PSAW FEATURED PRODUT: Canetti Magnet Frame

Small Equals begins

Small equals phil priming
Phil The Wonder Assistant Priming at Small Equals, Burlington Vermont

Everything's falling into place. Aaron Stein, artist/builder, has been constructing a beautiful 90 sq ft store for Small Equals. Phil The Wonder Assistant and I have been busy packing up Pine Street Art Works. Downsizing from 2,000 sq. ft to 90 sq. ft is a daunting challenge. It's not so much designing the small space, as much as getting rid of everything in the large one.

Meanwhile, I've been shopping for fun products to put in the Keepsake Card Kits:

300 Keepsake Card Kit: Happy Bird Day with card by Liza Cowan, Seed Bombs by VisuaLingual.

 

I went to the NY International Gift Show, which was amazing. I had only one day, which wasn't enough, but I found some sweet products for the shop.

Ipop magnets Ipop magnetsIpop magnets

Magnets from iPop, pouch and robot from Wilde and Woolf.

I also ordered more cuteness from Shinzi Katoh, vintage image products from R. Shackman and beautiful classic plastic boxes from AMAC.

I'm kind of in a magnet mode these days, so it's no surprise that I was attracted to iPop Magnets.

Also in the magnet mode, I've been selling these fabulous pieces by Uno Industries. 40 inches of magnetized chain and a cute little magnet to hold it together as a bracelet, ring or whatever. So fun and endlessly playable.

Uno industries magnetic jewelry

Uno Industries Magnetic Jewelry

And the magnetic item that got me started on the magnet kick: Canetti Magnet Frames. I finally met Nancy Halper, Canetti's owner, at NYIGS, which was great. I've been doing land office business selling the 5x7 frames, which I will continue to sell at small equals, along with some smaller versions.

Canetti magnet frames
Canetti Magnet Frames. Photos by Liza Cowan.

 


Build a better business through reciprocity

Call it the Golden Rule, the threefold law of return, Karma...every culture has it's version of Do Unto Others. Running a retail  business offers endless opportunities for beneficial mutual exchange with all kinds of people...vendors, customers, suppliers, staff, delivery people, neighbors, tech support: the question is - what are you going to do with it?


 Kids on seesaw, constance heffron, happy days, 1951, allyn and bacon
 It takes a relationship to make it work. Illustration by Constance Heffron. Happy Days, 1951 Allyn and Bacon

For me, part of the thrill of retail is being able to cultivate relationships. If I'm excited about a piece of art, a product, a service, a website, I want to get to know what, or who, is behind it. My first impulse is to write an email, make a phone call, write a blog post, send a note on facebook or twitter. If I like something I want to tell the world about it. But after a point, I really do need to be supported in kind.

It's been my experience that only a portion of the people I extend myself to bother to respond in kind. Do I understand why? Not really. I guess some people are just not connectors. Do I accept it? Yes. And move along.

I'm not quite snarky enough to tattle on those businesses who don't see generosity as part of their work ethic. The law of threefold return will bite them in the derriere eventually. If I like their products or services enough I might continue to use them, or sell them, but I won't go the extra mile to help publicize them. There's no juice in it.

But those who do... ah, the sweetness of mutual delight and support. Here's to the connectors.

Manufacturers:

flashbags Flashbags started in business the same time I did. We are all Burlingtonians. Our kids go to school together. I adore them, personally and professionally. We've always featured each other in promotions and events. Ali and Laura, now just Laura, are the most generous, enthusiastic co-conspirators a business could ask for. Flashbags are the staple of my retail business and I couldn't imagine retail life without them.

 

I was excited about Cardboardesign from the moment I found out about their products.Liquid cardboard I think I read about them on a design blog when they first started, and was one of their first wholesale accounts. Because I was so in love with their product I started blogging about them. Because their marketing director, David Rosenzweig is such a nice and cool guy, he started emailing me. His daughter even commented on this blog. Did I mention he knows Simon Doonan? (who has never contacted me, ahem...) And recently they quoted me on their new sales brochure. Was I excited? You bet. Does this translate to sales for me..and them? Of course. Why? Because the personal connection, the reciprocity, makes me want to work that much harder for them. [update: sorry to report that Cardboardesign went out of business. sniff...]

