Wholesale Fashion Jewelry – 5 Shortcuts to Retail Success

Something in the human spirit is always itching for independence and this itch translates to a constant flow of new entrepreneurs that so often gravitate towards fashion jewelry. What is so irresistible about this accessory? Beyond the high profit margins that wholesale fashion jewelry can open for retailers lies an intrinsic beauty that creates truly wearable art. Yes, wholesale fashion jewelry offers plenty of profit potential that enables retailers to turn small investments into the longest mark-up in the fashion industry, but the magic of fashion jewelry’s beauty stops consumers in their tracks and this magnetic attraction, more than anything else, brings the entrepreneur into retail sales specializing in jewelry.

Many of these new fashion jewelry businesses begin on the simplest level with retailers buying wholesale fashion jewelry and presenting it to friends and co-workers. Easy sales and new found profits ignite a fire to grow the business, but what step comes next? As a twenty-five year veteran of the wholesale fashion jewelry industry, I have seen business after business start in this way and often grow to become the major supplier of fashion accessories in a community. The learning curve never ends as fashion jewelry evolves as well as retail tactics, but some things never change and these key techniques will have positive impact on your fashion jewelry business.

But first, how are you going to sell your treasure of wholesale fashion jewelry? Outgoing personalities love the active sale. Visit businesses, do parties, set up in flea markets or craft shows, and bubble over with enthusiasm as you introduce stunning fashion jewelry to consumers. All they need is a crowd and permission to set up. Bingos, festivals, school picnics, car shows, sporting events-the list is endless. Overhead is low and actually stops when not engaged in sales activities. But so does sales, so many prefer brick and mortar businesses with a higher overhead, but continuing business even when you’re not there.

The quieter, methodical personality may not be up to this bubbling enthusiasm and choose a passive sales mode. Successful businesses often build without the entrepreneur ever engaged in active sales to the consumer. They connect with beauty shops and other locations to provide fashion jewelry on consignment with the owner profiting as well as the entrepreneur. Methodical personalities think out the details like how to handle shrinkage of missing items with no sales recorded. Increasing price and lowering consignment fees compensates for losses when fashion jewelry has open exposure that can result in more shrinkage. The flip side is reduced sales in secure environments like showcases or behind the counter, which reduce shrinkage, but unfortunately, also sales.

Okay, both personalities have a selling method they are comfortable with and both can expand their business with online marketing by working on websites while their sales support them as the websites grow, climbing higher in the results of major search engines. But what about the 5 shortcuts to retail success? They boil down to pricing, selection, presentation, knowledge, and benefits.

-First comes pricing the wholesale fashion jewelry. New entrepreneurs often feel shock waves as they see the wholesale cost compared to retail prices they paid as consumers. The first temptation is undercut all the competition. Stop there!-because fashion jewelry is cyclical and low prices generate low profits that don’t carry retailers through the tough times. Do you want to spend all your earnings on restocking wholesale fashion jewelry and covering overhead? Of course not, you want to grow your business and make a profit and pricing is important.

Retail uses a term called keystone-a nice word for doubling the wholesale price. Make keystone the minimum for mark-up in fashion jewelry and look for the items that give you room for far longer mark-ups. The upside has no rules. Let your intuition guide you because prices can always come down, but it is difficult to go up.

-Next comes selection and this is a factor that major retailers like fine department stores are always struggling to get right. Stroll through one and you will see they have reduced staff on the floor so selection often has to sell itself. The fine department stores need “no miss” choices and have resources, forecasts, statistics, and trained buyers to make these decisions. Small retailers don’t need to be discouraged because this isn’t rocket science and you are closer to the clientele in your location than any major retailer.

Making the perfect selection rests on the age and demographics of your main customer base. Add this to the fashion trends of the season and you are close to perfect. How do you keep up with all those rapid changing fashion trends? Well rapid change is a myth. Trends change very slowly-often over a decade. Yes, colors and subtle adjustments occur every season, but today we are in the midst of classic trends that started in the early 21st century and have a promising future. More on this when we cover knowledge.

-Now for presentation-making the fashion jewelry look special. Ever notice how necklaces clumped together on a tee bar on top of a showcase seem to scream “I’m on sale” while the stuff in the showcase whispers “I’m special”. That’s presentation and how it has changed even for fine department stores.

Teri Agins in The End of Fashion details how department stores that were once “the first visual contact with fashion” and “introduced merchandise concepts to customers” changed in the late 20th century to a collection of brands. Agins quotes one upscale shopper who “was appalled when she discovered $19.99 Nine West shoes displayed right next to $350 Chanels” in her favorite department store that was compromising its image of elite fashion. Make an item look special and it takes on the perception of higher value.

