Museum Store THE QUARTERLY PUBLICATION OF THE MUSEUM STORE ASSOCIATION
FORECASTING REVENUE FOR YOUR ANNUAL BUDGET
MISSION DRIVEN PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT
SELECTING AN E-COMMERCE SOLUTION PROVIDER
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Summer 2014 | Volume 42 | Issue 2
20 MSA Annual Report
MUSEUM STORE ASSOCIATION
Review the activities of the past year at MSA including the financial picture. By MSA Staff
24 Holiday Buyer’s Guide
Browse our newest buyer’s guide for the latest in holiday merchandise. By April Miller
Knowledge Standards Key n
Learn about the variety of online platforms available to museum stores. By Marge D. Hansen
Mission Driven Product Development Find out how one member turned an idea into a best selling product. By Chris Michel and Andrea Miller
40 2014 Conference & Expo Recap Relive or find out about the happenings in Houston. By Kathy Cisar
Museum Store Magazine Now available in the App Store— Download today!
12 Letter from the Executive Director
E D ITOR
Samantha Edington M USE UM STORE M AGA Z INE A DV E RTI S I N G
Mary Petillo (503) 726-4984 Maryp@museumstoreassociation.org
P ROD UCT ION M A NAGE R
Cindy Pike CIRCULAT ION
© 2014 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.
18 Measuring Performance 44 MSA Community 46 Just for Vendors 48 Member Story
M U S E U M S TO R E
Postmaster: Send address changes to Museum Store Association, 3773 E. Cherry Creek North Dr., Suite 755 Denver, CO 80209-3804
16 Question & Answer
GRA P H IC D E SIGNE R
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.
10 Letter from the President
54 Ad Index
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52 Book Review
3773 E. Cherry Creek North Dr., Suite 755 Denver, CO 80209 Phone (303) 504-9223 Fax (303) 504-9585 email@example.com museumstoreassociation.org
On the Cover: MSA Director of Learning, Andrea Miller with daughter Tessa and friend playing WWII MONOPOLY ©. Photo: © Paul Brokering
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TAKE CONTROL OF YOUR FUTURE AND THE FUTURE OF YOUR STORE
he Museum Store Association believes that your stores extend the experience that your institution strives to create—into the lives, homes and memories of your patrons. And that you are the key to creating a profitable and meaningful retail space that excites and inspires your customers.
The new Museum Store Association Individual Membership and Certificate Program give you access to the knowledge, resources and community you need to create a thriving, revenue-producing store that supports the greater mission of your institution—and the greater mission of YOU!
Sign up and start learning today!
New Certificate Program
New Individual Membership
Do you have a seat at the table? Are you an integral part of the planning team? Do your colleagues relate to you as an asset? Do you speak the language of your CFO and CEO? Is your store seen as an essential part of the visitor experience?
Webinars, Live and Recorded Learning Sessions, Publications and Online Resources ShopTalk and MSAProductShop Online Access Networking Events with Peers and Vendors Museum Store Magazine Money-Saving Programs & Discounts Weekly MSA News Brief Quarterly Members-Only eNews
The Certificate Program gives you the knowledge you need to ensure your continued career growth. With a flexible menu of coursework to meet your budget, schedule and interests, you’ll build your nonprofit retail toolbox and solidify your future in the nonprofit retail industry.
The Individual Membership is yours—it goes wherever you go. It remains your resource for professional development in your field and offers tools to take with you on your career path.
30-Day Trial Membership Available
email@example.com | (303) 504-9223 | museumstoreassociation.org
HELP MSA HELP YOU! DONATE TODAY!
ince 1955 the Museum Store Association has played an essential role in our industry by strengthening the profession and creating community. When strong communities like ours are challenged by difficult times, we pool our strengths and work together. Today is one of those times. Today MSA needs help from our supporters. Your donation, in any amount, will point MSA back toward financial sustainability. It is critical that all supporters and believers spread the word that the new MSA is worthy of everyone’s support. Without it the organization loses its renewed focus on you, your needs, your institutions and your chapters.
Why MSA? Whysupport Support MSA Today? Today we have a new MSA—with new programs and a
new culture of partnership. MSA products and services give you the business
knowledge you need to articulate the value of your store and your professional contribution to the institution. MSA provides grassroots support to chapters that enables
It is critical that all supporters and believers spread the word about the new MSA. Without your support the organization loses its renewed focus on you, your needs, your institutions and your chapters.
MSA creates opportunities for members to connect and
support each other both electronically and in person. MSA does the work to understand what museum store
professionals need to do the best possible job in this age of intense competition.
