Museum Store THE QUARTERLY PUBLICATION OF THE MUSEUM STORE ASSOCIATION
GO EAST: WE ARE HEADING FOR HARTFORD FOR THE 2015 EXPO
COMMUNITY INPUT: GIFT SHOP MERCHANDISING BY COMMITTEE
BUY LOCAL: TELLING YOUR MUSEUM’S STORY WITH PRODUCTS FROM JUST DOWN THE STREET
38 3/2/15 9:07 AM
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S AVE O UR DATES.
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UPCOMING URBAN EXPOSITIONS: MAR
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CALIFORNIA GIFT SHOW
PORTLAND CHRISTMAS CASH AND CARRY 16-18 GIFT SHOW
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PHILADELPHIA GIFT SHOW
WINDY CITY GIFT SHOW
THE GREATER PHILADELPHIA EXPO CENTER OAKS, PA
DONALD E STEPHENS CONVENTION CENTER ROSEMONT, IL
SAN FRANCISCO INTERNATIONAL 25-28 GIFT FAIR JUL
MOSCONE CENTER SAN FRANCISCO, CA
15-18 AUG 29 -
ORLANDO GIFT SHOW AND ORLANDO CASH & CARRY SHOW ORANGE COUNTY CONVENTION CENTER ORLANDO, FL
FORT LAUDERDALE GIFT SHOW
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BOARDWALK BEACH RESORT PANAMA CITY BEACH, FL
OREGON CONVENTION CENTER PORTLAND, OR
OCT 30 LOS ANGELES CHRISTMAS CASH & CARRY - NOV 1 GIFT SHOW LOS ANGELES CONVENTION CENTER – KENTIA HALL LOS ANGELES, CA
SMOKY MOUNTAIN GIFT SHOW
GATLINBURG CONVENTION CENTER GATLINBURG, TN
OCEAN CITY RESORT GIFT EXPO
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SAN FRANCISCO CHRISTMAS
20-22 CASH & CARRY SHOW
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SEATTLE GIFT SHOW
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LAS VEGAS SOUVENIR & RESORT 16-19 GIFT SHOW SEP
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GALVESTON GIFT & RESORT MERCHANDISE GALVESTON ISLAND CONV CENTER GALVESTON, TX
SHOW DATES SUBJECT TO CHANGE. CHECK WEBSITE FOR MOST UP-TO-DATE LISTINGS.
3/2/15 10:59 AM
DOWN THE DRAIN GOES YOUR C
I \ C
If you haven’t recently renewed your membership in MSA, this is your last issue of Museum Store magazine. All those valuable ideas and insider tips will go down the drain. Gone. Washed away. You’ll also lose out on all the other beneﬁts of MSA membership including conferences, networking with industry friends and specialized education targeted speciﬁcally to you.
Keep your membership active and don’t miss a single issue of Museum Store magazine. Renew your membership today at: www.museumstoreassociation.org/membership/renew-membership
There’s too much value at stake to let it wash away!
Receptions 21 Learning Sessions Special events Renowned Keynote Speakers Non-stop Networking Learning Excursions
DO BUSINESS One-stop Shopping 200+ Vendors 11 Expo Hall Hours
Learn about the sessions, speakers, special events and more at
museumstoreassociation.org MUSEUM STORE
Spring 2015 | Volume 43 | Issue 1 MANAGING EDITOR
Dana R. Butler email@example.com EDITOR-AT-LARGE
Heading for Hartford The 60th annual MSA Retail Conference and Expo takes place in Connecticut’s capital, and there is lots to see and do.
32 Merchandise by Committee
Knowledge Standards Key n
How a gift shop advisory committee can change your life—for the better.
By Jacquelyn Abundis
38 Share Your Ideas
MUSEUM STORE ASSOCIATION 3773 E. Cherry Creek North Dr., Suite 755 Denver, CO 80209 Phone (303) 504-9223 Fax (303) 504-9585 firstname.lastname@example.org museumstoreassociation.org
SKIES AMERICA PUBLISHING COMPANY ART DIRECTOR
Michelle Fandrey GRAPHIC DESIGNER
Working with local artisans can be a sales and marketing boon.
By Marge D. Hansen
MUSEUM STORE MAGAZINE ADVERTISING
Mary Petillo (503) 726-4984 email@example.com
Educational, Books, Paper, & Related Products Educational items, including books and paper items, foster creativity, enhance learning, and commemorate the customer’s museum visit.
Diana Grossarth (503) 726-4986 firstname.lastname@example.org PRODUCTION MANAGER
ARTICLES & MORE
6 Letter from the Board President 8 Letter from the Executive Director 10 News & Notes 12 Community Updates 15 Customer Relations
John Mendez Museum Store magazine (ISSN 1040-6999) is published quarterly by the Museum Store Association. Museum Store Association and MSA are registered in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Postmaster: Send address changes to Museum Store Association, 3773 E. Cherry Creek North Dr., Suite 755, Denver, CO 80209-3804
Making your museum store a destination shopping venue. By Andrew Andoniadis
42 Member Story
Attending the Museum Shops Association of Australia conference helped spark multiple ideas for one MSA member. By Jocelyn Willis
46 Ad Index 4
On the cover: The mezzanine gallery of the Colt building at the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art features a wall drawing by Hartford native Sol LeWitt. It was the first wall drawing to enter the museum’s collection and is only recently back on display. The Wadsworth is the location of the April 18 MSA members-only networking event taking place during the 2015 MSA Conference & Expo. Photo: Connecticut Office of Tourism
© 2015 Museum Store Association Inc. All rights reserved. Except for the inclusion of brief quotations in a review, no part of this magazine may be reproduced or used in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from Museum Store Association. Opinions expressed by contributors are not necessarily those of the Museum Store Association. Printed in the USA.
3/3/15 12:37 PM
2/27/15 9:09 AM
FROM THE BOARD PRESIDENT
the value of collaboration
his issue of Museum Store magazine is devoted to collaboration and community engagement and, more specifically, how you and your museum store can benefit from this type of connection. For museum stores and our vendors, MSA has laid a rich groundwork and established a vast network that facilitates collaboration. Personally, I learned the value of collaboration a long time ago. I was operating my own retail business and getting ready to celebrate a landmark anniversary. During the course of the year leading up to it, I worked with the local historical society to create a custom copy of a local historical building. They were very proud of the reproduction and helped me market the piece to their membership, by which I gained access to hundreds of potential new customers. At the end of the year, I donated a portion of the proceeds back to the organization. The local newspaper published a photo of me presenting a check to the president of the historical society, and the entire community learned about this collaboration! When it came time for my anniversary celebration, the historical society got special invitations. Many of them came, a number of whom were first-time customers. I gained new customers, and they gained a nice donation and free publicity. This is but one small example of how collaborating can benefit everyone in the long run. Over the years since, I have collaborated externally with local artists, cultural attractions, and art studios—even a local chocolatier—and internally with my museum’s development and education departments and curators. One of my most cherished collaborations was with a sister art institution, which involved our curatorial department and another art museum’s product development team. There are many advantages to a relationship like this. You establish a competitive advantage because your product is exclusive to you. Minimum orders can be bumped up because both parties will be selling the merchandise, which can yield a lower cost and higher gross margin. It also exposes your museum’s collection to a wider audience, meeting your educational mission. You have an opportunity to work with and learn from your peers, and you get to really dig in and analyze your museum’s collection, often in a storage environment, perhaps getting to hold some precious object (of course, I wore gloves!) made in the 1800s by a craftsman in another country. On a related note, we are headed to Hartford in April for the 60th MSA Retail Conference & Expo (check out pages 18–20 for more). MSA was created more than half a century ago as a community for sharing and collaborating around the uniqueness of the nonprofit retail industry, and there is no better place to plant the seeds of collaboration and explore these topics more deeply. In the mean time, reach out on ShopTalk and see who might have an interest in a project you are considering. At the conference, network with our vendor community to see if they have an interest or can suggest another institution that is looking for a partner. We are a community always looking out for the welfare of our fellow members—work that network! I look forward to seeing you in Hartford!
