Saturday, November 17, 2012

Saturday Gift Post--Who Doesn't Like Getting a Compliment About the Holiday Card that You Sent?

Just to catch up from the last few weeks, the Merry Makers plush was received on Thursday and several requested designs, including  A Ball for Daisy and Penny and Her Doll, are among the new arrivals. In addition, the boiled wool leaf clutches that we featured that sold out very quickly have also come back into stock.

Today's story is about loose Christmas and holiday cards. Our rule of thumb is to get the boxed cards out around October 1 with the loose cards following about a month later.  We have some titles that are Christmas related, some that are general holiday, a smidge that are Hanukkah-themed, and a droplet that are New Year's.

While boxed holiday cards max out at about $2 a card (and most of them are more like $1.50), loose cards have the flexibility to be priced more similarly to our everyday cards, with a range from $2.50 to $6. While there a few lines where we buy both boxed and loose, most notably Madison Park Greetings, many lines only come boxed, and other lines are simply too expensive to be bought as anything but loose.

The loose card vendors also tend to be smaller operations. Urubbu is a beautiful line run by a couple out of Toronto. You can see a few of designs here, including holly, fir tree, and red bird. I love his everyday cards as well--we just got some new designs featuring farm animals. He has a folk art style that reflects the artist's Brazilian background. He has also done a number of children's books internationally, and Do You Have a Hat? was published by Simon in 2004.

I don't know how many folks work at Maginating in Los Angeles, but I always get a personalized note with our paid invoice. The style of these cards is influenced by Japanese kauai. Their holiday designs are thank-you card sized (they actually have a code, maybe A3) whereas we usually do better with loose cards that are larger (maybe A5). This indicates to me that they probably do a decent bit of boxed business. On the other hand, one of our other vendors, Night Owl, converted several of their cards to larger sizes as I think they simply do better in stores. I do love these cards though; featured are animated fir trees, ornaments, a reindeer, and a gingerbread house.

Fresh Frances is based in Chicago and has done a lot of outreach to bookstores, even showing at the American Booksellers Association and Heartland Fall Forum conferences. I've already mentioned before that  I think their new designs are much improved. My booksellers were quite taken with their new Halloween designs, and their smart humorous take should also be a hit with Christmas buyers.We're featuring their Christmas yearbook, Santa and snowman on skis, elf cheerleaders, and Santa with a substitute reindeer. They also do smart and funny Hanukkah cards.

Sometimes a line will only do a few holiday cards, if the truth be told, we certainly don't buy every item from every vendor, even if we like their cards in general. It's all about curating! So we bought in a couple of Spitfire Girl wooden cards (skating animals are featured), a design or two from The Found (a helicopter delivering a tree) and a few block print cards from Ghost Academy (woman on reindeer and hedgehog in love with pine branch featured). I could go on, but this should give you the idea that we have a lot of unique cards that you simply won't find elsewhere.

And maybe that will be just the thing to get you out of your house and do some book shopping too.

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