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.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Which item has been on display?

We realize this is a difficult question - but we think you'll be able to figure it out !  These are our "Brawny Brawlers - you smush them together and as they slowly unstick, they look eerily alive - like they're in a serious wrestling match "for reals".  We find them kind of mesmerizing and impossible to stop playing with, hence the need to occasionally break out a new display - eventually they will lose the stickiness that makes them so alluring.
Plus, they sort of change race.  Anyway, we found the difference rather striking and wanted to share!

Thursday, May 22, 2014

My New Favorite Card

I'm kind of in love with a birthday card.  It's an unassuming little card, no glitter, not flashy, but it has completely won my heart.  I ordered it from a new company at the Stationary Show - we got a dozen different styles of cards from them, and this one just gets me.  It's exterior has a small drawing of the world, and the wording "If you could have ANYTHING in the world for your birthday, what would it be?"  Of course, you think for a moment before you open it.   Then you open it up and inside it simply says "Please say a card, please say a card . . ."   I don't know why it strikes me so funny but everytime I walk by the birthday card rack and see it sitting there, I both have to smile, and I feel a wave of an almost weird protectiveness towards the earnest little card. I want those who open it to think yes - this is the best possible thing, this very card!  Is this a sign that I've been in this business too long?  Anthropomorphizing birthday cards?   I don't know - but I do know I didn't order enough of them.  I'll be wanting to send them to everyone I know - or everyone I know who doesn't regularly read this blog. And so far, just this morning we've sold a few too, so I'm not alone.  Please say a card, please say a card, please say a card!  And in other exciting news - though I doubt any of them will get their own blog entry, I found quite a few good new cards at the Show.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Another Sign of Changing Times

I looked at our increasingly lonely answering machine this morning - we get messages so infrequently, we sometimes forget to check.  It was blinking! A message! I started to listen - and it was a human not a robot! A personal call from one of the directors of the National Stationary Show in New York - a show I have faithfully attended for years. "Thank you so much for coming to the show, we are looking forward to seeing you" went the message. I sighed. What it said to me in a nutshell - we have so few buyers registered for this show that we are actually calling them all on the phone - just to kind of remind them they signed up. That about sums up what's going on with this show - it's been getting smaller and smaller every year. Almost none of the larger card companies I buy from have exhibited for years now. It used to be exciting and fun -  but then - the post office also used to be a relatively thriving business. Things have changed. And there are so many less independent stores, the former backbone of this industry. Stores that buy cards "by the foot" like Barnes and Noble or CVS don't need to come and choose cards - they just take what they're given. But the good news: there is a silver lining to this cloud - there are many more very cool tiny little companies exhibiting now - and I have yet to attend the show without finding something for Joie de Vivre that we love!

postscript: Another friend in the biz just told me she has received several of these calls and thinks that they were, in fact, made by robocall - real voice, just not a real person spending their time calling - and - frankly, I don't know if that's better or worse!

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Man versus Machine

(I really should have said "person vs machine" but it doesn't have quite the same resonance.) I was working alone  today - and at one point there was a mother and daughter in the store - just them and me. We had exchanged hellos and they'd looked around a bit - after maybe ten minutes they were both standing near the front desk,  working their cell phones.  To try to get attention back to the here and now, I said "like mother, like daughter!"  They did look up - and the daughter said to me, "I'm trying to find where the next place we're going is."  I asked the name of the place - thinking it was probably off in another town - and she said "Ward Map."  (which is two and a half blocks from us.)  And it just struck me how much things have changed - they didn't even think to ask me if I knew where it was. (of course I told them.) - but - I guess the new normal is - why talk to someone if you can consult your phone?  Of course maybe they were being considerate and thinking they wouldn't bother me but I don't really think so.  They were just more focused on those phones than they were on where they were and the person right in front of them - and, that makes me feel just a bit superfluous - and a little bit sad. I wasn't busy, and I was right in from to them. And,  I like to think I would be nicer to engage with than a cell phone.  Actually, I doubt it was any kind of a conscious choice on their part- and they were happy when I was able to tell them how close they were.  I feel like I did a good thing by getting them into a conversation.  But the implications are troubling to me.  I like talking to people, it's a big part of why I do what I do.  I don't want to be replaced by a phone!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Thinking About Thirty

Since our 30th anniversary is approaching, we've been thinking a lot about the last thirty years.  What's changed, what hasn't.  The people who have passed through the life of Joie de Vivre - all the customers, the staff, our suppliers, and those we see every day like the UPS man (with a very occasional UPS woman) and the Postman - (so far, 30 years of guys).  The Joie blogger is planning to write some about this both in the blog, and also a lengthier piece which maybe we'll present at the 30th fete.  But for right now, just a recent thought on the U.S. Mail.  Being a mailman used to be kind of a wonderful job.  People were always excited to see the you.  You might be delivering  a letter from a long lost friend, a check, a postcard from abroad, a love note, the long awaited Spring Sears catalogue; the mail was exciting.  Now mailmen must trudge around carrying mostly unwanted junk mail, newspaper coupons, and the occasional bill and birthday card (usually mailed by someone who grew up when people still wrote on paper.) Even those of us who still open our mail with the tiniest thought that there might be something personal know that it's a rather long shot.  (& we are the ones who still think a ringing phone during the day might be someone we know and not a solicitor or a machine!) I don't think too many people think of the mail delivery with excitement anymore and can't help but wonder how that affects the morale of our mail"persons."  That's one big change we've seen in the last thirty years for sure.