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, June 28, 2012

They Say It's Your Birthday

Today is the 28th birthday of Joie de Vivre, and it happens to be cosmically aligned with the day we opened - the 28th falls on the same day of the week, Thursday, which happens only 4 times every 28 years. We've decided to celebrate by having a little 5 to 8 champagne - seeing as we opened that first day at exactly 5 pm.  Funny to think back: we had no computer, no fax machine, the word "blog" was unknown,  and no one ever looked down at a small glowing screen while they were in the store.  Joie de Vivre looked kind of like an art gallery, an item here, an item there,  it was quite spare.  Life has changed a lot.  But, many things do remain the same - and we've been selling some of the same items for the whole 28 years - Pustefix bubbles, kaleidoscopes, the dancing magnetic ballerina.  And we're still sitting behind the same desk, happy to talk to you, help you choose a present, gift wrap it and send you on your way. These days some of our customers come to us via the internet and we ship all over the world.  But we still like doing business the old fashioned way right here in Cambridge.  Thanks to our customers wherever they are, whether they remember the opening day itself, or whether they came in for the first time last week!  Cheers!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Trend Alert !

A young woman was in the other day, browsing our card racks.  After laughing what I believe is called "immoderately" at one of them she came up to the desk, smart phone in hand.  "Is it okay if I take a picture of a card?" she asked. Surprised, I said okay.  "I want to send it to my sister," she added, "it's really perfect for her."
Part of me thought - how sweet - she knows her sister will like this card,  and my next thought was - ten years ago she would have bought the card.  Of course losing a sale for 2.95 is not that big of a deal, but somehow I felt it was a harbinger of the future.  Taking pictures of cards and emailing them is the new buying and sending them?
I fear this is not a trend that bodes well for the greeting card industry!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Happy Father's Day and Small Apology

Joie de Blog has always had a horror of not blogging.  One of our pet peeves is going to a website of any sort, clicking on the "read our blog!" button, and finding that the most recent entry dates back a couple of years.  We try to post at least twice a week.  But sometimes life intervenes, in the form of spectacular weather, a chance to go to Vermont, and the blog is temporarily forgotten.  And we feel bad about that.  However,  we are deciding that blogging once a week is the new blogging twice a week - at least some of the time.  So, apologies, and here we are again, on Father's Day 2012.  It always strikes us how different Father's Day is from Mother's Day.  The week before Mother's Day is much busier, and this is universally true - florists tell me that Mother's Day is bigger than their second most important day of the year, Valentine's Day, and Father's Day provides a tiny bump at best.  The one thing they have in common that we enjoy here at Joie de Vivre, is the young child shopping with the other parent, and trying to pick out a gift for their mom or dad.  It's really cute to see kids trying to convince one parent that what the other parent would really really like is - a small toy truck or car - or glowing fairy.  Eventually they get the hang of it of course, and it's also fun to see kids thoughtfully choosing a gift for their mom or dad.  We're about to open and ready to help - choose - wrap - whatever.  Happy Father's Day to all our customer dads !

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Jane Jacobs vs Marc Jacobs

In an interesting article on Mom and Pop shops in New York's Greenwich Village published in the NYTimes magazine today, I learned what kind of business Joie de Vivre is.  It's a "lifestyle" business.   One merchant interviewed after thirty years in business said, "we're not richer or poorer.  we're about the same."  Writer's comment - "and this didn't bother him." I understand that way of thinking.  Don't want to get bigger, bigger, bigger.  But that's not all the article talks about - it's worth a read - interesting piece that resonated with me - (with a crazy long link - there's probably a better way to do this!  Anyway,  here it is:

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Fun with Displays

What can I say . . . .  sometimes I just get an idea that makes me smile . . ..  (not that the notebook on its own didn't do that!)

Monday, June 4, 2012

The Agony and the Ecstacy

No, this is not a book review, though I did read and love the Irving Stone biography of Michelangelo when I was in junior high school. This post is about - lava lights, those compellingly blobby liquid lamps that had their heyday back in the 1960s.   We have been selling them for years and though they've become a bit more streamlined in appearance - sleeker now with a simple modern silver base, their main attraction is still those slowly moving blobs of wax, bulging and morphing their way through the lava liquid. (whatever that is).  Anyway, the last few years we've been having a lot of problems with them.  We keep a couple on display at the store and started to notice that they seemed - kind of inferior.  This led us to start testing them when they came in - and we found a very high percentage of substandard lava lights.  The company and their distributors are always very good about taking back the ones with problems . . . but it takes us a lot of time to test each light, and when 75% aren't working .. . . .  you start to wonder if its worth it.  So, the post title references our situation.  A good working lava lamp is a thing of beauty and something we would always want to sell here - ecstasy.  But a bad one, a fuzzy murky one, one that refuses to blob - agony.  We'll keep trying for awhile longer, but there may come a day when we have to stop selling these beloved but currently frustrating items.  : (