Please make a donation today at museumstoreassociation.org. 3733 E. Cherry Creek North Dr. | Suite 755 | Denver, CO 80209
FROM THE BOARD PRESIDENT
why i invest
invest time writing customer service and sales training programs. Why? Because the payoff is that my customers will be well serviced. I invest time in developing products that reflect the Kennedy Center. Why? Because those are the proprietary products that support our mission and can produce additional margins. I invest time in writing a business plan and a retail mission. Why? I need to constantly be thinking strategically about where we should be each year and planning for change instead of reacting to change. I invest time in myself by being an active and participating member of MSA. Why? Because any investment in me will ultimately benefit where I work. MSA has provided a support network of colleagues. I know I can reach out to anyone at any time and receive an answer to my burning questions or help with a problem. Over the years I have used information Iâ€™ve gained through my MSA experience to build a case for supporting Made in the USA product and also to intelligently explain why I cannot always purchase every item in the USA. I have used MSA benchmarks to build a brand new museum store in two institutions. I have learned what UBIT is and through MSA colleagues was introduced to one of the best minds in the tax industry (IMHO) to help me create a solid plan. I am very excited that MSA will be offering certification and certificate programs because these are additional investments that I can make in myself. I have been with the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts and Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, and now the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Artsâ€” and always an MSA member investing in myself. The Museum Store Association understands that the investment has always been in me. The association creates opportunities for professionals, whether they are online in the form of webinars or ShopTalk, or in person attending a chapter meeting or annual conference. Reach out to your colleagues, join the conversation online, get involved, look into the new certificate program, invest in yourself. It might be the best investment you ever make!
Barbara Lenhardt MSA Board President
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, Mass.
SECOND VICE PRESIDENT Stuart Hata de Young and Legion of Honor/Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco San Francisco
S E C R E TA R Y Michael Higdon National Building Museum Washington, D.C.
TREASURER Gloria Stern Minnesota Historical Society Split Rock Lighthouse Two Harbors, Minn.
D I R E C T O R AT L A R G E Mary Christensen Museum of Flight Seattle, Wash.
D I R E C T O R AT L A R G E Kathryn Rush Harn Museum of Art Gainesville, Fla.
A F F I L I AT E A D V I S O R Phil Zuckerman Applewood Books Carlisle, Mass.
M U S E U M S TO R E
FROM THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
happiness and hats
lap along if you feel like happiness is the truth, because I’m happy!
If you’ve heard Happy by Pharrell Williams you know that it’s an upbeat, finger-snapping, move-your-feet song that makes the day seem better just by listening.
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR/CEO Jama Rice, MBA, CAE
Do you know that Pharrell is also famous for his hats? He auctioned off the Vivienne Westwood mountain hat he wore to the GRAMMY Awards to support his foundation. He wore a similar one to the Oscars that host Ellen DeGeneres used to collect money for the pizza she ordered for the audience mid-show. Museum Store Association members are famous for their hats as well. At MSA’s conference in Houston in April, there were sessions on merchandising, business planning, speaking a CFO’s language, and so much more technical subject matter—all necessary talents that reflect the many different hats you wear well. Unlike a large retail operation in which there is a person for every detailed area of the business, you may have to take on each and every one of these responsibilities. How do you become expert at all of these skills? How do you demonstrate to your colleagues, your management, your visitors and patrons your ability to extend the experience of your institution, satisfy your customer’s wishes and run a business that contributes to your institution? How do you learn to wear all of those hats as well as Pharrell wears his? That is the purpose of MSA: to provide you with the learning and resources to strengthen your skills in operating a distinct and thriving retail operation that is meaningful to your customers and your colleagues, management, institution and community. That’s certainly some happiness to clap along to.
Jama Rice Executive Director/CEO
M U S E U M S TO R E
DIRECTOR OF LEARNING Andrea Miller, MPA
MEMBERSHIP MANAGER Jeff Yeager, MBA
MEETINGS & CONFERENCE MANAGER Jennifer Anderson
S Y S T E M S A D M I N I S T R AT O R Adriana Herald
A D M I N I S T R AT I V E A S S I S TA N T Leigh Russo
M A R K E T I N G C O N S U LTA N T Sue Stoveall, MBA
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QUESTION & ANSWER
forecasting real revenue for your museum’s annual budget BY ANDREW ANDONIADIS
During the budget season, the management at my museum provides a store revenue goal for the next fiscal year. More often it’s a number based on what they need from the store to help balance the overall budget rather than a projection based on retail-related factors. I’d like to be proactive for FY2015 and generate my own goals for the store. How do I go about forecasting revenue?
The first step is to gather information. This includes visitation estimates, ideally provided by museum management based on past visitation adjusted for changes in, and the strength of, the exhibit and special event schedule. The ideal visitation projection should be generated by museum management because it may include factors
The more thorough you are in breaking down your projections, the more accurately you can forecast revenue.”
