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Art Supplies? Yes!

April 3, 2017

By Nancy Sanders

Selling art supplies might be a given for fine art museum shops, but all sorts of museum shops should consider adding this product category to their sales plan assortments. People of all ages can use some extra creativity in their lives, and activities that encourage drawing, painting and photography can fill an important need.

When I first started buying for the Gallery Shops’ children’s department in 2002, our store didn’t have a huge number of SKUs or art supply vendors. Our products could be found in mainstream stores, and we struggled to compete on retail pricing. In addition, I was pretty particular about what quality I expected. Children need good-quality supplies; otherwise, their frustration when markers lose ink too quickly or when pencil points break at the slightest pressure might be discouraging. And what about all of the young adults and adults who came into our galleries and left feeling inspired to create art—what did we offer them in the way of art supplies beyond student-grade media?

These were areas I addressed when I evaluated my options for business growth, and over the years, the category of art supplies has increased from 20 percent to 50 percent of our department’s overall sales. Here are some of my recommendations for how you can achieve similar growth.

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4 Ways to Define Personal Success

March 28, 2016

Are you successful? Hopefully, you’re running a successful operation and you come to work every day with a smile on your face. But defining true personal success is often difficult.

You could be running a massively successful operation, while your personal life is crumbling all around you. Or, just the opposite may be true. Your personal life may be nothing but endless joy, and at the same time, you can barely keep the front door of your store open.

Life, both professional and personal, seems to be an endless balancing act. You often feel like a juggler, trying to keep a dozen balls in the air. It might work for a while, but it doesn’t work all the time. Read more

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Social Media Explained

February 8, 2016

A while back, I came across an image that went viral that explained social media using donuts. Naturally, the use of donuts caught my attention since donuts are at the top of my nutritional tree… and social media seemed kind of important, too.

As it turns out, the social media explanation, ala donuts, has been knocking around the Internet since 2013. It’s a simple, yet effective way to visualize the social media food chain. It’s easy to see why it caught the imagination of anyone who is trying to figure out a way to take advantage of all that social media has to offer – especially for businesses. I guess that’s why I keep a copy of these nine definitions pinned to the bulletin board near my desk.

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10 Ideas You Should Steal

January 25, 2016

In 1970, the King of the counterculture, Abbie Hoffman, wrote, Steal This Book. It was a guide to survival in time of change. It’s now 2016 and times are a changing. It’s time to steal some ideas.

Every industry has unique ways of doing business. Many of these ideas translate well to the retail business. So here are a few ideas that you can steal to help your store survive in the ever-changing world of noprofit retail. Read more

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5 (or more) Reasons to Go Grey

December 14, 2015

Depending on what market you’re in, you may be finding that good employees are in short supply. As the economy heats up, the demand for retail-level employees is starting to create problems throughout all industries. To maintain your roster of employees, especially throughout the holiday season, you may have to get creative as you search for the newest member of your team.

Certainly, you can try all the usual avenues for finding new hires. Craigslist, the local want ads, the job board at your local college and referrals. But don’t forget that your best employee may be coming from a different direction. Read more

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Where’s My Email?

December 7, 2015

As an avid museum- goer, I have to be on dozens of museum mailing lists. So where’s my e-mail?

With Thanksgiving a fading memory, we are now squarely into the holiday shopping season. And, it’s no secret that online sales are challenging brick and mortar stores for retail supremacy. A survey conducted by the National Retail Federation shows that more than 151 million people shopped either in a store or online. Online shopping even has gained an edge over in-store shopping, with the survey showing 103 million people shopped online, while 102 million people shopped in stores. Obviously, a big number of people are shopping in both places. Read more