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.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Priceless !

We hate to disappoint our customers . . . but we have an item hanging over our register that is not for sale. They say the devil makes work for idle hands and some days are not so busy here at Joie . . thus this rarely seen winged devil duck. People often inquire about it, but they don't seem to want to make their own - to do so you must make a glow in the dark fairy into a regular little girl by removing her wings and then attach those wings to a miniature devil duck. We did break down and sell the tiny winged rubber chicken, and rubber pig . . . and might be persuaded to part with the winged ninja . . . but the devil duck is not for sale. Apologies to all.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

They're Not Just For Easter Anymore !

or - I knew there was a reason I saved those chenille chicks. A good friend is in the "Fried Chicken Club," a group of former co-workers who meet monthly or so to keep up with each other and - often - eat guess what? Fried chicken. She was having the gang to her house and wanted to do up her dessert so she called to see what sort of chickens we might have here at Joie. Here you see the rather spectacular results of our collaborative work! Rumor has it the cake was delicious too.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Umm . . . Time for Version Two??

We sell a pair of wonderful books published by Chronicle Books - Listography and My Listography. They are basically blank books with lists to fill in - Listography, the original. has pages for room-mates, movies, past loves, favorite books, and it was so popular that they came out with "My Listography," a version aimed at those who still lived at home with Mom and Dad. I was enthusiastically recommending it to a customer today as a great idea for a ten year old girl and as I flipped through the pages, showing her the contents I came across "People I Would Like to Meet." The example of such a person: Tiger Woods. Whoops! I don't think Tiger Woods is a very good example of anyone a ten year old girl would like to meet these days. I think Chronicle Books is going to have to do a version two and get him off that page. It's just one page in the book . . still . . . it definitely made me uncomfortable . . . quite the example of "how far the mighty have fallen." My question - should we keep selling it because of all the other great pages . . . or wait for My Listography, Version 2??

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

R.I.P. Flat Cat

"Only one left." These are words we never like to hear about our most beloved products, and I had to say it about the Flat Cat just the other day. This simple and wonderful product was made by Blue Q, one of our favorite companies and we have been selling it for years. As a matter of fact, we were their first customer, at their first gift show in New York, and I believe the Flat Cat was their first product. I looked at our last cat and thought of the many items I have let slip through my fingers — the wall mounted musical airplane . . . the cowboy hamster . . . the photo-ing on car — all things I thought I'd take home "some day" and then a customer asked for one and it was the last one. It's true that sometimes companies bring discontinued items back — but the flat cat has already been discontinued and revived once — so I grabbed the flat cat and he is now living with me.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Our Occasional Tshirt Series . . .

spotted on a customer this week . . . and lest anyone accuse us of ethnic slurs . . . I am 3/8ths Irish !

Thursday, July 15, 2010

It's Corn Season and That Means . . .

You need these ! I had my first two pieces of Massachusetts corn this week and what could possibly be better than to eat corn using these "Unicorn Corn Holders" ? We nominate them as the perfect summer gift - just pick up a bag of corn from your favorite farmstand . . . and a pack of these - you get 8 in each package - and off you go. (price, you ask? $8.50) And, unicorn alert: we have noticed more and more unicorn products out there, some of which will be arriving soon at our door. We're not sure why, no one really ever knows how these things happen (except maybe Malcolm Gladwell) - but it's starting to look like unicorns will soon be giving owls a run for their money. Stay tuned...

Monday, July 12, 2010

Monday Morning

Shortly after I opened the door this morning a woman walked in. She was just browsing, in for a card, and started to laugh at one of the silly books on the front table. Then she noticed the Tomas Savrda pieces and we talked about them for awhile. Next thing she was laughing at the taco purse. She moved over to the Mullanium bird sculptures and the Boss/Brown clocks before going back and buying a few cards and the Irresponsible Science book to give to her son. While she was checking out, she noticed the new little prints of paintings by the Mincing Mockingbird and we started talking about them and during the course of that conversation I found out she was an artist herself. She bought a print. I love it when people "see" all the aspects of the store - don't see only the jewelry, or only the kid's toys, or only the cards - that doesn't always happen. . . . a nice start to the day !

Friday, July 9, 2010

Oh - Maybe This is How They Do It

Well . . . if you read our last post, you know we were wondering how one could make money selling things at a 60% discount. We just got a clue - maybe you just mark up everything a ridiculous amount, then it's easy ! My sister just sent me a link, showing a tin Ocean Liner that we sell for $18 - on a website that has it priced at $66 (!) If you search out items online there will always be a little price variation - I would expect to see this particular item going from a low of $15 to maybe a high of $20. Then I thought - of course it's possible that they simply made a mistake . . . so I checked out their other tin toy prices - all insanely inflated. Buyer beware - the website I refer to is They sell clothes and other things primarily - maybe they thought their customers would not realize what fair prices for tin toys are . . ? ? Crazy ! Below - the boat. Joie - $18.00 Unplugged Byron Bay - $66.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

What's Wrong with This Proposal?

Someone called me from a website called the Savvy Source with a "partnering" proposal. They "really wanted to work with us." I asked her to email me the particulars and the deal went something like this: We choose an item and discount it 40 to 60% (red flag there.) They email it out to their supposedly local mailing list and the item can be purchased at discount - through their website only, not ours (red flag #2)- for 4 days. We then pay them 40% of total of everything they've sold. (Red Flag #3) The email cheerily concludes, "there is no out of pocket expense for you." ? ? How can we possibly make any money giving them 40% of an item that we are already selling below our cost? ? I emailed them back asking how this could be a good idea for us. Oddly - they never got back to me on that.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Missed Marketing Opportunity !

Just think how many of these we could have sold this weekend . . . had we only known they existed . . . hmm . . . on reflection, the fact that they do exist is kind of scarey . . .

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Beautiful, Enchanting, Illegal

A customer asked me if we sold sparklers yesterday and I had to tell him that sparklers are considered too dangerous to use here in Massachusetts and are therefore - illegal. I have so many fond sparkler memories from my youth - running around with them in the backyard, or on a beach in the dark, or drawing pictures in the air, always mesmerized by their sparkling beauty. They are such a perfect Joie de Vivre item, we would certainly sell them if we were in one of the 45 states where they are legal. And on the other hand - robo calls - why are they legal? It seems like things should be the other way around - those annoying robotic phone calls should be illegal - not the magical sparklers! It's all wrong. In any case, a reminder to anyone thinking of coming in and discussing the sparkler question in person - Joie de Vivre will be closed on the 4th.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Customers Just Want to Have Fun

Almost every day a customer approaches us with an "I really hate to tell you this" expression on their face, pointing to the coffee spill or the ice cream spill. Here in the store they don't take the wine spill as seriously as even though we have a French name, and that name roughly translates as "joy of life" - it's not easy to believe we would be drinking red wine before . . . lunchtime. Ellen, a customer in Shelburne, Vermont, sent me a photo of a wine spill she recently bought at Joie . . . which nicely illustrates just how realistic that one looks in the right environment. Red wine, white carpet - perfect!