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Ideas for Jewelry & Accessory Businesses

Archive for March, 2011...

Filed under Fashion Jewelry, Fashion Jewelry Trends, Necklace Sets
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If fashion ever stands still, it ceases to be fashion.  So every change of seasons we can expect something entirely new or new developments in an ongoing trend.  One of those ongoing trends that is really coming to center stage this spring is statement necklaces.  Yes, they were up-trending last summer and again in the fall season, but this spring they are really making an impact. 

The Accessories Magazine Census Report that summarizes accessories at the end of every year says the statement necklace continued to sell well in 2010.  They go on to say that these necklaces will remain strong in 2011, but evolve into longer mixed-media ropes and looks that will be more tribal in nature. 


The mixed –media ropes often incorporate beading with different types and sizes of chain, forming long swinging necklaces that hardly seem new. All of us have noticed this look in everything from fashion magazines to upscale apparel catalogs.  The look continues with some innovations like fire polished faceted beads adding quality components that are anything but ordinary.  Other styles use multiple strands of small chain that ties a knot and drops in a tassel with fire polished beads again terminating each chain.     

What are these fire polished faceted beads?  You may have seen them in fashion jewelry without realizing what they are.  Small Pleasures web site gives a concise definition as faceted glass (mainly from the Czech Republic) that is polished by glazing in a red hot oven.   These are the faceted glass beads that often seem to change from a color to clear with motion. 


The look of hand craftsmanship is a key element of tribal jewelry.  Inspiration is the hand workmanship of different world cultures with India, Africa, and the Hispanic cultures among the most popular.  A long necklace with fluted and engraved silver plated beads makes impact as statement jewelry with a look easily identified as inspired by India.

But more familiar looks in statement jewelry—the styles that strut the runways—use bold statement in plated metals that appear to be hand crafted.  A bold bib necklace with curved bars creating hatchet-shaped windows and a fringe of wavy spoon shaped disks provides that fashion runway look. 


Necklaces with exaggerated bead size are not new this season, but some new designs reinvent the look to help keep the trend going.  The season super-sized pearl beads mix with even larger sized beads with a pave’ of faceted fire polished beading.  This gives some shimmer to faux pearl jewelry that will not go unnoticed. 

The design has other colors with jet black being most popular after pearl.  It’s hard to think of an outfit that couldn’t be accessorized by one or the other of these colors.

Another style captures the look of crystals by using faceted acrylic stones.  These mix with the oversized faux pearls and a long tassel to create a dressier version of statement necklaces.  Here the jewelry can expand to accessorizing an after 5 ensemble. 


Shell jewelry, especially mother-of-pearl and the darker version, black lip mother-of-pearl enter the statement necklace arena.  These shells along with paua shell are players in spring fashion trends in their own right.  The shells show up in earrings and other fashion jewelry, but really make impact as statement necklaces. 


A black lip mother-of-pearl necklace set uses shapes including disks and squared in a design that terminates with a tassel.  This fashion jewelry not only meets the statement necklace trend that is on the rise, but the natural beauty of the iridescent shell will grab onlooker’s attention in any setting. 



Perhaps the most unusual statement necklace for spring is found in gemstone jewelry.  Sliced agates drop from multiple strands of chain.  Agates have a semi-transparency that mesmerizes onlookers with intriguing designs created by nature.  Agates have a glassy finish when polished and a hardness on the Mohs scale of 7.  The agates used for this jewelry are slice geodes with many pieces still showing an edge that was the dull grey outside of the round rock. 

A choice of eye-catching colors adds to the appeal.  While the natural state is mostly less interesting with shades of grey and brown, chemical treatment achieves vibrant colors customers love.  The agate is first boiled in a bicarbonate solution and then soaked in a chemical to achieve the color.  Different chemicals are used for each color.  The finished product is a statement necklace worthy of the name because nature’s intriguing designs in the agate slices are sure to turn heads. 

While the statement necklace in past seasons might have seemed over the edge, fashion magazines and runways have familiarized consumers with this jewelry and now your fashion conscious customers are demanding the look.  So add some impact to your showcases for spring by including the dramatic look of statement necklaces.

Comments (0) Posted by admin on Friday, March 25th, 2011

Filed under Casual Hats, Cowboy Hats, Hats
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The March issue of Accessories Magazine has just come out with the annual census, reporting accessory sales by category for 2010.  Coverage of hats extols the new generation of shoppers that have once again lifted headwear to a leading fashion accessories category.   Accessories Magazine reports “Dollar sales jumped 13% last year, pushing the category up even from the 14% increase in 2009”.  The lions’ share of sales went to specialty stores that had 36% of total sales, swamping every other category of outlets for hat sales.  The magazine predicts further increase in hat sales for 2011, so what are the styles we should be considering?


