Thursday, February 4, 2016

Stealing Our Identity

One of the vendors we order from is Fig Design Group, the industry leader in RFID armored protection.

We have carried their armored wallet for several years and today it is even more important than ever.

Imagine that without your knowledge, as you are walking through the grocery store, someone with a RFID scanner, 3 feet away from you, is grabbing the information on your credit cards and driver's license.
Then that person is using that information to charge $100 of dollars at various stores or using the driver's license to help steal your identity.

The armored wallet is sometimes viewed as a pretty case to carry your credit cards or license.  It is small so you can put it into a clutch or even your pocket without much bother at all.

However the armored wallet is more than a pretty case.  It is made of a metal alloy which can prevent the RFID scanner beam from stealing your personal information.

There are some "knock off" wallets or cases out in the gift world which claim to do the same thing.  However they are not made of a patented high tech 4-layer metal and woven paper as are the armored wallets. 

Sweet Tooth is not just a fun and fabulous gift and candy store.  It is also the place where you can purchase  armored wallets or RFID (Radio Frequency Identity) credit card sleeves which protect you from those people stealing your identity,

Friday, January 29, 2016

Volume 2: Back From The Dallas Gift Market

Let's begin by answering why we take the time and trouble to attend the Dallas Gift Market?  I calculate that we have been to that Market over 75 times.  On the one hand, walking into the Trade Mart and the World Trade Center is always like coming home.  You know how the building smells, you know where the bathrooms are, you are generally able to find the showrooms you are looking for and you can count on seeing some old friends each time.

On the other hand, as online catalogues have increased, as sales reps have decreased in numbers, as some large vendors have left the Dallas Gift Market, going to the Market can be very unpredictable.

I am glad to report that the cafeteria where we eat lunch has done away with paper trays....a big waste of paper since you can only use them once.  However, balancing your lunch, drink or dessert, along with your pull around suitcase and purse is a bit tricky without a tray.  And I had the fun time of encountering a dispenser for forks, knives and spoons....I had never seen those before.

I have found that a growing number of vendors are pushing the edge on humor and fun with their merchandise.  Certain "words" which would never have appeared on greeting cards, kitchen towels, etc. are now standard among a number of companies.  Trends are more intense and duplicated throughout the showrooms and displays are continuing to be creative, colorful and attractive.

One showroom still provides lunch for anyone who walks in and some showrooms will invite you to stay for lunch.  There is no way that a showroom wants you to leave because your stomach is calling out for food.  There is something like a "Free Lunch", and in this case, with all the costs involved in attending the Gift Market, it is a real bonus.

The most important part of showing up at the Market is being able to talk with vendors, getting information on their merchandise which we can pass on to our customers.  The other important part is the partnership which can evolve between us and the vendor.  Now when we call with a request or a problem, the vendor is more likely to respond quickly and be willing to bend a few rules in order to keep us as a happy customer.

All for now.  Merchandise is coming into the store.  Hope to see you soon.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Back From The Gift Market

Well, here I am...the first day back at Sweet Tooth from the Dallas Gift Market.
I've got a few observations for you.

First, how many times do you think we ran into our friend Des from Perfect Touch?  More than I could count and that was fun.

Second, our Facebook photo of me and our friend, Barry Horn from Hobbs and Dobbs in California has garnered over 650 looks.  Barry is totally impressed with that number.  He is one of our favorite distributors because Barry is out in the world, looking for the latest and the greatest candy and novelty items.  And what is even better is that Barry is honest with us....if it won't sell, he tells us.  Barry is always right.  Watch for the cool candy items coming to us from Hobbs and Dobbs.

Third, after 3 times of going to the Kurt Adler showroom and placing 3 orders for great Christmas and Halloween goodies, wonderful and fun Christmas trees, and the really fun flickering glasses for Christmas (check out the Facebook picture of me and our sales rep Dave!!), I have to report that we are still not done with orders from that company.

Fourth, our true blue Trudy sales rep, who has been with us, well, it seems forever, has a new jewelry line which I think you will simply love.  At the moment, Trudy has brought Forever in My Heart jewelry into the store...you know, the line of lockets and tiny beautiful charms.  So watch for April when the next edition of Trudy's guaranteed winners arrives at Sweet Tooth.

Five, our new guy, Billy, worked with us for about 2 hours or more to show us some of the new collections from Demdaco....scarves which have been a big hit, Art Hearts just perfect for any gift giving occasion and of course, Halloween and Christmas fused glass plates, Pop In plates, ornaments....on and on.  Even though
Billy was recovering from the flu, which he got from sitting behind a woman on the plane who was coughing the entire time, Billy was with us 100%.

I'll stop here...how much of WONDERFUL can you take in one sitting?  Next time, more sneak peaks.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

What Makes a Retailer Feel Really Good

I had a great experience yesterday, the kind of experience I would imagine most retailers want to have.

