Meet Our New Vendors

Sloane Logo

Inspired by the streets of Sloane Square, Sloane Ranger designs signify MODERN prep through motifs and fabrics that are rooted in timeless classics.   The collection includes a vast assortment of high quality travel and fashion bags, everyday accessories, and more.  Join the society.  Never flashy, always confident. Read on to learn about this unique brand.


phoneQ: Tell us a little about your company, how long in business, etc.

A: We launched the Sloane Ranger brand at the end of 2011.  However, our parent company (Prime Source Accessories) has been in the gift and accessory industry for 32 years!  We love the timeless Sloane Ranger story and background (Princess Diana was the first Sloane Ranger!) and in 2011 thought it was the perfect time to bring this classically cool styling across the pond to the US.  The Sloane Ranger brand is inspired by the effortlessly chic style seen on the streets of London’s Sloane Square in Chelsea.  We are all about merging classic British prep with modern day styles and silhouettes.


wallQ: What are your product offerings?  What’s unique about your products vs. other manufacturers?

A: Currently our product assortment is comprised of high quality bags and accessories.  Our classic preppy motifs combined with new and current styling makes our collection a hit with specialty boutique retailers around the country.



Q: Where do you get your inspirations and trend direction from for new products?

A:  All of our direction is based off the classic Sloane Ranger styling from London.  Our designs are rooted in timeless classic motifs but designed in new and fresh colorways and silhouettes.  This season you will see a few new handbag silhouettes that are based off emerging silhouettes on the fashion scene.  For instance, the bucket bag style is coming back in a big way this season and we have launched our own version in our classic printed canvas material.  This bag is sure to be a hit amongst preppy fashionistas.

Q: What do you love most about attending the markets? 

A: We love that each market presents us with an opportunity to tell our story and show our brand to new people.  We also love connecting with our existing customers and showing them new additions to our collection.  We just really love the exposure the markets bring and all of the positive energy!

Q: Why do customers love your products?

A: Customers love our products because they love not only how they look, but also how they stand up over time.  Our focus has always been on quality paired with modern preppy design.  Further, when people learn the story and background of Sloane Ranger (this is a great reference for more background information about the Sloane Ranger carterm) they want to learn more and connect with our brand.  We have a weekly fashion blog, Modern Prep Gazette, where we share articles about the Sloane Ranger lifestyle as well as keep active on all of our social networks.  We are constantly sharing new content that relates to our brand and our customers have really loved it!

Q: What does the future hold for Sloane Ranger?  Maybe a small sneak peek into future product expansions, ideas, etc.

A:  First of all we are so excited to join the OneCoast team to kick off 2015!  As far as future product expansions – we don’t want to give away too much but we do want you to know that any new product will be carefully planned to fit within the Sloane Ranger lifestyle.  You can certainly count on it to be timeless and preppy!


To view the Sloane Ranger collection, Click Here to shop now.



OneCoast is honored to now be representing Studio M by Magnet Works.

At Studio M, great art fuels everything we do. Working together with talented artists from around the world, we create the unexpected. We dare to create remarkable, quality products that inspire creativity and personal expression. Recognized as one of the top outdoor décor companies, our products range from decorative flags, mats, and mailbox covers to Art Poles and mini garden items. As a small, family-owned business based in St. Louis, Missouri, we have been committed to the success of independent retailers for over 25 years. Read on to learn about this unique brand:


Q: Tell us a little about your company, how long in business, how you got started, etc.

flagA: It all started with a simple idea. Sue Todd wanted a way to decorate her mailbox for Christmas, but there was nothing on the market that fit the bill. She and her husband, Curt, kicked the idea around and finally came up with a solution that took the market by storm – MailWraps magnetic mailbox covers. Now, more than 25 years later, the family-owned business has grown to support more than 60 employees and has been recognized as an industry leader in outdoor décor.

Q: What are your product offerings?  What’s unique about your products vs. other manufacturers?

