Ask Us | Product Manufacturing

askus2lIt’s important to know where and how your products are made. Where the product comes can determine quality and make of any product. We had a customer “Ask Us” why some of OneCoast’s products were manufactured in China. We reached out to someone who would know best! Divisional Vice President, Gift Division, Michael Helms weighed in on the subject!

Q: Why are your products made in China?

A: OneCoast is not a manufacturer of product but a sales and marketing agency selling product from select manufacturers. OneCoast is the sales force for the manufacturer.

Many of our manufacturers do manufacture items in China however many countries from around the world are used in the manufacturing of gift product. China probably has the best world facilities in manufacturing Gift product. The manufacturing of product is done overseas to provide a competitive price that the USA consumer is willing to pay. Manufacturing cost in the USA are traditionally higher than overseas and the USA consumer is very price conscious.

Though many items are manufactured overseas, most product is designed, shipped, and warehoused in the USA providing economic opportunities for local communities in the USA.

MhelmsMichael began his retail management and buying career with L.S.Ayres & Co in Indiana. Later he joined the Polo/Ralph Lauren Corporation and for ten years operated various retail locations throughout the U.S. In 1996, Michael joined Silvestri, a wholesale gift and seasonal company. During ten years with Silvestri Michael held positions in sales, as Southeast Regional Sales Manager, and Eastern Regional Sales Manager. In 2010, Michael joined OneCoast as the Regional Sales Manager, Southeast. In 2014, Michael held dual roles as Southeast Regional Manager and Divisional Vice President of the Gift Division. In 2015, Michael’s sole responsibility was as Vice President of the Gift Division.

Michael resides in Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Ask Us | Finding Images for Social Media

askus2lSocial media has been and is a place where businesses can create an online presence. You are able to create photo albums, run ads, invite customers to events and so much more! Sometimes to create an online presence, you need to curate and obtain the correct content. We had a customer “Ask Us” on where to find useable images from a particular vendor on to use on social media. Let’s see what Jessica Stevens-Car, Mud Pie’s Social Media Coordinator, had to say!

Q: How do I get images of Mud Pie [products] to post on my social media sites?

A: Social Media is the number one player in today’s fashion and gift industry. Social platforms continue to make headlines as being a key revenue generator for retail brands. I believe in diving head first into the social pool and taking on this so called “beast.”

Hi there! I’m Jessica, Social Media Coordinator for Mud Pie. I may be biased, but I believe that it is a huge disservice for brands to not have a voice on social media. It is a tool that goes beyond selling a product. It is a method to build your brand name, interact with your biggest fans, grow your reputation…I could go on, but I’ll hold my thoughts or I’d be talking for days. And the best part about it all? You can virtually do it all for FREE (besides advertising dollars, should you choose to).

I get it…social media can be intimidating. I want to take that fear away and replace it with LOTS of excitement for the future of your brand across social platforms.

To start, retailers have access to Mud Pie’s photos through our FTP site – Here is where you can find lifestyle images for download. You can fill out the form at this link to gain access to the FTP site.

Once you gain access, posting is easy. Simply save the Mud Pie image you wish to use on social and post to your handles. For any photo your repost, you must tag us @MudPieGift and use hashtag #MudPieGift.

I know, social media can be hard to grasp, but it is also a tool beneficial to your brand!

JessImageJessica is Mud Pie’s Marketing and Social Media Coordinator. Coming from a Public Relations and Advertising background, she has a unique knowledge in the field of communication. With experience in the food and music industry to the fashion and retail industry, she has a passion for connecting brands with their audience. In the meantime, you will find her PR mind still working as she coordinates happenings for friends and family.

Ask Us | Should I Decorate for the Holidays?

askus2lIt seems as if there is a holiday for every month. It starts with New Year’s Day on January 1 and ends with New Year’s Eve on December 31. Celebrating holidays is an exciting time for store owners and customers alike. But, should you be decorating for them? We asked our experts, our Regional Sales Managers, what they have seen work best!

Q: Should I decorate for the holidays? Or too much?

A: Vary below.

Susan Sacca, Regional Sales Manager, Mud Pie Sales Division

“You should absolutely decorate the store around gift giving seasons/holidays because this resonates with your customer. Today’s consumer is looking for a “shopping experience” and the decorations and store displays are key to creating a fun and positive shopping experience. The store window display bids the consumer to walk through the door and shop. Changing it our regularly tells the consumer the store has something they must come in to see. The floor displays contribute to this shopping experience, drawing the consumer to the feature product which is saying, ‘Buy me! Choose me!'”

David Nelson, Regional Sales Manager, Mud Pie Sales Division

David shared an excerpt from “A Shopkeeper’s Manual” by Mary Liz Curtin. Mary Liz is customer of OneCoast and an incredibly successful retailer in Michigan.

How often do I need to change my displays?”

As often as you can! Redo something in your store every week, even if it is only a small section or one category. The window should change at least monthly. Naturally, any time you sell the focal point in a display, it has to be re-merchandised. If you have a display that just didn’t work or is getting no attention, change it immediately.

Note: “A Shopkeepers Manual” is available for purchase at her store’s website.

Nora Chapman, Regional Sales Manager, Mud Pie Sales Division

“Yes, decorate if the room is available. If products are purchased that are able to be merchandised and coordinate with the rest of the store. The seasonal product should enhance the core lines and not distract. Door hangers that are complementary to the season are always a good way to decorate. A small table in the entrance way that creates a nod to the season; Easter, Halloween, Christmas. etc. The goal should be to add incremental dollars and not replace the store’s bread & butter.”


