The July 2019 Gift Show begins today in Atlanta, and The Southern Link is featuring some amazing specials from their vendors! Show Specials include free freight with specified order amounts, free product with orders, and display offers. Be sure to look at our handy Wrap below that details all of the Show Specials for you in one convenient place! Call your Link 2 Sales rep or stop by the 16th Floor of Building 2 at the AmericasMart to order.
Please help us welcome Split-P to The Southern Link! Now merging with sister brand, Park Designs, you can now speak with your Park territory manager in regards to Split-P! For on trend home decor, Split-P has an enormous selection of in-house designs. Pay particular attention to the Mid-Year collections out now, with themes including Botanical Retreat, Boho Style, and Deep Blue Sea!
Cris Willis, Retail Clarity Coach and Consultant
Cris will be offering FREE sessions in Room 1641, the Key Sales Showroom, on Saturday, July 13, and Sunday, July 14 during the Gift Show! Be sure to take advantage of her expertise, and read more about her below.
After marrying into a 4th generation retail family celebrating 142 years of business, Cris Willis has run the award-winning Parsons store alongside her husband, Gary for the past 25 years. Those 25 years have provided Cris with a unique understanding regarding the complexities of running a family business, such as splitting the business with family, opening, closing, remodeling, and rebranding stores. Cris has now transitioned into a Retail Coach, offering private coaching, monthly Mastermind groups, and several other resources geared to help independent retail business owners find the success they are looking for.
Questions? Email Cris at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Southern Link has a FULL SCHEDULE of food and events during the show, including a Charity Concert on Friday night featuring M80! This is one party not to miss – with proceeds going to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta – at The Hard Rock Cafe’s Velvet Underground. See below for the rest of the schedule and plan your meals accordingly.
At the Link Companies, we have two charities that we support with every order, every time: Wellspring Living and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta! Take a look at this video to see more about WHY we give back:
If you happened to stop by The Southern Link’s showroom during the January market, you may have spotted a sweet little puppy hanging out! If you didn’t see the dog, it’s because Tall Tails‘ team actually got the homeless pup adopted within only a few days of the show! Known for high quality dog products like blankets, toys, collars, and food dishes, Tall Tails frequently hosts dog adoption events as their way of “giving back.” Check their Facebook page or stop by during the next show to find out more about their frequent dog adoption partnerships!
Dogs are extremely popular in the world of “giving back!” Treat Planet focuses on the highest quality dog treats made with all-natural US ingredients. Their passion is the joy that a dog can bring to any person. Our world is challenging enough and the unconditional love of a dog makes the world a better place. Currently, Treat Planet employs over 40 special needs adults in their community, and they support scientific research to show how pets make us healthier! They want to make the best treats to honor the impact that our pets have on our communities.
Please remember that every time you place an order with any of our vendors, The Southern Link gives a portion of the proceeds to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, and Wellspring Living. Every Order, Every Time!
At the Southern Link, we are here to help you find the perfect products for your store! The main way we do this is by providing you a full staff of personable Reps that will bring knowledge about our lines to your orders, line by line. You do not need to sit around and make guesses as to which items will sell the best – that’s our job! So, in this blog, we will be discussing the things you can bring to the table to help us help you the best that we can.
There are six important focal areas that will guide you through using your Rep most efficiently: Order Management, Inventory Control, Merchandising, Training, Marketing, and Data. The focus right now will be on Order Management.
First, take on the tasks that only you, as a store owner, can do. Order management starts with your “open to buy.” Determine how much product you need. The easiest way to do this is to think about the linear square feet that need to be filled in your store. Break the amount of space into categories of product (i.e., “I need four feet of jewelry, six feet of wall décor”). Apply a budget, balance this against your operating capital, and stick to it! If you only have $10,000 in cash to work with in June, only have $10,000 worth of product bought and shipped in June!