A: Studio M by Magnet Works thrives on innovation. From our very first product to our newest lines, innovative design, beautiful artwork, and high quality have always been our priorities. Our products range from decorative flags, mats, and mailbox covers to Art Poles, Art Pots, and Gypsy Garden minis. We’re not a fan of “me too” products, so you can count on Studio M to provide you with unique items you can’t find anywhere else.

potQ: Where do you get your inspirations and trend direction from for new products?

A: Inspiration comes from so many places. Our product development team tries to stay current on websites, blogs and social media to see what products, colors, themes and sentiments people are discussing and sharing. Quite often artists will approach us with new artwork for a category or a new product concept and will speak to certain trends in their presentation. Knowing how best to apply that information to each product category is what sets us apart.


Q: What do you love most about attending the markets? 

A: Markets are a great opportunity to connect with our community – retailers, artists, and friends in the industry. We love getting feedback from our customers and hearing how they react to our new products. It’s always so exciting to have the artists in our showrooms seeing their products for the first time. They’re some of the best in the industry, and we’re so lucky to work with them. And finally, we love catching up with our friends and peers in the industry that we’ve grown alongside all these years.

Q: Why do customers love your products?

welcomeA: Customers love our products because, like us, they appreciate beautiful artwork. Our products provide people with an easy way to bring artwork into their homes or gardens so that it can be enjoyed every single day. We strive to make products that awaken the creative spirit and encourage self-expression.

Q: What does the future hold for Studio M?  Maybe a small sneak peek into future product expansions, ideas, etc.

A: We will continue to introduce products that excite us. We are looking into each of our product categories to see how we can bring newness either with artwork, subject matter, sentiments, theme, etc. or with innovation to materials. We are mindful of how product categories are merchandised at the retail level so we are also looking into tools to help shop owners – like new fixtures and signage.


To view the Studio M By Magnet Works collection, Click Here to shop now.


LogosOneCoast is honored to now be representing Woodstock Chimes.

In 1979, Grammy® Award winning musician and instrument designer Garry Kvistad founded Woodstock Percussion with a single great idea – to make the world’s best sounding windchime. He’s been creating his world-famous, musically-tuned Woodstock Chimes® ever since. In 1986 he added children’s musical instruments to the line, creating the Woodstock Music Collection®. Today his company offers a unique variety of high-quality, affordable musical gifts from around the world that inspire, entertain and bring pleasure to people of all ages. Read on to learn about this unique brand:

Q: Tell us a little about your company, how long in business, etc.chime 1

A: Woodstock Chimes are perfectly tuned musical instruments played by the wind. That’s why Woodstock Chimes have been the choice of discerning customers for over 35 years.

Q: What are your product offerings?  What’s unique about your products vs. other manufacturers?

A: Woodstock Chimes are the original, musically-tuned, high quality windchime, created by GRAMMY® award-winning musician Garry Kvistad. This award-winning brand offers the most musical gifts – for all ages – of any chime company, with year-round sell through. Our products include chimes, bells, gongs, crystals and children’s musical instruments.

chime 2Q: Where do you get your inspirations and trend direction for new products?

A: The prototype for the first Woodstock Chime was inspired by an ancient Greek musical scale and was made from the tubes of a recycled aluminum lawn chair.  We continue to be inspired by beautiful scales and melodies from around the world.

Q: What do you love most about attending the markets? 

A: Markets are great places to get direct feedback from our customers about our newest products and suggestions for future products and information about styles and trends.


chime 3

Q: Why do customers love your products?

A: It’s all about the music. That’s why Woodstock Chimes are the chimes more people ask for by name.

Q: What does the future hold for Woodstock Chimes?  Maybe a small sneak peek into future product expansions, ideas, etc.

A: We’re always looking to expand our popular product lines. We hope the Adagio Chime – Spanish Garden is the start of a line of Adagio Chimes honoring the music of different cultures. You’re also sure to see more products made with genuine Austrian crystal in the future, including additions to our new Woodstock Jewels line.

Come see us in OneCoast showrooms in Atlanta, Dallas and Las Vegas. Let us show you how easy it is to get strong sales 12 months of the year with Woodstock Chimes.


To view the Woodstock Chimes collection, Click Here to shop now.