Teen stores accounted for a large percentage of sales in the specialty market and teen love trendy looks that celebrities promote.  In trendy headwear, the fedora is king.  The popularity of fedoras increases with the arrival of each new season and now we enter the spring season where straw fedoras will definitely be a sensation.  Especially distressed straw fedoras offer a rustic look that is also durable.  Weaved lindu straw fedoras come distressed with a rigid construction that holds up in weather.  Other styles use natural straw with vented crowns and are slightly more flexible. 


Go through the casual hat category and you will find fedoras in a wide variety of materials as well as many colors.  Fedoras in houndstooth, plaids, solid colors in microfiber, and faux leather are a sampling of the designs available.  Fedoras appeal to guys and gals alike and the main market is teens and twenties that are influenced by celebrity styles. 


Wide brim hats take the trophy for fashionable looks in headwear.  Ralph Lauren introduced super wide brims in spring fashion shows a few seasons ago and the style has continued to grow each season since.  This year 7 inch brims are turning heads with their fabulous look that is perfect for derby day.  This suave style of headwear is also outstanding for outdoor teas, luncheons, weddings, and garden parties.  A similar widebrim hat with 6 inch brims offers the look with less bounce. 


Casual widebrims use sewn-and-braid toyo or ribbon hats while dressy hats have 5 ½ inch brims in polypropylene that delivers a Milan straw look.  The dressy hat is covered in Part I and can be trimmed. 


Cowboy hats are an American icon that seems to be timeless.  In the past decade, most were made in China and this season may cause some sticker shock because of rising prices in Chinese goods.  The reason for the increase in prices is raising cost of materials, labor, energy, and increases due to the exchange of the dollar rate. 

Nevertheless, many cowboy hats had only slight increases and the addition of some hats made in Mexico offer another low cost option.  Cowboy hats will always be a player in the hat business, but for the last decade, cowboy hats have been a leading category in casual hats.  The boom started with J-Lo and Brittany Spears appearing in roll-up straw cowboy hats.  That started a rage in the headwear that has never died. 

The well-worn look of distressed straw in roll-ups with pinch front shape leads the cowboy hat category year after year—especially if the cowboy hats are shapeable.   This provides a look of rugged individualism and shaping lets shoppers suit their personality.  The look returns again this year.  New designs in raffia have the advantage of a more flexible straw that is often crushable, but the cost of raffia has really seen an impact with rising prices. 

To avoid sticker shock, wholesalers introduce other weaved straws like lindu.  The shape and distressed coloration.are right to grab customer’s attention.  These straws have great durability, able to withstand the weather.  Beyond straws, there are plenty of cowboy hats to fit all kinds of needs as well as personalities. 

Colors are back in 2011 with white and black being most popular.  Most hats with color are toyo because the material dyes easily.  Toyo is actually a paper product, spun into yarn, and resin coated.  Late last summer saw the introduction of two new styles of toyo cowboy hats with an open weave in natural, white, and black colors.  One style has a tightly rolled brim and the other is a modified pinch front.  Both are very affordably priced. 

Accessories Magazine reports solid gains in hat sales.  This is happening quietly with many retailers missing the boat.  Take advantage of demand outstripping supply and include some wholesale hats in your accessory mix to pick up summer sales.

Comments (0) Posted by admin on Friday, March 18th, 2011

Filed under Dress Hats
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 Wholesale hats for spring this year provide a mix of traditional as well as creatively fresh designs and shapes.  Super widebrims are back with even more dramatic brims in casual as well as dressy styles.  Fedoras continue to grow in popularity, but cowboy hats remain the king in casual headwear.  Dress hats take new shapes and trims for exciting designs that will galvanize the attention of church ladies as well as women searching for the exceptional in derby hats.   



Starting with dress hats, let’s look at untrimmed hats first.  When the untrimmed hat body has exciting new shapes, it’s much easier for the milliner to deliver creative designs that will turn heads.  This year is a bonanza for new shapes, but first let’s talk about the return of a hot item from last year—the super widebrim with a 5 ½ inch brim.  A traditional shape with rounded crown and 5 ½ inch brim with some bounce uses polypropylene to capture a Milan straw look in dressy headwear.  The brims alternate narrow bands of polypropylene with horsehair for a stunning look and the added width in the brim gives a fabulous feeling of derby day hats or exceptional elegance desired for an outdoor wedding.  Add to this a wide choice of colors and you also have headwear that is exceptional for bridesmaids. 