Be sure to leave a discretionary fund. When you see the hot new product, you may need to usurp something else in order to bring that in. Make this plan for each month of the year and edit it at the beginning of each month based on current sales and industry trends. This is called your monthly “open to buy.”
Here is where your Rep comes in. Do not keep your Open to Buy information a secret! Share your thoughts with a trusted sales Rep. They may have ideas, based on their industry knowledge, on which categories will work best for you at the moment. They may also find products that fit best into your mix. Good Reps, like ours at The Link, are not scared to share market information with you.
Regardless of whatever POS system you may have that tracks your orders, they can all be rendered useless if you do not start with a plan. Take the following steps when working with your Open to Buy:
Assuming that you have a 1500 square foot store or smaller, create a page for each monthly plan (discussed earlier).
Create a PO# for each order.
Decide how each PO accomplishes the goals laid out in your monthly plan. What categories are covered? How many linear feet? Is it cost effective?
Track the PO information on the monthly page. Add the following columns: Received On, Dollars Received, Paid On.
As you place and receive orders for each month, track each of the columns.
When you reach your budget in the dollars or reach the limit in your categories, you are finished buying for the month and your “Open to Buy” is now depleted.
The Order Management ideas we just gave you are only a piece of what you can focus on as a store buyer or owner in order to balance your budget and your buying. Stay tuned to this blog for more ways you can utilize your rep, or just give us a call so we can drop by and help you out in person! To find the rep in your territory, click here.
Last year, as gift lists were emerging for the Holiday season around Thanksgiving, a trend began to emerge: CBD Oil. Media outlets from Forbes to Buzzfeed began to zoom in on CBD Oil products as highly sought-after gifts. Most of these products and articles were framed with the “Wellness” or “Self-Care” trend as the overarching theme. But, the hype often leaves buyers with more questions than answers. What exactly IS CBD Oil? What kind of products can you put it in? What exactly does it do? Isn’t this illegal? And, is it the same thing as Hemp Oil? Today we hope to clear these questions up and bring awareness to this trend that’s storming into the gift world.
So what exactly is CBD Oil?
CBD is an abbreviation for “cannibidiol,” which is a chemical compound found naturally in the cannabis plant. It’s extracted from the leaves, flowers, and stalks of the plant. In fact, CBD is only 1 in over 100 active compounds or cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant! Cannabis is a little more complex than you may have thought, right? Unlike some common misconceptions, CBD Oil only contains teeny, tiny levels of THC, levels that are so negligible that they do NOT get a person “high” or cause people to fail drug tests.
What are the benefits of CBD?
You are probably wondering, “Well, then what exactly does CBD do? What’s all the hype about?” And the answer is rather complex. In the gift world, most products containing CBD Oil tout that it helps with insomnia, physical pain, or anxiety. It is used a lot in skin care for its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits. CBD Oil can be ingested topically on the skin, or ingested. It is even being studied and looked at for approval by the FDA for use as an anti-seizure medication.
“According to Stuart Titus, CEO of Medical Marijuana, Inc. (which sells CBD oil products through its distribution subsidiary HempMeds), CBD interacts with the body through the endogenous cannabinoid system (ECS), a neuromodulatory system that plays important roles in central nervous system development and the body’s response to internal and external factors. In other words, the ECS regulates the body’s homeostasis, keeping those who ingest it a bit more balanced, and those who apply it topically a bit less pained — particularly if they apply it to a painful area (a sore shoulder, that kind of thing).”
What’s it in?
Much like the revered actor Kevin Bacon, CBD Oil seems to keep popping up in EVERYTHING. Some of the products featured on the Holiday gift lists we perused were tea, honey, gummies (both the vitamin and the candy gum drop kind), almond butter, lip balm, chocolate, candy, lotions, drops and elixirs (to be added to drinks both alcoholic and virgin), and bath bombs! That’s a lot of possibilities!
How is something from the Cannabis plant legal?
