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Featured Fall Decor

DonMar vendors are well stocked with all the Fall Decor your customers need to add a little extra pizzazz to their households this Autumn! Here are some items we thought were worth featuring.

 

Park Designs is a dreamland of Holiday decor! Most Park customers recognize that they have an extension Christmas collection, but their Fall/Harvest collections are also extremely robust. Our favorite is the “Falling for Fall” themed items. This photograph displays the “Count Your Blessings” serving plate, and the placemat, napkin, and table runner in the Falling For Fall pattern.

 

 

Counterart’s Harvest Moments and Watercolor Harvest collections are a wonderful addition to any autumnal tabletop! They contain a glass counter server, cheese server, a lazy susan, serving trays, a dip chiller, and even floormats. Of course, no Counterart collection would be complete without coasters, and Harvest moments contains stone, car coasters, and tumbled tile coasters. We chose to feature the reversible plastic placemats with two different Watercolor patterns. Keep your table clean and stylish!

 

Last but not least, SplitP gives us a taste of the “flavors of fall” in their collection of “warm hues and images for the kitchen, table, and home.” These hues are reflected in candle holders, rustic flatware, and autumnal table runners, napkins, and placemats! This photo features the “Sweet Autumn” printed placemat, table runner, and napkin. 

You can order any of these products right now by contacting your DonMar rep, or by visiting RetailersLink.com to place an online order. Happy Fall, Y’all!

Quality Rest & Relaxation!

The next month and a half is an unusually calm time; until Halloween happens in October and the Holiday season is in full swing, parents will have a short respite from the insanity of back to school and holiday shopping. This is the time for retailers to step up their game and show Mom and Dad how they can treat themselves to a little Rest & Relaxation!

Football fans are in their element now with college football starting up! Kick off game day morning with a rejuvenating cup of coffee in a Boelter team spirit mug.

Store merchandising for team spirit items is relatively simple: even if the items aren’t necessarily spirit gear, as long as they are in the team colors, they can be easily set up in a display to create a cohesive look.

Maybe football isn’t really your customer’s speed. Another way to capture the attention of weary moms who need a “Stay-cation” is a bath and body themed display of products.

UR Bath & Body is another excellent purveyor of spa day goodies, like fragrant bath bombs that tout empowering messages like “UR Brave, UR Calm, and UR Fearless.” We cannot think of a better way to take a break from wrangling the kids than drawing a hot bath and inhaling the stress relieving aromas of these bath bombs!

Duke Cannon Buffalo TraceA spa day for men sounds a little unlikely. Combining a common relaxation aid – whiskey – with shower time is about as close as most men want to get to any kind of spa day. This is where Duke Cannon comes to the rescue with Buffalo Trace soap. And even if a guy doesn’t drink whiskey, the soap still smells fantastic!

 

There’s no better way for a couple to blow off steam than to celebrate their favorite teams together at a tailgate! On the way to the game, keep your drinks from sweating in your car with CounterArt’s absorbent car coasters. A huge seller, there are multiple ways to merchandise these moisture absorbing coasters in your store: spinners, floor displays, counter top displays, all available from CounterArt to help you sell this fantastic product.

 

Any of these lines can be ordered to stock your store during this pre-holiday, short-lived calm by calling your DonMar rep. Duke Cannon, CounterArt, and UR Bath & Body are also available via online order on Retailerslink.com!

Why Blog?

Coffee Cafe

 

Most businesses in today’s internet-focused landscape do have their own website. There are plenty of ways to make a website appealing to potential customers, but one often overlooked opportunity is a blog. A blog can be something as simple as a quick weekly article promoting the business and products, about the team, a glimpse into the inner workings of the business, or even helpful tips for your customers. With so many potential topics, it’s fairly easy to maintain a blog, though so many businesses disregard its potential power.

Here are five reasons why a Blog is an excellent tool for your business:

  1. Increases your Search Engine Optimization (SEO). When someone does a search for you on Google, or any other browser, how likely are you to show up? Some lucky stores and businesses have a one-of-a-kind name and show up right away. But others need to work a little harder to pop up when someone searches “small boutique” and the town’s name. Writing a blog with useful and interesting content is a great way to get your website and store in the eye of the Googler.
  2. Engage with Content. As mentioned previously, the better your content is in the blog, the more you will keep readers coming back for more. Think about an average Monday. How many times are you distracted at work? Most people get tired of looking at their social media feeds and want something else to check out. Offer up tips, tricks, new looks, product information – really, anything that you think will engage your specific audience to gain a repeated readership.
  3. Engagement with your Customers. Have a contest on your blog! Your readers can potentially win a gift card, or a gift basket from your store if they read the blog and enter to win. Be creative with this. Your customers want to feel like more than a simple transaction. A blog is a great way to share stories about people shopping in store (favorite regulars), or to get feedback on the store or business.
  4. Link to your Social Media. Maybe you’re already a wiz at social media like Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. Or, maybe you need a little help gaining followers on these channels. If a customer is on your website, be sure to link to your social media feeds from the website and/or blog. Contests like the one mentioned in the last tip can be run through Facebook or Instagram. Or, you can take a simple Facebook post and add much more content to it by creating a link to a new blog article!
  5. Sell More! The bottom line is to utilize your website to increase business. Blogging gives you an easy opportunity to highlight products and, in turn, sell more. Have a monthly blog featuring brand new items to your store. Or, do what we did and send out a blast about the best sellers. Customers always want to know what everyone else is buying – show them on your blog. And be sure to give your personal favorites as suggestions, too. Link to your ecommerce site or give instructions on how to buy.

