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July 2019 Show Specials

The July 2019 Gift Show begins today in Atlanta, and The Northern 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 rep or stop by the 16th Floor of Building 2 at the AmericasMart to order.

Cris Willis, Retail Clarity Coach and Consultant

Cris HeadshotBusiness_Coaching
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 cwillis@retailclarity.com.

July Gift Show in Atlanta

Northern Link reps will be available in Atlanta for the July Gift Show, this coming week, July 8-15. Come see gorgeous displays from many of our vendors, and check out some new product that you’ll surely want to get for your store!

The Link Companies 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.

July 2019 Show Schedule

Giving Back

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:

Anju Artisans

 

In addition to our charities, The Northern Link works with many vendors that also consider “giving back” one of their priorities. Anju Jewelry is a vendor that includes this idea in their company’s mission statement. They are a 100% sustainable jewelry brand that has been working with the same groups of local artisans in India for over 13 years! These artisans use traditional techniques to hand-make beaded and metal jewelry, and block print the fabrics used for the bags. Anju is committed to creating hope for artisans and their families through economic empowerment.

 

If you happened to stop by The Southern Link’s showroom (our partner company) during the January market in Atlanta, 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!

Please remember that every time you place an order with any of our vendors, The Northern Link gives a portion of the proceeds to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, and Wellspring Living. Every Order, Every Time!

 

 

 

Utilizing Your Territory Manager

At the Northern 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.”

Northern Link Reps

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.

Emerging Trend Alert: CBD Oil!

CBD OilLast 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.Cannabis plant

An article we found on Buzzfeed asks an expert to explain what exactly CBD Oil does:

“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?

Hemp Seed Oil
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!

 

Reminder: Father’s Day and Graduation!

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 Northern 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.Brownlow I Am Loved Signs

Brownlow Gifts has excellent gift options for any graduate! We immediately thought of their gorgeous journals that can be used for taking notes in class, or just writing about new and exciting college adventures! Brownlow suggests “Internet Password Books” on their website for graduates. This is a great little notebook for jotting down passwords that students will need for the various websites they visit. There is no shortage of dorm room decor, either. An adorable gift idea are the “I Am Loved” canvas signs pictured to the right!

Brownlow coin purseBrownlow Canvas Signs, $5 wholesale, min. 2.

Another easy gift option? Make sure your store is stocked up with coin purses; the idea is that the gift-giver can fill the coin purse with cash or gift cards for the graduate. Show an example of this at your cash wrap!

Brownlow Simple Inspirations Coin Purses, $1.50 wholesale, min. 4.

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.

Another perfect pick for Dad Gifts is a brand new vendor for us: 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.

Legacy Shave Prepack 260, SKU# PP260, $260 wholesale.

 

Does your store carry themed gifts like Marvel, Harry Potter, or Star Wars? Vandor Gifts has options for the Graduate AND for Father’s Day! Check out Harry Potter journals for the graduation section. There are even fountain pens and desk sets in the Harry Potter line! The journals below are felt, and are themed around each “House” in the book series.

Vandor Harry Potter Felt Hardcover Journals, $5 wholesale, Min. 3. Find them here in the catalog on the bottom, p.3)

Vandor HP Journals

Want to sell to the nerdy dads? Try some nostalgic mugs from Vandor, and send them back to their arcade days! An excellent example is this Space Invaders mug that reacts to heat.

Vandor’s Space Invaders 20 oz. Heat Reactive Ceramic Mug, SKU# 56161, $8 wholesale, min. 4.

Vandor Space Invaders mug

No matter what you choose to stock your store with, The Northern Link has a plethora of choices. To order, simply call your rep, or go online to order through our ecommerce site at RetailersLink.com. Not sure of your rep? Take a look here to contact us!

NEW Product!

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 Northern Link for our existing vendors! You may find some pleasant surprises.

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.

 

 

Next up is another product that can truly help your body in a specific way. In this case, these vertical eyeglass purses with a touchscreen help women avoid keeping phones in their bras or pockets where harmful radiation can be super close to the body. Of course we are talking about Save the Girls! The product is the remodeled Vertical Eyeglass Purse. It has a new magnet clasp, a cash pocket, a pocket under the credit cards slots, an embellishment piece on the front lip of the eye glass purse, and comes in red, blue, and black. Your customers will find the solution to losing their sunglasses with this purse!

Save the Girls Vertical Eyeglass Purse. SKUS – Black: EG-1004BL. Red: EG-1005RD. Blue: EG-1000RB. $18.49 Wholesale, Min. 1.

Save the Girls Eyeglass

 

Del Sol Nail Polish

 

 

One more product for major fun in the sun this spring and summer is Color-Changing nail polish from Del Sol! Del Sol is the world’s leading brand of color-changing apparel and accessories, and we are proud to newly represent them at Link 2 Sales. This is not your average nail polish, as it changes colors in the sun! Whether you are giving it as a gift, or using it for yourself, this color-changing polish is the absolute easiest way to change the color of your nails WITHOUT changing your nail polish!