This answer is a bit more complex, but mostly has to do with the passing of a Farm Bill in late 2018. According to cbdcentral.com, “The Act removes hemp – officially defined as cannabis plants containing less than .3% THC – from the Schedule 1 Controlled Substances list from a Congressional standpoint.” Essentially, the December 2018 Farm Bill that the president signed into action enables the cannabis plant to be grown, with conditions and restrictions, and used for these medicinal purposes.
Further explanation: “While hemp-derived CBD sourced from marijuana plants still remains subject to individual state laws, when sourced from hemp products, CBD can be purchased and consumed in all 50 states as long as it is grown in accordance with the Act.” So, you are NOT breaking the law if you sell and purchase these products.
What is the difference between CBD Oil and Hemp Seed Oil?
Last but not least, it’s wise to clear up the confusion between CBD and Hemp Oils, as there is quite a large difference between the two. Hemp Seed Oil is also referred to as “cannabis sativa seed oil,” and it is a SEED oil much in the same vein as sunflower seed oil or jojoba seed oil. The hemp seeds are cold pressed and the oil is extracted. Hemp Seed Oil is known as a Superfood, as it is high in antioxidants, omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, but it does NOT contain CBD.
Farmhouse Fresh is currently a line carried by Link 2 Sales that sells skincare products containing Hemp Seed Oil! But, stay tuned because CBD and Hemp products are popping up in all sorts of unexpected places. As the Wellness and Self Care trends grow in the marketplace, more customers will be inquiring to see if your store sells these products.
Retailers: Don’t forget that May is the time for Graduation ceremonies, and June 16th is Father’s Day! If your store feels a little slow right now, these two events are an easy way to get your merchandise back into the groove of things and to pull customers in. The Southern Link definitely has the product to appropriately stock your shelves for both events, and some of these items my be things you already order! Now is the time for restocking and preparations, so check out our picks for Graduation and Father’s Day below and get your orders in NOW.
Boelter Brands is a leader in drinkware for sports fans across the leagues. This includes college teams, which makes them an exceptional gift purveyor for Graduation gifts! In addition to ceramics, plasticware, thermal, and glassware for the big league teams in the NFL, NBA, MLB, and NHL, they sell fantastic collections for specific schools which are easy to order for your store location. No matter if you live close to a university big or small, Boelter can personalize these items and help you set up a display large or small for your store.
Easy to add to your current store mix are Gift Sets for the Grads and the Dads! Boelter sells Pint Glass Gift Sets (both plastic and glass), Ceramic Mug Sets, Stemless Wine Glass Sets and more. Order the appropriate team gear and watch these fly during the next few months.
Emerson Street is yet another fine purveyor of Collegiate products that would make graduation gifts a cinch for your customers! Even though their most widely sold product is their Nightshirt in a Bag, the entire rest of their product line is women’s collegiate apparel and accessories. The Southern Link’s customers know to look to Emerson Street for on-trend Missy fit scarves, tops, jackets, vests, and more with your college’s logo.
During the January Market, one of the best-selling pieces in Emerson’s collegiate line was the Montauk Coat. This is available with an embroidered logo from the college of your choice.
Moving on to Father’s Day gifts, there are some really unique finds in two brand new lines! An All Star idea for men’s gifting are candles from Torched Products. With assorted barware, beer cap maps, coasters, hot sauces, and more, beer candles are only one part of the tremendous offerings from Torched! However, we can certainly say that the candles are their most sold product and would be a fantastic pick for your store. Made from amber beer bottles, these candles are a premium natural soy wax blend and handcrafted in Tampa, Florida. Gear your store’s scent collection toward the summer with seasonal beer scents like “Blood Orange IPA,” “Grapefruit Hefeweizen,” and “Summer Shandy.” All of the candles are cut from real repurposed bottles at a 20 degree angle, and they are not even remotely sharp at the edges. The burn time on an 8oz beer candle is 60 hours, versus the 11oz Bomber candle that burns for 80 hours and the 28oz Growler candle (the largest) that burns for 200 hours.
