These blog postings are intended to give you ideas and support in your entrepreneurial journey. The road is not without its bumps, but together we can make the ride smoother!  I invite you to read my book, Specialty Shop Retailing: Everything You Need to Know to Run Your Own Store, for more information.  I am currently working on a 4th edition, to be published by Henschel Haus in 2017.  I’m looking for successful independent retailers to include as “real life” examples, and for great black and white photos of stores, ads or displays. So please drop me a line if you’d like to be included!

A special welcome to those of you coming to this blog through Gifts and Decorative Accessories magazine! It has been my privilege to write for Gifts and Dec for over 15 years, and I am pleased to be able to keep in touch with subscribers through my blog as well as my regular columns.

You can get this blog delivered to your inbox every Monday by sending your name and e-mail address to To unsubscribe, just send an email with unsubscribe as the heading.

Most of us look to importers and manufacturers for readymade goods for our store, perhaps also occasionally buying from a local maker set up to sell wholesale.  But it can be fun to be in on the ground floor, helping someone take a good idea from the concept stage to your store’s shelves.

Lori Greiner of Shark Tank fame has a proven track record when it comes to this developing new products.  She has invented more than 600 p … (read more…)


The concept of the wholesale gift show was born in Chicago in 1921, with trade shows held downtown every February and August.  So it has been a particularly sad turn of events that Chicago lost first the long-lived GLM show at McCormick Place, then the robust Chicago Gift Show at the Merchandise Mart, and finally this year even the small Windy City Show in Rosemont, near O’Hare Airport.

But a new option is o … (read more…)


A GMO, or genetically modified organism, is a far cry from the latest trend in retail promotions, a GNO — which stands for Girls Night Out.  There is one thing that they have in common, however, and that is that a GNO almost always includes the opportunity to achieve a (slightly) modified mental state through the imbibing of wine or other alcoholic beverages.

Would a GNO (or LNO, which stands for Ladies Nigh … (read more…)