Vendor Highlights for Spring/Summer 2015

About Face Designs

Established in 1998 About Face Designs™ has come to be known as an industry leader in sentiment gifts. For many years the About Face Designs product line consisted of traditional gift items including mugs, plaques, figurines, banks, photo frames, etc.  Over the past several years we have seen a shift in the marketplace to more women’s boutiques, accessory stores as well as traditional gift stores carrying apparel and “lifestyle” gift items.

Recognizing this shift, About Face Designs added significantly to our product offering in 2014 introducing the “softer side” of our company.  New product categories in included, pillows, tote bags, cosmetic bags, zip I.D. pouches, women’s’ socks and T-Shirts, baby onesies and baby socks.  These new categories generated a huge amount of excitement and business for the company and underscored our direction to diversify our product offering.

In January 2015 we will continue this approach by adding significant line extensions to the aforementioned product categories as well as introducing many new formats including headbands, hair ties, wrist key rings, neoprene drink koozies and lunch bags, baby pant/shirt outfits, and much more!  This is certainly not to say we are “abandoning” the traditional gift categories, but expanding our product offering to appeal to virtually any specialty gift retailer in the market place today.


All For Color

This Spring ‘15 we’ve expanded the assortment into our customer’s closet!   This exciting expansion into apparel will make it easy to shake off those winter blahs. We promise to enhance every wardrobe with colorful statement prints at affordable price points.  From tunics to dresses, pants, and more we are offering comfortable styles with loads of versatility.   Wear any of our styles from day to night or for any occasion.

Our Spring ‘15 color pallet is driven by cool and confident blue tones featuring an array of classic navy, bright cobalt, and seaside turquoise.  We are also enhancing the season with fun loving bold flamingo pinks.   Pair the colors together or wear them alone, this season’s color pallet is fun, friendly, and fabulous.



Boulevard, premium fragranced candles and accessories, is excited to introduce our expanded line of home décor items. We have also partnered with Designer Vern Yip, to bring to market unique decorative lifestyle accessories. The collections include; lanterns, vases, mirrors, frames, candle holders and more. Each piece is designed so they can be layered into a range of styles, complementing traditional, transitional and contemporary décor trends. Boulevard is USA designed and the candles are manufactured in America.  Boulevard is distributed exclusively to the gift and specialty channel. With quality products and integrated expertise, we strive to be a leader in the candle and décor industry. Beautiful products you can truly feel good about using and giving.

C.R. Gibson

Our 2015 release celebrates Good Times, Great Friends and Grand Memories with 441 new and exciting products and 499 returning best sellers. Our 2015 gift release is fresh, new and always on trend with: pastels, self-expression, woodland, gilded, pet lovers, oversized geos, humor, indigo blue, casual coastal, chalkboard, mixed stripes, and vintage looks.

Jane Marie

Jane Marie is about creating personal connections through its unique, heartfelt charms and necklaces and its vintage chic collections of bracelets.  Let your personality shine through our collection of chic tassel charms, necklaces and more.  Tassels and coordinating bracelets in ice blue and rose hues are right on trend for Spring 2015.  Customizable necklaces and bracelets allow you to express yourself and create a look that is all your own.  Each piece is designed in the U.S. to make it a one of a kind gift for yourself or another, one that is sure to charm.

Mud Pie

Mud Pie Living.  No one delivers value and style like Mud Pie, and Spring 2015 is no exception.  Top trends, like textures and neutrals, dominate, but count on pops of color from this industry veteran, known for whimsy, wit and award-winning gifts.  This season, Mud Pie introduces a new Signature dinnerware and tabletop collection which is chock full of chic, registry-worthy gifts.  Georgia-based Mud Pie turns on the southern charm with sassy sayings and southern states on towels, totes, drink ware and frames.  With more décor and gifts than ever, there is something for every lifestyle –Lake House, Farm to Table, Vineyard, Coastal or Rustic Chic.

