Saturday, March 19, 2011

Saturday Gift Post--Easter Stuff 2011, Plus Wrap-Up on TheOatmeal

Easter gift marketing. It's a concept that was foreign to me before becoming as engaged with gift buying and display making. As the book buyer, I tended to find a few books to highlight in our newsletter that would appeal to our customers and leave everything else to other people.

Now there is a lot more to think about. For one thing, we needed a sign. Our artist friend Aaron (he of the fishy tee) happened to take a picture of a bunny family in his yard, which he passed around. OK, that's done.

So then there is the Easter basket. Now not everything in the Easter basket has to be Easter themed, just like not every Christmas gift has to be a Santa Claus (substitute dreidel for Chanukah). And we know that we can't just bring in exactly what we did last year, though yes, we restocked the rabbit puppets we sold so well in 2010. So here are some new items:

1. We have done so well with puzzles that we brought in these puzzle eggs. I'm feeling more confident then I did about the heart-shaped ones we got for Valentine's. For one thing, they give you a sample (we finally made one at the last minute for the previous display). For another, the pricing is much better, there's more variety, and the sweet artwork seems appropriate for the holiday.

2. We used a different vendor for small rabbit plush, non-puppet kind. The pricing is very good, under $5. For the puppets by the way, I went heavier on chicks.

3. Now that we're in our tabletop mode, having done pretty well for autumn and Christmas, we brought in some Eastery stuff there too. Not too much, only things we particularly liked. There's a chick mug, a chick votive candle holder, and some chick and bunny candles. Seems cute to me. One thing we noticed is that one of our vendors likes to package things in plastic wrap, and the product doesn't show well. So we've taken to unwrapping some of them.

4. From another vendor, we duplicated our surprising success selling ceramic penguins. They were meant to be in packages of six, but we didn't like the packaging and complained. Little did we know they would sell just fine individually. So now we have ceramic bunnies. Somebody bought one of each variety yesterday. Very nice at $1.75 each.

Now I'm off to our joint mini-conference with the Midwest Booksellers Association, Great Lakes Independent Booksellers Association, and the American Booksellers Association, located at the glamorous Sheraton Four Points in Brown Deer. Tonight we sell books at the ACLU dinner. And tomorrow we get ready for the Wisconsin Restaurant Show.

Last night's event for Five Very Good Reasons to Punch a Dolphin in the Mouth with Matthew Inman (TheOatmeal) was pretty great. We had 160 people, enough, after we moved a bunch of cases, for just about everybody to be able to sit and still see the slide show. Since he we learned he had 700 people in Seattle, I got a little panicky. That was a hometown outlier, but he had been getting 200+ at some other events. The thing about Inman is that as funny a web cartoonist as he is, he might just be an even better storyteller. Much thanks to Inman and Kathy at Andrews McMeel for setting this up.

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