-Next comes knowledge that is worth more than price. Don’t believe it? Think of items you bought because the sales person impressed you with a deep understanding of the product. That was worth more than price. I personally experienced this lesson when I did a trade show with a colleague. I told my customers the fashion jewelry was a real value at the price. His sales person painted a word picture of the wholesale fashion jewelry with the season’s apparel and wrote more orders without the customers even knowing the price.

Knowledge is knowing the trends and knowing the item. Consumers trust a well-informed source and when you know what is today’s style and why it looks right on the customer, you remove the burden of choice from the buyer.

Knowledge today goes deeper because classic trends in fashion jewelry bring gemstone components, shell, Murano style glass, Millefiore, and more to jewelry designs. A story is worth volumes in explaining glass jewelry and knowledge of gemstones that removes the doubt about whether it is real. Don’t be overwhelmed about understanding the trends and knowledge of today’s components because everything is detailed in a report, Wholesale Fashion Jewelry-The Magic of Trends (find a link to the report at the foot of this article).

-Finally there are benefits. Think of benefits as vision-what the customer envisions. Anyone that buys fashion jewelry wants to make a positive statement. They want a look that is flattering and appropriate. So like the car commercial running on the radio, features describe the details like length, color, texture, and shape while benefits say “matches apparel while complementing your complexion”, “draws attention to your slender neck”, or “creates a youthful look that is so you”. The old adage of sell the sizzle, not the steak, gets to the point. Pick the right item for the customer, be sincere, and sell the sizzle.

Will all this work in a slowing economy? Absolutely! In worrisome times women appreciate an escape valve of some small new purchase. What fulfills this better than fashion jewelry? Apply the five shortcuts and lift your customers’ spirits with a feel-good experience.

Online Forums – How to Use an Online Forum

Online forums (also known as online discussion sites, message boards, newsgroups and internet forums) are powerful tools for sharing information. Their use has become omnipresent and wide reaching. Many people use discussion sites on a daily basis, whether it’s to gain knowledge, share ideas or simply to feel as part of a community.

Why use Online Forums?

* communicate with other like-minded people who have the same or similar interests

* exchange intellectual ideas and thoughts

* offer your opinion or advice

* submit materials for others to consider and provide feedback on such as your website, business ideas or questions

* find out new opinions and ideas

* be up to date with latest news and trends

* meet new friends and leads

Participating in forums is another way to stay in contact with persons belonging to the same community and to keep abreast of recent events. It’s a place to voice your opinions, be heard and discover other’s thoughts.

This social media outlet can become addictive. For some, Online Forums provide a haven; a place to escape the daily grind and indulge in the community aura. Forum usage is certainly a concern for employers, due to reduced productivity and procrastination on behalf of the users involved. However, most of us are thankful for their existence.

How to Use Online Forums:

The appearance of an online forum may seem daunting at first. There’s information, posts and threads flowing all over the home page in what appears to be an ad hoc manner. Occasionally, the initial reaction of first time users is to put discussion sites in the too hard basket. Here’s an easy step by step guide to using Online Discussions:

* Registration. Most discussion boards require you to become a member by registering or signing up in order to post. Invariably, you will need to provide a Username (your alias), password and an email address. The forum will also require your agreement to its terms and conditions.

* Validation. After registering to an internet forum, you will need to validate your email by following the validation link emailed to you by the site.

* Rules. Familiarize yourself with the rules and netiquette required by the forum. Generally, spamming, double posting and registering multiple user accounts is prohibited. Try to adhere in order to avoid being called a troll for unintentionally breaking the rules.

* Posting. A forum has predefined topics (called threads). Members may submit messages or comments (called posts) within these topics. The message will be enclosed in a box with the username, time and date notified either on the left hand side or appearing at the top of the post. Usually members are allowed to edit or delete their own posts. Many online forums limit posts to a certain number of characters.

* Threads. A thread (topic) is started by a post. Other members may then follow in the conversation started by the original post (sometimes called the thread starter). At times the responses and comments can become derailed. The tread generally displays posts in opposite chronological order (from first to current). The abbreviation OP often refers to the original poster. Some message boards enable you to customize the view to commence with the starting post. They may also have a thread view which shows the branching of replies in priority to chronological order.

* Moderating. Moderators monitor and enforce the message board rules. They may have access to all posts and threads or just those within their area of responsibility. Mods have the power to delete a post and to ban and suspend members who violate the discussion site’s policy. The moderator is usually the site owner’s friend. Among other responsibilities, they also help members in need and respond to complaints.

If you’re a first timer to online forums, try some smaller message boards to start with. Smaller sites still have that community feel and are more than happy to accommodate beginners. Once you become accustomed to the way discussion websites work, you can then join some larger expert message boards if you wish. Above all, don’t be shy to voice your opinion; that’s what forums are for.

