One night three years ago, Dewayne Lytle was sitting in his car when lightning struck. “I was in a drive through, and I saw a decoration on the antenna of the car in front of me,” he recalls. “It was beaten up and kind of ratty, and I just found it interesting that people put these on their antennas. I decided to come up with a line of cute designs that could reflect people’s personalities and interests.”
Inspired, Lytle worked to design a line of car ornaments he calls “Tenna Tops.” And he broadened the appeal by including an elastic cord option that lets them hang from car mirrors. Now he’s up to 50 designs, and more are on the way. “Our goal is to release 10 new designs every year at a minimum, so that we always have new products coming out,” he says.
Last year he launched his product in over 600 brick-and-mortar stores. In those retail locations, the Tenna Tops sold just fine, but there was a surprise in store for Lytle — or rather, a surprise out of store. “By the end of last summer, six different flea market vendors in three states had found our products and were selling them in their flea market booths,” he says. “Those six flea market vendors actually out-sold our 600 stores!”
When he saw that sales at six flea markets beat sales at 600 stores, Lytle knew he had made a discovery: “The flea market and fair and festival customer is our exact target audience.” That prompted him to make a right turn into a new marketing and selling strategy. “We have changed our focus to getting our products into flea markets and fairs,” he says. And since the product remains brand new to the vast majority of shoppers, he says there is a ton of growth potential.
The suggested retail price is $3 for each Tenna Top, on down to three for $10. Wholesale, the price is $1.70 when purchasing quantities smaller than 200, and $1.50 each purchased with a 200-count floor spinner display. “In those price ranges, a vendor can keystone it,” says Lytle. He has an effective way to make the sale, as well. “We have four available display options, for use in stores and at flea markets and swap meets. Hands down, the best is the floor spinner display, which holds 200 units.” For more information on Tenna Tops, visit the Web site, call (314) 541-9066, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.