Archive for May, 2011...
Filed under Casual Hats, Cowboy Hats, Hats
Filed under Casual Hats, Hats
Memorial Day is drawing near and that marks the official opening of summer sales and the vacation season. Festivals are in full swing as well as church picnics, baseball, auto racing, and so many other outdoor events. With all of this fun going on outdoors, one thing retailers can count on is hats selling to provide relief from the sun.
Each season sees some innovations in headwear and this season is no exception. Let’s begin with fedoras. Both stingy brim fedoras like Frank Sinatra wore and the fifties fedoras like our dads and granddads wore are the “in” thing. Yes, celebrities have been showing up in magazines wearing fedoras for the last couple of years, but now the look has caught on in a big way and popularity is mushrooming.
Vendors retailing at festivals are gobbling up fedoras, especially straw fedoras. You might wonder how much sun protection can you get with a stingy brim fedora? It makes no difference. Musicians are wearing them, celebrities are wearing them, and this has a big impact on especially the younger shoppers.
The favorite fedoras for festivals and casual wear in the sun are straws. For the most part, they are inexpensive—wholesaling between $2.50 and $5.50. This gives vendors room to make money and still offer the hats at prices anyone attending festivals is comfortable with.
But evenings out call for a different fedora. The range of designs has really expanded with the popularity growth of these hats. New designs include prints covered with clear sequins that add shine. Floral prints and animal prints are a big hit here. Speaking of sequins, the sparkle hats that have been around a few years are on top again—this time in fedoras. These are great for the gals, but what about the guys?
Solid colors and pinstripes are popular for guys, and don’t forget the Bear Bryant look with houndstooth patterns. Also the straws mentioned earlier are unisex hats that appeal to guys and gals alike.
Still leading in popularity, cowboy hats seem timeless especially in the summer heat when straw western hats peak as a favorite in sultry weather. A major change this season is the introduction of more cowboy hats made in Mexico. China has dominated the cowboy hat business the last several seasons, but several factors are influencing price, making the Mexican hats far more affordable.
Actually, most products from China are seeing significant price increases. Economist Magazine reports factory wages have increased 69% from 2005 to 2010. Wage growth is expected to continue by 17% per year until 2015. Add to that higher cost of materials, transportation, and an unfavorable currency exchange and the result is major changes in the cowboy hat business.
Raffia straw and toyo hats are slowing because of higher prices and lindu straw with western hat shapes and distressed coloring are filling the void along with Mexican hats already mentioned. Still, cowboy hats are a major player in the summer headwear business and something that needs to be in your hat selection for customers involved in outdoor activities.
WIDE BRIM HATS
The wide brim hat continues to grow in popularity, with each summer season drawn to ever widening brims. This summer seven inch brims are not uncommon. The super widebrims with a sassy bounce are definitely high fashion. This year a 7 inch ribbon hat is grabbing attention because this headwear delivers the fashionable look in material that is crushable and packable, so easy to travel with your customers on vacation.
Continuously sewn wide bands of grosgrain ribbon create the hat that has wonderful color options for the season. Two-tone white and black are new and quickly rising to the number one color choice.
What’s the most popular wide brim hat? Our style number, HTC677. The hat has a crocheted look with a 4 inch brim and a choice of excellent fashion colors. But what attracts retailers more than anything else is the low wholesale price of $5.75. Everything from festivals to a day shopping or going to the beach is an opportunity for this headwear to shine.
Include these wholesale widebrim hats in your millinery selection for an economy model. Believe me! They sell! From there add a range of wide brim hats all the way up to 7 inch brims and you have an irresistible headwear selection that will make money this summer. Hats are steadily growing in popularity and retailers know that we need everything that sells to boost the summer months.
Filed under Fashion Jewelry, Gemstone Jewelry, Necklace Sets, Rhinestone Jewelry
The festival season is in full swing and vacation season starts soon. Consumers attending festivals or going to the beach or on vacation need hats for sun protection. The Jazz Fest in New Orleans just finished and the wholesale has that vendors bought gives us a good insight to what to expect this year in hat demand for the summer.
For the most part hats were inexpensive and durable. However, the hat festival goers will pay more money for is super widebrims—five, six, and seven inch brims. These hats have the traditional swinger shape with brims getting wider every year. This season sees two super widebrims with seven inch brims. The first is a toyo hat with plenty of bounce for that high fashion look. Basic colors of white, black, and natural are available and they are always the most popular colors.
Wholesale price is $12.00 dollars, which means the hat retails around $25.00. Normally this is beyond what a person attending a festival wants to pay for sun protection, but this hat is fashionable and women are seeing value in it for wear all summer. Besides, the hat is showing up in plenty of fashion magazines, but not easy to find at the mall.
The second seven inch brim hat is a fabric hat often referred to as a ribbon hat. Wide ribbon-like bands of grosgrain are continuously sewn to create the widebrim that is crushable and packable. Great for vacationers, this hat can stuff into a suitcase and pop out ready to wear at the beach or vacationing. The sassy wide brim hat goes anywhere very conveniently without taking up a lot of space. Expect big results for these summer women’s hats this season.