Mud Pie Kids – With over 3,400 items offered, outfitting the kids (and their rooms) is simple this season. A sprinkle of glitter, a pop of neon, rough and tumble textures, and a ton of inspiration produced what may be Mud Pie’s best Kids collection ever!   New this season are super soft swaddles and sleep sacks in fun patterns and colors.  Check out new introductions of collectibles, keepsakes and plush.   As always, Mud Pie has the look for every adventurer, from sport fisherman to Palm Beach princess.  Nursery decor is easy and right on trend with 16 new initial assortments, wall décor, banks, and feeding sets.  Searching for gifts that give back?  Mud Pie’s irresistible baby socks and soft headbands help babies start life on the right foot.  Mud Pie is proud to support the March of Dimes with a dime donation for each soft headband and pair of socks sold.  Complimentary fixtures and colorful collateral are available.

Mud Pie Fashion redefines the dress code for Spring and Summer 2015 with an adorable assortment of fresh fashion and accessories.   Building on the success of their popular resort wear, Mud Pie cover-ups are styled to go from beach to bar with chic details and trims.  Dresses and tunics in preppy prints are perfect for garden parties, graduation or date night.  And as shorts and easy-to-wear pants continue their ascent, Mud Pie delivers adorable styles at amazingly affordable prices.  Dresses, totes, tunics, accessories, Mud Pie has it all, and nearly every item retails for under $100.


Defy convention this spring summer, and let your creative imagination and style run wild as you give your look a new and fresh perspective with something a little Oilily-esque on the side. Strong colors, vibrant prints, and feminine designs combine to create an exotic melting pot of pieces that are set to raise the style barometer, turn many a head, and keep things interesting all season long.

Santa Barbara Design Studio

Hello 2015.  With a new year we are focused on new artists and fresh twists, as well as new additions to perennial favorites. The vintage/retro trend continues to grow and we’re delighted to introduce a new collection from Lolita called Say It With Sass — laugh-out-loud sentiments with attitude, designed with retro flair. Another all-new line is Gratitude Cocktail which is best summed up by the tagline “Spirituality with a smile.” With 90% of Americans believing in a higher power and/or specific religion, this new collection of glassware and gifts combining faith and humor in a completely revolutionary way. The craft brew trend is still shooting upwards and wine isn’t going anywhere, so we’re expanding our popular Barstool Philosopher brand with a new collection called Retro Pets featuring the most beloved breeds of pooches. And look for these other hot design trends throughout our collections and you’ll find that we’ve got something for everyone:  Real gold (!) on Curly Girl Design wine glasses;  “sugar skulls” in a new Halloween collection by Lolita;  new colors and designs in JKC Studio popular canvas totes;  and hilarious new sayings for That’s All mugs. Cheers to a brand new year!

Sloane Ranger

Inspired by the streets of Sloane Square, Sloane Ranger designs signify MODERN prep through motifs and fabrics that are rooted in timeless classics.   The collection includes a vast assortment of high quality travel and fashion bags, everyday accessories, and more. Join the society.  Never flashy, always confident.

Studio M By Magnet Works

Studio M by Magnet Works has tons of exciting new additions for spring 2015! From miniature garden items and garden flags to Art Poles and Art Pots, there is something new in every category.

January marks the launch of a brand new collection by St. Louis artist Lynn Morris. The line’s name, Frolic, couldn’t be more fitting for this playful collection. From hand-painted ceramic yard stakes to all-weather birdhouses, every piece is bursting with pattern and color!

Our wildly popular miniature garden line, Gypsy Garden, took the industry by storm when it debuted in Spring 2013. It continues to grow each season and has more than tripled in size. You’ll find over 40 exciting new minis for spring 2015, including a quaint cottage, spiral staircase, charming fox, and more.

Studio M has over 50 new design collections, a brand new Pet Personalities program, three new monogram designs, and more for spring and summer. Design collections include high-quality BreezeArt decorative flags, MailWraps magnetic mailbox covers, MatMates interchangeable mats, and unique Yard Designs magnetic yard art.

We’re also introducing more than 20 new Art Poles from five different artists! An Art Pole is an impactful way to add beautiful artwork to any landscape. With state-of-the-art design and exceptional quality, Art Poles can be enjoyed for many years.

We are thrilled to introduce a brand new category! Art Pots are a unique and artful way to bring color and pattern into your home or garden. We teamed up with thirteen talented artists to bring you Art Pots in over 60 designs!

