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, March 31, 2011

Hotcake Heaven

I'm not talking about the International House of Pancakes ! The Joie blogger is in San Francisco, home of our beloved Hotcakes Design Jewelry, and yesterday I visited the store and studio. It is very close to the infamous Lombard Street, the one with the incredible view of the Golden Gate Bridge at the top . . . which I had to see and which was quite a climb. I was rather sweaty when I arrived at Hotcakes - hot as a hotcake. (I hate to mention this, but it's been sunny and in the 70s here the last few days.) Anyway, it was great to visit, and I got to see some designs that Caramia, (the designer/maker) doesn't show at the trade shows - so we'll have a few special pieces coming in soon. Her upstairs studio was mesmerizing, all the medallions for the pieces looked like they had been dumped right out of a treasure chest. I felt like a little kid - just wanted to scoop it all up and start stuffing it in my pockets. Instead, I did the grown-up thing and satisfied myself with doing a nice order of rings and a few necklaces for Joie.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Very . . . "interesting" . . . .

A customer just called me and she was kind of laughing. "I just googled you because I didn't have your phone number," she told me. "And guess what came up right under your listing?" I had no idea . . . I google us every once in awhile just out of curiosity and didn't remember seeing anything funny come up. "Um. . what was it?" I asked. "The next listing under your name reads "Porn for Women - Joie de Vivre and says Porn for Women available at Joie de Vivre, Cambridge, MA." I quickly went to the computer and put Joie de Vivre Cambridge in the search bar - and up it came, exactly as she described it. Now, Porn for Women is actually a funny and satirical book we've been selling for a few years . . . but why it came up so prominently is a mystery to me. Why not . . . the yodeling pickle or the dancing ballerina, which is in fact our most searched on line item. Who knows the mysteries of the web? It's very unlikely the publisher would be behind the placement as the book has been out for several years and is now considered a back list title. Anyway, it is kind of amusing . . . see for yourself ! And thank goodness, no one seems to be taking it literally - we haven't gotten any weird inquiries or phone calls.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Craft Boston

I went to a "craft" show in Boston today... and I use quotations because it's far from macrame and that sort of thing. More like breathtakingly sophisticated beautiful work - a lot of which I would have loved to buy for myself - but couldn't afford. Especially the jewelry which tends to be expensive when made with real stones and gold and silver. I did buy a funky shirt... and a present for my sister... and met one craftsperson who, though the show is national, turned out to be local, and whose work will soon be shown at Joie de Vivre. Also, you can see the work of Tomas Savrda - we carry his work, but not his more expensive pieces and they alone are worth the trip! Ultimately, this post is to say - if you appreciate beautiful handmade work - go to Craft Boston this weekend - it's at the Boston's World Trade Center - (who knew we too had one?) - and well worth the $15 admission. Say hi to Tomas, and enjoy the show!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Second Day of Spring

and . . . it's . . . snowing!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Of Spring and Seconds

It's the first day of spring ! and it's a beautiful sunny cool New England Day - a perfect first day. Today also marks the end of our "Wow, What A Winter!" sale - a sale we ran to make up for the awful days in January and February when our world was full of snow and ice and putting a quarter in the parking meter required mountain climbing skills. So, today I was thinking about sales . . . and how much people love them, and thought back to my woodworking days when my boyfriend and I sold our rolling pins and other work at a craft fair in New York City every December. We always had rolling pins that we considered "seconds" - a weird hole in the wood, or a little mistake on our part - just generally ones that we wouldn't feel right selling at full price. We often threw them in our wood stove, but this one year, we decided to take them to New York and try to sell them as seconds. We displayed them with the regular pins, just marked them down in price. The first day of the fair, a woman held one out to me. "Do you have any more of these?" she asked. I assumed she meant - that particular wood but a first quality piece. I rummaged through our stock and brought one out. "No, that's not what I mean," she said. "I mean - seconds!" A light began to dawn. "Yes, we do," I said and gave her a handful. She bought them all. Word seemed to spread through the fair - and by the end of the first day all of our seconds were gone, purchased by bargain loving customers. The ones we used throw in the wood stove. We were actually quite surprised but learned our lesson - never - never - never - underestimate the power of a bargain !

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

What a Lovely Smile !

and how did Jen get that lovely - or should we say - downright dazzling smile? We'll just say it involves a small inexpensive item new here at Joie de Vivre. If you have a dental appointment coming up, you too might want one - I'm almost positive that my dentist does not read this blog, and I'm looking forward to asking him for help with an odd problem! Also . . fun for nights on the town. . I'm thinking "Strangers in the Night . . .. Something in your eyes was so inviting, something in your smile was so exciting"

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Platitudes into Practice

A customer was in this week and was very very excited to see that we had an apple paperweight by Goldenflow Designs - a glass apple filled with gold leaf floating in a water-glycerine combination. She was excited because her (former?) boyfriend had deliberately broken hers during an argument and she had been wanting to replace it for awhile. At the same time that she was standing at the desk buying the apple, a young boy was falling in love with our $4 ray gun keychain. He counted his money but came up short and asked if we would put it aside for him until he could come back the next day. As we began the process of filling out a "Hold" form for him, the apple customer grabbed it, said "Random Act of Kindness!" and bought it for him. He was thrilled, and everyone else felt pretty darn good as well. And I thought of how we often make fun of sayings like "Practice Random Acts of Kindness." They can get a bit tedious after you see them on mugs, bumper stickers, posters, etc - but they are definitely wonderful when brought to real life. Thanks, Golden Apple Lady !

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

When Customers Cry

The world of retail can occasionally be quite dramatic. We see some crying here at Joie de Vivre - but until this weekend, almost all of it was the under five set. Some of them tend to get quite emotional when they can't go home with the penguin race, or a wind-up toy, or a mouse puppet. Some of them burst into tears just because they don't want to leave the store - which is actually quite a compliment when you think of it - (we'll ignore the possibility that it's more of a power struggle with Mom than a genuine love and appreciation of Joie de Vivre.) Anyway, this weekend we experienced a more sobering kind of crying - an adult woman who decided she wanted an item another woman had just bought. Unfortunately, we had no more - though we told her we could order more. She stood in front of the desk for a good ten minutes struggling with her emotions and yes, crying a little. We didn't really know what to do. But the story does have a happy ending. She returned the next day with her husband and bought a few thing and seemed fine. She never mentioned the item that broke her heart the day before, much to our relief!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Should I Be Surprised?

I was contacted by the sales folks at YELP the other day - of course, they want us to advertise. After establishing the range of monthly rates ($350 to $2000 or so) (!) - she briefly described the different "levels" - what you get for what you pay for. I asked her to email the information for review and when I looked at the tiers, I noticed a rather striking difference between Tier 1 and Tier 2. Tier 1 is your basic "Targeted ads that show up when someone is searching for a business like yours in the area." That's pretty straightforward, normal advertising, nothing surprising about that. Tier 2: "Enhanced Business Profile with competitor's ad removal and photo slide show." That one stopped me dead in my tracks. Competitor's ad removal? Call me old-fashioned . . but that sounds kind of sleazy and unethical. If a store in my neighborhood was paying less to YELP, my ad would appear and theirs wouldn't? And of course the opposite - if we don't go for the more expensive advertising, whose ad would be removed? Cheap little us! Of course I know that people pay for better placement in newspapers and magazines - but they don't remove the ads of others altogether. And I know lots and lots of people use YELP to find things, but this makes me loathe to give them my money. The nature of advertising in general, the technological differences available by internet advertising, all very interesting to think about . . .