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February, 2010

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March 2010
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In this issue:

What the New Credit Card Law Means

On Feb. 22, the new credit card law, the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility and Disclosure ("Credit CARD") Act of 2009, became active. As a retailer, you may wonder how this will affect your customers and their spending, and therefore, your bottom line.

As he signed the bill back on May 22nd, President Obama said, "With this new law, consumers will have the strong and reliable protections they deserve. We will continue to press for reform that is built on transparency, accountability, and mutual responsibility - values fundamental to the new foundation we seek to build for our economy." (source) Here are some of the major provisions of the bill:

  1. Retroactive Interest Rate Increases: Card issuers can't raise rates on existing balances unless a promotional rate expired, the card has a variable rate indexed to the prime rate or other factor, or the cardholder is more than 60 days late. HOWEVER, the new rules do not cap interest rates, so the rate could go up a lot( ! ) (source).
  2. More advance notice of rate hikes: This provision kicked in Aug. 20, 2009. It requires issuers to give cardholders 45-days notice before rates increase. Formerly the requirement was 15 days.
  3. Fee restrictions: Cardholders cannot be charged more than one over-limit fee per billing period. Issuers also will not be allowed to charge a fee for paying a bill online or by phone.
  4. Restricts card issuance to students: Consumers under age 21 who can't prove an independent means of income or provide the signature of a co-signer aged 21 or older won't get approved for credit cards.
  5. Ends double-cycle billing: The new law bans the practice of basing finance charges on the current and previous balance, so the issuer can't charge interest on debt already paid off the previous month.
  6. Fairer payment allocation: Whereas card issuers used to apply payments to balances with lower interest rates first, now they must apply payments over the minimum payment to the highest interest rate first.
  7. More time to pay: As of Aug. 20, 2009, card issuers must send bills 21 days before the payment is due instead of 14 days.
  8. Gift card protections: The new law prohibits gift cards from expiring for at least five years and issuers cannot assess inactivity fees unless the card has gone unused for 12 months.

Featured Vendors in GiftsWholesale.Com
indicates a CAMEO EZ© web site.

Aspen Bay Candles: The best candles on the market--a result of our continual and diligent application of superior candle science. Take a moment to visit our unique high quality line of candles. Once you have experienced the superb fragrances and long burn times, we are sure you will be back again and again.

Brownlow Gifts: Brownlow produces a full line of inspirational gifts for every occasion. You will find useful and attractive home decor gifts for the kitchen, bedrooms, study and all other rooms in the house. Brownlow is well known for gourmet products, journals, gifted paper items, photo albums, photo frames, decorative sentiment plaques, a variety of stationery, many different ceramic gifts as well as a large assortment of inspirational gift books. Most products are in coordinating themes that retailers can purchase in eye-catching countertop display collections.

Don Mark DUEL OPENING Stainless Steel Water Bottles. -"Go Green" to protect you and your environment. Refill, reuse and reduce our landfills. Each bottle comes with dual, leak resistant caps, one for drinking, the other wide mouth to insert ice cubes and make hand cleaning easier. Also comes with handy carabineer clip. Our lightweight bottle weighs less than 6 ounces and holds 24 ounces of your favorite cool or cold drink (not for hot liquids). Comes with attractive "Go Green" hangtag. Visit our web site to see our entire line of petzzz plus over 180 other unique gifts and gadgets.

Europa Home decor including glass, candleholders and candles for garden, lodge and more.

Gina B. Designs³Many of our retailers tell us that their customers come in and purchase our cards by the handfull!²  Gina B. Greeting Cards feature unique and colorful art with simply stated messages - at a great price-point.  Gina B. Designs is an award-winning greeting card, gift and stationery company featuring exceptional art and design.  All products are made in the USA.

Highland Graphics: A leader in functional gift with decorative items for gift giving and kitchen. From our top selling Absorbastone coasters, to our decorative bamboo cutting boards, everything we manufacture is made in the USA. Our high quality plus competitive pricing lets our customers make higher margins. We feature licensed art, official collegiate products and have a full range of custom capabilities with low minimums.

Mud Pie: Mud Pie products are now featured in three catalogs: Mud Pie Baby, Mud Pie Gift, and Mud Pie Pet. It has always been our goal to offer innovative giftware that's affordably priced and adorably packaged.

Natural Life: Fashionable and fun treasures to share or keep! Whether you’re shopping for friends, family, baby or yourself, Natural Life has the perfect gift for you.

Peking Handicraft, Inc. is a global manufacturer and wholesaler specializing in home textiles decorative accessories and gift items. The company expertise in sourcing, manufacturing and brand development are second to none. Peking’s variety of products consists of renowned designer collections as well as exciting designs from their in-house design studio. Both are trend right and of exceptional quality and value. With over three decades in the home textiles and gift arena, Peking is proven to be a company that you can trust today and in the future.

