Now is the time for flea market vendors to stock up on the latest toys and gifts for children and adults. Handmade finger puppets from the hills of Peru, animal- and sports-themed wooden plaques, leather bracelets with a European flair, video game accessories to accompany the new Xbox One and PlayStation 4, and craft sets are sure to be popular sellers this fall and beyond. Affordably priced, these toys and gifts are fashioned to appeal to consumers, and offer good profit margins to vendors as well. Here is a look at several fun trends from industry insiders.
Colorful finger puppets from Peru
Finger puppets are a universal form of interactive learning and entertainment, and Finger Puppets Inc. wholesales hundreds of handmade styles it imports from Peru. Women artisans in the high plains of Puno use their skills to make colorful finger puppets in more than 300 characters. Finger Puppets Inc. wholesales themed collections, including holidays, sea creatures, pets, tropical birds, super heroes, fairytales, zoo animals and more. In addition, artisans create new ideas all the time. “What makes them so special is that each one is unique and has its own personality,” says Robby Sorensen, CEO.
Finger puppets are a great way for flea market vendors to stand out from the crowd, Sorensen points out. “They can put a few puppets on their fingers and they will definitely attract attention.” Another idea that works well at flea markets is placing dozens of puppets in a fishbowl. “Shoppers poke through the bowl and play with them. They are a great impulse item, and people buy four or five at a time.”
Normal wholesale price is $1.10 per doll but Finger Puppets is offering a special deal for the Merchandiser Group magazines’ readers. Simply mention promo code FP101 to receive the discounted price of $.85 per puppet for a minimum order of 100 pieces. Suggested retail is $1.95 to $2.50. Orders can be a selection of the most popular characters or tailored to specific shops or locations. “We guarantee a nice assortment of incredible little finger puppets. If we learn a bit about a vendor and where they sell, we can blend their order in a custom way,” Sorensen adds. Finger puppets come individually packaged in small plastic bags with header cards or unpackaged in fishbowl displays of 100 and 250 pieces. Countertop and floor spinners will be available soon. Orders may be placed by phone or online.
Finger Puppets Inc.
Animal and sports themed decorative wooden plaques
Since its launch in 1985, SJT Enterprises has introduced hundreds of popular novelty and gift items. Dogs are featured on many of the company’s products, which include greeting cards, plaques and magnets, because they are enormously popular at every time of year in any economy, says Tim Smith, owner.
SJT Enterprises’ newest introductions include animal- and sports-themed decorative wooden plaques, each available in two sizes. The larger, hanging plaque is 5 inches by 15 inches, says “You’re in the Patriots Fan Zone,” for example, and is in the colors of that particular team. It wholesales for $4.50 and retails for $10 to $12. The smaller plaque measures 5 inches by 5 inches, and has a foldout easel on the back so it can be placed on a surface or hung on a wall. It reads, “Caution: This is a Cowboys’ Fan Zone,” for example. The smaller plaque wholesales for $2.79 and retails for $6 to $10. Sports plaques can be purchased in any of 350 professional and college teams. “We even have the small schools, so we can satisfy any market,” Smith notes.
Dog plaques also are available. Small plaques feature the face of the animal, and larger plaques are unique in that they showcase the full body of the dog. Vendors can choose from 90 breeds, the most popular of which are Yorkie, Beagle, Black Labrador, Golden Retriever and Chihuahua. Smith recommends that vendors carry a minimum of 24 of the most popular types in their areas. “Vendors need a large selection to appeal to a wide range of shoppers. The plaques are already selling well and will be hot items for the holidays,” Smith remarks. SJT Enterprises also has a top selling line of 3D magnetic bookmarks/refrigerator magnets, which are available with 24 of the most common dog breeds. One bookmark retails for $4.99 and wholesales for $2.25.
SJT’s products are manufactured in the USA, which is a big selling point, Smith reports. The minimum order is $100 of combined products. Displays are available for most products, and vendors who place orders of $500 and up receive free units.
