Dear Blog Readers,
We have become the kind of blogger we never wanted to be — the kind who has a "read our blog" button on our website but the newest post is months old. We blame Facebook for this — it's so much easier to write something there and we seem to have more followers there than we did here on the blog. Still, we can't quite bring ourselves to give it up altogether yet — so instead, we're posting this little note to explain our lack of current entries. Please do check out our facebook page, we think it's fun, if not quite as long form.
sincerely, the Joie de Blogger.

Monday, June 14, 2010

This is How Big Business Rolls

I saw some cards at the Stationary Show that would be perfect for us - a few featuring designs from the ONION, and a few others that were really funny. I was really excited when I saw them and I asked what their opening order was. "$1000." was the answer.One thousand dollars. That is a LOT of cards. I blanched. "But the reorder is only $150," the salesman added helpfully. In the twenty five years I've been in business I've never ordered from a card company with an opening order higher than $250 or $300. We talked and I explained how small my store was, and how much I wanted to sell these particular cards, and the salesman finally said he would "see what he could do." I actually was so enthusiastic about them that I said I would consider a $500 opening order and even pay in advance. I returned home from the show and a few weeks passed. I was showing customers a few sample cards I had picked up and everyone loved them, but I did not hear back from my contact. I called him and he passed me on to someone else and finally I was referred to an area rep. "How many pockets would you give to this line?" she asked. A pocket is one unit of display space - ten cards out on display equals ten "pockets." "Umm .. . maybe 20?" I answered. "They won't even talk to you then," she said flatly. "They want at least 96." We talked a bit more - I was still trying to convince her that I would be a good account to open. I described the card I had liked the most. "I would probably order 6 dozen of that card at a time," I said. "Oh, you can't do that," she said. "Didn't they explain that to you at the show? You can't order the cards by style, they just send you cards. You can choose birthday, or romantic, or friendly - but you can't order by style." I was astounded - they want you to order $1000, give their line lots of space, and then they won't even let you choose the cards you like best ?!? Some of their designs were awful - there was no way I would ever go along with that. All that back and forth for nothing. But . . . I intend to get in touch with the Onion and tell them that they've licensed their cards to the WRONG company - a company that won't sell to the quirky little stores that would probably be their best customers . . . so stay tuned . . .

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