 

Each individual bottle of polish is $5 wholesale in minimums of 6 per color. The best way to start your store with Del Sol nail polish is a display. The prepack assortment contains 42 bottles – 6 rows of 7 different top-sellers!

Del Sol Nail Polish Display Package, SKU# 9ZNAILP, $275. Del Sol Nail Polish package

Ordering these new products is easy – simply give a call or email to your Northern Link rep, or order online at RetailersLink.com! Not sure of who your rep is? Click here for help.

Put a Little SPRING in Your Step!

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.

Gift Essentials 24 pc. Hummer Ring Display, SKU# BE108. $62.00 Wholesale.

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.

Order any of the products for your store’s Spring product lines by contacting your Northern 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.

Happy Spring!

Mommin’ Ain’t Easy…

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!

Anju Block printed bagsSpeaking of excellent presence on social media, Anju Jewelry is exemplary with their outreach to retail customers and wholesalers. This company gives opportunities to local artisans in India by having these experts craftsmen and women create the beautiful pieces that comprise their collection. And they don’t just have jewelry! One excellent idea for Mother’s Day is Anju’s Block Printed Bags. There is a large array of bag prints and styles, including crossbodies, ID pouches, duffle bags, and totes. Check out their frequently updated Instagram account here.Brownlow Mom mug

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 Brownlow Gift’s adorable Mom-themed products. From tea towels to wooden signs, spatula and notepad gift sets and more, Brownlow has Inspirational products for any woman, let alone moms. Our favorite pick from their extensive collection is the mug pictured to the right.

Simple Inspirations “Your Mom” Mug, SKU# 62635, $5 wholesale, mult. of 4.

Another addition to your store’s Mother’s Day product collection is 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.

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, including those from Anju and Brownlow from our ecommerce site at RetailersLink.com, or you can contact your Northern Link rep for more information about ordering!

 

Do you have a Cold in the Cold?

If you have yet to get a cold this winter, count yourself among the lucky! But, for the rest of us with the sniffles, sneezes, aches and pains, it’s time for a little TLC for our bodies. The Northern Link certainly sells the kinds of products that your customers can use in this time of chilly weather and chicken soup!

When wWorld's Softest Sensitive Colle think of World’s Softest Socks over at The Link, we picture super comfortable knee and crew socks that are fun and colorful and easy to wear and gift. What we’d love to share is our discovery of their entire Sensitive Collection! This specific product line is filled with socks that, “encourage health blood flow and increased circulation.” Upon further research, we found that, according to WebMD: “Compression stockings can keep your legs from getting tired and achy. They can also ease swelling in your feet and ankles as well as help prevent and treat spider and varicose veins.”

With that in mind, we chose our favorites of this collection – the Support Fit Fashion Crew. These socks are 33% cotton, 33% modal, 31% nylon, and 3% spandex for that perfect stretch. The wide welt is designed to stay up without binding. Sold in a variety of cute colors and patterns, in women’s shoe sizes 6-10.

Support Fit Fashion Crew, SKU#W3261, $5.50 per pair and sold in a pack of 3.

 

Warmies’ Spa Therapy line containing warmable neck wraps, slippers, and more seemed like the natural choice for relief from aches and pains associated with the common cold. But, even better, is the best seller from the January show: the Original Hot-Pak Herbal Heat Pack Assortment that offers “soothing warmth and comfort, is safe, quick, and easy to use, and scented with relaxing lavender!

Taking our suggestion rather seriously, we checked into the benefits of heat therapy. According to Healthline, “Heat therapy works by improving circulation and blood flow to a particular area due to increased temperature. Increasing the temperature of the afflicted area even slightly can soothe discomfort and increase muscle flexibility. Heat therapy can relax and soothe muscles and heal damaged tissue.”

Hot Pak Soft Cord Assortment, SKU# HPSOFTCORDKIT, $72 wholesale for 1 case, 12 pieces, 4 gray, 4 lavender, 4 blue.

Last, our own suggestion for avoiding a cold, or even just relieving a non-sickness related chill, is to hop in the tub! Your bathroom could use a little ambiance, though…Check out Marmalade of London, our new candle line with dreamy fragrances that whisk you away from the winter not-so-wonderland!

The most popular fragrance from the January show was the Pacific Orchid and Sea Salt: the fragrance of Coconut, Orange, Bergamot on a middle of White Flowers, Vanilla, Pacific Orchid with base notes of Amber and Sea Salt. And the most common candle format are the gorgeous glass candle jars, as you see pictured. Warm up your soul with a little soft glow in your bathroom (or store)!

Gift Boxed Glass Candle in Pacific Orchid & Sea Salt, SKU#83-12194, $15 a piece and sold in a box of 4.

As always, contact your Northern Link rep to inquire about orders, or check out our ecommerce site to place an order at RetailersLink.com! Stay well.