DrinkBlots are some of the most absorbent paper coasters you’ll ever use! Each pack contains 18 Art Coasters designed by one artist and themes range from Pick Up Lines and Girlfriend Gab to Boho Birds and Craft Beer. Every coaster in every package features an entirely different design. With more than 100 sets of 18 unique coasters, there really is something for everyone. Don’t miss our new designs for spring 2015!

Woodstock Chimes

Woodstock Chimes® are the original, musically tuned, high quality wind chimes. Created by GRAMMY® award-winning musician Garry Kvistad, they are tuned to beautiful melodies and scales from around the world.  We are also the source for the award-winning Woodstock Music Collection®, fun and colorful instruments for children of all ages and the popular Woodstock Rainbow Makers™, stunning crystal sun catchers that do for light what our chimes do for sound. Woodstock Chimes’ products have been the choice of discerning customers for over 35 years.  Over 40 new product introductions in January build upon our best-selling trends over the past several seasons.  Beautiful new tunings, deep-toned chimes, plenty of color and many more Rainbow Maker sun catchers and jewelry with genuine Swarovski(R) elements are all available at the winter markets.  Our customer care staff and professional territory managers will help you develop the order that’s best for your selling environment.

5 Quick Holiday Tips for the Busy Retailer

Santa’s elves are busy at work and they know you are too! So we want to make this special edition short, sweet, and to the point. Here are 5 quick tips to make the most of your holly, jolly 4th quarter.

Tip #1 – Gifts for everyone on their shopping lists

Help your customers remember all those people they need to get a special gift for this holiday season. And have that list posted throughout the store. CLICK HERE to download 2 PDF options that you can print off that will help your customers remember who to shop for. Print off Option 1 on white cardstock paper and fold in half to create a tent card. Or take Option 2 to your local printer and have a few printed with an easel back so you can easily display the signage on your shelves and tabletops.

Tip #2 – Feed your staff

Cater a staff lunch on Black Friday or on Saturdays during December. Their renewed energy and the support from you will speak volumes. They will appreciate your gesture and acknowledgement of them. A happy staff will perform better for you and provide better customer service to your patrons. Do you have connections with local caterers? Consider promoting their business in your store if they will consider offering you a special discount


Tip #3 – Small Business Saturday is Saturday, November 29th

This special day is all about you and is great opportunity to spread to message about shopping local. Visit the Small Business Saturday resource page for information on promoting your business with flyers, signage, and much more.

Tip #4 – Host a one day only Flash Sale

Looking for a way to surprise and excite your customers this holiday season? Then consider hosting a one day only Flash Sale in your store. Whether you offer a one-time discount or a free gift with purchase, you will create a real sense of urgency with your customers that will help drive traffic to your store. Make sure to utilize your email marketing and social media outlets to promote your Flash Sale. Send out an email the day before and on the day of your event to your customers. Use a catchy Subject Line to draw their attention. Plus use your store’s Facebook page to post updates about your event along with pictures of customers taking advantage of your sale


Tip #5 – Wish you had an elf to help you out this holiday season?

Do you need an extra hand with stocking shelves, greeting customers or gift wrapping? Or maybe you need help with a holiday open house and other special event. Then consider your OneCoast Territory Manager(s)! They are here to help you out this holiday season to help lighten your load. < Contact your Territory Manager(s)today orCLICK HERE to find your rep.

Holiday Merchandising Magic from Around the Country

Here’s are two beautiful seasonal displays featuring Mud Pie and C.R. Gibson.  The white and gold make a strong statement and work very well together. It’s a rich combination up against the rustic brown accent pieces like the mantel and table.

Thompson’s Gifts in Canyon, TX (lower left) and Chelsea Lane in Chelsea, AL (lower right)


Sterling’s in Edmond, OK: Burlap is a huge trend in the gift industry and carries over to 4th quarter. The natural look of burlap partners very nicely with red and green colors in this display.



Pizzazz in Gulf Breeze, FL: Initial products are great gift giving items for the holidays.  In this picture, the retailer is using Mud Pie mugs and are displayed them on a step tier up against a red cloth background. That pop of color anchors the look together and allows the products to stand out more.