Regal Art & Gift: Offering unique & colorful Metal Garden Décor, Home Décor and Gifts. Garden items include: 3-D Garden Décor, Garden Stakes, Wind Chimes and Welcome Signs. Home items include: Wall Art, Wall Hooks, Candleholders, Ornaments, Boxes and Photo Frames. Popular themes include: Garden Bugs, Birds, Frogs, Tropical, Coastal, Fish, Suns & Celestial, Southwest, Western, Crosses, Americana, Country, Halloween, Harvest & Holiday

Sample House Take a look at our unique collection of original design gift bags, tissue paper and home to the 2-second wrap. We have a complete selection of Take-Out-Cartons solids and prints, tissue, bags, wraphia and more.

Shade Tree Greetings' "Actual Pictures" are recognized as one of the best-selling greeting card lines in the industry. Nostalgic photographs and clever, funny verses make these cards a success. Go to our website to browse over 300 styles. GREAT introductory programs and free fixtures.

snoozies!® are not socks and they're not slippers - sort of a crossover between the two and that's why we call them "foot coverings"! snoozies!® are made with a brushed fleece exterior in colorful & fun printed patterns and then lined with a soft Sherpa fleece inside.

Spring Street is proud to offer the finest assortment of personal, home, and office accessories. Our extensive product lines are all theme oriented, from baby to bride and beyond. All of our gift items are hand epoxy enameled and adorned with faux jewel encrusted motifs. Many of our designs are inspired from the famed Soho district of New York City where the very real Spring Street is located.

Sunset Vista Designs: From the same creative team that brought you Care and Wonder Company; We're back with a fresh new line of the latest in home and garden decor.

Tripar International Inc.: Tripar International is your source for both displays and decorative accessories. Our extensive product line includes a wide assortment of easels, risers, ornament stands, plate racks, mirrors, jewelry displays, and unique display pieces. We are also an excellent source for wine accessories, wall décor, inspirational signs, and cookbook stands. We offer quality with style, low minimums and fast shipping.

Wellspring: a great gift and stationery line. We bring art and organization to everyday life! Our products include: hand-painted ceramic pieces, note pads, Flip Notes, compacts, pill boxes, recipe books, and much more!

Email Marketing with A Personal Touch

In the days before email marketing was easy and accessible, I wrote a paper newsletter for my retail store, Something Different. The Something Different newsletter was more than just store updates and general information: it was a coveted read.

My customers especially loved the straight-from-my-heart cover letter. Paragraph after paragraph, readers were able to take an inside look into the life of a lively and determined local woman entrepreneur with big dreams and a can-do spirit. My stories about life, love and dreams made them laugh, reflect or cry; sometimes all three.

Seeing their own lives through mine, they were inspired to open businesses of their own, tackle new hobbies, say yes (or no) to a friend, experience the adventures of their dreams or live more passionately.

A Something Different newsletter rarely stayed in one person's hands for long. It was passed along to spouses, sisters, neighbors and friends. Why? Because it wasn't your typical store newsletter touting only the latest new product or promotion; the newsletter was more about celebrating a feeling of community and a sisterhood my customers could hardly wait to be part of.

When developing a newsletter for your store, I suggest a 70/30 formula. Devote 70% of the newsletter's content to inspirational antidotes, decorating ideas, color trends, customer stories and important resources that could add value to their lives. Lists like "7 Steps to… or Top 5 Ways to…." are always popular features. Devote 30% of the content to product and store events. Include a special offer or coupon to help measure the newsletter's success.

Web based programs like Constant Contact ( are an easy and inexpensive way to build your own online newsletters. Use creative incentives to collect as many email addresses as you can. Most of all, don't let perfection stand in the way of creating what could be your most powerful and inexpensive marketing tool. You don't have to be a great writer! Ask a family member or friend to help edit your publications. Why wait? Begin creating and inspiring your customers today!

Cheryl Karpen

~ Cheryl Karpen is president of Gently Spoken. A retailer and a manufacturer, Cheryl is best known for authoring the Eat Your Peas Collection, a series of 21 gift books that begin with a promise. Visit Cheryl at and

Quick Industry News


Los Angeles Convention Center show floor
New Products and Resources Drive Traffic and Buying at January California Gift Show

LOS ANGELES, CA (February 16, 2010) The January California Gift Show® saw a rise in both attendance and exhibitors during the seven-day show. Showrooms and exhibitors alike reported strong sales and high traffic. Attendees loved the new look of the show and the extensive resources available. Buyers were re-energized as the show brought excitement and new resources to see, from increased exhibitors and interactive resources to inspiring product displays. The launch of Beckman’s West at the Los Angeles Convention Center, in addition to the expanded Resort, Seasonal, Boutique, Fair Trade and World Style categories also added to the number of resources offered.

