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Filed under Boas, Fashion Jewelry, Novelty Hats, Seasonal Jewelry, Sunglasses, Ties, Visors, Wholesale Jewelry
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 Some of the special days of celebration like Mardi Gras and Halloween are booming explosions of revelry while others like St. Patrick’s Day move under the radar. What makes the difference?  Is it masking?  Well, masks certainly remove inhibitions and let restrained feelings surface, but St. Patrick’s Day has another advantage on the meter of civility—it started as a religious feast day.

 

The History Channels websiteprovides a wealth of information about the historical background of St. Patrick’s Day. The feast day is March 17 because that is believed to be the date Patrick died in the year 461.  After being captured in England at age 16, he was sold as a slave in Ireland.  He escaped and returned to convert the Island to Christianity.  Legend says the shamrock was the visual tool he used to explain the Trinity. 

 

HISTORY OF ST. PATRICK’S DAY PARADE

The big event for the feast day is parades.  Surprisingly the St. Patrick’s Day parade didn’t begin in Ireland, but in New York City where Irish troops in the British Army celebrated by marching through the City on March 17, 1762. 

 

Nearly one hundred years later The Potato Famine drove many poor Irish to seek a new life in America.  At first they were shunned and had a hard time finding employment.  They formed Irish Aid Societies to help each other and the Aid Societies held parades on St. Patrick’s Day.  The public ridiculed them until the Irish-Americans discovered the power a political block of votes can deliver.  The “Green Machine” took on a new importance that politicians catered to. 

 

Modern times see St. Patrick’s Day celebrated throughout the country, actually throughout a great part of the world—even in Japan.   

 

JEWELRY FOR ST. PATRICK’S DAY

Today everyone wants to be Irish on St. Patrick’s Day and gift shops get a boost in business by helping them do just that.  The fun starts early with anyone going to work as well as anyone out shopping or socializing.  Women need St. Patrick’s Day jewelry.  After all, no one wants to get pinched for not having their green.  And the quality of St. Patrick’s Day jewelry has certainly come up over the last few years. 

 

A leader in quality seasonal jewelry is “Best Brand”.  This company has unique ways of expressing the season and the quality of the jewelry that delivers the theme is superb.  For the most part, the company does metalwork and stamping is the way it delivers marvelous detail.  The pendant shown is an example.  Stamping a thin sheet of steel creates raised dimensional relief with exceptional detail.  A plate is cut to seal the back, creating quality fashion jewelry with the same process used for sterling silver.  Next the pendant is silver plated, polished, and the shamrocks are epoxied green.  The finished piece can be worn as a pendant or a pin.  This is quality jewelry that women can be proud to wear on St. Patrick’s Day. 

 

ST. PATRICK’S DAY TIES FOR GUYS GOING TO WORK

What about the guys?  They’re not left out.  St. Patrick’s Day accessories offer a variety of neckties in the theme.  Imagine your customers showing up for work in a tie that blares ST. Patrick’s Day spirit.  After all, everyone is Irish on March 17. 

 

 

ST. PATRICK’S DAY BEADS FOR PARADES

Then there are the parades.  Of course onlookers need to show their in the spirit.  What better way than decked out in St. Patrick’s Day beads!  The size of this nationwide celebration creates a big enough market that manufacturers can put plenty of attention into the Mardi Gras style beads made with St. Patrick’s Day themes. 

 

Everything from leprechauns and shamrocks to green beer mugs and corn beef & cabbage are themes in these specialty beads made to celebrate the occasion.  The nicer beads are all hand strung and of course have a predominantly green color. 

 

Irish pubs are also part of the celebration and St. Patrick’s Day beads are a favorite for them.  But normally they do not have the nice specialty beds you can offer your customers.  So if some of your customers are going to stop for a green beer after the parade, they may want to standout by buying quality St. Patrick’s Day beads that you can provide them. 