The new shapes in untrimmed hats include a lampshade style inspired by hats from the early 1960s.  High crowns expand out as they go up and the 4 ½ inch brim rolls down.  The hats have color choices and construction is polypropylene, which delivers a fine sewn-and-braid straw appearance. 

 Reaching back further in millinery history, two new toques reinvent popular shapes from the 1950s.  Toques made a big splash in hat fashion during the 1950s. They were close fitting brimless hats, often with tall crowns.  The style developed into the bubble toque in the 1960s, which had less height and bubbled out.  Soft materials were the choice medium for most toques in the mid 20th century, but today’s revival of toques in untrimmed hats uses polypropylene for a more rigid construction with the appearance of fine weaved straw. 

Two toques bring fresh shapes to untrimmed hats this spring.  One has a high crown and no brim (typical of a toque) and the other is a bubble toque with a diagonal dropping ridge that blocked into the design.  Imagine the fabulous designs a milliner can deliver with these shapes!  The untrimmed hats went on line in the last 10 days and hat designers are scooping them up quickly. 

Trimmed hats in polypropylene are also turning heads with new styles.  Higher crowns that angle, modified cavaliers, and lavish trim contribute to the excitement.  Cavaliers that first entered ladies hat fashion in 1920 when the novel, The Three Musketeers, came out, made such an impression that milliners to this day are reinterpreting the design with its sassy brim dipping on one side and flipping up on the other.  This season’s version combines the brim with a high crown that angles down to lavish decoration with satin bow on one side. 

Another favorite for spring is a tall crown in polypropylene that has a squared crown angling to one side.  The hat uses a short downturned brim and different decorations to achieve very different looks. 

Part II will follow shortly covering casual hats that are making an impact this spring.

Comments (0) Posted by admin on Wednesday, March 16th, 2011

Filed under Fashion Accessories
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 Is any time more special for a teen girl than prom night?  This is that special time in high school that only comes once and every prom girl wants it to be perfect.  It’s the local retailer—the small businesses in the area that most girls depend on to get the look that is just right.  The first blog on prom covered most of the jewelry needed to accessorize the gown.  This blog begins with ornamentation for the hair. 



Of course, the prom queen and court are going to need tiaras.  After bridal and pageant, the largest demand for tiaras is prom.  Most popular are rhinestone tiaras with clear stones in silver plated settings and a height of 2 ½ inches or more is preferred for the queen.  More tiaras are needed for the court and these have a lower height than the queen’s tiara. 

Tiaras and rhinestone hair ornaments don’t end there.  Many prom girls incorporate small tiaras, rhinestone headbands, combs, and barrettes into their hairstyles for the special night.  If you see the look on a popular celebrity, you can be sure girls will be looking for the accessories for prom night. 


Evening bags are the accessory every prom girl needs.  Watching the red carpet in events like The Oscars, it becomes obvious that the most popular evening bag in 2011 is the evening clutch.  Leatherette with the patent leather look or croc and snakeskin prints are trendy in 2011.  Clutches that are more traditional include satin in a variety of designs from elegant simplicity to beaded flaps.  Sizes also vary and evening clutches provide plenty of color for matching gowns. 


Another category includes prom and bridal bags because prom girls are attracted to certain styles.  Under prom bags are smaller bags, wristlets, soft satin bags with an ultra-feminine look, and bags that have wide selections of colors used in gowns.  The same bags are ideal for bridesmaids so they share the same category. 


Color matching is also important for formal gloves.  The word prom is short for promenade, which is a formal dance for high school students.  Originally, formal gloves were a must, but today some areas use the gloves and others don’t.  Finding them in the right colors and lengths is a problem.  The selection on the site solves that problem.  Most popular for prom are opera length and over the elbow gloves.  Satin gloves provide more sheen and matte has a flatter appearance.  Prom season also overlaps with a peak in bridal so your glove inventory also fills needs for bridesmaid gloves. 


Recent years have seen a rise in masquerade proms.  Some have the students purchase their own masks and others use masks purchased in bulk by the school.  The most popular mask for girls is a foil colored mask on a stick, MM14.  

These masquerade masks are inexpensive yet attractive, making a great option when there is a need for quantities.  MM13 is a simple paper mache eye mask that is painted and is also inexpensive, making an ideal mask for boys.  When students buy their own masks, special designs like Venetian style masks are in demand.  If your local high school does a masquerade prom with students supplying their own masks, you want to stock a nice selection of Venetian style masks because they are not easy to find.  This practically guarantees brisk business for you. 