Casabella in Marietta GA (lower left) and Luxe Nest in Glenwood Spring, CO (lower right) Santa’s Reindeer are very popular this season. Check out these two great displays using Mud Pie and C.R. Gibson products for a clean, crisp look.  The striking hits of red keep the total look balanced and eye-catching.



Mary Barnett Gifts in Norfolk VA:  Here Oilily products are displayed within the store’s Christmas theme and demonstrates to the customer how Oilily can be the perfect gift-giving item.


CLICK HERE to view a LOT MORE great holiday and seasonal display ideas from retailers all over the country!

Brighten Your Sales with Winning Store Events

By Catherine LeBlanc, Contributing Editor

articleHosting store events are important for independent retailers. They take planning, dedication, and hard work. But you don’t have to tell that to Pam Hammond, owner of Paddington Station in Ashland, Oregon.  Her store is the winning retailer of the 2014 Gift & Decorative Accessories REA (Retail Excellence Awards) in the category of Store Events.  In-store events for Pam is vital to her business and her community.  In this article, we talk one-on-one with Pam and get the scoop on hosting successful events throughout the year.

Paddington Station out of Ashland, Oregon was the winning retailer of the 2014 Gift & Decorative Accessories REA (Retail Excellence Awards) in the category of Store Events on August 17, 2014 at the Lighthouse at Chelsea Pier in New York City. This award represents their dedication and hard work with their local communities through their annual open house, monthly store events, and activities with their neighboring stores. I spoke with Pam Hammond, co-owner of Paddington Station and their sister location, The Paddington Jewel Box.  Here she shares her insight and knowledge about hosting events at her stores and what makes her so successful at it.

article1.) First off, tell us about your store. What type of store? What’s your best selling category? Who are your main customers? How long have you been in business? What do you love most about running your own business?

Paddington Station first opened their doors 41 years ago. We are the 4th owners and we are the longest running owners with 21 years. We are located in a tourist town, just west of Interstate 5 and are the first “largest” town up from the California border.  Ashland is home to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival and the state’s largest Repertory theaters.  Our store is just across from this theater in downtown Ashland.  With around 8,500 square feet, Paddington Station first opened as a furniture store, but grew to include general gifts, seasonal items, women’s accessories, jewelry, stationary, and Children’s.  In our Mezzanine area, we house our kitchen store where we hold cooking demonstrations.  In our satellite store, The Paddington Jewel Box, we sell more trendy women’s apparel, jewelry and accessories.  article 3We are celebrating our 2nd year in business with our second location.  Our stores are doing well and are about 7% ahead over last year.  Retail is just in my blood. I went to school for fashion and merchandising, worked in department stores and became a buyer.  As a buyer, I found it hard to control how my products looked in the stores and had no voice in how it was merchandised.  Then the opportunity presented itself with Paddington Station.  I love my team and love the fact that is store is mine.  I absolutely love being an owner of a “Mom & Pop” store.

PADST-Meet n Greet PC 2014 press front r12.) Congratulations on winning a GDA REA AWARD for Store Events this past August (Retailer Excellence Awards).  What is the component that it took to win this award and what do you think got you the award? 

This is our 3rd time winning this award.  The 2nd time we won this award was 10 years ago.  We decided it was time to enter again and filled out the application.  We answered a few questions, submitted some photos of recent events and submitted the application.  Later, we heard that our store was one of 3 finalists in the Store Event category.  I believe we won because we host several events each year, around 9 monthly events per year.  These events are important for our community and for our customers.  They are excited to see what’s happening and what’s newat Paddington Station.  We are honored to receive this award, but it’s also really nice to recognize a west coast retailer too.

3.) So tell us about your top events for 2014 and what are the main factors in hosting a successful event?

