Saturday, August 17, 2013

Saturday Gift Post--Bookmarks from Bookjigs, Boxed Cards from Steven M. Lewers.

Our gift show orders are arriving, and that is fun because in many cases it means new vendors. One line that I looked at in at the Minneapolis gift show (which of course wasn't Minneapolis at all, but suburban Hopkins) last year was Bookjig, created by Franklin Mill (or maybe it's Gazinga, I'm a bit confused by who owns whom) of Utah. The idea is that the bookmark clips onto your book with a ribbon. It's a variation of the magnet bookmarks we stock (like I Clip), combined with the ribbon marker that comes in some lines like Paperblanks.

I think the strongest thing about the line is their great visual graphics. It's actually hard to find attractive looking bookmarks, especially tasselled ones. The pretty ones are effectively pieces of paper, while the tasselled ones tend to have some design issues. To me, this is effectively a very nicely designed tassel bookmark, only the piece of paper is a clip (or as they call it, a jig). There's a fox, squirrel, bird, ladybug, floral, and my dark horse choice, a seahorse. I think you were supposed to buy by collection, but I was a bit contrarian.

In addition to the bookmarks, they make a matching line of spiral notebooks in two sizes. We tend to avoid gift vendors who forces sixes in their notebooks; the sell through is just too slow, and there are so many other gift vendors that allow us to order in threes (or twos, or even ones) that it's not worth it. When I see something like that, I think they are chasing mass merchants. The Bookjigs themselves are bought in 12s, and I usually won't buy bookmarks in quantity beyond 6s, which is why it took me a year to overcome my hesitations and place the order. We'll see how it goes.

Minimums were much easier in another new line for the store, from Steven M. Lewers of New Hampshire. Amie had brought info back on the line from Heartland Fall Forum last year, but I guess I really needed to see the designs in person. We wound up focusing on his boxed notecards, with many nature motifs, including fish, cardinals, turtles, frogs, leaves, butterflies, owls, and apples. In most of the boxes, there is an assortment of cards, not just the one pictured. We also brought in a few of his blank cards and his laminated apple guide.

Lewers started the line after leaving Houghton Mifflin, where he brand managed the Peterson bird guides and got the idea for these laminated guides. I think birds was first. It turns out he was a long-time friend of David Schwartz. Though I don't think I ever met him, Schwartz kept in touch and used to talk about him a lot. If truth be told, I didn't just buy this line because I thought customers would like it; it released some nice memories too.

On Friday we received yet another gift show shipment, from Chicago this time. I'm pretty excited about that one too, but my enthusiasm will have to wait.

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