Now is the time to stock a selection of jewelry and accessories for prom because this major event will take place all over the country from March to April.   Once students realize that this is your specialty, you will have a boost in business every spring.  And you don’t have to worry about sell through because bridal and pageant are happening at the same time.

Comments (0) Posted by admin on Friday, March 4th, 2011

Filed under Fashion Jewelry
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We’re at a time of the year when retailers are ready for some excitement in business.  As the Christmas season ended, an arctic blast covered most of the country and a blanket of snow had shoppers staying home.  Enough of that!  Days are getting longer, nature is turning green, arrival of spring is coming as regular as clock work, and that means prom is coming and retailers will get a huge lift. 


How important is prom? Well these figures are a little dated, but if anything, they are going up and not going down.  DeBora Rachelle reports that teens spent over 100 billion in 2005 with 4 billion of it going to prom.  Prom dresses account for $200 to $300 for 84% of teen girls and accessories for prom ranged from $50 to $200.  That’s enough to get fashion retailers excited.

Now for small business!  While the big box stores often overwhelm small business, the story changes for prom.  Small business zeros in on local needs.  They know exactly what prom girls are looking for in their area and the girls know the businesses that are savvy on the latest designs.  This is huge for local businesses from florists to accessory stores and formal wear.   Prom girl often like the reassurance of an expert when choosing the right dress and accessories to match.  The experienced local business that specializes in prom dresses or accessories is that most trusted advisor and they are the ones that get the business. 

Everything must be perfect for prom because this is the once in a lifetime celebration for a high school girl.  The life long importance of prom pictures will be second only to bridal pictures so getting it right is absolutely necessary. 

Prom dresses are all over the board.  Prom has no set palette of colors like the pantone fashion color chart provided for fashion each season.  Dresses come in nearly any color and often combination of colors.  Hemlines and necklines also run the gamut, so matching jewelry is a challenge that takes creativity and good taste. 


Begin the selection of prom jewelry with delicate rhinestone necklace sets.  This is timeless in prom jewelry.  Simple rhinestone sets in V shapes, Y shapes, or rhinestones spaced on wire have the simplicity to appeal to prom girls. Clear rhinestones in silver plated settings are the run away best sellers.  Delicate vining sets with small flower blossoms in rhinestone are also excellent and colored rhinestones in these sets often provide highlights to match the gown. 


In recent years, many prom girls have shown a preference for dramatic earrings in place of necklace sets.  Sometimes the dress dictates this because of ornamentation or the neckline.  When the jewelry is only earrings, prom girls often go for dramatic size.  Long multiple rows of clear rhinestones are classic enough to always work.  Other designs fan out as they drop for greater impact. 

Find sparkling earrings on our site under two different categories—crystal jewelry and rhinestone jewelry.  Jewelry made with rhinestone chain is under rhinestone jewelry.  Rhinestone chain is machine made with continuous chain of rhinestone delivered with the stones already set.  This chain is cut by the designers to fabricate the jewelry pieces.  The machine was invented in the mid-1940s so all rhinestone jewelry before that is what we classify crystal jewelry today. 


Crystal jewelry consists of handset or hand strung crystals.  The stones are glued or prong set.  Crystal chandeliers are one popular style of crystal earrings that make the kind of dramatic statement prom girls are looking for.  Chandeliers have plenty of sparkle with so many dangling crystals that shimmer with every movement, plus colors are available for girls that want to match the color of the gown. 

Actually, several crystal earrings offer color as well as variety of design.  Sizes range from dramatic to delicate with every imaginable design in posts and dangles.  Put together a nice variety of crystal earrings along with rhinestone earrings to satisfy all the personalities that are going to be shopping.  You don’t need depth, but variety because you know that prom girls don’t want to see someone else wearing their earrings. 

Finally, include some rhinestone and crystal bracelets.  Bracelets are certainly in style with plenty of coverage in fashion magazines and on the runways.  Bangles and cuffs are best in all widths and the girls can wear several together.  Rhinestone bracelets have several widths from single row rhinestone bracelets up to 10 rows with a 1 ¼ inch width.  Bangles come in gold or silver plating as well as colors with crystals embedded all the way around.  Crystal’s bracelets range from trendy looks with crystals spaced on multiple rows of coated piano wire that teens like to classic Art Deco designs as well as glamour with floral patterns inspired by The Golden Age of Costume Jewelry.  Every personality can find something they like in bracelets. 

Next blog will continue with prom accessories and some new innovations in prom that might surprise you.

Comments (0) Posted by admin on Wednesday, March 2nd, 2011