 

NOVELTY HATS FOR ST. PATRICK’S DAY

But beads alone aren’t enough.  No, the celebration also calls for novelty hats in St. Patrick’s Day themes.  This can be felt leprechaun hats or velvet mad-hatters in green complete with a green beard.  Deck out your customers with both beads and novelty hats and they can enjoy the parade without getting pinched for not wearing their green. 

 

 

FEATHER BOAS FOR CELEBRATION

Alright, now your customers are going to be looking for green feather boas.  That’s a sure sign they are part of the celebration.  Feather boas rank along with beads and novelty hats as the most popular party items for St. Patrick’s Day.  The standard length of boas is 6 feet and the fullness is measured by weight.  55 to 60 grams are reasonably full feather boas that are still affordable. 

 

The green boas shown are in that weight range and are actually a bargain because all the regulations going into imported feathers is causing prices on future shipments to go up. 

 

 

NOVELTY SUNGLASSES FOR A HILARIOUS TIME

Novelty sunglasses are the final item on the list.  These are for the intense reveler that really wants to have fun.  Put these in your shop and you will notice people can’t pass them up without trying them on.  A favorite style is green beer bottles.  This is a hilarious way for your customers to enjoy St. Patrick’s Day. 

 

Stock now because the celebration will soon be here.  Place merchandise in one location to tell a story.  If you are on the parade route, see if the municipality will let you set up in front of your store.  Even if you’re not, word of mouth will go a long way to help advertise your shop. 

Comments (0) Posted by admin on Thursday, March 8th, 2012

Filed under Boas, Brooches, Fashion Jewelry, Feather Masks, Mardi Gras, Mardi Gras Beads, Mardi Gras Earrings, Mardi Gras Masks, Masks, Necklace Sets, Sports Jewelry, Uncategorized, Valentine Jewelry, Venetian Masks, Wholesale Jewelry
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This is the 27th year for Accessory Wholesale inc. business.  Sometimes we have to stop and ask, have we learned anything over the last quarter of a century in business?  Our business is fashion jewelry and accessories plus some really fun items like Mardi Gras and masks.  Those familiar with fashion know that it is cyclical.  Trends come and go, business build for years and then reverse for years in rollercoaster-like cycles. 

 How does small business survive that?  Our business as a wholesaler depends on the success of small retailers.  These are our customers.  Some small fashion businesses have found their space in the retail world and are doing very well, while many others may feel the walls closing in with competitions from major retailers as well as taxes, insurance, and everything else including days with problem customers. 

 Over the last 27 years, we haven’t come up with neat little formulas for guaranteed success, but we have noticed some tactics by successful retailers that seem to work.  This blog and the following two will hash out five ideas. 

 1) LOCATION

How many times have we heard the three most important things that make a business successful are location, location, and location?  Sounds simple enough, right?  That is until we try to pin down what is the right location.  Most areas have shopping destinations that can draw from 25 and more miles away.  This is often a mall like the Acadiana Mall in Lafayette, La. or the White Oaks Mall in Springfield, Ill. 

 These shopping destinations get plenty of traffic, but leases are through the roof.  Small business often feels it is giving all the profit to the property owner. I noticed something as a road salesman calling on small fashion businesses.  Many successful businesses were in smaller towns away from the shopping destination. They had desirable merchandise and were conveniently close to their customers.  Personal service accompanied by a high level of energy made shoppers feel special as well as energized to buy.  They were packed with customers when locals needed gifts for those special days like Valentines Day and Mothers Day. 

 Location and the price of the lease need to be weighed to determine whether sales volume is going to overcome the lease cost. 

 2) NICHE MARKETS IN JEWELRY & FASHION 

The Christmas shopping season is probably the time when small business feels major retailers cutting into their sales more than any other time of the year.  Niche markets insulate small business from the onslaught.  Most niche markets are an area where the majors simply don’t go. 