Barbara Lenhardt MSA Board President 6
MSA Board of Directors PRESIDENT Barbara Lenhardt The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts Washington, D.C.
FIRST VICE PRESIDENT David A. Duddy deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum Lincoln, Massachusetts
SECOND VICE PRESIDENT Stuart Hata de Young and Legion of Honor/Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco San Francisco, California
SECRETARY Michael Higdon National Building Museum Washington, D.C.
TREASURER Gloria Stern Minnesota Historical Society Split Rock Lighthouse Two Harbors, Minnesota
D I R E C T O R AT L A R G E Mary Christensen Museum of Flight Seattle, Washington
D I R E C T O R AT L A R G E Kathryn Rush Harn Museum of Art Gainesville, Florida
VENDOR MEMBER ADVISOR Phil Zuckerman Applewood Books Carlisle, Massachusetts
Ed and Pres Letters_v4.indd 6
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2/27/15 9:10 AM
FROM THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
collaboration: not an “if,” but a “how”
t’s a complex and interconnected world in which we live and work. There is just no way an organization or company can stay in a corner, do its thing, and expect that operations will continue to run as usual. The Museum Store Association is part of a rather large community of organizations interested in museums, in nonprofit retailing, and in distinctive products. There are companies and people who want to build relationships with MSA members. There are organizations that want the cachet of being affiliated with the Museum Store Association. There are organizations that want to help MSA meet its mission. There are organizations with which we would like to affiliate in order to better deliver on MSA’s mission. The board has recognized that collaborative efforts are critical to the ongoing success of MSA. The board has stated as one of its five principles, “Collaboration requires strategic thinking and clarity.” The board members made the assumption that MSA is a collaborator. The principle describes how we go about those collaborative efforts, not if. We are in an era when collaboration between organizations is considered a standard business practice as a means of reducing redundancy and increasing effectiveness. But how collaborative efforts are implemented is not always obvious. Competitors can actually be helpful collaborators. Organizations with which MSA has been working may take on the shine of competing with MSA in certain areas. Organizations that might be obvious collaborators may have missions that take them down a different road from MSA. What does one do in this dynamic, changing, and challenging environment? I listen. I have conversations with anyone who shows an interest in what MSA does and stands for. I look for collaborative opportunities to discuss with the board. Many (most) opportunities don’t pan out. As I say often, the juice is just not worth the squeeze. Other times, there are too many risks in closely affiliating with another organization. And then there have been some great relationships built over the years as well. My colleagues—other association EDs and CEOs—know that I have a soapbox I stand on about our responsibility as association leaders to look for collaborative opportunities. I encourage all of you as business leaders to do so as well. In this issue, you may pick up some how-tos, and you’re going to read about a success story from a colleague that has embarked on a remarkable community partnership.
MSA Staff EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR/CEO Jama Rice, MBA, CAE
MEETINGS & CONFER ENC E M A NA GER Jennifer Anderson
S Y S T E M S A D M I N I S T R AT O R Adriana Herald
MANAGER OF LEARNING Lacey Mills, MA
Jama Rice Executive Director/CEO
Ed and Pres Letters_v4.indd 8
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NEWS & NOTES
news & notes: collaboration and community engagement A “Can Do” Attitude Feeds Local Families in Need The Appleton Museum of Art hosted Canstruction Ocala 2014, a fun event that engaged four local teams to build fantastic giant-size sculptures made entirely out of canned foods. Canstruction is a charity that brings together the design, engineering, and construction industries with community groups—and it provides canned food to hunger relief organizations in the community.
Lara Sundberg, the museum’s visitor services & gift shop manager says, “It was a collaboration between our education department, visitor services, and facilities. We are a small staff and work with each other all the time, but of course, it was fun to do something outside the norm, and it provided a great team spirit.” The sculptures were unveiled at an awards presentation and remained on view within the museum’s galleries for two weeks, after which the sculptures were dismantled and distributed to three regional food banks. Sundberg says the event had a positive impact on the store: “We had great sales during the awards ceremony, and for the two weeks as a whole, we saw a 44% increase in sales over the previous two weeks the year before.”
The team from the Appleton Museum of Art competed against Cornerstone School, College of Central Florida Student Activities Board and Ambassadors, and Girl Scout Troop 281. The groups worked with local architects and engineers to draw up plans, and each team was given just eight hours to assemble their creations.
And, most importantly, it was fun “from the original meetings deciding what design to undertake, to creating, to mingling with the other teams at the award ceremony,” she says. “Seeing them built from literally the ground up and the pride that especially the young people had in their design and execution was a joy.”
The Appleton Museum of Art’s entry in Canstruction 2014
The Power of Plumage Last year, the National Museum of Wildlife Art in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, exhibited 101 newly acquired engravings by late 18th century French naturalist François Nicolas Martinet. In addition, the museum partnered with the University of Wyoming’s Biodiversity Institute and the Museum of Vertebrates for the Parade of Plumage Challenge, in which bird-lovers attempted to identify the species of the birds in the artworks, many of which are extinct. Debbie Ross-Vassar, Manager of Retail Operations, says they did not carry Martinet products in the shop so contestants could do their own research. However, she says the exhibit still drove guest traffic to the store: “With a huge avian focus, guests were very interested in our general avian products, for which we increased books, figurines, posters, bird-sounding notecards, and more.” The exhibition remains on view through April. Ross-Vassar is now in the midst of a slower time of year for museum visitation and shop sales—plus the April 30 close of her fiscal year and the accompanying need to reduce inventory valuation. “That said,” she adds, “the exhibition combined with an Audubon exhibition definitely brought in shop guests who sought out our avian/Audubon products,” making the partnership successful for the shop as well as the museums involved. 10
From the François Nicolas Martinet exhibition, L’Urubu ou Roi des Vautours de Cayenne, 18th century. A gift of Loren G. Lipson, M.D., National Museum of Wildlife Art.
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updates from the MSA community Betty Skillman of the New Market Battlefield Historical Park in Lexington, Virginia, is now visitor services supervisor.
Jasmine Aslanyan of The Autry in Los Angeles, California, is now associate director/retail operations.
Lori A. Hines of the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia is now retail manager.
Janice Bartczak is now with the Los Angeles Philharmonic Association in California.
Cynthia Killingbeck is now with the Butterfly Pavilion and Insect Center in Westminster, Colorado.
Meta C. Bloomberg of the Minnesota Historical Society in Saint Paul is now retail operations & shared services manager.
Michael Kline is now retail sales manager at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville, Tennessee.
Lisa Sparks of Monona Terrace in Madison, Wisconsin, is now gift shop manager.
Ellan Burke has retired from the Mayborn Museum in Waco, Texas.
Susan McKellar of The Charleston Museum in South Carolina is now chief of museum operations.
Christine Teel is now with the American Swedish Institute in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Sharon Michaud is now with the USS Massachusetts Memorial Committeeâ€“Battleship Cove in Fall River, Massachusetts.
Diana Weintraub of the Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, Arizona, is now retail supervisor.
Anna Present has joined the de Young/Legion of Honor Museum Stores in San Francisco, California, as assistant store manager.
Please send community updates and any other items for consideration to dbutler@ museumstoreassociation.com.
Mike Callaway of The Old Globe in San Diego, California, is now patron service director. Sylvia Cruz is now with the 9/11 Memorial & Museum in New York, New York. Jessica DeRuosi of the Virginia Historical Society in Richmond is now senior retail officer. Greg Ferrara is the new director of retail operations at the Baltimore Museum of Art in Maryland. He takes over from Deana Karras. Karen Grogg of the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Automobile Museum in Indiana is now visitor & volunteer services manager.