Canetti frames Canetti frames are, after Flashbags, my best selling product. It's always easy to sell a product I love so much. But when owner Nancy Halper and I started exchanging chatty emails, when she took the time to research and answer my questions, when she invited me to Linked In,  I knew there was a real person behind the product and that relationship spurred me to be even more excited to sell their beautiful, pure acrylic magnet frames. I'm sure that in the scope of things I'm not that big of an account for them. Au contraire. But Nancy always makes me feel special. At their booth the recent NYC gift show, Canetti featured my store advertising postcard in their frames. Yeah, it's a great card, looks super in their frames, and mentions them on the back. But they didn't have to do it. Again, wow. 

Tech Stuff:

I used to send gallery and shop announcement  email blasts via my website, which was cumbersome. Then I only used facebook, which is good but doesn't have any extra oomph. Then a few months ago I was blog surfing and someone mentioned Mad Mimi email marketing. I regret not remembering which blog, but a couple of days later I googled Mad Mimi, browsed their site, and decided to give them a try.

The MadMimi webpage was inspiring, their testimonials glowing. I decided to give it a try. Heck, I need to promote this store.  At some point while I was designing my first promotion I had a question, even though their design program is super easy to use. I emailed their tech support and ....right away someone was there, live, in real time, answering my questions. Patiently. Nicely. I mean, Hello!!...when does that happen??

But then there was a bigger bonus - besides my amazing and amazingly easy to design promotion. At  the Mad Mimi site they have a gallery of some of their clients and I decided my goal was to get into that gallery. They've got cool stuff there - great clients. I emailed and got a really sweet response from Gary, CEO and Founder.  We chatted about this and that...he lives in my old Brooklyn neighborhood..and yes, they loved my promotion and put it on their site. So...not only did I get super tech support, get to design and send a gorgeous email promotion, which my customers loved, but also they put me on their website. Again, sure, my promo was great... but that's the thing. They didn't have to. But they - Gary, Dean and the others on the team,  understand reciprocity, they are nice, down to earth folks running a savvy business. Part of their savviness is in their genuine customer relations. 

 

If you've ever tried to get tech support from web or blog providers, you know just how frustrating this can be, and how likely you are to get the response, "we got your question and will be back with you soon" and then you wait and wait - and wait - until you get an answer that confounds you even more. Not mentioning any names typepad.

Some tech support makes me want to gnash my teeth and tear out my hair, which makes my happiness with MadMimi  even more impressive. 

Link some Love:

Love what someone's doing, selling, writing, designing? Send them some link love. Why not? Tweet them, it costs you nothing, and the goodwill you get back is astounding. Or post a link on Facebook. I'm new to the tweet world, an old hand at Facebook, and here's what I think: you can build community through links, tweets and retweets.

A while back, book designer and blogger Ian Shimkoviak tweeted a post of mine. I only knew because I followed the trail on sitemeter when I noticed a bump in readership. Then I wrote about him in my recent post on book covers. Then he tweeted that. And it was picked up by a couple of his followers. Again...wow. Today I tweeted MadMimi. They tweeted me. And tomorrow??? Maybe I'll tweet you. Or you'll tweet me.

Community

What it boils down to for me is more than the golden rule: in my mission statement I say that Pine Street Art Works is in business to build community  through retail. I am a fierce advocate for local neighborhood community building, but,  in addition, in this cyber age, neighborhood can be anywhere and everywhere. We build it one email, one tweet, one link at a time. Share the love.


LITTLE GLIMPSES INTO THE GALLERY TODAY

Here are some random shots of new and old things we have at PSAW today:

 Psaw art is my weapon
Just in from TMNK, Art Is My Weapon T-Shirts in a variety of sizes.

 Psaw clipboard
Very cool and fun French Script clipboards from Timeworks, Inc. Clock Company. I also carry the American Baseball one. @ $12.75 this will be a great holiday present.