Sales were even brisker in 5 inch wide brims at an inexpensive wholesale price. These cute hats use toyo to provide some sun protection in a stylish look that also retails easily because of low price. Fashion colors like turquoise and pink are available, but white, black, and natural again sell best.
Straw hats dominated Jazz Fest with stingy brim fedoras surprising with strong sales. Why a surprise? Because these small brim hats offer practically no sun protection. Celebrities and musicians wearing the hat made it so popular that everyone wants the look. Straw fedoras are unisex so these hats have an unlimited audience. Prices are also good starting at $4.50 wholesale, which lets them retail under $10.
Durable lindu straw hats are big for the vendors at Jazz Fest every year as well as for French Quarter shops. Best sellers are gamblers (especially with a 4 inch brim), safari hats, and pinch front outbacks. Most have a chinstrap so your customers are not chasing their hats on a windy day and the lindu straw is exceptionally durable, making the headwear survive even sudden down pours.
There are plenty more festivals in the line up this year for outdoor vendors. Retailers new to the game may want to start on a small scale with a booth at a flea markets, school or church picnics, ball game, or street fair. In addition, shop owners can get in the action because vacationers and anyone heading to the beach will want sun protection. Hats are a rising star in fashion accessories so add some headwear to your shop and take advantage of an accessory that peaks in the summer when other items often slow down.
A good friend and important supplier stopped by recently to show new products in his line. During the conversation, he mentioned another wholesaler wanted him to make some jewelry items that were not his regular line. He said he refused because the wholesaler couldn’t take a large quantity since fashion jewelry was no good any more.
I was shocked that he said fashion jewelry was no good when he made his living on the very thing. Then I realized he wasn’t talking about his own line, which consisted of high quality pendants, earrings, and chokers. This is a line that sells very well and we constantly reorder it. The line captures fashion statements as well as every imaginable theme in exceptional detail. He didn’t think of this as fashion jewelry.
Afterwards I thought about the conversation and had to admit that he was right. Retailers are not looking for fashion jewelry. They are looking for niche markets—specifics within the fashion jewelry category. When new merchandise arrives, it goes to rhinestone jewelry, crystal jewelry, CZs, or bridal jewelry. Even casual items find a home in niche markets like cuff bracelets, bangles, statement necklaces, quality glass jewelry, or gemstone.
Fashion jewelry continues to flourish, but the search is for niche markets. Gemstone jewelry carries a high importance over the last few years. Even today, turquoise is high on the trend list for summer fashion jewelry. However, when we think of it, we think gemstone jewelry.
Rhinestone jewelry is enjoying brisk sales with prom, bridal, and pageant hitting on all cylinders. Again, we don’t think fashion jewelry. No, retailers are looking for prom, pageant, or bridal jewelry. Rhinestone jewelry in bolder designs makes a statement for pageant and even crosses over into bridal for fashion conscious brides applying summer trends in fashion jewelry to wedding day jewelry. And the delicate designs are overwhelmingly popular for prom and most brides.
All the sets previously bunched together as fashion jewelry, now break down to meaningful niches. Dominating the fashion magazines this summer is statement necklaces. By the way, these massive necklaces sets guarantee that fashion jewelry is alive and well. How else can you accomplish the look? Certain to be noticed, the bold necklace sets are mainly constructed with metal designs. Platings vary with pewter and antique silver very popular. The search here is for statement necklaces. We have to ask, when did fashion jewelry give way to all the sub-categories of jewelry?
Looking back at fashion jewelry in the 21st century reveals what is going on. The new century came in with bling the rage—the look of exaggerated opulence with super-sized stones. Then the shock of the Twin Towers attack on Sept 11, 2001 suddenly brought everything to a halt with all eyes glued to the devastation on our TV screens. The nation pulled together and values suddenly reemerged.
Caring for neighbors overtook selfish feelings and jewelry reflected the mood of the times. Bling vanished and true beauty of classic materials and designs surfaced. No longer was fashion jewelry a generic category. Instead, the worldwide search for art in jewelry saw the rise of gemstone, Murano style glass, crystal, shell and classic components both man-made and natural. The dominating characteristic of jewelry was classic with universal appeal. Overnight the jewelry that appealed to a woman also appealed to her mother, daughter, and grandmother. This is the universal beauty of art and the accessories were too special to lump together as fashion jewelry.
Under the radar, the trend continued to the present day. Each of the niche markets in fashion jewelry is special and important whereas the lump sum category called fashion jewelry has lost its shine. So the conclusion is yes, fashion jewelry has vanished from consumers’ attention, but all those sub-categories of jewelry are more important than ever. Actually, without them the dramatic statement necklaces seen in every fashion magazine and classic gemstone jewelry that marches on and on would not be possible. The elegance of bridal and prom jewelry would not grace the special occasions. And mesmerizing beauty of man-made art in glass jewelry and crystal brooches would not be possible. So each sub-category flourishes like never before while some say fashion jewelry is dead.