Love Motorcycles? Career Ideas for Motorcycle Enthusiasts

While many people think of motorcyclists as those who love to ride as a hobby or only in their spare-time, there are some individuals who are lucky enough to be able to use their motorcycle as part of their job. Just like a moving company has a truck, some people have motorcycles that are essential to their jobs. If you’ve ever considered using your bike as part of your career, here are a few job ideas to get you started!

Racing and Stunt Driving

Obviously, you can use your motorcycle to start a career as a stunt driver or motorcycle racer. This may require a top-of-the-line bike and some hefty health insurance coverage, but can definitely be worthwhile if you’ve got the skills to prove your worth! And if you’re feeling really risky, it may be time to hit road and pull your stunt skills full-time with a daredevil carnival act!

Police Office or Security Guard

If you have a security background or training and enjoy spending time on your bike, certain careers in the security industry may allow you to combine both work and play. As a security guard or police officer, you can help others and patrol grounds while doing it in style! Security guards and police officers oftentimes take advantage of a motorcycle’s mobility to work carnivals, parades, and other large events.

Test Driver

Motorcycle companies will lend out their bikes to test drivers to try out and write reviews for national magazines and online motorcyclist websites. If you’re knowledgeable about motorcycles and enjoy trying out bikes that haven’t even hit the market yet, this may be a great way to combine what you know and love into a fulfilling career!

Motorcycle Courier

While delivering pizzas on a bike may be difficult unless you have really wide saddlebags, there are things that you can deliver and transport on a motorcycle. Motorcycle couriers are individuals who deliver or transport things to and from locations. Time sensitive court documents and paperwork are some items delivered by motorcycle couriers who can navigate through busy cities and traffic better than larger vehicles.

Travel Writer and Photographer

What better way to hit the road than with a quality camera and some portable technology. For those with a traveling spirit and an eye for great landscape shots, motorcyclists who have the time and energy to travel the world may enjoy doing so from the seat of their bike! Travel to exotic and unknown places on your bike, snap some photos and write about the area. Sell your work as freelance or start up your own online blog or website to share your adventures with the world!

Mechanic

If you’re more the hands-on, “behind the scenes” type and enjoy the mechanics of a motorcycle, you could always consider a mechanic job focusing on improving and fixing motorcycles for others. Knowledge of how a bike works is required for this technical kind of position, but can be extremely rewarding and fun for those who like a challenge and don’t mind getting their hands dirty!

Motorcycle Sales

For those of you that love motorcycles and have a knack for selling, a motorcycle salesman may be the ultimate job. An added bonus about this career path is that you’re more likely to be successful if you’re genuinely enthusiastic about the items you are selling. Helping other motorcycle enthusiasts gear up with the right equipment is also another great job for those that can’t get motorcycling off the brain. Biker clothing and apparel is becoming a booming business with the growing number of men and women getting into motorcycling for the first time.

Six Obstacles to Networking and How to Overcome Them

Networking is like so many things in our lives – exercise, eating more fiber and less fat, quitting cigarettes, saving money, writing goals – that we know are not only good for us, but are the keys to success. We know because we've often done them enough to see and feel results, but we did not keep up with it. Or we've seen our friends doing these things and enjoying great health. Or we've seen the news articles about the studies that prove these things are beneficial. We've even read the books by the experts and celebrities who clearly spell out these actions and habits as the reason for their wealth, health, and happiness.

We know all this, and we know that networking is a vital business development activity and an important life skill, so why do not we do it? Because there are obstacles in the way of our success, some obvious and some so subtitle that we do not know they are there. Of the six major OBSTACLES to networking, nearly all of them are created inside our own minds. Therefore, it is simple (but although not easy) to change our thinking and to remove them.

The six reasons why we do not network are:

· Misconceptions
· Dislike
· Having no purpose
· Not Knowing How
· No time
· Shyness

Misconceptions
Are you holding onto false beliefs about networking that are mostly negative? Do you think it's just schmoozing, or that it's all about selling, or it's only for outgoing people? Did you try it once and when you did not get results, or did not feel comfortable, you decided it was not for you?

The basis of any of these fallacies is that you believe it does not work or that it will not work for you. This error in thinking that is very easy to disprove. Simply look at the millions of business people who are successful because of the relationships they built through networking. Read books by Dale Carnegie, Harvey Mackay, Andrea Nierenberg, and Keith Ferazzi to be convinced of the value and the principles of networking.

Dislike
Do you dislike networking because you do not feel like selling or being sold to? Do you avoid it because of other people and their poor networking skills? Have you had negative experiences that caused you to have misconceptions about networking?

If you avoid networking because you do not like the way other people do it, you need to radically shift your thinking from annoyance and dislike of these people, to compassion and seeing an opportunity to help them change bad habits. And just like daily life outside of networking, we need to simply deal with those few who do not have good skills and keep searching for the right people to build relationships with. If you've had negative experiences with networking, you need to research your organizations much more thoroughly. We do not eat raw food for the rest of our life because we burned our hand on the stove once. Avoiding networking because of other people is cutting our noses off to spite our faces.

