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.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Memory Lane

I just took a little unexpected trip down Memory Lane. I was cleaning out my basement and came across some boxes of old invoices from the store. I picked one from 1998 - almost fifteen years ago, and decided to look through it to see some of the things we were selling that year. First surprise - many things that we are still selling today - we're nothing if not loyal to our products. Bu of course, many things I had forgotten - the Pop-up New York Story, the Dinobitz bottle opener . . . . the giggling Mona Lisa pillow . . . the punching nun, and the nervous hamster. (that was a great toy - a cute little plush hamster, you pulled a string and he jittered/ran a circle on the desk.) The Japanese animated clown music boxes - we had lots of them (and just the other day a woman came in looking for one - our customers are loyal to our products as well) And rubber stamps - we were still selling lots of those. So many companies I had forgotten, so many items - made me wonder why I didn't keep a yearly list of our favorite things from the year. I guess, because you don't think you'll ever forget anything - until you do. And after 28 years, I'm afraid I've forgotten more than I remember of the many fun things that have passed through our door. But - there are a more boxes down there - and I plan to investigate - maybe I'll start a little blast from the past feature on the website or this blog !

Monday, September 24, 2012

Sometimes Ignorance Really is Bliss !

A slight young woman, probably in her early 20s, came into Joie yesterday with her boyfriend. She looked at our wonderful Coral and Tusk pillows, asked if we had any more and when I brought some out, said she would take at least a few of them - could I set them aside while she continued looking? This was noteable as these pillows are not inexpensive. She continued around, we had other customers, I was kind of curious about her and as she added to her pile, I wondered if she was some young singer I didn't know. At one point as I helped other customers, I saw a couple of women her age approach her diffidently, and begin "I'm sorry to bother you but -" compliments ensuing. Okay, she must be a bit well known. I heard the word "movie." Finally, she finished shopping, ending up with a small pile of things that amounted to as much as I would expect to make for the whole Sunday. She pulled out her credit card and I looked at the name. Of course. I had even seen her, albeit when she was younger, in a few movies myself. I was glad I hadn't realized, because I was able to be completely normal and myself throughout our whole interaction. It did remind me of a time when I (during a past life as a woodworker's girlfriend) had been exhibiting at a craft fair in Manhattan. Early in the day, when there were not yet many shoppers, a rumor rushed through the building "Dustin Hoffman is here!" Many people took off to find him, including my boyfriend who left me alone in the booth. Suddenly, Dustin Hoffman entered my booth! It was just me and him and I instantly my heart was pounding, my face reddened, my tongue tied, and I was certainly not my "normal self." And it was fascinating how the proximity of a celebrity I thought was great had such an immediate and dramatic effect on me. I felt like a total fool. He lingered just long enough for me to finally decide it might be time to say something like "if you have any questions about anything, just let me know". I was ready to say it, my mouth was opening, when he suddenly turned and walked out of the booth. Oh well. In any case, my encounter today was much more pleasant because - I was blissfully unaware.

Thursday, September 20, 2012


On reflection (so to speak, that's me relecting in the poster) we probably should have posted this yesterday so you could have come down and met our artist Leah Miller. The Art Institute of Boston is our new neighbor, and they organized a project where 17 of us Porter Square retailers had students or professors install a piece in our windows. Our artist chose to center her piece on kaleidoscopes and today they are having a little opening stroll. We hope you'll come down and see - there are a lot of interesting windows and of course, we're particularly fond of ours! They will be up through October 12th so you have plenty of time ! And bottom picture - taken with the very cool iphone kaleidoscope app by Scott Collard, available for free and lots of fun.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

One of the Many Laws of Retail

One to two days after donating an item to charity that had been sitting on the shelf not selling for months and months - someone will come in and ask for one. "You know, that cupcake soap, they were so cute, I bought lots of them." The customer was so eager to get one that I went in the back and looked, even though I was 99.9% sure that I had not accidentally left one out of that donation box. What can you do - it's just of those odd laws of retail. Another related law - just after you've looked at an item that you've had on display for a long time and thought "maybe I really should give this away" someone will buy it, and - the next day, another customer will walk in and ask for it! The laws of retail - strange, but true . . . . .

Monday, September 10, 2012

R.I.P. Unicorn Pencil Sharpeners

It was such an inspired idea - a unicorn pencil sharpener, with a little silver pencil in place of a horn. Another witty idea brought to us by the same company that brought us the Unicorn Corn Skewers and the Screwnicorn wine opener. An inspired and witty idea - until we tried to sharpen the pencil! No matter what we did we could not bring that silver pencil to a point. We tried some other pencils. Ditto. We tried another unicorn in case it was just one bad one. We tried a third. I wrote to the company to let them know that their product didn't work. It had to be the plastic insert - and we've sold pencil sharpeners for $2 that worked just fine. They never answered our letter. So, sadly, and reluctantly, we let the unicorns go free. We love to sell silly whimsical things - but we do have standards - if it's a pencil sharpener, it has to actually sharpen the pencil. If it's a bottle opener, it has to open the bottle. If it's a pen, it has to write, if it's a medival weapon pushpin, it must push paper into corkboard. We want our customers to feel confident about purchasing our sometimes rather silly items - and that is why our unicorn pencil sharpeners are no more.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

The Best Publicity is Free Publicity!

Last night one of our all time favorite companies, Blue Q, got an informal shout on on the floor of the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte. Michelle Obama took the stage and the cameras panned out over the wildly cheering crowds. One person was holding this bag, waving it slowly back and forth and the camera stopped and filmed them for a good ten or fifteen seconds. Of course there was no Blue Q sign - so we're doing our part by telling our customers - it was their bag! Available here at Joie de Vivre - and many fine stores nationwide. Go Michelle, Go Blue Q ! (& okay, we'll reveal our prejudice while we're at it: Go Obama!)