Lets start with the accessory category. Depending who you talk to, hair accessories are also sometimes referred to as hair jewels, hair jewelry or hair gems. In the fashion world, they are known as hair accessories and they fit in to the widely known category of accessories. (Image of Lucite Bobby Pin from Bijoux Luck - available at HairBoutique.com Marketplace - all rights reserved).Accessories as a main fashion category include sub categories. Depending on the designs, they will either specialize in one category or they may mix and match between categories.
Generally speaking, the classifications of accessories include (but are not strictly limited to)
Footwear (hosiery, socks)Handbags (wallets & keychains)
Jewelry (earrings, necklaces, cuffs, bracelets, rings)Scarves & Related
GlovesHats, Headwear, Veils (May or may not be part of scarves)
Miscellaneous (eyeglasses, sunglasses, eyeglass holders, cell phone cases)
Depending on the manufacturer and their defined market, they may or may not cross lines. A great shoe make like Jimmy Choo sells shoes, handbags and related items. Other lines will be very exclusive and only carry one item in the accessory domain.
One very important secret I am going to share. Never, ever, never (got that?) create an accessory collection based on what someone else is doing. This can kill you. I learned this the hard way.
In the early days of HairBoutique.com I had no flippin idea where to buy, let alone what to buy. I would check out the competition and figured if a Nordstroms or Neiman Marcus carried an accessory item it would be a no-brainer. HAH. Another stupid Karen Shelton misconception.
I had to learn the hard way that what sells for Nordstroms might not sell for any other retailer. Ditto with Neimans or Henri Bendel.
The key to being successful is finding your own very special niche, defining who your ultimate customer is, what they want, their price points and then do your own homework on the up and coming trends so you are prepared when your regulars pop in and ask for the latest XYZ accessory.
OK. One more secret. If you decide to take a risk and bring in a new accessory type, line or designer, watch it closely and if it's a stinker, dump it quickly. That was another hard one for me.
I'm a glass-is-half-full type and I never give up the ghost. When I should have been slashing I was talking to the items saying "come on babies....get out there and shine". Yes, very funny but it didn't work. Telling high end designer handbags to go out and sell themselves just doesn't work in this reality. Maybe someday on Mars. But not this planet.
Some accessory lines will include a little of everything. Brighton is a good example. They have everything from handbags and bags to a wide range of accessories. Some buyers prefer to buy their hair accessories from a line that has a little of everything. Others prefer to buy from specialists who only design just one type of accessory such as hair accessories only.
One thing I have noticed. When hair accessories are especially popular, accessory lines that don't normally carry the hair items, will suddenly be hawking everything from headbands to ponytail holders. Which is always frustrating to me because the hair accessories seem to be an afterthought.
Other classifications for hair accessories & accessories in general include:
Haute Couture (designer brands)Bridge (high end but not as highs as designer)
Mass (found in grocery stores)
Of course there are subcategories for each of the items above. There is Haute Couture that is affordable and then there is Haute Couture that can ramp up into the tens of thousands. Bridge accessories might range from a low of the $50s to a high end of the $500s.Mass market can range from a $3.00 headband to maybe a $15 item.
There is also point of origination for all categories. Accessories and hair accessories can be made in the USA or can be imported from all over the world. It used to be that most hair and related accessories came from France, Italy and Korea. Lately, for a number of reasons, accessories are being made in the USA. The Karen Marie flower & couture accessories are all hand made in the USA as are the Bijoux Luck items. Alex & Ani, L. Ericson USA and Michelle Bush hair accessories lines are all made in the US as well.
Korea used to be the big dog for gorgeous crystal encrusted accessories but China and parts of India and South America have been pushing Korea out of the running due to cheaper labor. Many Korean accessories manufacturers have moved their operations to China or other countries to hold on to their business.
If you want to break down categories even further beyond Domestic and Imported you could look at Womens, Mens, Teens and Children. There are very few hair accessories designed for men although many have tried and failed to achieve a strong buyers market for men's hair accessories. Its unlikely men will be wearing sleep clips anytime soon.
In case you haven't figured it out by now...the accessory and hair accessory markets are very complex and have many twists and turns that need to be followed to get to the very core. I've been making my way through this maze for 10 years and feel like I have only figured I am only halfway to the end of the tunnel.The good news? It's a great industry to explore and is constantly changing. In fact, if you snooze you lose because fashions change at a rapid rate which requires the designers and manufacturers to keep a pace equivalent to 250MPH.
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