Tuscan leather bracelet with nuggets
My Shopping Tree specializes in gift products for pets and people. Among its products are collars, charms for collars, and leashes for dogs; halters and their charms, and bridles for horses; and baseball caps, accessory straps for backpacks and purses, and bracelets for humans.
One of the company’s most popular gift items for people is the Tuscan Leather Bracelet with Interchangeable Nuggets, says Shannon Albert, owner. My Shopping Tree’s Tuscan Leather Bracelet was inspired by the desire to change the look of a bracelet to compliment any mood or fashion whim. It is made of genuine leather, measures 9.5 inches long and 1 inch wide, and holds three nuggets. Suitable for both men and women, the bracelet adjusts from 7.75 to 8.25 inches. A variety of interchangeable 20mm nuggets, including amethyst, aquamarine, diamond, Hopi hand, third eye, man in the moon, snowflake, sun and skull, are available, and can be easily popped in and out. “These bracelets are all the rage in Europe, and they are unlike anything else anyone has in North America,” Albert states.
Suggested retail for a bracelet with three nuggets is $35 to $45. Leather bands wholesale for $7, and nuggets wholesale for $1.75 to $2. Retailers can easily double or triple their money, depending on their location and sales goals, Albert states. Another fun gift item from My Shopping Tree is its line of Swarovski crystal horse brow bands. They are available in black leather with clear crystals and in dark brown leather with pink crystals.
My Shopping Tree’s minimum order is $50. The firm continues to expand its product line, and customer service and quality products are its priorities.
My Shopping Tree
Video game accessories
Video game systems and accessories are especially popular for gift giving, and consumers constantly want the newest and hippest consoles, games and controllers. With the launch this fall of PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, consumers will be clamoring for all the accompanying devices. Alpha Distributions Inc. is a specialist in video games and video game accessories, ranging from audio and video cables to controllers, replacement batteries, LCD monitors, and iPhone accessories. With the new systems being rather pricey, at $399 for the PS4 and $499 for the Xbox One, the company also sells refurbished and older model consoles.
“Vendors might carry one or two consoles because they carry the accessories, but the tremendous profits, of 300 to 400 percent, are in the accessories,” says Thomas Lam, CEO. “We offer great prices and a great selection, plus free shipping on first orders for new customers.” The minimum order is $200.
Alpha Distributors Inc.
Name brand and value priced dolls and RC cars
Empire Discount Wholesale Toys, operating since 1982, sells new toy closeouts from leading manufacturers as well as value priced toys. Big name brands include Mattel, Fisher Price, Hasbro, Lego, Milton Bradley, Little Tikes and more. “Anything with a name brand will sell well in the holiday season,” Gary Agosto, owner, shares. “Barbie toys and Hot Wheel cars and play sets are steady sellers. For flea market vendors, battery operated merchandise and anything for girls, especially crafts, are extremely well received by shoppers. We have craft sets for $4 to $5 that vendors can sell for $12.99. We import a lot of dolls and radio-controlled cars, and we sell a lot of value priced items because they offer great profit margins.”
Empire Discount also has a wide selection of toys for newborns to age four. “Shoppers are looking for items that have an educational value and develop imaginations, and the toddler area is very strong for us. We have good quality toddler toys that retail for under $10,” Agosto continues.
Most of Empire Discount’s merchandise is priced at or below wholesale cost. “Our customers return to us year after year. They know they will get name brand and value priced toys at great prices, and we accept low minimum orders of only $50,” Agosto reports. Flea market vendors are steady customers, and they typically spend $100 to $200 per order, he adds. “Instead of buying 12 or 24 of an item, they can get three from us. The whole idea is to spread the dollars among as wide a variety of products as possible, because vendors have to stock a selection of products without breaking their budgets.” Visit the company’s website to check out it current product offerings.
Toys and gifts are big sellers at flea markets, especially when vendors tap into the hottest items around. Finger puppets that spark interaction, wooden plaques that bank on emotional ties, toddler toys that inspire imagination, customized leather bracelets and video game accessories are several of the popular options sure to gen