Top 5 Best Selling Items from July Gift Shows

The July Gift Shows in Atlanta and Philly were a huge success for DonMar! After the shows, we always like to examine which items sold the best, and why they were such good sellers. Here are the Top 5 Best Sellers for DonMar:

Funky Chunky Choc Popcorn1. Funky Chunky Chocolate Popcorn tops the list as the best selling item for July Gift Show! Hand-crafted in Eden Prairie, Minnesota, this popcorn definitely tastes like the chocolately homemade concoction of your snacking dreams. With chunks of white, dark, and milk chocolate, plus almonds and cashews, it’s easy to see why this was a big seller.

 

2. Inis Energy of the Sea’s travel size cologne was a huge hit at the July gift show for DonMar! Inis is a unisex fragrance that’s popular in whatever size or form – as soap, moisturizer, candles, or cologne. But, the portability and convenience of the travel size bottle seems to resonate with the masses. This clean, fresh fragrance is inspired by the ocean.

 

3. Habersham Candles had a strong seller with the Geo Painted Desert collection. These wax pottery vessels are filled with realistic succulents and contain fragrances like Blue Agave, Prickly Pear Aloe, and Cactus Water. Handcrafted in the USA, these decorative vessels are perfect for households with children and pets as a flame-less candle alternative!

Swan Creek Pumpkin Caramel

 

4. Swan Creek’s Pumpkin Caramel Drizzle is the perfect candle for fall, and really blew customers away with it’s delightfully autumnal scent! People love that it’s a 100% American soybean wax candle, with a long lasting, strong fragrance. Smells good enough to eat, or to scent your house on a cool fall evening in the family room.

Duke Cannon Tactical Balm

 

 

5. Duke Cannon’s Tactical Lip Protectant is a great option for a men’s gift. Not only is this lip balm something that any man needs as the weather changes (scathing sun on your face, searing winds blowing, fall cold weather chapping your lips), but the chunky, not-so-delicate size of the tube lets you know that this was built for the manliest of men.

Contact your rep today to order any of these fantastic products!

It’s SHOW TIME!

This week is the most exciting time of the year here at The Link Companies: SHOW TIME! From July 9-16, July Market will be in full swing in our Building 2 Showrooms, on the 16th floor, and your DonMar reps will be here and ready to help! The first reason to stop by? Amazing SPECIALS from solid vendors that you definitely need to order. Here are a few worth mentioning:

UR Bath & Body
UR Bath for BlogThis is a BRAND NEW VENDOR here at The Southern Link! We are thrilled to offer an amazing line of bath bombs, soaps, and handcrafted scrubbers, and even happier to smell such good fragrances wafting through the showroom! As for the Show Special, $500 gets you FREE FREIGHT!

 

 

Inis Sea Loving Tote for BlogInis the Energy of the Sea
A solid, clean unisex fragrance is a rare find. But, like the unique shells and stones found in the sea, Inis emerges as one of these special gems! If you don’t have it already, you will want this fragrance for your store. A $500 order earns you 6 FREE Sea Loving Totes (pictured to the right), a $750 order gets you 6 FREE Sea Loving Totes AND Free Freight, and $1000 yields all of the above, PLUS 6 Free Traveler Duos!
World's Softest Socks for Blog

World’s Softest Socks
Who doesn’t want warm, cozy feet? The essential gift item is a pair of World’s Softest Socks! You’re in luck – Link2Sales has a delightful assortment of the happiest socks for tired, worn out feet. The Show Special:
While supplies last, they are offering a free corrugated fixture with an order of their Holiday Assortment! Click here for more details about the Holiday Assortments.

 

In addition to Specials, we have some great FOOD OPTIONS to keep you fueled throughout the day. Here is the Daily Schedule:

Link Schedule July Show

Next week is SHOW TIME!

