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November, 2011

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December 2011
1-4 Chicago
5 Denver
5-6 Dallas
6 Los Angeles
7 Atlanta
7-9 New York

January 2012
7-10 Billerica, MA
7-10 Philadelphia
8-9 St. Louis
9 Madison, WI
10-11 Dallas
11-18 Atlanta
18-24 Dallas
18-24 Los Angeles
14-16 Miami
20-23 Los Angeles
20-24 Columbus
20-24 Minnetonka, MN
21-23 Orlando
26-28 Phoenix
26-29 Dallas
28-30 Biloxi, MS
29-Feb 2 Toronto
30-Feb. 3 Las Vegas

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Strong Black Friday Sales Point To Improved Economic Outlook

Retail sales on Black Friday, the traditional kick off of the Christmas buying season, grew by 6.6% compared with the day after Thanksgiving last year, and a huge 16.4% for the four day weekend including Thanksgiving (source). Spending per shopper increased 9.1% , the biggest increase since 2006 (source).

Part of the reason for the increase is that 226 million shoppers visited stores and websites over the weekend, compared with 212 million last year (source).

Despite some backlash against earlier store openings on Thanksgiving, the trend is sure to accelerate due to the response from shoppers, according to National Retail Federation spokeswoman Ellen Davis. "Consumers vote with their feet and vote with their wallets," she says. "Midnight is now the magic hour for Black Friday shopping."

Online spending increased by 26% over last year, according to market-research firm comStore Inc., which observes the buying patterns of 1 million online shoppers and extrapolates their statistics to the overall US population.

Sales figures included both in-store and online sales Thursday through Sunday, but did not include "Cyber Monday". The line is blurring between "Black Friday" and "Cyber Monday" as more and more people choose to make purchases online before, during and after Black Friday.

Featured Vendors
indicates a CAMEO EZ© web site.

Badash Crystal: Our broad selection of mouth blown tabletop and decorative accessories from around the world will surely meet your needs. Every piece is individually and safely boxed. We offer superb quality and value for all your gift giving, bridal and/or personal pleasure. CAMEO EZ© member stores can now log into a site one time and place orders from several manufacturers. Check back often to see more lines. One Login - Multiple Shopping Carts - Easy Checkout.

Coast Lamp Manufacturing Coast Lamp Mfg., was established and incorporated in the state of Florida in 1955. Now, a North Carolina Corporation since 1975, located in the beautiful mountains of Western North Carolina. We are a family owned and operated company. Our product is UL/ULC listed and approved and made in the USA. Customer satisfaction and a long lasting relationship are our goals.

The Cookbook Company: Any Bitch ("Babe In Total Control Of Herself") Cookbooks is a complete and humorous line of boutique cookbooks that are not only amusing but useful as well.

Divinity Boutique is a gift company that is focused on trendy and fun gifts that feature inspirational verse and themes.

Dr D's for Dogs: Dr. Joseph Demichael is a veterinarian who is devoted to caring for dogs but also raising and breeding dogs. He photographs his dogs and creates clever greeting cards using the photographs. The picture at left is for a birthday card with the caption "May your day be twice as nice! Happy Birthday!

Elegant Baby recognizes that today's babies are stylish, and is committed to providing baby gifts featuring the very best design, quality, craftsmanship and tradition anywhere.

Europa Home décorincluding glass, candleholders and candles for garden, lodge, awards, gourmet food, sale items and more.

Fifth Avenue Manufacturers fills the void for a better looking souvenir at a reasonable price. The company consistently stands out from the competition due to a winning combination of a strong sales vehicle, an attractive product at a fair price, and the bond of family. Products include state souvenirs and general gifts.

Gina B. Designs is an award-winning greeting card, gift and stationery products company featuring exceptional art and design. With an array of styles, variety of products and outstanding customer service, Gina B. Designs has "something for everyone."  All products are proudly made in the U.S.A.

The Heeney Company is a wholesale manufacturer and importer of floral and Christmas products. The company distributes, imports and or manufactures floral and Christmas arrangements, silk flowers, foliages and plants, dried materials, ribbons, candles and decorative accessories.

Hook Line Greetings offers the world's first patent-pending "Gift-in-Greet" Fishing Lure Cards. The company's unique and clever greeting cards contain an authentic hand-tied fishing lure as the "gift" that can be taken out for immediate fun and enjoyment. Just "release" the fishing lure from the card, tie on a line and go fish!