 FLEUR-DE-LIS JEWELRY AND ACCESSORIES

A few examples will make the point.  Since Hurricane Katrina in Louisiana, especially in New Orleans, fleur-de-lis jewelry and accessories have been extremely popular.  It is the symbol of the City as well as on the Acadiana flag.  Louisiana has rallied around this emblem since the devastation of the Hurricane and it has been in hot demand by the locals.  But the only place to find a nice selection is small business.  This is a niche market that small business owns. 

  CAPITALIZING ON LOCAL SCHOOL THEMES

Think about sports.  Local high schools and colleges have a following of avid fans.  This is a super niche market, especially high schools.  Of course manufacturers are not going to produce lines of merchandise for individual high schools, but that is where the ingenuity of small business comes in. 

 If this were a recipe, school colors and school mascots would be the main ingredients.  Decorating an area with colors and the mascot screams “local high school” to your shoppers.  Everything from stuffed animals to jewelry and printed shirts creates the story.  In jewelry, chokers, mascot pendants, and school color beads can be offered separately so customer can create their own high school jewelry.  School color bracelets are also available to fit into the theme.  If mascot pendants aren’t available, simply substitute a sports pendant like a football.  That with the school color beads will tell the story.  Sounds like a lot of creativity and work?  Well, there are some easier choices that can add other niche markets. 

 MARDI GRAS JEWELRY, GIFTS, AND PARTY ITEMS

In some areas, Mardi Gras is huge and this market belongs almost entirely to small business.   If “The Greatest Free Show on Earth” is celebrated in your area, take advantage of the enormous retail business done in Mardi Gras items while other parts of the country are recovering from Christmas.  If not, you be the shop that introduces this fun celebration to your area. 

 What makes up an irresistible Mardi Gras selection for retailers?  Of course, beads must be included—not cheap throw beads, but specialty beads that consumers will pay money for.  Hand-strung Mardi Gras beads in nice designs and Mardi Gras colors of purple, gold, and green have to be part of the selection. But other colors are often used in beads that have a theme, like crawfish boil, jesters, peppers, seafood, oysters on the half shell, and more. 

 Novelty hats are also an almost necessary party item.  Purple, gold, and green novelty hats again do well for Mardi Gras—headwear like jester hats, sequin tiaras, mad hatters, or crowns.  But any crazy hat will be popular for this super party.  You need a lot of selection, but not a lot of depth.  The market doesn’t end on Ash Wednesday.  Festivals, birthday parties, and sporting events are more opportunities for sales in this fun headwear.    

 

  Boas are a festive accessory popular with girls—purple, gold, and green for Mardi Gras day, but other colors do very well also.  When buying boas, the fullness is determined by weight and a good weight is 55 to 60 grams. 

 Masks are a major ingredient for Mardi Gras and selection has certainly become more sophisticated over the last few years.  Feather masks, both worn with elastic bands and on a stick to be held, continue to provide more breath-taking designs.  The sequin mask with a spray of feathers to one side is leading seller year after year.  Coque, ostrich, and marabou feathers make a fabulous arrangement in the spray, making these masks extraordinary without being expensive.  

 The rising star in masks is Venetian style masks.  These gorgeous works of art were practically unknown a few years ago and now frequent reality shows, TV, and the movies.  The art of mask making had its own guild in Venus during the Renaissance and the growing popularity of Venetian style masks makes it hard to pass up when stocking your store. 

 Venetian style masks can be affordable with designs like the Arlecchino patchwork patterns of eye masks for men or masks mounted on sticks with lavish ostrich plumes for women. 

 Exceptional styles include the full-face jester masks in Mardi Gras colors as well as butterfly Venetian style masks for women that are breath-taking.  Venetian masks have the history and artistic beauty that will make you proud to include them in your inventory. 

 Whew!  This blog took more time than I expected so we will save two important areas for small business until the next blog—the areas of jewelry for special occasions and seasons plus key niche markets that appeal to a wider audience. 