This coming week is the most exciting time of the year here at The Link Companies: SHOW TIME! From July 9-16, July Market will be in full swing in our Building 2 Showrooms, on the 16th floor, and your DonMar reps will be here and ready to help! The first reason to stop by? Amazing SPECIALS from solid vendors that you definitely need to order. Here are a few worth mentioning:

UR Bath & Body
UR Bath for BlogThis is a BRAND NEW VENDOR here at The Southern Link! We are thrilled to offer an amazing line of bath bombs, soaps, and handcrafted scrubbers, and even happier to smell such good fragrances wafting through the showroom! As for the Show Special, $500 gets you FREE FREIGHT!

 

 

Inis Sea Loving Tote for BlogInis the Energy of the Sea
A solid, clean unisex fragrance is a rare find. But, like the unique shells and stones found in the sea, Inis emerges as one of these special gems! If you don’t have it already, you will want this fragrance for your store. A $500 order earns you 6 FREE Sea Loving Totes (pictured to the right), a $750 order gets you 6 FREE Sea Loving Totes AND Free Freight, and $1000 yields all of the above, PLUS 6 Free Traveler Duos!
World's Softest Socks for Blog

World’s Softest Socks
Who doesn’t want warm, cozy feet? The essential gift item is a pair of World’s Softest Socks! You’re in luck – Link2Sales has a delightful assortment of the happiest socks for tired, worn out feet. The Show Special:
While supplies last, they are offering a free corrugated fixture with an order of their Holiday Assortment! Click here for more details about the Holiday Assortments.

 

In addition to Specials, we have some great FOOD OPTIONS to keep you fueled throughout the day. Here is the Daily Schedule:

Link Schedule July Show

Fall 2018 Fashion Trends

Fall Fashion is emerging at Market! Walking around the Atlanta Apparel show, we got a good idea of what’s hot for Fall.

Givenchy-Fall-2018
Givenchy Fall 2018

Many of the sleeve details we have seen in the last few seasons will remain during the cooler weather. Off-the-shoulder tops are still relevant and can be seen in sweater form, using chunky knits or mohair fabrics.

In fact, sweaters are huge for fall, particularly with big turtleneck or V necklines. Think “Ugly Christmas Sweater,” if you want an idea of some of what this trend is about! This sweater trend is certainly not shying away from patterns. Many runway looks featured leopard print as a dominant print, even with sweaters. Stripes are huge, and we noticed a lot of sweaters and knits with rainbow color stripes.

Additionally, with tops, we are seeing buttons down the front and a tie on the bottom. This gives a 90’s feel that definitely emanates from the whole look of Fall 2018. Hoods are also back, attached to tunics, dresses, and even some of those funky-chunky sweaters.

Striped Pant Leg
Striped Pant Leg

As previously mentioned, stripes appear all over the place in Fall Fashion, including on pants. Many labels are doing a solid, patterned, or plaid pant, often cropped, with a stripe down the outside of the leg. The label’s logo will sometimes appear in this stripe, which plays into the “Logo-Mania” we are seeing a lot of this Spring through Fall. From Gucci and Fendi, to ready to wear fashion, the idea of splashing a logo on a shirt, down the side of pants, or wearing it like a name tag (Gucci) is a resuscitated 90’s heartbeat.

In addition to striped and plaid pants, denim is still huge in fashion for the upcoming season. Bell bottom jeans have made quite the comeback, and denim overalls are going from shorts to full length overalls for Fall. Structured skirts that look like office wear are being paired with funky tops, and suede and velvet are favored fabrics with skirts and pants. Knee high socks, like those worn by the lead in iconic 90’s movie Clueless, are also appearing on the radar.

J Mendel Coat featuring Pattern and Fur collar
J Mendel Coat featuring Pattern and Fur collar

 

As for color, most displays at Apparel Show contained deep reds, like burgundy or crimson, blush, bright, goldenrod yellows, and army green. Floral prints are all over dresses and one-piece jumpsuits. Fun prints, like animal prints or star patterns, are on trend.

Other specific on-trend items include Puffer jackets, jackets with fur collars, floral wrap dresses, Athliesure items worn as fashion looks, and boyish elements (like an army green coat) mixed with flowy, hippy dresses.

Preparing for Market with Rachel Retailer

From the desk of Rachel Retailer: From Rachels Desk

Market Season is here and it is time to visit our friends in Atlanta! I don’t know about you, but I cannot leave without making my checklist. Here is what mine looks like:

1. Create my top vendor list:

How? Run a sales report for the last 6 months and one for the last 12 months. List my top 15 vendors and look up their showroom numbers at the Mart. Sort the list by Building and Floor.

2. Create my schedule:

How? First I used my list of vendors, sorted by floor, and decided how much time I will need to spend in the different buildings. Then I decide which days I will be working in each area.

3. Travel!

Now that my schedule is set, it is time to book my travel! I start by checking prices at https://www.americasmart.com/travel.