We are hosting a few events this month (October).  We have a preferred customer list of around 8,000 that include those customers who live in Ashland.  Now’s the time to connect with our local customers since the high tourist season is coming to a close.  First event for October is an event that encourages our local customers to come back to the downtown area to enjoying some shopping.  We call it the “Meet & Greet with Treats”.  We are offering 25% off one item in the store along with food, mimosas, and coffee.  We also give everyone an update on what’s new in store and we give them all a little gift.  I give free gifts all the time at my events. I do prefer this better than offering any discounts. Our customers love it. Sometimes during our events, we will usually offer alcohol.  But we like offering drinks and having them on hand during normal business hours for our customers.  Especially in the Summer, we always have ice water on hand.

article 4Our 2nd event in October is at our satellite store, The Paddington Jewel Box.  There, we are having a “Girl’s Night Out” with free gifts, raffles, wine tasting with a local winery, refreshments, and live music.  Then for every dollar they spend, they receive points that are good to use towards any item in our Prize Room.  The Prize Room is made up of discounted items.  Our customers love it.  Some customers will spend more just so they can “shop” in the Prize Room.  Then later we have a Kids event called “Monster Bash” where kids can visit several stores to come in and make a themed craft.  We usually get about 50 families attend.  It’s great because it gets the parents into our stores and many remember to come back to shop.


article 64.)  For Holiday 2014, what events do you have lined up?  Are these new ones or one’s you done before?

We will host our annual open house which is the Saturday before Thanksgiving and it’s a big event for us.  We decorate the entire store with tons of ornaments, around $60,000 worth.  But the store just sparkles and shines.  When we open our doors, we offer $5.00 off any one item you purchase that day. And $5.00 is nothing.  Customers will spend so much more than that.  We have live musicians, local theater groups perform, area choirs, and string groups.  These are mainly non-profit groups so I usually spend around $100-$200 to cover their costs.  But it really packs in the store.  We love hearing the music and they play right on the mezzanine.  We also invite customers to bring in can of food and in doing so, they will receive a free ornament.  Our customers love it and look forward to it every year.  We don’t spend very much on the ornaments, but we do offer new ones each year.  We also ask the vendors donate items for giveaways.  We usually have one grand prize giveaway and other themed ones for kids, kitchen, and mom’s one. We give away one raffle ticket to each customer that walks in.  They put their raffle ticket in the drawing for the themed basket of their chose.  We do sell additional raffle tickets and the money raised on ticket sales goes towards the local food bank.  Customers don’t mind paying for raffle tickets because it increases their odds, but the money goes to a good cause.  We collect around $300 every year for the food bank.  Then we have about 10 door prizes that we usually raffle off throughout the day.  And of course, lots of food, vendor demonstrations, chocolate tastings, and kids crafting area.  This event is very much community oriented.

article 75.) What do you love most about events?  What do you hate most about events?

What I love most is that the events are community building.  Residents consider our store their community store.  They come in to meet and hang out with neighbors.  And they always feel welcomed when they walk through the doors.  What I hate about the events is the work.  It’s so much work hosting events.  But it does bring our staff together.  It’s very important to delegate and divide up the duties.  Plus you have to plan for something to go wrong.  Something always does.  And the days are long, but you have to put on a smile and occasionally have to work through sore and mean people.  But we get through it.

6.)  What have you learned most about hosting events in your store?  How important are they do your total business?

It’s important to delegate the responsibilities.  And have a good planning sheet along with a very good office manager.  After each event, we sit down and recap after the event. We make notes on what worked well, what didn’t work well, take lots of notes and keep a folder so that next event time, we can bring out the folder and review.  It’s good to document our events and take notes.  I have great history to play up our events.  I like to keep it fun, but keep it simple enough to handle on that day. Plus be flexible and just go on. Momentum is good.  And I like to bring in our vendors when I can.  article 8It does help when they can help at the events and they can see what my customers are buying. Our events are huge days for us.  It does take money to host our events, especially our annual open house.  It is an expensive day, but it does kicks off the holiday shopping season.  Customers do come back and do more shopping.  They remember us from the events and come back. They remember that they can buy local.

My advice is to start small and build from there.  Try and collaborate with other businesses to come up with event ideas.  Your local community and other neighboring businesses are important to your own business.  Events are good not only for the customers, but for your staff as well.  They get to know your customers.  And events are like hosting an open house in your own home.  Customers feel welcomed.  Make your events fun and they will want to come back to visit again.