Saturday, December 15, 2012

Saturday Gift Post--What's New (or New Again) at Boswell This Week.

This week I received our last order from Galison as a separate vendor. As of the beginning of 2013, shipping moves from the Menasha warehouse in Wisconsin (it also ships Workman) to the Hachette warehouse in Indiana, where the line will consolidate with Chronicle.Though we carry a good amount of boxed cards, puzzles, magnetic figures, sticky notes and the like, the item that really drives reorders are the children's diaries. I don't think anyone else compares in price point, packaging (they come in an clear plastic box, so a kid can't mess with the key before purchase) and minimums (a lot of gift lines require sixes, but Galison was orderable in threes, and under Chronicle, there are no per-sku minimums).

Anne received some Compendium gift items, including Positively Green cards, which are seemingly sold everywhere. Each card has a simple quote and accompanying illustration, but I don't know the illustrator. They are printed using soy ink on recycled stock, and there's also an environmental tip on the back. In general they sell very well, though I might have mentioned that I skipped the Christmas cards last year and got grief from a customer. This year I brought them in and I think they are not selling that quickly, though I won't know for sure until December 24. Last year I thought I had overordered and on the 22nd I was breaking up the remaining boxes of cards to sell loose. The Compendium journals, which I've just dipped my toe in, are sort of guided journals of an inspirational sort, but our sale on the first order was very good, so I decided to go a little deeper.Pictured is the "doing good and feeling good are connected." I'm not sure why the publisher showed three of them.

We're at the point where I don't think reorders will arrive before the holiday, or at least I can't be sure they will. I'm actually checking stock on several of our gift items with our wholesaler, but of the 33 items I was ordering from our puppet vendor, they only had two items available (a lot was only at the two warehouses that we aren't set up to shop, which I found odd), and they were out of all the Merry Makers plush. They had plenty of the plush Rocket (How Rocket Learned to Read) last week, so I assume a big vendor took everything. I ordered what I could from the wholesaler and sent the rest to the gift vendors, in the hopes that something would come early.

The only Coelacanth coin purses we have left are of the octopus design. Coincidentally a customer came in looking for them, saying she always gets compliments on it, and bought two. But lots of seassonal items have disappeared--want a resin bird with a jaunty stocking cap? Too late, they are all gone. The same for the wood and wool sheep ornaments, the wool elephants, and a number of others.

Another customer was telling me how much she likes our oriental carpet bookmarks. It was only on my second order that I realized that each carpet is based on a design from one of half a dozen countries, including Iraq, India, and Kyrgyzstan.

But there are still gaps in our assortments. We really don't sell a decent pen, and I still can't figure out how to bring them in without a locked case. But with all the journals we sell, we should be able to sell a decent writing instrument. I've traditionally sent folks to Daly's, much like I send them to Exclusive for music.

And finally, we have refreshed our assortment of Polish wooden boxes. I think I probably could have been a little more aggressive. We sold our reorder of the wooden drawer box about two hours after we got it in. I'm not sure why I didn't bring in a few of the other models. But we should have a nice selection through Christmas (including the charming mushroom boxes, pictured), unless somebody buys a whole bunch of them. It's possible. 

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