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March, 2010

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April 2010
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18-20, Harbor Springs, MI
18-20, Minnetonka, MN
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In this issue:

It's Easy Being Green
In this our "Green" issue we highlight eco-conscious products and processes.

In the United States, efforts to curb industrial and automotive air-pollution have resulted in greatly improved air quality. Strides have been made in other areas of environmental concern as well. Here are some of the changes that have taken place since the first "Earth Day" in 1970:

  • The number of cars and trucks in the USA has more than doubled (source), yet carbon-monoxide emissions fell from 197 million tons to 89 million tons. (source)
  • Lead emissions fell by more than 98%.
  • The number days the city of Los Angeles exceeded the one-hour ozone standard declined from almost 200 per year to just 27.
  • U.S. forests expanded by 9.5 million acres in just 10 years between 1990 and 2000 according to The Pacific Research Institute's Index of Leading Environmental Indicators.
  • Wetlands were declining at the rate of 500,000 acres a year at midcentury, but have grown by 26,000 acres per year in the past five years.
  • Bald eagles, down to fewer than 500 nesting pairs in 1965, are now estimated at more than 7,500 nesting pairs.

Jack Rabbit Creations has a new organic cotton line.

By any measure, the efforts to clean up the environment have been successful in the USA. However, recent concerns over the use of lead and other potentially hazardous materials in manufacturing, especially in other countries, reminds us of the need to be aware of "Green" concerns.

A couple of years ago, toys from China were the principle cause for alarm. American companies like Jack Rabbit Creations of Atlanta, Georgia are doing their part to promote safety and eco-friendly materials.

Jack Rabbit has a new organic cotton line, introduced in January 2010 and shipping in April. Featured are three great knit items wholesaling from $4.75-$5.75 ea. Also, the company has a fresh new line of organic cotton tote bags with wonderful designer fabric appliques wholesaling for $18.

Gina B Designs' Eclectic Notes are endorsed by the Rain Forest Alliance

Gina B. Eclectic Notes feature a medley of patterns and colors. They are printed with soy-based inks on SMART Papers Feltweave® paper that is acid-free archival, FSC Certified and endorsed by the Rain Forest Alliance. Recycled content is 30% post-consumer.

Recycled materials are also being used in new products from Under Stella's Umbrella. The company's Bellemonde brand recently introduced 4 collections: The Fern Collection, Basketweave Collection, Animal Prints and Holey Bags - all made from recycled paper, cotton and/or plastic. "As is always the case under our umbrella, our goal is to provide great products at great prices and we certainly did it again with these collections." says Stella Martin, founder. "Green never looked, or felt, so good!"

Two of Fine Whines Acronym Bags made from recycled plastic bottles.

Fine Whines, another brand "Under Stella's Umbrella", introduced its first line of eco bags in 2008. "It is one of the fastest growing categories in the brand," Martin says, "because they are oh-so-green (100% recycled plastic bottles), oh-so-cheap, oh-so-useful & durable - and one more thing - oh-so-chic." The bags feature acronyms referring to destinations: b.o.a.t.(Best Outdoor Activity Together), b.e.a.c.h. (Best Escape Anyone Can Have), l.a.k.e. ( Lazy Afternoons, Kool Evenings), p.o.o.l. (Perfect Outlook on Life) or m.t.n.s (Majestic Treetops, No Stress).

They come in 4 sizes - the Mega Shopper, Gift Shopper, Party to Go Tote and the Wine Clutches- some with and some without acronyms. Prices range from $2 to $3.50.

"Just Got To Tell You" are 16-page greetings from Gently Spoken, produced on recycled paper.

Recycled materials are also used by Gently Spoken in the company's Just gotta tell you "more-than-cards". The 16-pages "mailable mementoes" are available in 12 versions for celebrating every day and milestones like birthdays, graduations, anniversaries, and more. Titles include "You're irreplaceable", "You're an extraordinary daughter", "We'll be friends forever", and "I believe in you". Each more-than-card is generously sized at 8.375" x 5.5" with a recommended retail price of $5.95 (mailing envelope included). Printed in the USA on FSC-certified recycled paper and coated with a "soft touch" process, these more-than-cards allow consumers to show their love without breaking the bank.

