Thursday, August 27, 2009

My Attempt at Nonbook/Sideline/Gift Merchandising, Take Two

Hey, it would have been nice for me to include a photo of the display. It's now included.


I've made my first attempt at sidelines mechandising in the adult arena. So far, my theming has been relegated to the robots in the kids section. On the other hand, even though that's where the sales are counted, a substantial portion of the plush, folders, and bendy toys are being bought by adults, for adults. And why not? It's what I'd want. It takes something that I (and other people, I'm assuming) find frightening, and it humanizes them.

So since this is all about me, I thought, "What else do I like?" I like maps, and based on my track record with books over 20 years, so do a lot of my customers. Many years ago, I tried to get us to use a tagline "Explore new worlds" at Schwartz, and my concept involved a lot of mapping and globing, though the idea of the theme was broader than that. I think another book operation used the concept a couple of years later. Let's just say it wasn't patentable. Not like crustless peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

But I digress. I present to you our old mappy-themed display. We brought in some paperweights, and journals and water bottles and luggage tags. I know there's lot more to buy (including Replogle globes and those huge displays of back-to-school mini globes that I kept unsuccessfully trying to sell at Schwartz) but what I've bought fills a table. Some of the stuff is for travel and some for an office, but everything has a bit of a retro feel.

One thing I don't think we ever sold at Schwartz that caught my eye were some globe-themed liquor flasks. (We actually probably did sell them at one point, but I can't remember). After seeing two attendees sneaking drinks at our tango concert, I decided that it might be appropriate for our customer base after all. And as long as we're going to do things like the tango concert, why not sell them the flask?

I hope we don't sell out of everything by October 29th. That's when Strange Maps, by Frank Jacobs comes out. It looks very cool! Ask us to hold it for you when it comes in.

The way this gift stuff works is that you often have to take it when you can, or it sells out. And I don't know if you know this (I didn't), but the big gift show is in New York at the end of August, and that backlogs a lot of the companies that provide this kind of stuff. And there's not as much reprinting. We used to stage a lot in the Shorewood Schwartz basement, but I don't have that luxury.

Oh, I've got a Christmas card order in already. And it's chomping at the bit to come out. I'm also on the hunt for a really good African cookbook. Any guesses why?

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