by Jon VanZile
Kalan LP has thousands of UPCs for sale in about 50,000 retail locations, and everything is united by one underlying theme. “Our specialty,” says Daniel Shoemaker, Director of Sales, “is understanding trends. We really have our finger on the pulse of what is trending and then we design product offerings to match.”
Kalan’s products include all sorts of gifts, novelties, souvenirs, party items, and other accessories like buttons and magnets. So what’s trending now? “Cats, sloths, pizza, and zombies are still trending very strongly, so we have lots of items featuring those themes,” Shoemaker says. Other trending items include anything Halloween oriented, and the evergreen “I pooped today” theme that sells mugs, hats, and even T-shirts.
What theme is out? Mustaches. “They are starting to trend down,” Shoemaker says, noting that mustache-themed novelties had a strong run for a few years. For Kalan, it is not enough to spot trends in its sales pattern—the company has also devised a way its retail customers can benefit from its deep expertise in current trends. Kalan has devised a special display it calls the ‘trend center rack.’
“We know which designs and styles of different products are doing well, so we will help you set up your own trend-center area,” Shoemaker says. “We have really seen it take off.” Better yet, the trend center can be customized to an individual retailer so the products in the display line up with your store’s general product line.
“We are very good at impulse,” Shoemaker says. “We can suggest lines of products based on your location, your customer-base, and other factors. We will try a few trends and see if it moves product. If it does, we will put in more SKUs featuring that trend. If it does not, we will try something else.” The trend center features customized panels that make it easy to change up the display. “We do not want our customers holding items they cannot sell,” Shoemaker says. “We like to speed up their ability to stay on top of trends.”
How to Buy
Kalan products are available through the company’s website, by phone, or at gift and souvenir tradeshows. Wholesale customers have to open an account, at which time they are assigned a customer service representative who can help with product selection. There is a $100 minimum order, with a 100 percent mark-up on most products.