way. This jewelry makes a connection with the person and needs no sales pitches.
What could be more summery than shell bracelets and dyed shell provides a wonderful expression of bright color that is so important this summer. These bracelets can be simple, inexpensive, and trendy or they can extend to more sophisticated looks. Also, they are natural for everyone interested in eco-green.
Bold beading is definitely part of this summers fashion flow and beaded bracelets can provide a fabulous range of good looks from fun jewelry in vibrant colors to classic ceramic bracelets. These bracelets have enough variety to make a statement with any outfit.
Charm bracelets-are they timeless? People love themes and these bracelets don’t care what fashion is–they just keep broadcasting a theme and selling. As long as themes touch the human spirit, charm bracelets will be in demand. Great gifts too-every school teacher probably has a dozen of them.
Cuff bracelets have been on every other page of the fashion magazines for the last two years. Cuffs and bangles keep vying for the top fashion statement and writing a fashion trend report on these bracelets is easy-just copy last seasons report. Maybe that’s an exaggeration because there are some changes. This summer enameled cuffs are doing well and basket weave or cuffs with openwork are popular. Encrusted stones are another nice touch, but simple wide silver plated cuff bracelets with a mirror finish are a forever statement.
This at least touches the tip of the iceberg on bracelets that offer an endless variety of looks to go with every imaginable outfit. Beyond the fashion statements discussed here, there are pearl bracelets, crystal bracelets, rhinestone, and freshwater pearls for prom, bridal, and formal affairs. A fashion jewelry selection has to include bracelets with today’s interest in these fashion accessories.
Filed under Visors
Retailers realize that sunglasses are a big summertime accessory, but most might not realize how big. A worldwide Nielsen survey on designer merchandise reports sunglasses as the number two “must have” accessory according to Market Research World. Although this report is a little dated, the latest figures from Accessory Magazines retail sales analysis for 2007 are current. They show sunglasses as the number four selling accessory in good company with handbags, jewelry, and watches.
Small businesses have a terrific niche market in sunglasses. Department stores provide the high end with designer sunglasses and convenience stores have inexpensive sunglasses that usually lack style. All the middle ground of stylish sunglasses at affordable prices goes to small businesses. They need a stylish look and some information for helping customers find the sunglasses that fit and look good. Our 2008 Sunglass Trend Report provides both, but here we will just give a quick overview of sunglass styles that are important this season.
Sports sunglasses are another field, but fashionable sunglasses like you see celebrities wearing are mainly aviators or oversize. Aviators pre-date World War II and if you want to see them in the forties, dig up some old pictures of Gen. Douglas MacArthur. Originally they were wire frames, but today’s aviators have updated looks. Yes, wire frames are still good and popular with the guys, but now plastic frames provide another look and oversize aviators are popular for women.
Another important style this season is oversize sunglasses with plastic frames. They are constantly evolving since the Jackie Os that came out three seasons ago. Corners are often more rounded and arms are either tapered or straight with decoration. Other retros making a return are the bamboo styles that were the rage of the eighties with large round lenses and tubular plastic frames.
Shields continue to be popular with monolenses, minimal frames, and narrow metal arms. These sunglasses were a major statement two years ago and remain as one of the stable designs with simplicity and clean lines.
Linear designs use a mix of metal and plastic for a truly chic look. Rectangular lenses and tapered arms create smooth geometric lines using rimless, metal frames, or plastic frames designs. This stunning look provides dramatic eyewear without being oversized.
The face determines what sunglasses look good on a customer so visit the 2008 Sunglass Trend Report for more styles and helpful tips on fitting sunglasses.
Filed under Cowboy Hats
Summer is definitely here with temperatures busting the nineties for the last week in South Louisiana. Retailers are looking for those extra items to add to summer sales. Well this is the time of year when sun visors become important. One style of visor that booms every summer is foam visors covered with cotton fabric and comfortably held in place with coiled elastic.