The item to get for Father’s Day preparations? Certainly one of the Candle Kits! Candle Kit 1 contains 6-8 best-selling scents and a free display; 48 Beer Candles, 24 Bomber Candles, and 12 Growler Candles. See candle sizes for comparison to the left!
Torched Candle Kit 1, SKU#KIT1-SS (Spring/Summer scents), $699 wholesale, 24″H x 16″W x 13″D.
Last but not least, another perfect pick for Dad Gifts is Legacy Shave! This company’s love of old school barbershop culture spawned a revolutionary new way to shave. They have created a shave brush that easily attaches to a shaving cream can. That way, there’s no mess! Simply spray the shaving cream THROUGH the brush, rub it directly on your face without getting cream all over your hands and sink area, and then proceed to shave. Men love the simplicity of this idea, and Legacy sells an excellent prepack assortment to get any store started easily with their products. It contains 16 Legacy Shave Cans and 5 Brush and Balm Kits.
Springtime is time for growth in both nature…and in our product lines! So, as you wait for the trees and flowers to bloom, check out what’s new at The Southern Link for our existing vendors! You may find some pleasant surprises.
First, Coco & Carmen by tgbBrands just released their Fall/Winter 2019 Pre-Order catalog! Shipments for the pre-order items will begin in early July. This is the absolute best way to get the products you want for your store without worrying about anything being out of stock or backordered. Last year at this time, Coco’s OMG Jeans flew out of the warehouse and onto store racks to become a huge hit with customers! Don’t miss out on current trends.
As for what we can expect, there are four trend stories that have emerged in Coco’s apparel: Lady Soul, Walking on Sunshine, Dusty in Memphis, and Electric Youth. There are some examples of each, in order, pictured above. Lady Soul is a smart, sophisticated look with deep colors, sleek lines, and faux fur. Walking on Sunshine is all about ultra-comfy, high-neck sweaters and casual pants in camo and denim. Dusty in Memphis is definitely sassy: embroidered denim, snake print, and edgy cropped flare pants. Electric Youth is what it says – playful, youthful colors like bright greens and pinks, slouchy sweaters, and fun denim! And because they are epicly popular, OMG Jeans are back in so many new styles.
Alliance Sports Group has tools and gadgets for many different situations; their brand Nebo is the king of ultra-bright flashlights, Quarrow is a fisherman’s paradise of products, and True Utility takes the pocket knife to a whole new level! Both Quarrow and Nebo have released brand new catalogs recently, and there are some highlight-worthy products. Our picks are Nebo’s amazing new flashlight products, particularly the Nebo Eye Smart Sensor Light!
This is an easily mountable area light that’s ideal for security purposes and contains a motion detector. The eye is magnetic and can rotate, and also turns off in daylight to preserve power. There are 3 light modes – 100% (260 lumens) runs for 2.5 hours and 24 meters, 30% (100 lumens) runs for 7 hours and 15 meters, and security flash (260 lumens) that runs for 6.5 hours and reaches 24 meters. Sell them at your store from the handy case pack!
Nebo Eye, SKU# 6776, $15 Wholesale, $24.99 MSRP, 16 per case.
Just in time to sell for summer, Couture Tee released a small Tank collection! Couture Tee already has your t-shirt basics covered with incredibly comfortable cotton tees for men and women with fun, Southern sayings like, “Born Country,” and “Down Home Southern Girl.”
Now your customers can keep it ultra cool with tanks that are perfect for the summer heat! Part of the “Comfort Collection,” all tanks are sold in sizes S-2XL. See all Tank prints here.
Couture Tee Comfort Tanks, $11 wholesale per tank (min. 1) in sizes S-XL, $12.5 for size 2XL (min. 1) and $168 for a prepack.
To find out more information or place an order for any of these hot, new products, contact your Southern Link rep, or order on our ecommerce site, RetailersLink.com! If you don’t know your rep, please visit our website and contact us for assistance.