Doug Smith is now retail manager at the Crocker Art Museum in Sacramento, California.
Stephanie Sager of the Harpers Ferry Historical Association in West Virginia is now executive director. Christa Simpson is now manager of retail operations at the San Antonio Childrenâ€™s Museum in Texas.
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making your museum store a destination shopping venue BY ANDREW ANDONIADIS
The store is a superior vehicle for community outreach through product selection and volunteerism.”
e frequently discuss three very broad purposes for museum stores. One is revenue generation to support the mission and programs—and any other financial needs—of the host institution. All the effort that goes into product selection, management of costs, merchandising, staff training, etc., directly contributes to this purpose. A second purpose is continuing education as the store can be a good source of incremental information for the visitor to take home after a visit. Third, the store is a superior vehicle for community outreach through product selection and volunteerism. It is this third purpose that can lead to the store becoming a destination venue. Most commercial retail definitions of destination stores use phrases such as “large store combining several categories,” “mass merchandiser,” “killer store,” and “low prices.” In the our world, however, the approach to becoming a destination store is quite different. Without the space—and often the financial resources—and with having to contend with UBIT (unrelated business income tax) limitations, it is difficult for a museum store to become a destination in the commercial sense. But these limitations can be turned into benefits with an equally powerful attraction. In my experience, there are three overriding aspects to creating a successful destination museum store. First, the product selection has to be compelling, and it must then be merchandised in such an appealing manner that it encourages people to make a special trip. There are multiple ways to define a “compelling” variety of product. Often this means a range of goods that falls somewhere on the spectrum between different and unique. A selection of products that adheres to the mission of the museum is often a natural path to “different.” This focus can lead to a relatively narrow breadth of products (concentrated on the mission) but can have considerable depth. In many cases, a person who is interested in the focus of the museum or institution is happy to have the products focused exclusively on this area of interest and delighted to have an impressive depth of selection within the focus. Products that move the selection toward the “unique” often come in the form of original art and handcrafted and custom items. Handmade greeting cards, bowls made from downed trees, jewelry created using local materials and proprietary products reflecting images from the museum are typical examples. Locally made food is another variation on this theme. Selling products that reflect the talents of local artisans enhances the uniqueness of these products and builds a connection between the community and the museum store as a local destination shopping venue. MUSEUM STORE
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The second important aspect of a successful destination store is the ease of the shopping experience. Convenient and low- or no-cost parking and direct access to the store either directly from the outside or through the museum without having to deal with the hassle or price of admissions, is another prerequisite. Finally, a customer’s interaction with a knowledgeable and helpful store staff typically seals the deal for an immediate purchase and goes a long way toward ensuring a return visit and building your reputation as a destination venue. Using volunteers in the store as full sales clerks or simply as ambassadors on the floor who are tasked with the core responsibilities of engaging and assisting customers is a great way to get the public to regard the museum store as a destination shopping venue. Typically, the volunteer becomes a stealth marketing representative, spreading the word among his or her friends and acquaintances about new and exciting products and generally radiating pride and support. These volunteers, of course, have proven over and over again that they can be significant buyers too.
Community engagement through the use of volunteers in the store can be enhanced by using name tags—as can the connection with all store staff. My favorite name tag style lists the volunteer’s first name above a line such as “Associated with the XYZ Museum since 2002.” The date helps to trigger “people buy people” conversations between museum members and customers and the store’s staffers by highlighting how long the salesperson has been with the museum. This can lead to discussions of both the store employee’s and the customer’s experiences in that time and may even encourage the acquisition of an new and valued volunteer. Another more outreach-focused activity to get the public to regard the museum store as a destination shopping venue is to frequently remind people that you are there. One way to do this is to build an opt-in, store-specific customer contact list that adheres to the adage “The best future customer is a current customer.” The list could encompass repeat customers, including museum personnel, members, volunteers, and local destination shop customers, but should be tightly controlled to make it both manageable and
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Another more outreach-focused activity to get the public to regard the museum store as a destination shopping venue is to frequently remind people that you are there.”
effective. Names on the list should be contacted regularly—but not to the point of annoyance—primarily via email and occasionally with postcards, increasing the frequency of contact before traditional gift-giving periods and in accordance with significant museum events. When soliciting a customer’s participation in the marketing program, highlight all the benefits, including special shop event invitations, early sale announcements, notice of new products, and, if possible, the arrival of products favored by the customer. Andrew Andoniadis is the principal at Andoniadis Retail Services, a consulting firm that has specialized in revenue-generating strategies for museum stores for 21 years. He can be reached at (503) 629-9279, Andrew@ MuseumStoreConsult.com, or www. MuseumStoreConsult.com.
15MSA_SR_Andrew Article_v4.indd 17
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HEADING FOR HARTFORD The 60th annual MSA Retail Conference and Expo is bringing its “Balancing Act” to the East Coast.
e are all thrilled to be celebrating our 60th MSA Retail Conference and Expo in Hartford. “This celebration will be all about you—all of our members. You are the foundation of the MSA,” says board president Barbara Lenhardt, “The theme of this year’s conference is a “Balancing Act,” designed to help us succeed at performing a variety of functions and handling multiple responsibilities (some of you might even add while playing a drum or tooting a horn).”
Here are just a few of the cultural attractions you should try to see in the Greater Hartford area (and visit their museum stores):
Stacey Stachow manages the museum shop at the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art in Hartford, and serves as chair of the 2015 MSA Conference City Committee. She says there are lots of things to do in Hartford, and not all of them involve eating and drinking! “I think people will be surprised by what Hartford has to offer,” she says. “The city is really making changes in the downtown area. The convention center is relatively new and easy to navigate, and there are a ton of amazing restaurants within walking distance.” If you come early or stay an extra day, Stachow also recommends the Hartford dash shuttle, a free weekday bus that loops through the Connecticut Convention Center, the Riverfront, the CT Science Center, the Arts and Entertainment District, various restaurants, and downtown hotels.
Connecticut State Capitol
Connecticut Historical Society Museum & Library Founded in 1825, the Connecticut Historical Society houses an extensive and comprehensive Connecticutrelated collection. You’ll see manuscripts, printed material, artifacts, and images that document social, cultural, and family histories. http://chs.org/
This High Victorian Gothic style statehouse opened in 1878 in Bushnell Park and was designated a Registered National Historic Landmark in 1971. You’ll see historical memorabilia, including statues of Nathan Hale, “The Genius of Connecticut,” and Governor William Buckingham. www.cga.ct.gov/capitoltours
ABOVE: Hartford and the Connecticut State Capitol Building in Bushnell Park (Photo: John Groo/Connecticut Office of Tourism) RIGHT:The Breakers (1895), one of the famed Newport Mansions (Photo: Gavin Ashworth/courtesy of The Preservation Society of Newport County)
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RETAIL CONFERENCE & EXPO
Connecticut’s Old State House Built in 1796, this is one of the oldest statehouses in the nation. You’ll see artifacts and exhibits that tell the story of Hartford and Joseph Steward’s Museum of Natural and Other Curiosities, filled with wax statues and exotic taxidermy. www.cga.ct.gov/osh
Harriet Beecher Stowe Center Stowe, the author of Uncle Tom’s Cabin, may inspire you to change the world. You’ll see her Victorian Gothic-Revival home from 1871 and learn details of her life and work. www. harrietbeecherstowecenter.org
The Hill-Stead Museum The Hill-Stead is a Colonial Revival house and art museum in Farmington, Connecticut. You’ll see French Impressionist masterpieces and walking trails that tour the grounds. www.hillstead.org
The Mark Twain House
New Britain Museum of American Art Founded in 1903, this is the first museum of strictly American art in the country. You’ll see colonial portraiture, the Hudson River School, American Impressionism, the Ash Can School, and the important mural series The Arts of Life in America by Thomas Hart Benton. www.nbmaa.org
Mark Twain House This Gothic-style home of America’s greatest author, Samuel Clemens (a.k.a. Mark Twain) and his family from 1874 to 1891 is where Twain lived when he wrote Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, The Prince and The Pauper, and A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court. You’ll see the billiards room where he wrote and interior features by Louis Comfort Tiffany. www.marktwainhouse.org
THE PRESIDENT’S PICKS: CONFERENCE HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE BOARD PRESIDENT By Barbara Lenhardt From our opening keynote speaker, Roderick Buchanan, director of buying and retail at the British Museum Company, who will talk about his journey and how he grew profits fourfold since 2008, to Frank Robinson, recently retired CEO of Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden in Richmond, Virginia, who will discuss how museum store managers can effectively engage with museum directors, this conference is the only event specifically focused on nonprofit retail operations in the United States. And there will be ample opportunities to network with your peers and with vendors. For the first time ever, the conference will take an expo break and shut down at lunchtime, so vendors can join retail managers for lunch! There will be two learning excursions: one is to the elegant Newport Mansions in Rhode Island, and the other to the award-winning Mark Twain House & Museum and Harriet Beecher Stowe Center.