 Psaw magnet frames
Always popular, The Magnet Frame from Canetti. 5x7, these pure acrylic frames open and close like a dream, held by tiny powerful magnets. @ $28. Photos in the frames are by me, Liza Cowan, except the one of two old fashioned girls who are my grandmother Lena Straus Spiegel and her sister Hettie.

 Psaw button and beads
Random button and beads. The Lampwork beads are by Madelyn Erb, Mad Glass Beads.

 Psaw monopoly pieces
Monopoly pieces.

 Psaw fireplace ginny
The cozy new electric fireplace. On top: Tea cup print by Ginny Joyner, real teacup and teapot by Shinzi Katoh, fine art laminated mid 20th Century ads.


Tick Tock, time to think about holiday shopping

 Blog pop clock tempus fugit
Tempus Fugit, pop out clock by Timeworks, Inc. Available at PSAW for $17.75

As I posted on my sandwich board today, "Tick tock, time to think about holiday shopping" Actually, as a retailer, I've been thinking about holiday shopping since mid summer. Truth be told, as a consumer I enjoy buying presents for my loved ones, but it's even more fun selling fabulous things to my customers. In this economy we're all being careful of what we spend, so I've worked at getting great stuff at reasonable prices. By reasonable, I try to mean under $50. Often under $25.

  Blog pop out clock
Pop Out Clocks from Timeworks, Inc. Seven different clocks available here.

These clocks are super cute and a brand new product from the Timeworks, Inc. Clock Company from Berkeley, CA.  They come in a reusable box and  assemble in a jiffy,  really.  I think they are made of melamine. The clock runs on a battery. Great little gift for under $20, easy to send, too.

  

  • Blog pop clock alice
  • Blog pop clock bear in a bottle
  • Blog pop clock football
  • Blog pop clock love grows
  • Blog pop clock time flies
Blog pop clock time flies

Check out the clock faces. Click the small image and it will pop up!


 


 Blog card boxes
notecards, portfolios, labels, sticky notes etc. at PSAW

I've been a stationery lover my whole life. Mostly I've collected postcards and notecards, but anything with pretty images and shapes will catch my eye. Now that our local paperie, Scribbles, has closed (alas) I'm trying to fill the void a tiny bit. Above are some sets with images by Wayne Thiebaud, Andy Warhol, Geninne D. Zlatkis. I also have Lotte Jansdotter and  Paul Frank as well as assorted classic botanical images.


  

 Blog mini prints
Canetti Museum magnet frames and PSAW mini prints

Not new to PSAW but one of my favorites, the Canetti Museum Magnet Frame. At $28 these are a sensation and very popular with my customers.  Made of pure acrylic and tiny magnets by a small company in New York, (although manufactured in Thailand) these are the original  Magnet Frame. They inspired me to offer PSAW mini prints by PSAW artists, made to fit the frames. At $20 a pop, these are also a fun and charming gift.


  

 Blog kornbluh pendant
glass pendant by Marc Kornbluh at PSAW. Aprox 2" diameter. $45

No two of these pendants by Marc Kornbluh are alike. Marc used to live in Burlington and his glass studio was one of my favorite places. Now he lives. in Nebraska, but I'm lucky enough to be able to sell his lamp-work jewelry. At $45, this is a gift that will be loved for generations.


 cigarette tin, sixty, liza cowan photo, yellow, tobacco, collectible
Vintage cigarette tin. $16.

I've been collecting typewriter tins and cigarette tins, lovely for both their shapes and graphics. No two alike, only while stock lasts since buying them is a random operation. But I've got a bunch here now.


  


 AO! Glass, Snow men, glass snow men, handblown glass,
Sno Folk by AO! Glass

AO! Glass, whose retail shop is right here at PSAW (separate store - common roof) are in high production for their very popular little Sno Folk. Great, perfect holiday gifts, they can be a tabletop decoration, or hang from a tree or mantle. www.aoglass.com. Tove Ohlander also will custom etch the bowls and other pieces that she and her partner Rich Ahrentzen make.

There's more, but I'll leave that for another post. Just come on buy and check us out. Tick Tock.