At The Link Companies, we think about two things when winter turns the corner to Spring: vacations and outdoor entertaining! It is true that Springtime is short-lived in a lot of places, particularly in the South, where our company is located. A month of milder temperatures and some rain and then – BAM! – onto the sweltering heat! But that doesn’t mean that we cancel our outdoor plans. Or, that we don’t take the chance to travel out of town to less rainy locales! Take a look at some products that will help your store’s sales sail into the hot temps of summer with ease!
We all look forward to more time outdoors, and one big draw is nature. Particularly if you can find it right in your own backyard! Gift Essentials has tons of products for your store’s outdoor section, including beautiful wind chimes, funky, outdoor thermometers in the shapes of animals, and delightful birdbaths for the yard. And to draw everyone’s favorite miniature bird – hummingbird feeders! Gift Essentials does make a variety of standard hummingbird feeders, but the real attraction is the “Hummer Ring” – this is a ring that attracts a hummingbird directly to your hand to feed on a sugar solution! Children love it (as do many adults). Try the best-selling 24 piece display of Hummer Rings.
If your store doesn’t carry Katydid’s Collection yet, you need it! There are three main product categories: Headwear, Apparel, and Accessories. Known initially for their ball caps featuring funny sayings like “Beach Please,” Katydid has completely expanded over time to include much more! Women’s tshirts, tanks, and totes are a big part of the collection, and there are now chic accessories like brightly colored earrings and luggage tags! This line has your women’s gift department totally covered. Other than the obvious luggage tags, the vacation accessories to focus on are, of course, Swimsuit Cover ups. Whether you are a float-in-the-river kind of girl, a pool-side diva, or a Beach dweller, there is a cover up to strike your fancy. Try the white Cover ups to match any kind of patterned bathing suit. With an amazing price point, this will definitely appeal to your swimming customers.
Katydid White Swimsuit Cover up with Pink Trim, SKU# KDC-CCU-9506_WHT_PNK. Wholesale $11.50, Min. 1.
Melrose is the King of Spring when it comes to Home & Garden! Bring a little of your outdoor space into your home with their absolutely beautiful Wreaths collection. Or, use them to decorate your front door or patio. Having any of their greenery in your store will certainly remind customers that spring is here! One of our favorites from the extensive Melrose collection are the lanterns. For spring, bathe your patio, porch, or balcony in candlelight with these white, metal lanterns. With timeworn details and the classic “X” design, these lanterns are tall, with room for multiple candles inside.
Melrose Set of 2 Lanterns 18.75″ height, 25.25″ height, SKU# 74344, 1 set is $76 Wholesale.
Order any of the products for your store’s Spring product lines by contacting your Southern Link rep right now. Check this link if you are unsure of who your rep is. Or, you can order online at our ecommerce site, RetailersLink.com.
Mother’s Day is rapidly approaching! This year, it is on Sunday, May 12th, and as Retailers, it’s best to make plans way ahead of time to make this holiday count as a memorable experience for your customers! This week, we have some tips on how to do just that. Because, after all, moms are the everyday heroes that deserve the best.
One excellent source of store participation is a contest. Encourage your customers to post pictures of their mothers (or other beloved women in their life who are moms) and tag the store on social media. Choose a prize and have a drawing in the store. This kind of technique encourages your customers to think about who they wish to buy a gift for in the first place, and why it’s important to honor this woman. It also encourages more social media and online engagement, as well as in store participation as they will need to come to your place of business to pick up their prize!
It’s easy to focus on family-themed holidays when you’re selling products from a family-owned company like D’ears! This jewelry company has been in business since 2013 and all of their handcrafted earrings and necklaces are made at home in Finlayson, Minnesota by the owners, or other collaborating artists. The actual jewelry is made by pressing a special ink into extremely lightweight material, resulting in a product with depth to its color and design. The wired earrings and pendants are embellished by hand with hypoallergenic silver-plated copper wire. One of our favorite picks for your Mother’s Day collection is this gorgeous, richly colored butterfly necklace! This is part of a large collection of butterfly and dragonfly necklaces that would perfectly suit many nature-loving mamas.