The conference will continue with a fabulous silent auction in which you can compete against your friends…I mean, bid on a wealth of items donated by our institution and vendor member community. A wonderful networking reception will take place at Wadsworth Atheneum, America’s first public art museum. And this historically significant conference wraps up with award-winning National Geographic photographer Dick Durrance, named Magazine Photographer of the Year by the White House News Photographers Association. Durrance will show us how we can use pictures and our own analytical brain cells to unleash our creative vision, inspiring us to see challenges in a new perspective and to change complex problems into amazing opportunities.
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Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art The oldest continually operating public art museum in the United States was founded in 1842 by arts patron Daniel Wadsworth. This was the first museum in America to purchase works by Caravaggio, Frederic Church, Joseph Cornell, Salvador Dalí, and Joan Miró, and was the first in the country to exhibit major surveys of works by Italian Baroque masters, Surrealists, and Picasso. You’ll see Hudson River School landscapes, European Old Master paintings, American furniture and decorative arts from the Pilgrims through the 20th century, Modernist masterpieces, French and American Impressionist paintings, Meissen and Sevres porcelains, costumes and textiles, and contemporary art. http://thewadsworth.org
FUN FACTS • Hartford was the first city in the United States to erect a building dsigned for use as a YWCA in 1867. • The Bulkeley Bridge (1905) is the largest stone arch bridge in the world. • Hartford Public High School is the oldest secondary school still in operation in the United States. • The Hartford Courant is the oldest continually published newspaper in America. • The first author to submit a typewritten manuscript to a publisher was Mark Twain. • The first photographs used for advertising purposes were group pictures of Civil War generals produced by the Travelers of Hartford in 1883. • Trinity College was the first college in America to have open admissions without regard to religious beliefs • In 1854, Bushnell Park was the first park in the world to be voted for and purchased by a city. • The “Whiffle” ball was invented in 1953 by David N. Mullany at his home in Fairfield, Connecticut. • Orange, Connecticut, is the home of the Pez factory. 20
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MSA gratefully acknowledges the following sponsors for their support of the 60th MSA Retail Conference & Expo:
An Environment THE UNEMPLOYED PHILOSOPHERS GUILD Booth #317
Closing Lunch POPCORN CUSTOM PRODUCTS Booth #633
Conference Pens DAVID HOWELL & CO. Booth #206
Commemorative Mugs DENEEN POTTERY Booth #304
Volunteer Pins HOGEYE INC. Booth #443
Solmate Socks are a top selling item at many gift shops, boutiques, galleries and museum stores nation-wide.
New for Spring 2015 Water Lily
“Life’s too short for matching socks.”
socklady.com/msa firstname.lastname@example.org p: 802-765-4177 f: 802-765-4233 MUSEUM STORE
3/2/15 11:06 AM
2015 Buyer’s Choice Award Finalists
Attendees of the 2015 MSA Retail Conference & Expo will be casting their votes for the Buyer’s Choice Awards in six product categories. Preview those vying for top honors before your arrival in Hartford. The categories and nominees are below.
BOOKS & MULTIMEDIA
Applewood Books #205
Barron’s Educational Series #209
The White House Pop-Up Book
Explore 360° Pompeii
L.M. Kartenvertrieb & Verlags GMBH Germany #301
Colorful, sturdy, three-dimensional White House reveals eight rooms on two floors! Includes illustrated booklet with concise history, bonus diecuts to assemble. Ages four and up.
Explore 360° Pompeii offers an in-depth look at life in the city before, during, and after the eruption. Young readers will be amazed.
Muybridge and His Living Pictures This new book comes to life with 10 animated lenticular pictures. All kids and adults love it.
David Howell & Company #206
Yarto Europe #503
The Glass House
Tomb of the Unknown Soldier Ornament
Colors of the MTA Nail Polish & Lip Balm
Featuring the Philip Johnson Glass House, New Canaan, CT. This unique snow globe was featured in The Wall St Journal. That they sold 600 pieces in less than 3 months is a testament to its originality and quality.
The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is America. It honors soldiers who have given their lives for its ideals. We have tried to capture this.
Quirky range of lip balms and nail polishes based on the colors of the New York Subway, designed and manufactured by Yarto.
nina j. design studios #627
Nomi Network #337
Fossilized Jewelry Keeper
Mermaid Foldover Clutch
Unique, handmade jewelry keeper is a “go-to.” All natural elements—lead-free clay and glazes, fresh botanicals—provide a unique fingerprint and remind one of nature’s serenity. Biodegradable.
Every purchase of Nomi Network’s versatile foldover clutch, made from recycled Cambodian rice bags, provides jobs to survivors and women at risk of human trafficking.
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EDUCATION & GAMES
Makit Products #430
OgoSport, LLC #611
I Heart Art Activity Book
Make a Plate
Inspired by the collections of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, I Heart Art is filled with guided activities to draw, color, and design. Children can explore the museums’ masterworks, learn about art, and unleash their creativity all at the same time.
Unleash your creative side with a one-of-a-kind, art plate. Draw with washable markers on the specially treated paper templates and mail the templates to our warehouse. All of our products are handmade in the USA! The kit includes seven blank templates, washable markers, instructions, order form, and return envelope.
OgoBILD is an open-ended and creative line that encourages free-form construction with a variety of easy-to-use attachments.
Got All Your Marbles? #538
JHJ International Company Limited #631
Itty Bitty Orbit Ring
A beautiful sweeping design, handcrafted from sterling silver, the ring holds a perfectly poised marble you can interchange in the piece. Each ring comes with a bag of nine jewel-toned Itty Bitty marbles and is beautifully packaged in a Got All Your Marbles? gift box.
The Masterpiece Sock is fully knitted hosiery done with a new, patented technology. A first and oneof-a-kind process allows for more room in design, better capturing reproductions in imaging and durability for memorabilia that truly captures the essence of one’s visit to any museum.
A refreshing and affordable collection of paper jewelry that draws from our tradition of celebratory paper goods—ticker-tape parades, New Year’s confetti, birthday streamers, party hats, and cards for every occasion. These pieces are made with Japanese chiyogami and hand-painted paste papers, mounted on archival museum board and sealed with acrylic lacquer. Can be custom designed.
Karen Krieger Studio #522
Beyond123 LLC #403
Pomegranate Communications, Inc. #311
Unemployed Philosophers Guild #317
Totem Frysk Horse
Charley Harper: A Flock of Birds Wall Decor
Mini Masterpiece/Comic Book Notebooks
Made from recycled cardboard, this powerful Friesian horse features a rich blend of colors. It’s an inspiring 3-D object and a decorative work of modern art.
Adapted from Charley Harper’s painting Mystery of the Missing Migrants, this set includes 58 vibrant wall stickers and a list of the 26 birds represented.