These visors are not only lightweight and inexpensive, but they have fun themes that grab the attention of customers. They provide an inexpensive add-on sale to go with a summer outfit in brick and mortar businesses and are irresistible at outdoor events like festivals, craft shows, and sporting events. But their main drawing card is the themes.
Festivals and street fairs often benefit local stores as well as outdoor vendors and these events usually have a theme. That makes these visors perfect for the occasion. Crawfish, Jazz, music, railroad, hot air balloons, wine tasting, and different kinds of food are only a few of the themes used around the country for these outdoor events. These visors can provide inexpensive relief from the sun in all of these themes.
In addition, the visors can appeal to special groups. Walks for breast cancer awareness may want pink ribbon visors; the ladies that love their red and pink hats like sequin visors in those colors; and little league teams may want to sell baseball visors as a fundraiser.
Even outside centralized themes, these sun visors have strong appeal. Everyone has something they care about and a variety of themes displayed together will capture shoppers’ attention. Low price makes the visors an easy impulse sale and when customers find the one that touches their heart or makes a perfect gift the item sells itself.
These visors work for every age and fit nearly anyone with size that adjusts by pulling the coiled elastic through the hole in the visor to change the size. Comfort also makes the visors popular because they stay on with minimal pressure while they shade the eyes. Retailers looking for new products to boost summer sales should give these attractive and inexpensive visors strong consideration.
Filed under Bracelets
Many fashion reporters wrote an early obituary on cowboy hats this year and 2007 retail results came out showing cowboy hats the worst performer in headwear for department stores. We disagreed with this doom and gloom and stated in our spring hat trend report that sales figures at the end of the summer would show cowboy hats the number one seller.
Well Memorial Day weekend is arriving marking the unofficial start of the summer season and cowboy hats are moving into the fast lane. Celebrities are still looking their coolest in straw roll-ups and the look hasn’t escaped the fashion magazines. The annual return of summer vacations mean youth camps, beaches, festivals, and outdoor concerts-all the right stuff for this flattering headwear. Put it together and wholesale cowboy hats see a sudden increase in orders shipping.
What cowboy hats are retailers buying? Number one this season are distressed straw cowboy hats with shapeable brims. Pinch front hats seem to outsell pinch top hats (cattlemen), but both are very good. Natural straws are just behind the well-worn look of distressed and raffia is the favorite straw material.
Cowboy hats with color are next and black and white lead here, followed by pink and red. Again pinch front hats are the favorite and most are shapeable to get that cool rolled brim look.
The season sees lots of new introductions such as the cowgirl hat with rose appliqués shown. Cowboy hats provide character and variety helps customers fit their personality. Search through the wholesale cowboy hats and you will find everything from the rugged men’s hats to cute styles for gals.
Last season department stores found out cowboy hats weren’t their item and that’s good news for small retailers as the market for western headwear returns to them. After all, small retailers have owned this business for years. The same year that department store sales lagged, wholesale cowboy hats lead all categories in quantity shipped to small and mid-sized shops for us. We expect a repeat this season so get ready for all those outdoor events by stocking this icon of American headwear which seems to have timeless appeal.
Filed under Fashion Trends
No wonder enamel bracelets are important this season with all the talk in fashion trends about bright colors, the popularity of bracelets, and multiple bangles worn on both arms. Enameled bracelets provide all of the above with the added feature of spring loaded hinges that allow the bangles to go on with ease.
Enameled bracelets bring bright color to fashion jewelry and vibrant color has certainly impacted summer trends. All the popular summer colors of red, white, black, orange, green, and yellow are available in these accessories plus secondary colors like turquoise, fuchsia, and light olive. Bracelets are first plated gold or silver and the trend seems to be more towards gold plating.
This fashion jewelry can also get very trendy with polka dots providing a fifties look or geometric designs delivering Art Deco inspirations. Each bracelet comes in multiple color choices and widths vary from 3/8 inch to a ½ inch with more designs and sizes expected soon.
For customers that want more than color, some bracelets have designs such as raised relief meandering flowers that are plated or symmetrical designs that use multiple colors.