Highland Graphics: a leader in functional gift with decorative items for gift giving and kitchen. From our topselling 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.

Nicole Brayden Gifts a bright and trendy collection of stationary and home décorproducts. Lots of fun colors and designs offered. Introducing new and exciting "Purse Pad" stationary assortments as well as the trendy Cheeky Chic collection.

Puzzle Pen The Puzzle Pen is the only erasable, retractable and refillable pen on the market. This product is a great, new break-thru for puzzlers. If your store has customers that play Crossword, Sudoku, KenKen, Kakuro, Magic Square, Acrostic, or any other word or number puzzle, this unique new Puzzle Pen will be a great hit in your store.

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.

Sunbelt Marketing Group , Inc. Licensed functional and decorative giftware for the home and tailored for the men's market, i.e. (clocks, signs, coat/key racks, salt and pepper shakers, bottle openers, shelves, picture frames, games key chains and more). Licenses include Coca-Cola, General Motors, Pepsi-Cola, Farmall Tractors, Shelby and the Shelby Ford Mustang and Dodge. Product mediums include wood, polyresin, and glass and mixed mediums.

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 makes functional products with fresh designs for companies that sell gifts. Great fun and cute personal accessories designed for the purse, stationery designed for organization and Flip Notes- the best-selling slim notepad consistently ranked by retailers as a top 10 in sell through. Perfect 4th quarter pick up gifts at under $10 retail- a sweet spot with today’s consumer. Now with collegiate logos!

Customers Will Pay More (If You Treat Them Well)

By Barbara Wold

I saw this statistic the other day and found it very interesting

-- 68% of consumers say they will pay more for a product/service if they feel like they are getting a better customer service experience. - Harris Interactive, Consumer Experience Impact Report, 2011

This is interesting for several reasons, here are three:

  1. Many times we think that we need to drop our price or price match a competitor to get a customer's business. This just isn't true. Dropping a price (or even quoting a price too quickly) is a cop out. What we should focus on is providing the best customer service experience possible.
  2. Customers will pay more money for something ON PURPOSE if the customer service is excellent. They will seek out businesses that provide legendary customer service knowing that they will end up paying more money. Think about this. Customers want to pay more money if they feel they are being treated well. Let me say that again: customers are seeking to pay more money, if (and this is a big 'if') they feel they are being treated well.
  3. Customer service is THE most important part of your business. Many businesses spend a lot of money worrying about their product quality or their advertising or their building or their systems and resources. And all that's great . . . except . . . those are not the most important things to your customer. Customer service is the most important thing to your customer. People want to be treated well. They want a 'human' interaction. The quality of this interaction is more important than your facility, than your price and even than your quality.

The Customer Service Experience is KING!


"A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
               -- Sir Winston Churchill


~ Copyright 2011. Reprinted with permission from Barbara Wold's Retail & Consumer Tips, Barbara Wold is a street-smart, down-to-earth business speaker, presenting topics from sales and marketing to customer service and tourism. She is an international speaker who has "WOWED" over 650,000 people from all 50 of the United States, Puerto Rico, Guam, Canada, Mexico, Colombia, Brazil, Venezuela, Singapore, Hong Kong, Philippines, Japan, Indonesia, China, Malaysia, India and the United Arab Emirates.

Quick Industry News


Plymouth, MN, Sept. 15, 2011 - Gina B. Designs releases new Kids Valentine Assortments for 2012. Each package contains 4 each of 4 designs. Themes include animals, robots, sports, monsters, and princess - perfect for handing out at school or mailing to friends and family. SRP $6.00 pack of 16.

Richmond, VA, Sept 14, 2011 - Calypso Studios says, “EARLY BUY PROMOTION- Place your order for our NEW 2012 products today and receive an Early Buy discount!” New collections include new Wrap items, Neon jewelry, and additional Impulse assortments. The company is also launching Wings of Hope Butterfly and Good Luck Ladybug keepsakes. The Early Buy Promotion discounts are: $250 Orders - 5% Off; $500 Orders - 8% Off and Net 60; $1,000 Orders - 10% off and Net 60; $1,500 Orders - 10% off, Net 60 and FREE Shipping.