You can seldom switch on an episode of TLC’s What Not To Wear, or any other makeover show, without seeing a trendy bag providing a pop of color with the new, fresh outfit the hosts are showing the fashion victim. Bags are trendier in 2009 than ever before, with retail brands like Gucci and Coach appearing as a style statement on the arms of everyone from middle schoolers to the elderly. "It makes a statement when a woman carries a fashion-forward bag," says Annette Sheehan, division sales manager. "The more trendy and fashionable the bag, the longer a person will hold on to it and use it."Fashionable bags are available in a range of price points. From affordable woven and nonwoven fashion totes and handbags to high-end leather products, bags used as a fashion accessory can fit a multitude of promotions. Both JoAnn Marie Designs and Latico Leathers also have a retail presence; the suppliers style their bags so that they stand up at retail as beautiful, luxurious, fashionable products.
"There are two sides to our business that make our overall product line very attractive to distributors and end-users," says Michael Schreiber, vice president of Latico Leathers. "First, we carry an extensive selection of moderately- priced classic designs, and second, we have an active retail presence, selling to over 3,000 boutiques, specialty stores, gift shops and luggage stores." That kind of retail recognition means that Latico is an established brand that end-users will recognize as a quality product. And a highly perceived item will also command a high price point that can be attractive to distributors.
Decorating techniques are an important consideration when selling bags for promotions where they will be used as fashion accessories. "When you have a nice-looking bag, it’s important to decorate it in a sharp-looking, subtle way," says Sheehan. "Distributors need to work with and counsel their clients to ensure the logo is presented in an attractive way with the right colors, size and placement."
When it comes to fashion promotions, end-users tend to prefer carrying items that say more about their identity than the identity of the company who gave them the bag. If clients have objections about their logo being too subtle or small, Sheehan suggests reminding them that if others like something you are carrying, they always ask where you got it. "Even if people don’t notice the logo right away, they will notice the bag and they will ask about it," she says. Help your clients decorate in a fashion-friendly way and you will see big returns from bag promotions.