Some manufacturers are reporting that enameled bracelets are there leading item so far this season and fashion magazines are hyping the look. Expect even more colors and designs as the summer continues and demand increases. Give this fashion jewelry some consideration because it’s probably on your customers’ shopping list.
Filed under Necklace Sets
Sometimes the big picture in fashion trends obscures smaller buying trends that are spiking. The smaller trends can be important so here are some insights from a retail specialist that follows them.
As we draw near to the end of May the online retail world is heading for the trends of summer. Milly dresses (sundresses with a fifties look) are the hottest sellers on eBay this week and along with that look are the brights in jewelry with matching earrings, necklaces and big bangle bracelets leading the way.
Bridal looks for June weddings are also in full swing with rhinestone and more importantly this year crystal necklace sets leading the way for brides and bridesmaids. Clear crystals set in silver with gold settings becoming more popular again. These are the choice for brides with popular colors chosen for attendants. While crystal is what they are searching for, it is large rhinestone that they are buying. The small dainty look is leaving us as the primary choice and bigger bolder pieces especially in earrings are selling this year for the entire bridal party.
Almost every bride this year is buying crystal or rhinestone bracelets as well with the stretch bracelets still leading this trend. At the other end of the spectrum the quickest selling jewelry item day in and day out is currently cameo jewelry in the full spectrum of colors.
DG sunglasses appear to be the leader this year in the sunglass market as well. We are also seeing a trend on eBay away from the more expensive designer bags and towards the great looks and values available in other bags without the high price. Consumers are shopping on eBay with their budgets in mind.
Filed under Fashion Jewelry
Fine jewelry has intrinsic value, but the attraction of fashion jewelry is art with breath-taking beauty. Colors, shapes, textures, and materials provide new surprises with endless fresh interpretations.
One line that we distribute has its own signature look that impresses us. Judging by the volume of wholesale jewelry that we ship in this line, it apparently impresses the retailers also. As we move into summer with vacations, cruises, and the need for resort wear new arrivals in this classic look are worth reviewing.
Crisp design, bold look, and wonderful use of colors characterize this jewelry line that began by producing everything in glass with a fresh twist. The look is simplistic making a dramatic statement, but never ordinary. The entire line is necklace sets and one innovation this season is wire strung necklaces with a weave that provides a vision of open space without the use of spacers. The fashion jewelry has an American designer and overseas production.
Another innovation in these necklace sets is the entry into Murano style glass jewelry this year. Colors are marvelous with the same clean designs and bold statements. Pancake foil beads and striped tile beads add an eye-catching dimension that stands out.
Also this season adds gemstone creations with the same signature look. Turquoise is the hot gemstone jewelry this season and enters into the designs replacing the glass showpieces. A stylish touch of bold chain linking makes these necklace sets definitely 2008. As with most other lines, turquoise stones are reconstituted, which provides the beauty of the stone at an affordable price.
As baby boomers grow older vacations do not always mean a trip to the beach. Cruises, resorts, and international travel add a growing aspect to summer vacations. These include formal dining and an evening of entertainment or dancing that calls for jewelry and accessories beyond the fun items for the beach.
Filed under Fashion Accessories
Major tragedies have rocked the 21st century starting with September 11th, the Tsunami, Hurricane Katrina, the earthquake in Pakistan, and now the earthquake in China. The death toll in China already exceeds 32,000 including many children who were in school when school buildings collapsed because of the quake.
The events jolt society into a reflective mood. People search for meaning and look back to family and roots. This in turn influences fashion and a term borrowed from the Germans, zeitgeist, sums it up in a single word. Zeitgeist simply stated is the mood of the times.
The tragedies of the 21st century replaced the rapid progression of the nineties with a slower pace that looks backward for meaning and this search of the past ushered in classic trends that are now everywhere from apparel to accessories. But even more explicit is jewelry with engraved messages that express the mood and inner feelings.