Regional Sales Managers:

All 3

Ask Us: UPC Systems

Bar codes, scanners and products, OH MY! Keeping inventory organized and accounted for is an essential part of running a business. Adding products and product information to an aaskus2llready (pretty) full system, things can get a bit tricky!

We were able to ask Vice President of Technology Services, Don McCoy and Vendor Data Manager, Priscilla Kyte for their professional expertise and know how!

Q: We are launching a ecommerce website and have a UPC system in place in our stores currently. The issue we have is that the UPC system is to full of food products to fit the gift items. Do you know of a system that works with a UPC system that is already in place to keep track of UPC products?

A: Here are some suggestions:

  1. You will need a point-of-sale (POS) system that supports a bar code scanner. He included this link from HP. There are several different options that are available to you. Here is the link!
  2. Upgrading your current system by getting in touch with the manufacturer directly to see what upgrades and/or additional products/services can be used is an option. They will be able to tell you specifically what products and programs can be used in conjunction what the system that you are currently working in.

As always, make sure that your any technology is backed up and/or saved before making any adjustments or changes within your system.

DonPriscillaDon McCoy, Vice President Technology Services

Priscilla Kyte, Vendor Data Manager

Rebranding 101 | Part 3 of 3

askus2lThis has been such a great series! It all started with the simple question, “How do I/we change the image/perception of our store?”

Through this process, we were able to touch base more than one aspect of giving your store a new look and feel. Knowing that this is a multifaceted task, we wanted to wrap up with Part 3, marketing and the fine details!


One of the most important things with marketing to a younger consumer is understanding how they connect to companies and how they prefer to be marketed to. We are talking to a tech savvy customer who is constantly on the go and needs information at their fingertips. They are the social media lovers, online shoppers and mobile communicators. So your marketing has to be where your customer is and that is online. Several things to consider and evaluate:

  • Website
    • What does your website say about who you are (company/store) and who you are targeting (demographic)? Does it reflect the personality of the store and the image that will attract the younger customer? If you haven’t made any changes to your website in a while, it is time to give it a face lift. That could be as simple as changing the colors.
  • Social Media
    • Evaluate the social media platforms you should be active on. It is no longer enough to only be on Facebook. Consider Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter. (We’ve linked to OneCoast’s social media outlets so you can see what we’re talking about!)
    • Are you posting frequently and creating excitement on your page that will tease the customer to come in?
      • Post pictures of new products that come in or even pictures of products that will be coming soon.
      • When shopping at markets, post pictures of product you are planning to bring in and ask your customers to vote.
      • Make sure you are creating reasons to have a good dialogue with your customers online and giving them a reason to come in.
    • Social Media should be a big focus for you if you want to stay connected to the younger customer. I would highly recommend connecting with Retail Social Media Expert Crystal Vilkaitis from Crystal Media.
  • Events
    • How often are you hosting events? Consider doing them once a month? Make them hip and exciting? Become THE place to be. There are so many great event ideas that would appeal to the younger consumer. We have many event ideas right on our resource center. Click here.
    • Make sure to market your events so that it encourages the customer to invite their friend and spread the word for you. Best way to do that is by offering a strong incentive for them and their friend. Use email and social media to market it.
  • Online Reviews
    • There is no better way to create a positive online presence and attract new customers than by online reviews. Have you ever tried looking for a new service online and gotten 10 different responses? Did you notice that you usually make a choice to call the one that has the best customer rating? This is what happens every day when your customers are looking for new products and companies online. Leverage the power of online reviews by asking all of your customers to rate you on google or yelp. I’ve looked up your store and noticed that you already have some wonderful reviews. Make sure to go on Google and Yelp and add your company information that will help tell your story.
  • Sponorships
    • Another way to get in front of your targeted customer is to become visible where they are. See if you can sponsor local high school and college events and get involved in their community.
  • Email
    • If you don’t already, you should work on building a healthy email data base and some type of loyalty program that helps you continue to build your data base. Email marketing is an important road of communication to a younger consumer and demographic. This is one of the primary ways they prefer to communicate with companies.
  • Mobile
    • Text message marketing is one of the most economic ways to reach your younger customers and bring them into your store. It is easy to set up and manage. Just like building your email marketing data base, you would have to focus on growing your mobile subscribers which you can utilize your email marketing to do. Text message marketing has a 95% read rate within the first 15 minutes of receipt and helps to drive impulse behavior and traffic to your store. Consider JATXT as a source. OneCoast uses them currently and find it very simple.

Here’s Part 1 and Part 2!


Majda Rensberger is the Vice President of Marketing for OneCoast. In her 9 years with OneCoast, Majda held a leadership position in the development of the industry’s first National Sales Model (OneCoast ND One), implemented operational structures and led the development of the company’s Integrated Marketing and Sales Model.

Majda heads up the Marketing and Showroom departments where she’s responsible for marketing and branding strategies of OneCoast and their vendor partners, helping them effectively market their brands and drive B2B sales via e marketing, social media, mobile and public relations platforms. Majda is a member of the OneCoast Senior Executive team involved in the company’s strategic planning and new business development.

Majda has been a GHTA (Gift and Home Trade Association) member since 2009. During the November 2014 annual industry conference Majda was elected to serve on the Board of Directors where she’ll be involved in moving the Gift and Home industry forward.