Atlanta, home of The Link Companies, is fortunate enough to host the Super Bowl this year at Mercedes Benz stadium. But, just around the corner, a few weeks before the Super Bowl, there was another “Big Game” in town – the Atlanta January Gift Show! The Central Link had so many best-selling products that it’s hard to know where to begin. In honor of Super Bowl 53, let’s take a quick look at one of our top Men’s Gifts lines – Alliance.
The Central Link’s best sellers from Alliance are mostly from two of their dominant tool brands – True Utility and Nebo. Focusing in on what’s hot with Nebo Tools, we find the PAL+ – a 3-in-1 powerbank, flashlight, and folding knife that conveniently fits in your pocket, purse, or briefcase! This tool may be small, but it is mighty. The flashlight is rechargeable and 400 lumens, the knife features a 3″ folding blade that can be removed for safe travel, and the PAL can be used as a backup power source for mobile phones and other USB rechargeable electronic devices.
The PAL+ is $18.15 wholesale and has an MSRP of $32.99. SKU# 6715 and comes in a case pack of 12. Call your Central Link Rep to order it TODAY while supplies last.
January Market is fast approaching – less than a week to go! In preparation, check out the SHOW SPECIALS for The Link Companies by clicking below and viewing the Specials Book!
The Link Companies has a FULL SCHEDULE of food and events during the show, including the “Come Sail Away” Market Kick Off Party featuring the Yacht Rock Review! This is one party not to miss – in the Atrium of the Apparel Mart on Wednesday evening. See below for the rest of the schedule and plan your meals accordingly.
All of Viv & Lou’s unique designs are developed, often digitally-drawn by an in house creative team in South Carolina. Each product is inspired by the daily life, family and friends, and interests of its designer. Get a blanket with a matching duffel, and personalize it with a monogram! Or a cooler, swimsuit cover, bag – there are so many items to choose from!
The Central Link is proud to announce the following new additions to our fantastic line up of vendors:
Legacy Shave offers “The Ultimate Shaving Experience” with the world’s first shaving cream can attachment! Get a close shave without the mess and clean up. Founded by two brothers, Legacy Shave is rooted in the past but geared toward the future. That’s the idea behind Legacy Shave and The Evolution Brush – a unique way to bring that old-fashioned barber shop experience into your home. The name reflects what’s closest to the founding brothers hearts – Family and Legacy. This is the absolute pinnacle of men’s gifting!
Marmalade of London is a British candle brand that creates a little indulgent luxury for every home, with every candle poured! They have a passion for fragrance and design which can be seen in their stylish and contemporary packaging. Fragrance is very personal and different scents can remind us of a person, a place or a moment in time. That’s why Marmalade has created fragrances to suit all different tastes. All of the products are lovingly made in Britain. The candles are 100% soy wax with cotton wicks and essential oils. Marmalade’s bath and body products contain lovely natural ingredients including shea butter, vitamin E and aloe vera. The nearest they get to animal testing is by bringing the family black labrador, Plum, to work and allowing her to sniff the occasional candle or reed diffuser. She seems to approve!
Stop by at the January gift show to see these brand new products in person, or call your Central Link rep to order today!
It’s the time of year when retail is nothing but hustle and bustle. Good thing The Central Link has you covered with these awesome products that are all ready and waiting to ship to you IMMEDIATELY!
World’s Softest Socks Gallery Collection features a whole group of items guaranteed to keep your customers warm this holiday season! Check out the breakdown: SOCKS (of course) feature Footsies for $4.25, Crew Socks for $4.50, Knee Highs for $6, and Over-the-Knee for $7 (prices all wholesale). Get involved in the World’s Softest outerwear, too, with Toboggans for $9 and Scarves for $15!
Gift Essentials Glass Decorative Christmas Trees are an adorable piece of holiday home decor that look fantastic on the mantle, a side table, or as a centerpiece. The trees are from five and a half inches to a foot high, and range from $6.75 to $20 wholesale. Pictured on the left is one of the six inch, best-selling trees for $10, that can come in a basic shipping box or a gift box. If the trees aren’t your store’s style, Gift Essentials has an entire catalog of Holiday goodies, that includes ornaments, wine accessories, sun catchers, wind chimes, and holiday drinkware!
All of these items can be ordered right away by calling your Central Link rep, or by ordering online at RetailersLink.com.
For Immediate Release: November 9, 2018 Contact: Brad Rosenkampff, Managing Partner
THE LINK COMPANIES ANNOUNCES ACQUISITION AND EXPANSION
Atlanta, Ga – The Link Companies, a leading manufacturers’ representative agency in the gift, home accent, lifestyle apparel and fashion accessory sectors, announces the acquisition of a prominent sales agency and territory expansion. The Link Companies will now have complete representation in the Northeast through Nova Sales Associates and territory managers in Ohio.
