by Virginia Sandquist

As reported in our January issue, the gifts classification sometimes gets neglected in menswear stores. Yet, those who nurture the category find it’s a solid margin builder with low return rates. Since Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, it’s (already) time to start thinking about Holiday 2023, and NY Now (the New York gifts show) is this weekend, we thought this would be a great opportunity to catch up with Virginia Sandquist, DLS Apparel Group’s expert on being present.

ABOVE IMAGE: Minneapolis, Minn.’s MP3 shows gifts are a retailer’s smart next move.

Two categories are doing nicely, coffee table books and grooming products for men and women (depending on if the store is men’s, women’s, or both.  With grooming, you can build a repeat business if you keep it unique and exclusive.  With coffee table books you show the customer you have some unusual gift items, and that they can count on you when they need something a little different.

Our office has always felt that retailers should carry accessories, travel bags, books, packaged foods, stationery, pens, jewelry, bar wear, grooming, etc. It all helps to boost sales and gives the customer another reason to return to the store. Plus it gives the store another vibe, an eclectic ambiance.  There are so many items out there that a clothing store can add to its mix without taking away from the clothing part of the business. It is all about getting the customer to walk into a store more often and generating multiple sales.

Examples of books to check out include:

Rizzoli International Publications: Rizzoli has become a leader in fashion, interior design, culinary, art, architecture, and photography.

Taschen: Accessible, eclectic publishing from its affordable Basic Art series to highly collectible limited editions, TASCHEN makes the best books on the planet at any prize and any size.

Wildsam Travel Books: Field guides with a sense of wonder for cities, parks, and road trips. Perfect for both men’s and women’s shops.

Our stores are also doing nicely with two accessory companies, Pig and Hen bracelets, as well as Secrid wallets.

Our go-to list of grooming products for men includes:

As New Yorkers, we attend the NY Now Show (see below) and Shoppe Object, both coming up this weekend, but I’ve also heard that the Atlanta gift market is a wonderful show!

Need a little more guidance? Contact Virginia at

NY Now Show
Sat, Feb 4, 6 PM – Tue, Feb 7, 6 PM
Jacob Javits Convention Center
429 11th Avenue
New York, NY

Shoppe Object
Sat, Feb 4, 9 PM – Mon, Feb 6, 9 PM
Pier 36 NYC
299 South St
New York, NY