Handy notebooks to capture inspiration. A must for every young cartoonist and up-and-coming artist!
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educational and extraordinary BOOKS AND OTHER WONDERFUL ITEMS MADE OF PAPER are often a highlight of a visit to a museum store. They can expand upon a topic of interest related to a justviewed exhibition, and they can spark whole new levels of creativity and knowledge. Cathy Couture, National Sales and Marketing Manager for Design Masters, says these types of custom educational products are essential for museum stores: “They serve as a nice keepsake of the museum experience, and provide relevant information about the subject that inspired the product,” she says. “And when you think about it, this is exactly what a museum store should do.” “Visitors buy books from museum stores as mementos of their visit,” says Gary Zuercher of Marcorp Editions. “They reinforce and prolong the memory of that visit. They are frequently displayed on coffee tables at home and become the subject of conversations. In essence the books then become emissaries of the museum and of the store.” So what of those who say print is a thing of the past? Often the types of books available in museum stores are exactly the types of books that buck the trend. “We have seen encouraging signs that the print book market is still alive and kicking, particularly in the visual arts categories,” says Tina West, of Half-Price Books. “Customers have told us that reading and looking through a beautifully produced art or photography book provides an experience that an e-reader or computer screen cannot replicate.” West adds, “These items hold value for museum stores and customers because they provide an easy and significant way for museum-goers to extend or enhance their understanding of what they have seen in the museum. An art lover or science enthusiast who has been fascinated or moved by an exhibit can continue the experience and share it with others through the medium of one or more of the excellent books that are available on the spot from the museum store.” “Because museums hold the answers and insight into historical happenings,” says Aimee Cecil of Easy123Art, “I think it’s important for museum customers to have access to even more details for depth of understanding.”
Texas Bookman/Half Price Books Texas Bookman is your one-stop shop for a world of stationery and gifts at great prices. We are the exclusive distributer of Flame Tree products in the United States, and this includes calendars, journals, and art books. We also offer economical products, such as note cards and sketchbooks, perfect for all types of retailers from gift shops to book stores. Texas Bookman (800) 566-2665
texasbookman.com See ad on page 17
In addition to books themselves, the paper products category encompasses toys, crafts, and puzzles. Mark Boulding, president of Boulding Blocks, LLC, is also a college art professor, so he connects with the visual impact of these types of products. “They teach you to think visually, to visualize, and to have vision.” He adds, “Museum stores have to focus on quality educational takeaways. And let’s face it; you gotta have cool stuff.” Beverly Johnson, CEO of Fractiles, Inc., agrees. She says the discerning museum store shopper “tends to shop for toys and books that foster a child’s creativity, critical thinking, and innovation.” Any of the exciting and engaging products on the following pages can enhance the museum experience and help support the educational mission of your organization.
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Design Master Associates Get creative with this sketchbook and colored pencil set by Design Masters®! The sketchbook features versatile blank pages for a variety of dry media, and your custom full-color image is handsomely framed in the large open window on the book’s front. The colored pencil set comes with 13 pencils, which double as puzzle pieces to reveal your custom image when arranged in the right sequence. Design Master Associates (757) 566-8500
designmasters.com See ad on page 48
Shiny Creations Company Shiny Creations Company will be releasing a new line of blank art cards at the MSA 2015 Expo. The cards will feature whimsical animal and floral artwork by Seattle artists Angie Whitney and Sean Dougherty among others. Each card will be printed in Seattle using soy ink on recycled paper. Shiny Creations Company (844)-754-3291
shinycreations.com See ad on page 36
Fractiles The award winning Fractiles Magnetic Tiling Toy (large edition) includes 192 colorful, flexible magnetic tiles, one 12-by-12inch powder-coated steel activity board and a color-illustrated storage folder. Fractiles uses a unique sevenfold geometry in the designs created using three different shaped magnets. Two similar editions, Travel Fractiles and Fridge Fractiles, are also available. Fractiles (303) 541-0930
fractiles.com See ad on page 20
Historical Folk Toys Historical Folk Toys’ nostalgic books are a great souvenir to have available in museum gift shops. These publications make a great memory of a visit to an historic site, especially when customers have seen traditional toys and games in the historic home or have heard a conundrum or stories about children’s manners from a docent. Historical Folk Toys (800) 871-1984
historicalfolktoys.com See ad on page 45 MUSEUM STORE
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EDC Publishing Heart the Moment introduces mailable, wearable tiaras that work as gifts as well as greeting cards. These U.S.A.-made paper tiaras with elastic bands feature vintage designs and include a full-color greeting card to write your personal message. Envelope included.
Peek through the recessed holes and under all the flaps to discover a sunny garden humming, buzzing, creeping, and crawling with life in this delightful board book for young children. Beautiful illustrations show dragonflies hovering over a garden pond, huge pumpkins hiding under leaves, and a busy caterpillar munching through the cabbage. Peek inside and see what you can find!
Heart the Moment (562) 343-1011
EDC Publishing (800) 475-4522
Heart the Moment
heartthemoment.com See ad on page 20
edcpub.com See ad on page 41
The Color Wheel Company
Easy123Art Design a collection especially for your museum store with Easy123Art customizable paint-by-numbers kits. Send a photo of your museum’s main attraction, choose a color palette, the level of detail. Kit sizes are mini, classic, and big, and oak frames are available. Pictured is Run for the Roses, a 16-by-16-inch big kit from the Kentucky DerbyTM Collection.
The Color Wheel Company has a creative approach to understanding color. We manufacture a selection of color wheels for artists, crafters, and homeowners. In addition to color wheels, we offer an assortment of unique color theory tools to meet an artist’s needs. Our products are designed to explore color theory, relationships, and mixing. Made in U.S.A.
Easy123Art (502) 225-4006
The Color Wheel Company (541) 929-7526
easy123art.com See ad on page 17
colorwheelco.com See ad on page 14
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creations Fair trade, eco-friendly gifts and accessories from around the world.
One Fair World.
www.AcaciaCreations.com | 717 817 1412
VILLAGE DESIGNS organize pens, pencils, make-up brushes, paint brushes, knitting needles, etc...
handmade in the usa makes a great gift for anyone
booth 531 PHONE: 573-266-3642 FAX: 573-266-0412
www.villagedesigns.com email@example.com MUSEUM STORE
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Color Luxe Fine Tip Gel Pens combine the best of two worlds: the sleek and smooth lay of gel ink and the precision of a 0.7-mm point tip. Color Luxe is perfect for anyone looking for detailed gel pen drawing and great for any store looking to add some fun color. Set of 12.
The Glow of Paris provides a graphic account of the history of the 35 bridges that cross the Seine in Paris, a history that commences with Julius Caesar, proceeds up through the death of Princess Diana, and continues to current day. But more than that, it includes 84 stunning, large-format, black-and-white photographs that show us the luminosity of the bridges at night and take our breath away.
International Arrivals (760) 231-7603
Marcorp Editions 800-266-5564
wholesale.intlarrivals.com See ad on page 41
marcorp-editions.com See ad on page 46
Galison/Mudpuppy Galison/Mudpuppy presents Circus Alphabet by Corita Kent, one of America’s most celebrated serigraph artists. As an art professor at Immaculate Heart Collage from 1947 to 1968. Sister Corita transformed the art department into a hub of artistic creativity. Her hallmark mixture of captivating images and provocative texts influenced a generation and won her international acclaim Galison/Mudpuppy galison.com (800) 670-7441 See ad on page 44
The Unemployed Philosophers Guild The Unemployed Philosophers Guild artists and musicians came up with three notebooks for creators young and old. The Comic Book Notebook (64-page, pocket size; 96-page, backpack size) has panels for comics and graphic novels. Every page of the Mini Masterpieces Notebook has a frame for your masterpieces. The Music Notebook is perfect for lessons or inspirations and fits in your music case. The Unemployed Philosopher’s Guild (800) 255-8371
upguild.com See ad on page 47
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1,000s of titles on the subjects your museum is looking for Visit us in Hartford at booth #610!