Continuing to boost online engagement, be sure to have a section on your website that highlights Mother’s Day gift ideas, just as you would have in the store.
You could easily create a Mother’s Day section with all of Cottage Garden’s Mom-themed music boxes. Their solid wooden music boxes are not just themed for mothers, but also represent other women in our lives that can be celebrated as moms on Mother’s Day; there are music boxes for sisters, daughters, Grandmas and more. Our favorite pick from their extensive collection is what is featured on the cover of their 2019 catalog and pictured to the right.
Rustic Elegance Music Box, SKU #ML211DG, $18.50 Wholesale.
Further tips: Create an in-store display geared toward the holiday. This can be as simple as a table at the front of the store, or a section near the cash wrap that highlights some products that would work as Mother’s Day gifts. Fresh floral displays always help to make this area look beautiful and eye-catching. Use products you already sell in your store for this section as well. Journals, recipe boxes, mugs, jewelry…there are so many options! And don’t forget to include a touch of Mother’s Day in your window display. Advertise any specials or sales you may have going on for the occasion and products that match up to your in store display.
As always, you can purchase many of our products from our ecommerce site at RetailersLink.com, or you can contact your Southern Link rep for more information about ordering!
Easter is right around the corner on Sunday, April 21st this year! This holiday is the absolute perfect excuse to prepare your store for spring. This means out with the winter blues, and in with the springtime hues – pastels, Pantone’s color of the year, CORAL, and all modes of floral and plants! Your customers need to see displays that put them in the mindset for upcoming warm temperatures and outdoor events. Do not be shy with color, and front load any candy, Easter basket fillers, and inspirational products.
Thomas Nelson is the Christian publisher we represent at The Southern Link, and they have so many inspirational books for Easter that it’s hard to just name a few! Their best-selling books from the past few months include an excellent choice for an Easter gift: “365 Devotions to Embrace What Matters Most” by John Michalak. This book is designed to call the reader back to the relationships and activities that bring them the most joy, and to step away from the kind of daily drudgery that clouds our vision. With a beautiful, springtime floral cover, this handsome little devotional is perfect for your store’s Easter display!
365 Devotions to Embrace What Matters Most, ISBN: 978-0310003588, Wholesale $8.00, Min. 2
For very small children, try a book from the adorable and timeless Precious Moments collection. This is an excellent Easter book for any little one!
Precious Moments Little Book of Easter Blessings, ISBN: 978-0718098667, Wholesale $5.00, Min. 2
Southern Sisters was a brand new vendor at The Southern Link during the last gift show in January. It’s easy to see why we chose to rep this line! They create gorgeous, hand-designed flour sack towels and cottage pillows with artwork for all. Some of the designs are funny (there’s a whole collection of black and white drawings of sassy ladies saying things like, “I heard you, I’m just not listening”) and others are simply beautiful artwork for all seasons and occasions. They have a complete Easter collection rife with bunny rabbits, baskets, wreaths, and eggs that will display amazingly in your store and your customer’s household! One of our favorites is shown to the left.
Of course, no child’s Easter basket would be complete without some plush! Little bunnies around the store are also a fantastic way to say “It’s Easter!” First & Main has an adorable collection of Jelly Bean Bunnies – plush toys in 6 bright, assorted colors to spruce up and complete your store’s Easter table, or even add some decoration to your front windows.
Jellybean Bunnies, SKU# E2462, Order 6,12,18…(up to 42 pcs.) $2.50 ea. Cases of 48, $1.50 ea.
Any of these products, and many more, can be ordered by calling your Southern Link rep!. Catalogs for all of our lines are available on our website’s Vendor Portfolio (click the HERE to see). And, we have an ecommerce site where you can order certain lines online: www.retailerslink.com.