When it comes to accessories, teens need a look to call their own.
Recent seasons saw the junior accessories category hinging on a few key looks, such as hoop earrings, seed-bead bracelets or embroidered handbags.
But such cookie-cutter looks simply won’t do for self-respecting teens; they’re on the lookout for accessories that express their personalities and highlight their individuality.
To that end, a slew of vendors are offering designs for junior consumers to personalize, from interchangeable charms on necklaces, watches and even handbags to nametag bracelets.
Here, some of the looks for the season:
Five-year-old firm Beyond Mars Co., based in St. Charles, Miss., is offering flashing clip-ons and magnetic body lights that kids can attach to their clothes.
"Individualism is big with juniors," noted Gary Kellman, owner and designer. "Everybody wants to stand out and say, ‘This is me.’"
Kellman said the company, whose assortment wholesales between $3 and $5, is expecting the top item to be flashing Braid Lights, which resemble Christmas-tree lights and can be attached to braids or ponytails. The company is also launching Tummy Tassels, which can be affixed to one’s navel using double-sided adhesive tape.
Personalized accessories are also a focus at High IntenCity Corp., a Wyckoff, N.J.–based teen and tween accessories company.
The nine-year-old company manufactures and markets the "Charm It!" brand, which has over 1,000 charms in its assortment. Favorite charms, which can be hooked onto necklaces, handbags and watches, spell out phrases such as "Born to Shop" or "You Go Princess." Also on tap are butterfly motifs.
Charms wholesale from $1 to $2. The company also manufactures watches, denim notebooks and pewter star necklaces and heart-link bracelets, for $1.50 to $12 wholesale.
The Bead Shop, a seven-year-old Milwaukee, Wis.–based tween jewelry company, is focusing on ceramic or glass bead ID necklaces and bracelets. "You can spell out your name or a message or feelings on them," said Goldi Miller, owner.For holiday, The Bead Shop is planning to introduce six new alphabet designs using rhinestones, epoxy tiles, cubes or alphabet cutouts. Miller said that stores can buy a Plexiglas display case filled with the alphabet charms.
Wholesale prices are $1.25 for a miniature jewelry kit to $44.50 for a SoHo Loft doll house, whose interiorjunior customers can design with miniature pom-pom pillows, curtains, chandeliers and rugs.
Nature-inspired looks are key offerings for Los Angeles jewelry and accessories designer Faith Knight.
Knight noted that although turquoise is on the decline, semiprecious gemstones such as olive- or topaz-colored quartz will continue the momentum. "Junior customers want the real thing, the feel that something is more natural than plastic," she said.
To that end, the company will offer dangling chandelier earrings with semiprecious stones such as tiger’s-eye, carnelian, jade and colored quartz.
For holiday, Knight, whose line wholesales from $8 for earrings to $125 for handmade belts and necklaces, designed a group of silver- or goldplated stretch bracelets with inlaid motifs such as cats, dogs and martini glasses. The designer is also introducing belts made from fine mesh studded with tiger’s-eye stones and carnelian chips.
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