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Fall 2014
Watch Sales Grow

Interchangeable watches are giving customers hundreds of choices and retailers, opportunities for timely sales.

Iken watches are fashionable, totally customizable, build-it-yourself watches popular with men and women, kids and adults alike. With five separate components in 12 different colors, customers can create a pick-and-mix unique watch line that creates thousands of looks. The collection offers cart and kiosk retailers a high-demand product that is easy to upsell and attracts repeat customers.

Timely start

LifestyleIken1Iken (pronounced ’eee-ken), is Japanese for “opinion,” a value held dear by owner and founder Paru Radia. Radia got her start by selling the watches at street fairs in New York City. During that time, she says, she honed her sales and marketing skills and learned a great deal about who her target market actually is and how to reach them. At first she imagined her watches would be most popular with fashionable young people but soon her booth was overrun by kids who loved the large watch face and all ages of adult men and women that loved the interchangeability
and customization.

Once Radia proved that her watches were popular and how to effectively reach her target audience, she began selling to retailers in mall locations. She is now successfully selling watches through over 400 retailers throughout the U.S. Not only are the watches customizable, they are affordable, with a suggested retail of $35 for one entire watch. The wholesale price is $12.50, before any discounts, which adds up to a three-fold markup.

Getting started

LifestyleIken6Iken has been very successful working with brick-and-mortar retailers and is expanding to shopping center cart and kiosk retailers. For one cart operator in a mall in the Atlanta area, the product line has already been quite successful, says Radia. The retailer placed an initial order for 350 watches and reordered every week following because the product was selling so well. “The feedback I received was that customers love the interaction of the products and that it was popular both with kids and adults,” Radia says.

Iken works with cart and kiosk operators who either want to include the watch line along with other products or carry the Iken line exclusively. Radia says that retailers who sell Iken exclusively have been much more successful than when the watches get lost in a larger assortment of products. The minimum order to begin carrying Iken is a 30-piece set for $470. The order includes an attractive acrylic display case to hold all the components.

For retailers who would like to carry Iken’s products exclusively, Radia recommends an initial stocking of 350 watches. Discounts are available for first-time buyers. She says it’s important to note that retailers can re-order specific pieces and colors based on what’s selling best for them.

LifestyleIken2Additionally, Radia has contracted with a display builder and designed a modular display that can be built on an existing cart or kiosk infrastructure for about $2,500.

Fast sales

Radia says her strategy was to let customers peruse and fall in love with multiple components and multiple colors for a few minutes. When they seem undecided she offers them a special deal on multiple components such as 4 for $12 or 5 for $10 depending on her desired markup at the time. At that point the upsell became a no-brainer decision. As for colors, she sees primary, bold colors as most popular with kids. Adults generally gravitate toward bright-colored watch faces and darker watchbands.

Popular among celebrities and fashion bloggers, Iken’s success keeps growing. “Just as we are speaking,” says Radia, “a retailer sent in an $800 order, they are a new retailer and just reordered $600 of product last week and now a new order this week.”

Melissa M. Kellogg

Melissa M. Kellogg is a freelance writer specializing in small business, marketing, social media and retail business management. She is based in Edwards, CO, and is a regular contributor to GIFT SHOP magazine. Her work has also been published in various newspapers and magazines in the U.S. and Mexico
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