Contact Joe Langman for more information: 1-610-593-1777 firstname.lastname@example.org
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University of LA at Lafayette Press
The Perfect Cube: It’s a puzzle and a game, art and design. It’s a product that delivers a unique statement to reinforce your visitors’ experiences and make them want to return for more. It’s educational and inspirational, customizable and collectible. It’s tactile, mechanical, and structurally mysterious—a new way to connect with people who are curious.
In more than 100 extraordinary photos taken by Tina Freeman and more than a dozen artist interviews by Morgan Molthrop, Artist Spaces, New Orleans highlights the spaces of New Orleans art luminaries George Dureau, Ron Bechet, Ma-Po, Dawn Dedeaux, Elizabeth Shannon, Willie Birch, Ersy, David Halliday, Robert Tannen, Elenora “Rukiya” Brown, Nicole Charbonnet, Kevin Kline, Amy Weiskopf, Keith Duncan, Josephine Sacabo, Lin Emery, and graffiti artist “Fat Boy.”
Boulding Blocks (720) 599-3298
University of LA at Lafayette Press (337) 482-1163
bouldingblocks.com See ad on page 36
ulpress.org See ad on page 35
Popcorn Movie Poster Company This is a premium standard-sized postcard booklet with perforated pages printed digitally on 14-point cardstock with an assortment of wire colors to choose from and configurable from 8 to 20 cards. Product designed and made in the U.S.A.
Out of hibernation and fresh from the den comes the newest Polar Bear Cub from Folkmanis® puppets. A perfect partner for conservation education, this puppet would love to come along to the library or museum. Heirloom design with soft plush fur, padded paws, and a workable mouth, this cuddly glacial gladiator will easily find a warm place in your heart.
Popcorn Movie Poster Company (800) 660-1060
Folkmanis (800) 654-8922
popcornposters.com See ad on page 33
folkmanis.com See ad on page 13
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MERCHANDISE BY COMMITTEE
Performance night action surrounding the gift shop at the Santa Fe Opera
Building Effective and Meaningful Relationships With Museum Store Professionals BY JACQUELYN ABUNDIS, RETAIL MANAGER/BUYER, THE SANTA FE OPERA
couple of years ago my supervisor requested I organize a Gift Shop Product Advisory Committee. My first reaction to this request was somewhat defensive. Silent thoughts ran through my head: “What have I done wrong? Why do I need a committee to advise me after 14 seasons of developing successful and profitable products for our shop? And why do I have to ask others how to do my job when no one else in the company requires a committee to tell them how to do theirs?” I said, “What a great idea!” My supervisor further explained this would allow staff, volunteers, and board and guild members to have a forum to present their ideas for gift shop products. In my supervisor’s words, “…to get broader engagement and ‘buy-in’ from cross-departmental perspectives. It is much easier to find ways to leverage product throughout our organization (and therefore our customer’s experience) when they are invested in the products themselves…” Okay. But I was not convinced. Like so many other buyers who have had their positions for many years, I admit, I own the shop. I mean, I emotionally own the shop. In my numerous conversations with other buyers, I realize this connection to our shop is something we all share. I love my
work. As a professional designer/retailer with a background in both graphic and interior design, I love the creative side of my work. I am passionately involved in every detail. For nearly 15 years, I have been working fairly independently as the retail manager and buyer at The Santa Fe Opera. So I was apprehensive about this committee idea. I was concerned about a lack of continuity in products. I was worried that some participants might have special interests, such as promoting the work of a friend or relative. I was apprehensive about possibly being pressured to include products that I knew would not be a good fit to appease a special V.I.P. Most importantly, I imagined a huge slowdown in my work due to the decision-by-committee effect. How could a group of individuals, meeting only occasionally, visualize the entire finished shop? Would they be able to visualize the product groups, how the products tell a story and work together as a whole? This is challenging for me, and I do it all day long, every day, all year long. I was also aware that these folks, with little or no retail background, did not understand what I did during our offseason months and what was required to create a large selection of successful new products every year. Many of our products are customized or purchased to tie with the current opera season. I work with many artists and
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vendors, local and afar. I have artdirected and designed almost all of our customized products for many years. And there are numerous details I have to consider, including minimum order quantities, shelf life, turnaround, reorder potential, costs, margins, etc. I must build our entire inventory and have it processed, tagged, and in storage by the time our short but extremely fast-paced season begins. The products and the retail prices are carefully considered to maximize sales. Once the season starts, the inventory starts to fly out the door, often too fast for reorders with a twomonth opera season. Could the committee imagine the numerous details involved in making product decisions? Would they be able to understand the heavy product demands of our short season and how to anticipate those demands before the season even starts? To what extent would they want to participate once they saw there was a lot of work between product suggestion and product manifestation? Then I gave myself a reality check. I do not own the shop. My passion for it does not change that fact. I am blessed to work for the opera creating a beautiful shop for our patrons and members. That is the reality.
So I embraced the idea and jumped (somewhat) wholeheartedly into creating a gift shop product advisory committee.
The Humble Beginnings I began soliciting members for the committee, about 15, whom I carefully selected with my supervisor’s approval. The committee is a mix of staff, donors, board members, guild members, and gift shop volunteers. They include the directors of marketing, press, and education; the prop master; two board members, including the president; two shop volunteers; one guild member; the director of visitor services who oversees the box office; one staffer from the development department and one from production; the advertising and group sales manager; and finally, my supervisor, the director of administration. We meet in groups of four or five, so not all are present at all meetings. Some, who live out of state, can only participate via e-mail. The meetings are kept small and informal so everyone feels more comfortable presenting their ideas. Our first meeting was in the winter of 2013. I was a bit nervous, not knowing what to expect. I prepared product samples, a list of product ideas for customization, and graphs
• Origami architecture greeting cards • Created from a single sheet of cut and folded paper that when opened displays a three-dimensional image • Laser-cut and hand-folded • Call Joyce today to discuss details of custom designs.
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showing sales and profits by category to stimulate conversation. I let them know how I could use their input such as image or slogan suggestions for product development. I asked for their response to my pricing on certain products to determine if there was resistance or if they would spend more. I may have overwhelmed the group with too much information and product samples. But, to my great surprise, we had fun. And as we all know, fun is the playground for creativity.
How It Works We discuss what has or has not sold well in the past and what products we might add to fit current market trends. They ask good questions, such as, “How can we give fewer choices to patrons, speeding up their decision-making process, and helping them to buy souvenirs faster?” We have a 20-minute intermission and a crowded shop. And “What is our main mission in the gift shop and how are products selected to fulfill that mission?” They offer ideas from their travels and from some of their favorite museum or performing arts stores, such as The Met Opera Shop, the Metropolitan Museum of Art Store, the Glyndebourne Opera Shop, and a popular favorite, San Francisco MoMa. Some reference websites such as Etsy, Uncommon Goods, or Ten Thousand Villages, which give me ideas and introduce me to new vendors. We look at images and slogans to tie in with the season’s operas. Two of my top-selling T-shirts in recent years were a result of a committee brainstorming. There are boundaries: I make all final decisions on products for the shop. To my surprise, everyone
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understood and accepted this. They acknowledged my years of experience and my deeper understanding of the needs of our retail operation. They were just happy to be able to offer their ideas. Most participants enjoy sharing ideas, but few, if any, have the time or the inclination to get involved beyond this point. I am still the one who puts it all together. The whole experience is stimulating to me and to them. The opera employs and attracts many smart, talented people, so I am resourcing some wonderfully creative and fresh ideas.