It involved the pure joy of receiving some beautiful merchandise and being able to unwrap it, handle it, observe all the details of each piece and then the feeling of pride that our store was going to be able to present this merchandise to our customers.

The package I received was the Spring Collection from Trollbeads.  Just to set the stage, Trollbeads was one of the first jewelry lines we decided to carry in the store.  We have remained over all these years the only Trollbeads retailer in Oklahoma.

Trollbeads is an artist based line.  Each piece is made by hand by a jewelry artist.  Not too long ago, I watched a DVD showing how these jewelry designers and artists work up their designs, then make a mold for the sterling silver pieces or use glass to make the glass beads.  I was so amazed at the skill involved in producing these tiny pieces of art.

They follow each piece from start to finish.  When you buy a Trollbeads piece you know that someone in the world has made this jewelry....it was not cranked out by a machine... and each has its individual personality.
Naturally we want all the items in our store to be as thoroughly produced and lovingly presented.  Trollbeads is definitely at the top of that list.

Now add to that experience the package of Quilling greeting cards which arrived today.  If you know Quilling, you are aware that this art form originated in ancient Egypt and has been practiced throughout Europe and Asia.

The origin of the art and its name comes from the use of birds' feathers or quills which were used to coil strips of paper around to make a design.  Each card takes about 1 hour to produce and it is all done by hand.

The company we purchase these cards from has become Fair Trade certified.  The 2 factories which produce these greeting cards employs over 300 people in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.

Not only the beauty of the cards, but the practical fact that each card guarantees a job for over 300 people really makes me feel terrific.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Gearing Up for Valentine's Day

It is so funny.  Every year Valentine's Day is on February 14, unlike Thanksgiving which seems to move around the calendar a bit.
We get all excited about Valentine's Day because the colors are great (well, red and pink, however very pretty), there is a great deal of interest in candy and jewelry and we love to prepare very attractive gift baskets.
We like the change of pace and the new merchandise. 
What is so strange is that a lot of people wait until a few days before Valentine's Day to select their gifts.  Unlike other holidays, Valentine's is a last minute deal.  I have never been able to figure out why.
It seems to be a truth that depending on which day of the week Valentine's falls helps to encourage early or late sales.
Some say that Thursday and Friday are the very best days for Valentine's celebrations.  People go out to dinner or to the theatre or a movie.  People who want a gift delivered prefer Thursday and Friday for Valentine's.
Etc. etc.
This year Valentine's is on a Sunday.  Woe to all of us....not a delivery day, not really a date night for dinner out or a day for an overnight trip out of town.
I am so curious to see what will happen this year.  We do know that the store will need to be open Sunday afternoon for the last minute shoppers.  I have spoken to at least one florist who also plans to be open for "pick up" and can't really decide whether to deliver flowers or not.  After all, you can't really count on people being home on a Sunday to accept a delivery.  It is a lot simpler to take a delivery to an office building or a store....homes are a little tricky.
I'll let you know how it goes this year.
Heads up.  Easter is Sunday March 27....early?  or right on time?

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Are You Still a Mary Engelbreit Fan???

Today I received a catalogue from a company which is new to Sweet Tooth.  We had some of their Art Poles and Art Pots for Christmas.

Flipping through their HUGE catalogue I found a large section of BRAND NEW MARY ENGELBREIT miniatures, scenes you can put together with different characters or individual pieces which you can use to decorate.

Is there anyone out there still looking for Mary Engelbreit's art and products?  If so, I would really like to hear from you and soon.....the Dallas Market is coming up January 20 and we need to focus on what we are going to bring into the store.

You may ask:  Hey, do you like these new items?  Well, sure I do.  I have never lost my love for Mary's art, her sayings, her little girls and all that stuff.  I am the person who has every issue of her magazine and I still have dolls, nick nacks, etc.  I even have boxes of Mary's work in my storage room.

So it's not fair for me to launch a renewed interest in Mary if time has passed her by.  I need your imput.  Let me know if you would like to see Mary Engelbreit again at Sweet Tooth.

Email:  jdarby03@sbcglobal.net.

Thursday, December 31, 2015

See You In 2016!!

I wanted to take a few moments to say HAPPY NEW YEAR to all our friends who shop at Sweet Tooth.  It is always an uplifting experience to see some of our customers become "regulars".

This past season, we had quite a few people voluntarily say that they love to shop at Sweet Tooth and they appreciate our effort to keep them posted on what is new and what is on sale, etc. etc.
Those words of praise are never said too often and we are grateful to hear them.

Welcome aboard to the Dundee Darby family....Jelly Bean or Smee as I like to call her...Sabrina's new rescued cat.  Smee will add a lot of energy and bunches of fun stories to our lives.

New cat, new year.  What more can we ask for? So, see you around the corner in 2016.  Let us know what we can do for you and we will do our very best to make things happen at Sweet Tooth.