Comments (0) Posted by admin on Thursday, February 2nd, 2012

Filed under Boas, Dress Hats, Evening Bags, Novelty Hats, Wedding Favors
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 Most retailers that are not located near the beach or tourist destinations appreciate anything that can boost sales in the hot summer months.  With kids out of school and vacations scheduled, the focus is on casual.  For that reason, retailers often overlook the formal side of accessories that fill the needs of June brides.   This three part blog covers the wedding accessories that can pick up summer sales while helping wedding couples deal with escalating costs.  The first two parts covered jewelry, gloves, tiaras, and hair ornaments.  This blog wraps up the bridal accessories that can build sales by filling the couple’s needs at affordable prices without sacrificing elegance.  Let’s start with evening bags. 

EVENING BAGS

Whenever there is a red carpet event, you can expect a showcasing of evening bags.  What does that have to do with bridal?  Well, it tells us what the hot styles are regardless whether its music awards, bridal bags, or bags for bridesmaids.  The last couple of years point to clutches as the number one choice. 

Long clutches have that debonair look that takes us back to the 1960s when Audrey Hepburn, Sophia Loren, and Grace Kelly brought sophistication to the silver screen.  These elongated clutches are in style more than ever as the most popular choice in evening bags today. 

Satin clutches provides the most elegant and offers color choices that help when choosing bridesmaid bags.  The bride usually needs white or ivory and the rest of the color choices are wonderful for matching bridesmaid dresses.  The most familiar style uses envelope flaps with magnetic closures and the satin can be smooth, pleated, or have a design like latticework. 

Satin provides the utmost in elegance, but trendier materials like faux patent leather, embossed snakeskin, and croc prints are also popular and are useful after the wedding as day into evening bags. 

 

Other bridal bags use wristlets, soft satin bags, and boxy designs with firm body.  In addition to white or ivory, these bags generally have a wide color selection that matches bridesmaid dresses.  Theses same bags are popular for prom so are even more important in the spring.  While not all bridal parties use evening bags, many do with bags used by the bride and bridesmaids.  The bridesmaid bags are not only an accessory for the wedding day, but often double as bridesmaid gifts.  A nice evening bag selection is not common.  Offering a variety of styles and colors can make your shop a destination for many formal events beyond bridal. 

BRIDAL HATS

If anyone thought bridal hats were something of the past, The Royal wedding proved they are still very important and generated enormous interest among prospective brides.   Especially the outdoor wedding, which is growing in popularity, calls for bridal hats.  Even before the wedding bridesmaid luncheons or teas can call for dress hats and when they do, many are in a panic looking for a source. 

You can be that source and hats can open a completely new market you never dreamed of.  Include some bridal and bridesmaid hats and don’t be surprised if customers ask if you can get church hats, homecoming hats, or headwear for teas and luncheons. 

 

Super widebrims are the dominating trend hats this season.  These add plenty of elegance for outdoor weddings and bridesmaid luncheons.  Most popular is polypropylene wide brim hats with brims that alternated the braided polypropylene and horsehair.  These hats provide white, ivory, and colors in a very fine weave that is continuously sewn to create the headwear.  The result is a Milan straw look. 

In addition, polypropylene dress hats in white that are already trimmed make wonderful bridal headwear as well as dress hats in satin braid, organza, and sinamay. 

The Royal wedding also brought attention to fascinators—smaller hair ornaments often made with lace, ribbon, satin, crystals, and feathers.  Usually worn tilted to one side, the fascinators are major in Britain and those watching the royal wedding saw a parade of styles. 

Fascinators can replace the tiara and work equally as well for indoor weddings as outdoor.  Include some in white because demand is on the upswing. 

BRIDAL PARTY GIFTS

Gifts for the bridal party is often challenging because the couple wants to give something nice and meaningful that is also useful.  Bridesmaids are easier.  Already mentioned are evening bags and rhinestone bracelets.  They can accessorize the wedding party and be a gift. 