Bridging Gaps Overall, the committee is a positive influence on the shop, and one big positive outcome was greater engagement with our marketing and education departments, something I had been wanting for years. This previously felt disconnect always confused me. The retail operation is more than just a revenue stream. It provides a perfect platform to brand and promote our opera company and our seasonal operas through products. Tying promotional images and slogans in our products to seasonal marketing strategies seemed obvious from my perspective. Yet these opportunities were underutilized. We also offer many educational products, including CDs, books, musical gifts, and toys. More involvement would enable the gift shop to help further the education departmentâ€™s mission.
The Public Art of Robert Dafford provides a vivid depiction of the renowned artistâ€™s work through text and images by acclaimed photographer Philip Gould. Dafford is one of the most prolific and successful muralists working today, with over four hundred large scale public works. ISBN 978-1-935754-52-7
Visit www.ULPRESS.org for more information.
Now, two years in, marketing and press are definitely more engaged and starting to take advantage of opportunities to reach our patrons through gift shop products. Last year, I got permission to use the images from the promotional banners that are installed at our theater entrance. This was a first. I created magnets and notecards that were a big hit. MUSEUM STORE
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BB Magazine Ad Third Page copy.pdf 1 2/4/2015 1:12:07 PM
PERFECT CUBE It’s a puzzle and a game; art and design
Educational, Inspirational, Customizable, and Collectible. C
Visit Booth #447, MSA, April 17-20, 2015
Free shipping with your first order See www.bouldingblocks.com Contact: email@example.com 720-599-3298
CREATING YOUR OWN ADVISORY COMMITTEE
• Do get a good mix of stakeholders. • Don’t get overwhelmed by a large group. • Do come prepared for each meeting with relevant options and information. • Don’t do all the talking. • Do be specific about how the committee’s input will be used. • Don’t lose sight of your mission. • Do retain the right to make final decisions. • Don’t give up veto power. • Do have fun; it’s the best way to spark innovation.
I am hopeful we will see more viable product ideas come from this committee as we all continue to inspire and teach each other through the years. Creating new products and integrating the best ideas offered in our forums while watching our bottom line can bring wonderful results. And now, even better, we all own the opera shop!
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Share Your Ideas Commit to a local collaboration to tell your story and impact more customers. BY MARGE D. HANSEN
Upside Down Maple Syrup from Mass MoCA
ome interesting statistics were quantified when the Louisville Independent Business Alliance in Louisville, Kentucky, launched its “Buy Local First” campaign. Jennifer Jansen, guest services manager at Louisville’s Locust Grove, a National Historic Landmark, reports that “for every $100 spent at locally owned businesses, $55 is reinvested in the area as opposed to a $14 reinvestment by a nationally owned chain.” When cultural institutions form partnerships with firms in their cities and regionally, it is not only an effective cross-selling and business development strategy. It can help increase awareness and boost sales in both the nonprofit and private sectors, which support local economic stability and growth.
says Nook. “Teatulia, who we partnered with for ‘Traveling the Silk Road,’ is an extremely socially responsible company. They own their own, single-source tea gardens. As for Piece, Love and Chocolate, who we partnered with on ‘Maya: Hidden Worlds Revealed,’ they are inventive and creative, all while trying to help educate. They created Mayan spiced truffles specifically for our exhibition.”
Teatulia’s First Blush Black Tea labeled for DMNS’s “Traveling the Silk Road” exhibition.
Meadow Nook, marketing manager at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science (DMNS), often collaborates with local firms to get the word out on traveling or temporary exhibits. A complementary perspective is an important component and a good base to build on. Integrity, excellence, learning, respect, and great science are the museum’s core values. “Both Piece, Love and Chocolate and Teatulia embody these values in their own companies,”
DMNS handled the cobranding, and Piece, Love and Chocolate printed the labels. Because the owner leveraged her partnership with the museum in her publicity efforts, the plan also served to expand the museum’s reach. On the Teatulia project, the museum provided exhibition images to Teatulia’s designers, who creatively blended the company’s brand identity with the Museum’s look and feel, according to Nook. Teatulia also issued press releases and launched a social media campaign to market the partnership, which included a Silk Road display at the Teatulia Tea Bar.
When the Berkshire Museum in Pittsfield, Massachussetts, launched a major exhibit with a live butterfly pavilion in Summer 2014, Museum Shop Manager Kate Rosenblatt had no difficulty identifying related merchandise, but her goal was to provide customers with truly distinctive items. “A new bakery had recently opened up near the museum. I asked the baker if she’d consider making individually packaged, decorated butterfly cutout sugar cookies that we could sell,” Rosenblatt says. “Our cost was a dollar, and we retailed them for $2.00. The bakery affixed their sticker to the packaging and voilà!”
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Another tie-in was nature-inspired jewelry. Rosenblatt had Crystal Popko, a Massachusetts artist, sent over an assortment of a dozen necklaces to be considered, each a unique piece made from an individual, real, butterfly wing: average cost $32.50; doubled to the customer. “I kept them all and sold nine over the summer. We featured her work as our item of the month in our museum e-newsletter,” she says. Additionally, Berkshire artist Janet McKinstry was requested to “kick up her color palette” and produce handmade, butterfly-inspired textile bags in imaginative styles and shapes. “We easily made approximately $800 profit from these artists. This little boost certainly made a difference,” Rosenblatt says. “The bakery got a bump in their business just from our little basket of their cookies, the jeweler got a nice nod from our advertising, and the textile artist received kudos for being so creative with her choice of fabrics. Many customers asked further about these artists.”
Berkshire, Massachusetts, artist Janet McKinstry’s handmade, butterfly-inspired bag
Shake It Up
Sales of Upside Down Maple Syrup are headed in the right direction at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (MASS MoCA) store in North Adams. The product was named for six live trees that hang
upside down near MASS MoCA’s main entrance. Tree Logic by Natalie Jeremijenko has been on exhibit since the museum opened in 1999. The syrup is from Ioka Valley Farm in Hancock, Massachusetts, and was only available for a short time until Phyllis Criddle, director of retail operations, decided to revive it. The grade A maple syrup comes in an eye-catching, leaf-shaped glass jar. “The tree on the label was actually designed by Danielle Christensen, my assistant manager, and is also featured on some of our T-shirts and tote bags made at Blue Point Design, a small apparel printing and embroidery business in Sheffield, Massachusetts,” Criddle says. “Once the label design was finished, it was sent to Beck’s Printing to be made, which is right here in North Adams.”
trees near the property’s centerpiece, the family home of William and Lucy Clark Croghan (Lucy is the sister of William Clark of the Lewis and Clark Expedition) and Revolutionary War hero George Rogers Clark, who spent his last years there. Jansen recently cultivated a relationship with Paul Brown, maker of handcrafted Earthy Brown’s Natural
Lever, a new entrepreneurial organization in North Adams, is a match.com of a different kind, connecting retail businesses with manufacturers, vendors, and artisans in the Berkshires. Criddle worked with them on Banner Bags, which are old exhibition banners upcycled into one-of-a-kind, vinyl totes. A local seamstress, Tammy Annichiarico, sewed 111 bags. Lever interns helped clean, cut, and transport the materials. Another promotional payoff for MASS MoCA recently materialized from a Pittsfield, Massachusetts, vendor, Blue Q. Using employees as models, the company did a photo shoot at MASS MoCA for the company’s latest catalog.