4. Book my appointments:

Now that I know which days I will be in certain areas of the Mart, I can call to schedule appointments. First I call my top 5 vendors. Then I call my favorite two reps (if not in the top 5 vendors). I then look through the rest of my vendor list and decide if I need an appointment with the rest. I find that 2 appointments a day is great; I can always fit in another two or three if needed.

5. Don’t forget meals!

Check my schedule to make sure I am near showrooms with good food. The Link Showrooms have free lunches every day. They also have breakfast and dinner with appointments. It’s worth a repeat trip for me!

6. Did I send my sales and inventory reports to my appointments?

As soon as I make an appointment I send sales and inventory information to the sales person (if I trust them). I tell them to have a suggested order ready for me when I show up and I give them a budget that I expect to spend. Different sales people handle this differently but it will always save me time, and it keeps the appointment focused and on track.

7. Download the Americasmart App! This is the best way to find my way around.

8. Packing!

  • Wear Comfy Shoes! I can walk between 5 and 10 miles a day during market, and having shoes that can help stand up to that abuse is important.
  • A Big Bag! I tell myself every year that I am not going to collect paper and catalogs, but it always seems to happen.
  • This year, I am going to try and take pictures of displays and products that I like with the room/booth number as the next picture. I hope this helps me lower my paper collection as well as help me plan for the next day.
  • A Battery Pack. I bring at least one in case I need an extra charge for my phone.
  • My Notebook (obviously!)
  • Business cards. I never seem to bring enough cards so I am bringing 100 this time.

From the Desk of Rachel Retailer: Preparing for Market

The best thing to do to prepare for Market is to start planning now! There is an excellent formula for buying success in the previously published blog, Utilizing Your Rep. Take a look at that, and follow along with these additional strategies:

 

  •      As stated in “Utilizing Your Rep,” you will want to make appointments with trusted salespeople. The mark of an excellent sales rep is someone who is prepared for your appointment, and not simply shooting from the hip. They anticipate your questions, and the time frame you will need.

 

  •      In terms of timing, making two appointments a day, and staging them three hours apart, makes for a successful market plan. Most appointments will last between an hour to an hour and a half. Three hours between appointments gives you plenty of time to run late within an appointment, and then to find your way to the new appointment. This way, if you see something you like along the way to your next meeting, you have the time built in to allow yourself to stop and purchase what you see. Two appointments per day still gives you time at the end of the day to place any last minute additions to your schedule.

 

  •      It is easy to get distracted at Market, but you must prioritize your appointments! Meet with the most important sales people for your store. These important people should include reps for your two or three largest vendors, as well as what we can refer to as “stocking” agencies, which are agencies that carry multiple lines for your store.

 

  •      Another excellent trick is to schedule your appointments around meals! The Mart can be a difficult place when it comes to grabbing a quick meal. The limited eateries within the building often have long lines during meal times, and can be a pricey option. You can schedule a breakfast and a lunch appointment, or even anticipate your meals by calling ahead to find out what your vendors are serving.

 

  • Invest your time wisely! You can easily save yourself nearly an entire day at the show if you do some work ahead of time to write restocking orders and come prepared. A sales rep could easily HFC (Hold for Confirmation) the order for you prior to Market, and meeting time can be used to simply review and confirm. Doing this restocking before you hit your deep discount sale season is best.

 

  • At the show, it’s important to look to your trusted vendors for items you need to fill holes in your store. Simultaneously, you can have your reps pull up the orders youHFC’d and confirm them. By reviewing these orders, you also have a chance to cancel off some of the reorders to replace them with new styles. Make sure you see to it that you take advantage of any show specials.

Paper Is Popping!

Haute Papier

Stationery is coming at you from a handmade, fresh, young maker! These companies are springing up all over the place and the Link Leadership team noticed gorgeous new stationery lines at every turn while wandering the Temps at Market. Paper is popping!

Example of bullet journaling

These new paper companies tend to have a smaller offering that speaks directly to a specific market. Some cards are featuring trendy sayings and hashtags that certainly appeal to a younger demographic. Journals are also a huge staple of the gift market. After a long day typing on the computer or working on an iPad or phone, many people are reaching for pen and paper to do personal work. Take the bullet journaling trend; without the proper utensils, this trend would not have taken off the way it has!

Brownlow Journals

Lifestyle brands like Vera Bradley, Slant, and our line Brownlow have successfully integrated stationary into their product lines. Right along with Home Accents and Kitchen wares, Brownlow features paper and pens prominently as inspirational items. Thomas Nelson carries many Bible Journals and inspirational journals that are excellent gifts for First Communions, birthdays, and more!

 

Let the bright colors of these popping paper products entice you. Add some paper products to your store for a nice punch of an awesome trend! Check out StationeryTrends.com for some unique paper lines.