Jewelry with a message experienced quiet growth, although it was not unnoticed. It crept into fashion magazines and we mentioned it in our last two seasonal fashion jewelry reports. This was not top down fashion, but bottom up rising from the feelings of society. Then last summer I realized how deeply interested consumers were in meaningful jewelry when two different manufacturers called me within an hour. I asked each what was selling best and they both replied the same-engraved jewelry with a message.
The message carried can be as warm as “friendship”, as uplifting as “happiness”, or as comfortable as “family”, but it is jewelry with a spiritual message that is drawing the most consumer attention. Bracelets seem to be the favorite way to express a message and the most appreciated engravings are Scriptural quotes, The Ten Commandments, The Lord’s Prayer, and the Virtues. Silver plating is most popular with other platings providing a variety of looks.
Engraved messages on pendants are also appreciated. Pendants on a choker send a message of caring with a tailored look. Often a small charm related to the message floats on top of an engraved disk. Necklaces are also used, but to a lesser extent.
The internet and television bring the tragedies and suffering into our living rooms. They remind us of our own vulnerability and mortality. They awaken our dependency on a Higher Being and jewelry with a message provides a physical way to give expression to spiritual feelings. This is not fashion that needs hype; it is meaning that society hungers for. So let this jewelry set quietly in your shop and customers will connect with it.
Veteran retailers may get a little jittery in an election year because of the old adage that election years are bad for business. Many have already tired of the political rhetoric so here are some quips from The Book of Poisonous Quotes by Colin Jarmin to lighten us up before we get started.
Politics is the gentle art of getting votes from the poor and campaign funds from the rich by promising to protect each from the other.
Politics is developing more comedians than radio ever did.
And now my favorite from British politics:
Lady Astor: Winston, if I were married to you, I’d put poison in your coffee.
Sir Winston Churchill: Nancy, if you were my wife, I’d drink it.
Now if we can’t beat ‘em, let’s join ‘em. First there is the jewelry. All those campaign workers, convention delegates, and passionately dedicated want to express their feelings. For the ladies, nothing beats jewelry. American flag pins say a lot and rhinestone flag pins do it with sparkle, but for getting to the point nothing beats donkey and elephant jewelry wrapped in stars and stripes.
Pendants and earrings make an explicit statement for those with the courage to wear them. Of course, it’s no problem at conventions and precincts with a captive audience and these are some of the hottest markets. This jewelry often sells in volume for a group that wants to make a statement together.
Wholesale Americana pendants and earrings that provide a cute statement are a specialty of Best Brand. The well-crafted jewelry has raised relief and a polished finish plus plenty of personality. They are so cute they have to get attention. Just carry both so no one throws a rock through your window.
What about the guys? Lapel flag pins are big, but for suit and tie guys American flag ties are it. A variety of styles provides choices to fit different personalities. Some like an understated look while others prefer a dramatic statement.
Now everyone knows that outside of theatre productions the boater hat sees its heyday at political conventions. So let conventioneers throw away those cheesy styrofoam boaters and don true quality with a straw boater made like the originals from the early 20th century. Surely a boater of this quality can attract more votes. Judging by the expression of the lady in the picture, her candidate must have lost.
Back to the ladies. Everyone has to trust a woman draped in a scarf of stars and stripes. Large squares or oblongs are all it takes to make a statement. Here is an accessory you can get creative with. Explore all the different ways to tie a scarf and pass these on to your customers and you make scarves an irresistible accessory.
Next comes something that can really zero in on a candidate-rhinestone initials. The letters slide on a bracelet to spell a name. Just hope the names are short to hold cost down. If they had these 200 years ago think how much more economical it would be to sell “Adams” than “Jefferson”. In 1952 “Ike” would be a bargain next to “Stevenson”. If local politics wants to make a statement without spending a fortune on custom jewelry, this could be an answer.
We’re having fun, but it’s a fact. This kind of interest is a once in four year event-presidential election year. Why worry about how it can impact business when you can capitalize on it?