Calypso Studios SHOP Totes earned the company an Eco-Friendly designation from Giftbeat

Calypso Studios was recently named among the top 10 Eco-Friendly Vendors by Giftbeat magazine. Calypso has a line of reusable shopping bags known as "S.H.O.P. Totes". S.H.O.P. is an acronym for "Start Helping Our Planet". The Delicate Feathers and Leila patterns are new vibrant and sophisticated S.H.O.P. Totes that Calypso Studio’s introduced in 2010. S.H.O.P. Totes are a set of three reusable shopping bags that easily fold up in to a convenient carrying case. These eco-friendly fashionable bags are a convenient, affordable, and fashionable way to do your part to Start Helping Our Planet. Suggested Retail is $25 for a set of 3.

Don Mark is introducing stainless steel water bottles for toddlers (foreground) and pets.

As part of the effort to prevent landfills from overflowing with plastic bottles, Don Mark has featured stainless steel waterbottles for several years. New to the line are "Pet" Stainless Steel Water Bottles, a truly unique item which are just like their regular 24 oz. stainless steel bottles, but turn it upside down when your pet is ready for a drink on those long walks. The stainless metal ball drops down to prevent too much water flow and your pet can drink to its heart content, with no spillage. Customers can specify designs: Bones, Paws,or Solid Silver - Available April: Love & Pirate designs (not shown).

Also new from Don Mark are "Toddler" Stainless Steel Water Bottles; the 12 oz. bottles comes with a wide mouth for ice and easy cleaning and is BPA free. Use the Sippy Cap for toddlers and the attached Sports Cap for kids. Customers can specify blue, green, red or yellow top.

With environmental concerns being important to many customers, products like these offer an opportunity to highlight their eco-friendly materials and uses.

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.

Cha Cha Designs is a manufacturing and design company. We take pride in our sassy creations and know you will love them too! They are handcrafted in the USA! We are located in sunny Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

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. DesignsGina B. Designs:  Gina B. Recipe Cards are colorful and unique with plenty of writing space for favorite recipes. 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!

Name Your Year!

As a retailer, you wear many hats. No wonder it's easy to lose sight of your New Year goals. Several years ago I began naming each year. This simple idea helps me stay focused; plus it's fun, especially when you include your workmates. I choose one area of business and/or my personal life and I focus on it all year long. The Year of Gratitude and the Year of Listening not only made me a more effective leader and shopkeeper, it made me a much better person; habits I continue to use today in nearly every professional and personal interaction. Interested in naming your year? Here are some ideas:

Year of Heroic Customer Service: More than anyone else, your customers deserve your gratitude. Show them how much you appreciate their business with every single exchange: in person, on the phone or online.

Year of Social Media: If you haven’t already, create a Facebook fan page and start Tweeting! The best thing that comes from these mediums is increased contact with customers. Plus, it’s a fun way to brag about new products or promotions in your own unique voice.

Year of Internet Marketing: Try bi-monthly e-blasts or newsletters using a service like In addition to social media, newsletters are an effective way to communicate and inspire. Vow to wow your customers with timely product updates, trend forecasts, and news about upcoming events. Be sure to include a coupon.

Year of Product Knowledge: So often, we pick up great sales tips from vendors or reps but fail to pass that knowledge along to the people who are on the front lines every day. Educate! As one retailer recently told me, "In the new economy, you need to take every opportunity you can to validate your product."

Whatever you name 2010, be sure to share it with your team. Post signs in the backroom and on the cash register. Live your year and see amazing results. Here's to a fabulous 2010!

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




CHICAGO (March 10, 2010) - The Chicago Market: Living and Giving is proud to announce the addition of Paul Borejsza of Euroline Ltd. and Frederic (Rick) Contino, President of Midwest-CBK to its Executive Advisory Board. The Executive Advisory board is made up of key gift industry leaders and was founded to address strategic issues in Chicago and the broader gift industry.

"The Executive Advisory Board actively addresses the greatest opportunities we have as a market, challenging us as our customers and as stewards of the industry to deliver even more," said Joan Ulrich, senior vice president, Merchandise Mart Properties Inc. "We are extremely pleased to have Paul Borejsza and Rick Contino join our advisory board. Their combined experience in the gift industry will add to strategic success of the Chicago Market."

Euroline Ltd. is an industry leader in the distribution of fine Polish glass and metal décor to retailers across North America. Under Borejsza’s direction, Euroline has exhibited at over 65 gift/furniture trade shows in the last six years.

Frederic Contino is the president of Midwest-CBK, a leader in home accents, holiday, gift and candles, known for its outstanding design and style. Contino has more than 30 years of diverse sales, marketing, and general management experience in a wide variety of businesses.


Recipe Box Includes Dividers

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