Balms, Big Bucks and the Bandwagon
As mere humans there is much physicality to overcome. We have a multitude of bodily woes that must be conquered each day. From blisters, dry skin and bad breath to unruly curls, wrinkles and the need to deodorize. Armed with our age-defying lotions, hair-wrangling tools and arsenal of salves however, there isn't a personal care dilemma that can't be solved. We are vain creatures, and it's this vanity and fear that drove an age-old industry from the 19th-century days of Smith's Rose Bud Salve ("A reliable soothing salve for family and general use") to what it is today, a mega-industry valued at $40 billion dollars annually. The promotional side of the personal care industry has seen growth lately, but as with any large market surge, there are both major gains and major risks.
To say sales opportunities exist for a distributor in this arena is an understatement. Today promotional personal care products can target almost any market. Bill House, vice president, sales and marketing for Alexander Manufacturing, St. Louis, noted some of the popular venues for these products. "Health care facilities for people of all ages, cause-marketing fundraising events, public health departments, women employee gifts, ambulance service companies and doctor's offices," he said.
Brett Hersh, president, Admints & Zagabor, Bellmawr, N.J., also noted health care facilities. He further explained some specific product trends. "The USA-made [products] and nonalcoholic hand sanitizers have been very popular," he said. House offered an array of other hot products in this niche, such as emery boards, salon boards, manicure sets, hot/cold packs, mirrors and specialty spa items.
With recent incidences of flu outbreaks and increased wellness awareness, personal care items have enjoyed a significant boom in recent years, and with booms come crowds. "As is normal in our industry, now that a market has been established for this category, numerous suppliers have jumped in, making it a far more competitive segment, said Mel Ellis, president, HumphreyLine, Milwaukie. With the influx of new suppliers offering personal care products, there is much to be aware of.