Having No Purpose
Do you see networking as an endless series of pointless cocktail parties full of vapid conversations? Is your contact database not growing or even shrinking as people move away? Do you only network when it's time to change jobs or when business is slow?

If you do not have a strategy and a long-term outlook, you will network based on short-term need, such as losing a job. This can be very unsatisfying because desperation is unattractive. Experienced networkers will avoid your "help me now and I'll forget you later" approach. Harvey Mackay calls it "digging your well before you are thirsty." Your purpose in networking is to build a vibrant, growing, and responsive assortment of relationships you can count on, and who can count on you. The development of mutually beneficial relationships will make every conversation important and purposeful, there will be no more pointless chitchat. Instead, you'll see each time you make contact or converse with someone as another vital but small contribution to the networking structure we are building

Not Knowing How
Do you feel okay with meeting people, but wonder what to do next? Or you are building your contacts, but do not see results from it. Are you unsure what kind of conversation is appropriate if you're not going to sell?

If you lack technique or are unsure how to take networking from the early stages of meeting someone to a defect relationship that is going to create value for both parties, then you may create in your own mind the perception that networking does not work. Or that it's okay for other people who do not have money for advertising, but that it's not necessary for you.

Networking begins with basic social skills such as having conversations that are other-centered. We may feel comfortable in purely social settings like soccer games or birthday parties where we can talk about our children or the happy occasion, but we believe that business networking occasions should be all business. Remember that businesses are run by people, and those people have families, interests, and personal needs. Getting to know someone first is not only perfectly acceptable in the business world, but is the basis of building mutually beneficial relationships.

Once you're comfortable with learning about people for themselves and not as a prospect or sales target, the next step in knowing how to advance the relationship. The most effective and easy way to do this is to give first. Send them information, an invitation or even a referral for business. They will gladly work with you in return.

We sometimes think that we should automatically know how to network just by virtue of being in business, but this is the one topic where there is a gaping hole in our education and training. Financial planning companies are notorious for bringing in their new associates, giving them detailed Financial training, no networking training, and then sending them out to network one of the most difficult industries there is. The range of skills that are needed in networking include conversation skills, the ability to perceive and fill other people's needs, organization, and a clear process for creating a return on the investment of time. This range of techniques requires study and application, like any complex skill.

No Time to Network
Are you ready to network, but you find you just do not have the time? Do you pencil in networking events, but then have too much work to do and can not leave the office?

There are only two reasons you do not have the time to network. Your life may really be so complicated with jobs, second jobs, childcare, or elder care that you typically work 16-hour days every single day of the week. But, if you watch one single hour of mindless television a day, you are just making excuses to not network. You do not lack the time; You just do not want to make the time.

Any busy person who discovered a new passion or a fun new hobby has found that it is possible to find the time when you really want to do something. Suddenly, your schedule opens up, you find new efficiencies, or you are able to reprioritize. If you're not able to do that with networking, revisit your beliefs and your purpose. The time will almost magically appear if you are clearly focused on the value of networking.

There are also ways to be much more efficient and effective with the time you spend networking. Instead of very general events with a random group of people, take time to research exactly whom you need to add to your network and target your networking time accordingly. A leads group is also a time-efficient way to network because it is focused on giving and receiving referrals. You may even want to create your own networking events and activities. This would be a larger investment of time, but the return is much greater when you are the organizer and host.

If you have a short-term perspective, you will feel that the time invested is not paying off. If you think you're wasting time, you will not spend it. But if it is a long-term project that will compound, it is much easier to find the time to invest. We so often have to deal with the urgent tasks that are not important, instead of networking, which is not urgent but very important.

Shyness
Do you feel like you can not be a good networking because you are an introvert? Or do feelings of shyness hold you back from networking? A majority of people in the population report feeling some shyness at different times. These feelings contribute to the misconception that only outgoing people are good at networking. Having no clear purpose and need to work on our social skills can compound feelings of shyness, which are basically a lack of self-confidence. Preparation and planning can create confidence, which causes us to be successful which make us more confident.

There are also networking events that are better suited for a more introverted person. Large, non-agenda mixer meetings can be difficult for anyone if you are unfamiliar with the group. Use the buddy system and focus on smaller, more personal events to build your confidence.

Conclusion
Think carefully about your excuses for avoiding networking in relation to these six common obstacles. Nearly every one of them is founded in the way we think. Once we've removed these obstacles that come between ourselves and our goal of effective networking, our success is assured. Apply diplomacy to make sure you're not allowing bad thinking habits and doubt to creep back in. From now on, it's simply a matter of time and consistent effort.