Art — for art’s Sake? There was a time when being a patron of the arts meant that you were really rich (and therefore probably not a retailer!).  In fact, art patronage originally referred to the support that kings or popes provided to musicians, painters, and sculptors.  But today even those of us who are… Read More

RECYCLING YOUR RECORDS Spring cleaning and tax time always seem to coincide, which inevitably leads to the question of what records your store needs to keep, and which ones it’s OK to get rid of.  I was about to say “throw away,” but that would of course be counter to the third special occasion coming… Read More

You can’t help but love a blog that starts out with “In the world of retail, stores are serviced by two separate yet connected groups: the manufacturers who supply the merchandise and the sales force that represents them. I am a rep. These are my stories.”    Can the hit TV series be far behind? The… Read More

Fair Trade is a phrase that is often heard in the gift industry, along with green, handmade, organic, recycled and environmentally friendly.  But what does it really mean? And can any item be called “fair trade”? Fair trade is a movement that, according the Charter of Fair Trade Principles, “intends to provide market access to… Read More

This sign was part of a display of handmade African items at the New York Gift Fair, and I thought it was a great reminder of the fact that one of our jobs as retailers is to communicate the story behind the merchandise we sell.  That’s something they can’t do in a big box, self-service… Read More

What’s wrong with this picture? Two things — the first, and most obvious, is that the green apples are labeled as red apples, and the red apples are labeled as green. But the most glaring problem is the fact that they were labeled wrong when I stopped in this Times Square market in the morning,… Read More

I love learning something new from my sales reps, especially a little tidbit like this one: the most popular initials for monogram items today (at least for American women) spell out Mrs. Jackel.  Although I can’t confirm the popularity of M,R,S,J,A C, K,E, and L scientifically, those do sound like top letters to me.  Many… Read More

Last week’s blog featured several of the responses that Notes and Queries,  the leading distributor of design led greeting cards, gift wrap, and stationery lines from England, received in response to a letter inviting their retail accounts to share what they’d done this past year to insure their store’s survival. This week I am pleased… Read More

“Congrats! You’ve survived 2009!” read the letter arrived in our store’s December mail, packaged together with a festive green party horn for celebrating the arrival of 2010. This unique mailing from Big Al of Notes and Queries invited their retail accounts to share what they’d done this past year to insure their store’s survival. In… Read More

The mantra of American business has always been “bigger is better,” and the focus even for many independent shopkeepers has been on increasing the store’s gross sales figures from year to year.  That may be very difficult to do in today’s economy — but the good news is that a decline in sales does not… Read More