Highlights from the January Market included a keynote presentation with Caroline Kennedy, Editor of Gifts & Decorative Accessories Magazine, interactive Twitter workshops hosted on the Los Angeles Convention Center show floor, the launch of the Beckman’s West brand at the Los Angeles Convention Center, a California Gift Show Twitter raffle campaign and more. In addition to fantastic programming and events, thousands of exclusive product lines were featured at Market. From the permanent showrooms at the L.A. Mart, to the Temporaries at the Los Angeles Convention Center and L.A. Mart 2nd Floor Gallery, fresh, new merchandise across a broad range of categories provided buyers with new money-makers.

"The California Gift Show was very successful. We saw traffic increases at both locations and the energy level was incredibly high," said Peggy Coleman, vice president, marketing, L.A. Mart and California Gift Show. "The buzz on the show floors was very positive and everyone was so excited about all of the resources available at both venues. We look to continue to this positive energy into our upcoming July Market."

Monday’s Keynote Presentation was an overwhelming success. Over 700 attendees gathered to hear Segal share his story on how he started a successful retail business and grew it over the years.
January Chicago Market Sees Jump in Attendance

CHICAGO (February 16, 2010) - The Chicago Market: Living and Giving® delivered comprehensive lines and name brand products during the January Market. The Chicago Market saw an exciting traffic increase of 22%, up from last January. Buyers and retailers were wowed by the breadth of market resources offered, with the temporaries boasting a 50% growth in the number of temporary exhibitors offered, with 40% of those being new to the January Market. The Chicago Market offered buyers and retailers highly sought after product lines and unique specialty resources that will help differentiate their business.

In addition to unparalleled product resources, The Chicago Market offered retail driven business seminars to help buyers and retailers grow their businesses. Highlights included a keynote seminar with Gordon Segal, chairman and co-founder of Crate and Barrel, and retail seminars with topics ranging from Fair Trade, branding, customer service, website design and more. Additional highlights included, a Speed Networking lunch, a Chicago Market Twitter campaign, and a 1st Floor Lake Living display created by Chicago-based designer Mick Santiago.

"The Chicago Market: Living and Giving had an incredibly successful market this January," said Joan Ulrich, senior vice president, MMPI. "Buyers and retailers were extremely impressed with the breadth of exhibitors, resources and product lines offered. We are excited to continue this growth in our upcoming markets."

The Chicago Market is the independent and specialty gift and home store’s preferred buying venue. It offers comprehensive resources, abundant product lines, on-point price points and the latest trends, all represented by regional sales experts who know this marketplace. With trusted resources such as Beckman’s™ Handcrafted Show, a show within a show that offers handmade goods by unique artisans and Lake Living, an exclusive Chicago Market category that offers fresh water inspired lifestyle products, the Chicago Market is the market to find products that will help retailers differentiate their business.


Gina B Introduces Recipe Boxes

Gina B. Designs' top selling Recipe Box, "Kitchen Essentials" is perfect for organizing favorite recipes.  Includes 6 Tab Dividers and 15 Recipe Cards. Coordinating products include Weekly Calendar Pad, Recipe Card Dividers and Recipe Cards.  Proudly made in the USA.  MRP: $19.00.

New line of painted stainless steel bracelets received rave reviews at the NY International Toy Fair
"Wrist Art" Bracelets Unveiled at New York

Sourcing International (creators of the incredibly popular Grow-A-Head™) unveiled its new product line called, "Wrist Art" bracelets. These bracelets are made from stainless steel stretch watchband material and printed with swanky designs for adults and children of all ages. Designs range from floral to geometric, animal prints, solids, pastels and paisleys. "Wrist Art" was incredibly well received by toy, apparel, gift and specialty buyers at a soft product launch during the recent NY Toy Fair.

Lori Wrubel, National Sales Manager said, "people were flipping for our bracelets; they were actually begging to buy my samples!" Sourcing International will begin shipping the first collection of bracelets in mid March with many more designs to come. These bracelets will be marketed as a quick impulse buy at the register, with a MSRP of $6.49 each.

The collection includes Bekah (left), Tuscan Squares, Broken Dishes, Bargello Red & Blue and Bargello Stone designs.
Peking Handicraft Debuts Licensed Rug Designs by Kaffe Fassett

(San Francisco, Calif.) -- Peking Handicraft, Inc., an international manufacturer and wholesaler of high quality home decor, tabletop and giftware items, is proud to introduce a new collection of rugs designed by Kaffe Fassett. Fassett, a California born, London based artist, is best known for his colorful designs in the decorative arts of needlepoint, patchwork, knitting, painting and ceramics. His creative use of color and interesting design has resulted in his recognition as one of the most influential living textile artists and best-selling author of knitting, mosaic and patchwork titles.

Boasting a unique combination of color and unique design, Peking Handicraft's new Kaffe Fassett Collection offers five new hook rug designs. Each rug is available in 34" x 47" and 4' x 6' sizes and retails for a suggested $110 or $290 for a 4' x 6' size.

Peking Handicraft's new Kaffe Fassett Collection can be seen at the company's winter market showrooms and is planned for product expansion into additional textile categories in 2010.