Nova Sales Associates (NSA) has an outstanding history with four decades of sales and service across 6 states. Always been a “shining star” in this region, NSA is led by Drew Weisinger and Phil Wacks. The territory managers will continue under their guidance and join The Link Companies team offering a permanent home at the Atlanta markets. Over the course of the next year, NSA will transition to The Northern Link.
Weisinger: “We are thrilled to be merging with The Link Companies. It’s a perfect opportunity for two companies with similar cultures and respected brands along with a mutual vision and shared desire to grow, to join forces and help our retail and vendor partners succeed.”
The Link Companies also announces the hire of territory managers in Ohio, establishing a new agency called The Central Link. Kelly Morris will be VP of Sales for this new agency. “For decades we have worked with Ohioans in our showrooms and we can now offer exemplary service with our professionals on the road, in their stores. We are very excited about this announcement and welcome the opportunity for growth in the Buckeye State,” states Fred Rosenkampff, CEO/ Managing Partner of The Link Companies.
For more information, visit: www.TheLinkCompanies.com
Brad Rosenkampff, CPO/Managing Partner 404.395.8031
The Link Companies
The Southern Link-Link 2 Sales
Total Accessories-Don Mar Sales-Key Sales
The Northern Link-The Central Link
Bldg. 2/Gift Mart 16th floor, Bldg. 3/Apparel Mart 7th floor
follow us on social media: IG: @_thelinkcompanies FB: @thelinkcompanies TW: @thelinktweets
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.
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!
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!
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.
OK – I have heard it for the last 25 years – Retail is about creating an experience. Then, in 2018’s Link Magazine article with Gifts and Dec’s Nancy Wolkow, she tells us it is the most important part of success in retail right now! But I’m are still confused about how to create an experience without spending millions of dollars on consultants and fancy buildings.
Almost 20 years ago, Paco Underhill, an environmental psychologist, showed us how to apply observations about human nature and our customers to the shopping experience. Mr. Underhill explains how we can increase sales by altering mood and atmosphere. You have been watching shoppers for years, let’s use that knowledge to create more sales.
One of my favorite observations that he had in the book was that when shoppers do not have room for more products, they tend to stop shopping. In one store, he increased the shopping cart size by 20% and sales increased 15%. Where I was working, we didn’t have money for new shopping carts but we could train our floor staff. So we created a dedicated shelf area by the register and whenever we saw customers with product in their hand, we offered to bring it to the front for them. This little change cost nothing, upped the retail experience, and increased sales instantly.
“Why We Buy” is a quick read and helps put you on the path to becoming a retail experience guru!
If you haven’t read it, I suggest you get it today! If you read it 20 years ago like me, it is time to reread it. It is well worth the time investment!
Why We Buy: The Science Of Shopping Paperback– June 2, 2000
Many buyers will come to the show, buy a ton of product, and return to the store with the same problem: Where do we put all this new stuff? There is a fine line that retailers walk between having too much inventory and not enough product. Thankfully, there are easy solutions to the space issue, even for the smallest boutiques.
Merchandise jewelry on a wall above other items in your store. For example, if you have a wall taken up by a cabinet that rises to about waist-level, the wall space above can be used as an area to hang necklaces, earrings, and bracelet bars can be set on top of the cabinet. Multiple collections can be shown at once with this approach, and valuable floor space is not utilized.
Get Brand-specific Displays
Anju Jewelry is a great example of a brand that carries beautiful and inexpensive jewelry displays. They carry unique, free-standing boards for necklaces, small ring holders, bracelet bars, and spinners for an entire collection. Brands like Anju take the guesswork out of where to put a new line.
A unique display idea our leadership team saw at Market was setting jewelry up on faux grass. Many stores have utilized the display idea of a frame as a border with burlap or cork filling the frame, and tacking the jewelry with thumb tacks or nails. A new twist on this is using faux grass as the background. Even covering a small piece of wall with faux grass and using it as a jewelry display area is very on trend. Kameleon shows in this photo that they are keeping up with the trends and merchandising with faux greenery!
Clothing sizes have changed dramatically throughout the years, even since the 1960’s. According to Time.com, Twiggy was a size 8 in 1958, and would be a size 00 by today’s standards! This rise is size is due to vanity sizing. Brands label garments with smaller sizes so that women feel better about their body type.
The good news for the average-sized woman (who is roughly a size 12-14) is that plus size fashion is on the rise, and one-size-fits-all clothing is no longer ubiquitous.
Our marketing team at The Link has found vendors advertising that they carry plus sized clothing at the most recent markets. Sizes 2X and 3X are now a part of many labels formerly XS-XL sized lines.
What does this mean for retailers? The trend forecast is telling us that one size fits all clothing is no longer an acceptable mantra. Customers expect specific sizing that addresses all sizes. Even mainstream denim lines are jumping on this train by offering curvy sizes in denim.
Coco and Carmen is one brand carried by Southern Link and Total Accessories that does offer a plus sized option. Many of the dresses, tops, and pant options come in a size XXL. Accent Accessories, available through Link2Sales, offers a 2X/3X size option. To stay relevant, retailers really need to consider increasing the size range within their stores.