Terry Boehlke

1. Is there anything retailers can do to convince bargain shoppers that less expensive gloves aren’t really a bargain?
TB: The first steps to glove sales success is to create a good glove selection and educate your customers that “all gloves are not created equal.” Retailers who embrace this formula will reap the sales growth benefits the quickest. You can always find bargain gloves, but when you break it down, most bargain gloves prematurely wear out before the project is done, so are you really getting a bargain? One pair of quality Hestra JOB gloves will fit better and generally last two to three times longer than the bargain versions. Knowing the difference between the brands you sell is a key component to sales growth success. Retailers can also set an example by outfitting employees with quality Hestra JOB hand protection. Many customers, indecisive or confident, will seek out an employee to validate their choice or ask for a glove recommendation. Hearing a positive review and seeing a pair of Hestra gloves on the employee’s hand will almost instantly increase glove category sales.

2. What sets Hestra’s high-quality gloves apart from the rest?
TB: Over 80 years of premium fit, comfort and durability. To achieve these attributes, Hestra uses only the best materials and construction available. Our fit, comfort, and durability is virtually unmatched in the industry but, it is hard to distinguish these differences by looking at gloves hanging on a display. It is important to encourage customers to try on a pair of Hestra gloves. Once on their hands, you will see the “a-ha” moment in the customer’s face. If you need additional reinforcement, explain to customers the difference between material and leather quality grades. For example, on all of Hestra’s goatskin gloves, we use grade A goatskin. Unlike cowhide, deer and pigskin, goatskin has better dexterity, a soft hand, high lanolin content, and dries soft when wet, which leads to a more durable and comfortable fitting glove than the other leathers can provide.

3. How can garden centers better market, merchandise and sell gloves and other garden tools?
TB: Understanding that space is limited for non-green goods, a retailer needs to think strategically and take advantage of the tools that vendors provide. Placing items in key spots, for instance, near hand tools, fertilizers, soils and other areas around the store, including near the cash wrap. This strategy will most certainly add money to the final sale. Hestra provides a variety of different POP displays and signage, all typically available at no cost with your order. These tools can help influence customers to make a purchase.

4. How did you develop a gardening glove that is both comfortable and durable?TB: We design our styles in house by listening to the user’s needs. To create a style that addresses specific work environments and fit specifications is quite a challenge. Not to mention, reinforcements, durability, precision and protection. A glove often consists of multiple materials that need to work together in unison to form a functional work glove that protects the hand, provides good dexterity and fits comfortably.

5.What do you think is the key component of building a profitable glove/tool department at an independent garden center?
TB: A buyer needs to be open to building a glove selection that offers good, better, best choice for their customers. For some, this may seem daunting at first, so I recommend adding choices with glove price points that fit within your customer’s purchase price range. Use your green goods product offering as a guideline. Other key components include space maximization, cross-merchandising, and above all patience. All customers like new purchase options, and quality products increase customer satisfaction. It’s a win, win situation for all!