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When your customers are looking for small indulgences that won’t break the bank, bath and body fi ts the bill perfectly. Sue Marquette Poremba


LA LAVANDE GIFTS N


Natural products. Environmentally friendly ingredients and packaging. Made in America. Artisan. These are the phrases that come up repeatedly when industry professionals are asked about the latest trends in bath and body products. Trista Page, owner of Indigo Bee a wholesaler in


Tampa, FL, says today’s consumers are very savvy. “They check the ingredients on each product they buy in this highly competitive industry,” Page says. “They demand that we use high-quality ingredients—oils, butters and scents—that are natural and contain no extraneous and non-essential chemicals. These same customers want the fi nal product to be pretty, with rich, vibrant colors and eye-catching designs and swirls. “They want the products to evoke a scent memory but it has to be visually stunning as well for them to buy,” Page says. Indigo Bee’s top fi ve fragrances are Lavender Rosemary, Coconut Lemongrass, Sandalwood Vanilla, Ocean, and Tea Tree Peppermint. A vanilla-based scent from Indigo Bee called


Sugar Cookie is popular among both female and male customers at Jennifer L. Dutkowsky’s store in Tampa, Why Not Boutique. The Sugar Cookie soap has a swirled chocolate-colored base with a frothy cream top sprinkled with little multi-colored sugar crystals. Even though the vast majority of her customers are women, Dutkowsky says men too love a lot of these soap products especially those with a neutral fragrance.


The right gift The soaps and lotions that Indigo Bee produces are special indulgences, but they also make nice gifts, Page says. “Those customers who are on a budget may spend $6 or $7 on a bar of artisan handmade soap as a luxury instead of the $50 pedicure or $100 massage. Also, they will buy these items as gifts for their girlfriends, husbands or even their children’s teachers because it’s a small personal gift,


a luxury item that means something to them instead of an impersonal gift certifi cate,” she says. Bath and body products are a popular choice for


hostess gifts, Sherry Horton, founder of wholesaler E. Barrett & Co. of Julian, CA, explains. “Bath and body products are like the new bottle of wine. You are taking the hostess a gift that is more personal or longer lasting,” she says. She thinks that people prefer liquid soaps as a gift to bar soap. “It’s a nice, inexpensive gift that can be packaged nicely.”


INDIGO BEE, INC.


But bar soaps are always popular for personal indulgences. “They are very long lasting and that makes a bar soap a great value, which is what people want in this economy,” Horton adds. E. Barrett & Co., named for Horton’s grandmother, Emma, imports French soaps, but makes its own potpourri, soy-based candles, and hand lotions.


Scenstible gifts In addition to the trends mentioned earlier, Horton believes that customers are looking for a combination


GiftShopMag.com Winter 2012 n GIFT SHOP 89


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