Eye on the Prize
Keeping in mind Louisville’s “Buy Local First” philosophy, Jansen is always on the lookout for ways to co-op, such as supplying an artist with Locust Grove–grown gourds in exchange for a discount. She provided wood to an artisan carver from the
Earthy Brown’s soaps and more as seen in the Locust Grove shop MUSEUM STORE
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Products, which include the beeswax-base lip and hand balms she now stocks in the store. Brown was a vendor at Locust Grove’s annual Gardeners’ Fair and happily accepted a wholesale order from her. “Paul noticed that we had some beehive frames in the tree line and inquired about our beekeeper,” says Jansen. “Then he later met with Locust Grove’s gardener and me about keeping his bees here.” It doesn’t get much more local than that! The staff always adds “Made in Louisville” and “Made in Kentucky” stickers to products with labels that don’t mention the local connection. A “Reenactor Approved” sticker for period-appropriate merchandise is coming soon. But for now, in true 18th-century style, word of mouth is at the heart of Locust Grove’s cobranding and crossselling efforts. “Among the benefits of working with Paul and other local vendors are the relationships and networks we form,” says Jansen, who adds that purveyors are pleased to join forces and pass along the information that their products are available at Locust Grove. She also likes the flexibility
neighboring businesses can offer. “If I were to ask for a specific scent or a packaging or label change, a small, local company is happy to explore the possibility. They don’t have to completely retool their operation to make small changes or consult with lawyers and marketing executives.” The idea is to find a partner with whom you can cocreate and promote each other, taking the next step toward costeffectively reaching new audiences and growing your customer base. “Find something common—even such a little thing as a cookie—and make it your own,” says Rosenblatt, who advises moving beyond staff discussions and bouncing ideas off vendors and other sources of compatible products. “You never know when inspiration will strike.” Marge D. Hansen is a freelance writer based in Broomfield, Colorado. She recently wrote “After Hours Retailing,” which appeared in the Winter 2014 issue.
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the museum of russian icons: a trip to the other side of the world BY JOCELYN WILLIS
The connections I’ve made through MSA have been life-changing, the knowledge I’ve gained has been priceless, and doing business has remained successful and become more enjoyable all because of it.”
t still feels like a dream. It began last April at the 2014 MSA Retail Conference & Expo in Houston, Texas. I was only the second national conference I’ve attended, hosted in a city I’d never visited, and I was full of excitement.
During a break in the MSA Retail Bootcamp, I met Matt Lee, who is the manager of retail, merchandise, and product development at the Australian National Maritime Museum in Sydney, Australia, as well as the vice president of the Museum Shops Association of Australia (MSAA). He soon introduced me to his colleagues Larry McInerney and Karryn Baudet; Larry is the manager of retail services at Museum Victoria in Melbourne, Australia, and Karryn heads commercial and visitor services at Museums Wellington in Wellington, New Zealand. We spent the rest of the MSA conference getting to know one another, and before saying our goodbyes, there was a lighthearted mention of me attending the MSAA’s annual three-day conference to be held in Melbourne in the upcoming year. It turns out, the MSAA had been offering a scholarship to its Australian members, allowing them free registration and assistance with travel and accommodation costs, and MSA’s 2014 conference had sparked the idea to begin offering a similar scholarship to an international delegate to help connect the various similar organizations that exist around the world. (Yes, they are doing it again in 2015.) As he later told me, “We are all colleagues wherever our museum is.” I more than welcomed the idea but politely laughed it off as an unattainable dream. The last goodbye was exchanged, and we promised to stay in touch. Then, on Friday, May 6, I was sitting on my couch when an email came through announcing that my trip to Australia had been approved by the MSAA board. Two short months later, on July 31, I began my first solo trip across the globe.
The Apothecaries’ Hall at Sovereign Hill.
Looking back, it all feels so serendipitous. At the same conference where I met my new MSAA friends, the MSA unveiled its new vision and service promise: to enable members to connect, learn, and do business. The connections I’ve made through MSA have been life-changing, the knowledge I’ve gained has been priceless, and doing business has remained successful and become more enjoyable all because of it. The best part about MSA’s three pillars of service is that they not only stand together, they perpetuate one another.
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The Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre
Being new to this field (or any field, for that matter) I’m still just beginning to contemplate how my professional development might evolve. I’ve never been naive enough to think I could predict how it would all play out, but I had no idea what growing professionally would truly feel like. It’s rewarding on so many levels, and MSA has provided the tools I’ve needed to get the ball rolling and keep it on course. And part of that development is sharing some of the topics presented and a few things I learned while attending the MSAA Annual Conference. It began with a welcome from MSAA president, Stephen Quinn and Museum Victoria’s CEO, Dr. Patrick Green. Keynote speaker and merchandise manager at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, Jo Prosser, who also worked at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, shared some challenges she’s faced both in the U.K. and the United States. Much of what she said resonated with me. She talked about looking at each exhibition individually, especially permanent ones, and keeping notes about visitor shopping behavior related to each, keeping notes on what works and what doesn’t. Did you get price point or product wrong or did the topic just not generate sales? She also helped me generate some ideas for the Museum of Russian Icons, MUSEUM STORE
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where I work. For example, I have a selection of high-end inventory— specifically Russian lacquer boxes— that I need to sell to freshen up my merchandise. What if I encouraged visitors to indulge in a true Ismailova Market experience by bartering their price on these items only? (After some thought, I probably won’t be doing this, but it got the creative juices flowing!) She also got me thinking about doing some in-store events, partnering with the Russian Cultural Center, local Russian art galleries, or a chef from a Russian restaurant to create an extension of the museum experience. This will require some work with the programs department. In another session, Peter Lipman from the New South Wales Tourism Industry Council outlined how museum stores aren’t just selling something, but are
The shop at the Museum of Russian Icons
problem solving. He explained this by evaluating the actual and augmented product, care, and analysis of the motivational aspects of the tourist shopping experience. He talked about understanding visitors’ motivation— why do they want what they want (cultural identity, extension of emotional or unique experience, etc.)—and concentrating on solving the customers’ “problem” of why they’re making a purchase (both real and perceived) rather than selling them a product.
Lindsay Anvik, CEO of See Endless, a business development and marketing company, presented the next two sessions. The first explored ways to land more influential strategic partners and the tools one can use during creative idea development, pitching, and execution. The next session brought to life the different ways innovative events and promotions can grow your business without breaking the bank. She said, within the museum, look at the places where you are not visible and devise ways you can become visible and market product. Anvik kicked off the next day with another two sessions. The first explored several innovative display possibilities geared toward increasing sales by using what is on hand (and thinking about what inventory is overstocked or stale). I left thinking about postcards—I could hang them from strings to create a tapestry of sorts, create different layers, or maybe pierce the card through the middle so the images face the floor and visitors can see them when they look up. The second session made an important point about choosing the right social media channel(s) for your store or museum; after all, they can’t exist just to exist. That would be equivalent to managing a store with bare shelves, which we’d all find completely unacceptable. She also mentioned getting to know bloggers whose subjects fit with your merchandise and have them photograph and credit your merchandise in their blog.
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Next, Matt Lee presented “Maximizing Profits,” which presented real-time examples of tips and strategies used to improve buying skills, reduce expenditures, and increase profit margins. He talked about figuring out the GPM for each shop department and then looking at the percentage sold of each department from total sales to see if it reflects more of lower or higher profit margin items. I never tire of hearing how others strive to achieve their goals mostly because you never know when something said will inspire or direct your own success. The next day we visited Sovereign Hill, essentially an outdoor museum that recreates the city of Ballarat’s first 10 years after they discovered gold there in 1851. It’s an amazing and incredibly successful concept because the shopping there becomes part of the visitor’s experience; the cash registers, signage, and interaction with the historically dressed employees all transport you, the visitor, into the 1850s on Sovereign Hill’s iconic Main Street. It was incredible!
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I feel as though I’ve left out so much, but it’d be impossible to fit everything in. It was the trip of a lifetime, really, and one I will never forget. I especially need to thank Matt Lee (www.museumshops.org.au), Larry McInerney, and Karryn Baudet for their friendship and belief in me; Stephen Quinn and Sharon Sikkema for allowing me to even be considered for this incredible scholarship; and the members of the MSAA for their welcoming kindness. I must also mention the Museum of Russian Icons for enabling my career in nonprofit retail and for the unbelievable experiences I’ve had so far, and of course, to the MSA, without which, these connections never would have happened.
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Published on Mar 21, 2015
This issue of Museum Store magazine has information regarding strategic management, customer relations, merchandise planning, and operations...