Another unusual gift that is also useful is writing pens.  A perfect ready to go gift is pewter sculptured pens that come in black velvet boxes with white satin linings.  The weight of the pens reflects quality and a variety of themes fits personalities.  The pens have pewter designs with themes like tulips, golf, best friends, dragons, sealife, and more.  If you prefer a pattern to a theme, choose bamboo, scrollwork, weaved cane and several other patterns.  The nicest thing is no wrapping.  The velvet boxes provide a rich presentation without paper and bows. 

One more idea for New Orleans weddings is fleur-de-lis pins—actually any fleur-de-lis jewelry.  This category even has something for the groomsmen with fleur-de-lis key chains.  A selection of bridal party gifts in your shop can sell for any gift occasion so this isn’t inventory that will stress the shop owner. 

BACHELORETTE PARTIES—THE FUN PART OF BRIDAL

 

Everything so far has been formal and elegant.  Well, now its time for some fun.  Before all the formalities begin, there a night of fun for the girls—the bachelorette party.  For that, the right attire is needed—we’re talking about things like novelty sunglasses.  These could be margarita shaped glasses, oversize glasses, or Diva designs.  The category is loaded with fun designs so each girl in the party can wear a different one. 

 

Then there are feather boas.  This is one of the most popular accessories for bachelorette parties.  Everyone can have the same color so people know these party girls are one group or mix them up so each girl has her favorite color.  The boas are a 55 gram weight, which is nice and full because no one wants skimpy boas for a bachelorette party. 

If this isn’t wild enough, add some novelty hats.  Every imaginable design can be found from cute bunny or Dalmatian hats to chickens, tigers, fish, and bees.  Plenty of other wild designs from jesters to mad hatters are also in the section.  So offer the girls a chance to cut up by putting together a party selection in your shop.  This can also grow into something for every kind of party from birthdays to Mardi Gras, but where we want to start is with a fun selection for the bachelorette party. 

So give serious thought to new ways to build sales by setting up a selection for June brides.  This idea can help your summertime sales while benefitting the prospective brides by providing elegance at a savings.

Comments (0) Posted by admin on Thursday, June 9th, 2011

Filed under Boas
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Everyone knows Mardi Gras beads are a big part of the celebration in Carnival season, but less known is the rise of feather boas for Mardi Gras as well as other parties and gatherings. 

When feather boas came on the scene is uncertain, but the Wikipedia says their history goes back to the 1820s and could go back even further.   The popularity of feather boas has been a rollercoaster ride throughout history peaking at the turn of the century, in the 1970s, and returning in our present day. 

Different quality and uses result from using different feathers.  Ostrich provides a more expensive boa that can be fun item, but also crosses the line as a fashion statement.  The most popular boas today are marabou and chandelle.  Marabou has the even fur look while chandelle uses turkey flats for a more uneven fuller appearance. 

 Feather boas are normally 6 feet long and the weight in grams determines the fullness.  Chandelle boas have a nice fullness at 55 grams.  The wholesale boas featured by Accessory Wholesale are chandelles with a 55 gram weight.  Tri-tone boas made up of purple, yellow, and green feathers are becoming a must-have item for gift shops catering to Mardi Gras, but boas today have a year-round appeal that goes far beyond Carnival season. 

Wherever a festive spirit abounds, boas can be part of the celebration.  They pop up at birthday parties, bachelorette parties, Sweet Sixteens, and Quinceaneras.  Groups participating in breast cancer awareness walks like to distinguish themselves with pink boas and fans choose team colors when cheering at a sporting event.

 

Solid color feather boas provide a range that covers most of these events and some include gold or silver lurex for a little extra glitz.  We are in Mardi Gras season with Fat Tuesday just seven weeks away so this is great time to introduce feather boas to your shop.  If you feel they don’t fit into your product mix, use the boas for decoration and I’m sure a customer will approach you to buy them.

Comments (0) Posted by admin on Tuesday, January 25th, 2011