‘Wear’ It’s At
Wearables continue to bring in year-round sales
No matter what the season or occasion, there seems to be an increasing demand for items that can be worn in connection with the occasion. This makes sense, as although paper goods such as plates, napkins, utensils and decorations are the mainstay of the party industry, many of the occasions and holidays that we celebrate are not done in the home.
It is far more often that a bachelorette party occurs in a club or restaurant/bar than in a private home. We also note there is a trend to have the parties on the road, such as destination locations like Las Vegas.
Who could argue that most celebrating of Mardi Gras and St Patrick's Day happens in the streets or bar? And pub crawls in which people dress like Santa or other characters also are enjoying more popularity.
Therefore, items such as tiaras, boas, hats, sashes and necklaces should form a large part of the selection already available in the party industry. I have focused on wearables when developing new items for Forum Novelties and have found them to be the fastest growing product line in the industry. I have even packaged these items consistently with my other items in each category so that they display better together.
It is not uncommon for the party retailer to find many companies are offering such products, so I am not alone in my thinking.
For years Halloween has been associated with an endless selection of items to be worn. But now more than ever, even Christmas is enjoying a further expansion of unusual wearables as well. There is a demand for items beyond the usual hats, suits and headbands that we associate with the holiday.
If you have some free time, go online and search the phrase "Ugly Christmas Sweaters." You may be surprised to find a large selection of sweaters and vests for sale. I am not implying that these sweaters are ugly, I am just stating that there is a market for festive and fun sweaters with a specific Christmas theme. Once you research this category you will see just how large this trend has become, and up until now, the only place to find these were at a local thrift shop. However, more recently the demand has exceeded the supply, and companies - even those like ours - are making them available.
Mardi Gras and St. Patrick's Day have always been "wearable" holidays, but now the customers are demanding even more creative products. Hats, necklaces, suspenders and belts are now being made to include shot glasses as part of the products.
In fact, all the holidays are enjoying more selection of wearables. Headbands, hats, vests and full costumes are a mainstay for graduation, Fourth of July and general birthday celebrations, and for years Easter bunny costumes and bunny ears on a headband were the only items for Easter. Now it is not unusual to find headbands, hats, noses and other products with an Easter theme.
Another important point about wearables is that it broadens your customer base. Usually the only customer you have coming into the store is the one creating the party; there is no reason for a guest to be shopping for paper plates. But everyone wants to participate in the fun, and therefore they are all potential customers for hats, tiaras, sashes and other items.
I also suggest you team up with local bars and restaurants to promote these holidays. Offer a reciprocal arrangement whereby you have discount coupons placed in these restaurants where the parties are held and offer to have their discount coupons available in your store as well. You may even be able to wholesale some of your items to these bars that want to give them away to their customers.
So while the saying "take it off" usually gets the most attention, in this case, the more you put on, the more fun the customer has and the more profit you make.
By Warren Berkowitz