M U S E U M S TO R E
about which you are not aware and it puts everyone in the museum, including other earned revenue sources such as foodservice, on the same page. You should also consider destination store customers driven to the store by e-commerce and mail order catalog activity when the store is open during rental events and other factors not directly associated with visitation. If museum management does not provide a visitation projection you will have to calculate one yourself based on as many of the factors listed above as possible. If you generate a visitation projection, make sure to keep detailed records of objective and subjective information used to prepare the estimate. It is best if several revenue matrixes are prepared using different inputs with each bracketed for a range of results. The bracketing may include a best-case, worst-case and a most-likely scenario. The more thorough you are in breaking down your projections, the more accurately you can forecast revenue. Some of the historical data helpful for these projections include: • Revenue per Visitor (Net Sales ÷ Visitors) • Average Transaction (Net Sales ÷ Transactions that include a retail item)
• Revenue per Square Foot (Net Sales ÷ Square feet of retail selling space) Three projection matrixes might look like the examples on the next page. You can also use similar matrixes for separate special exhibit and satellite stores. The forecast could also include projections broken down to reflect changes in different product categories such as increased sales of proprietary product due to a special exhibit, declining book sales due to internet competition, continued strength in jewelry sales and other changes. A subjective area that is difficult to forecast is the impact on revenue of improved customer service and proactive selling. Your past efforts are reflected in historical numbers but concentrated or renewed staff training can result in significant revenue improvement. If you plan to focus on customer experience improvements that may lead to increased revenue it is most effective to break down the effort into distinct and quantifiable segments while remembering that small improvements over time and hundreds of transactions can lead to significant results. For example, if the historical number of items per transaction has been 2.3, setting a goal of 3.0 and providing training on add-on selling techniques
QUESTION & ANSWER
To be most valuable to the musum you need to be true to yourself and straightforward with museum management.â€œ
Projection Matrixes Store Revenue Based on Number of Vistors and Net Sales Per Visitor SALES PER VISITOR
may result in additional revenue. The beauty of this type of incremental improvement goal is that it is uncomplicated, easily applied, simple to track and can result in tangible results for which the salesperson can take responsibility and pride. Similarly, although somewhat more complicated, the goal can be an increase in the average transaction. E-commerce, catalog, school group goodie bag sales and other sources of revenue also need to be forecasted. It is recommended that each be calculated separately, then integrated into an overall revenue projection. To be most valuable to the museum you need to be true to yourself and straightforward with museum management. If you believe and can substantiate that revenue will be less for particular reasons, itâ€™s best to make that opinion and the supporting documentation known as early in the budgeting process as possible. 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. Andrew can be reached at (503) 629-9279, Andrew@MuseumStoreConsult.com or www. MuseumStoreConsult.com.
Store Revenue Based on Number of Transactions and Net Average Transaction AVERAGE TRANSACTION
Store Revenue Based on Dollars per Square Foot SQUARE FEET (area to which customers have access plus cash-wrap)
1,000 $/SQUARE FOOT
M U S E U M S TO R E
Coming this Summer!
2014 MSA retail industry report THE 2014 RETAIL REPORT IS A VALUABLE TOOL for non-profit and niche retail operations, helping support your business decisions about everything from buying and inventory, hiring and staffing, square footage needs, marketing budgets and more. It offers best practice tips, ideas for increasing your profit margins and controlling operating expenses. Take a sneak peek at some of the results generated by the data you and your colleagues submitted.
Reported Trend in Sales for the Past Three Years 0%
Sales increased significantly (>5%)
Sales increased slightly (1%-5%) Sales remained the same (<1% change, up or down)
Sales decreased slightly (1%-5%) Sales decreased significantly (<5%)
13% 20% 17%
Percentage of stores reporting staff as: Paid employees, full-time, year round Paid employees, full-time, NOT year round Paid employees, part-time, year round Paid employees, part-time, NOT year round Volunteers year round, regardless of hours Volunteers NOT year round, regardless of hours
Overall Results 75.4% 8.0% 80.1% 31.2% 40.5% 17.9%
19% Did not provide financial data
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M U S E U M S TO R E
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2013 MSA annual report highlights BY MSA STAFF
The start of MSA’s reinvention became apparent in 2013. In order to better meet the needs of members and other stakeholders, MSA implemented initiatives to reverse declining membership and decreasing participation and to turn around a long history of poor financial results. As a first step toward reinvention, the MSA board reviewed and approved a business plan developed by staff to implement outstanding goals identified in the MSA strategic plan. The business plan was built around five key areas: clarifying the MSA brand, enhancing member value, strengthening MSA’s Knowledge Culture, refining the annual conference, and establishing an infrastructure and systems to create a firm foundation for the future. The board approved the business plan and the staff worked on moving forward with tactics throughout the year.
In July 2013 the MSA Brand Task Force was formed with three experienced MSA members and a staff liaison. The task force took on the responsibility of rethinking and clarifying MSA’s brand and initiated a process to create a new logo that would communicate positive changes to members, affiliates and other stakeholders. The task force identified potential designers, created a request for proposal (RFP), reviewed submittals, chose a design company and provided the necessary input and discussion
M U S E U M S TO R E
required for selecting a final logo and accompanying new corporate style. The selected designer’s work was successful in conveying graphically the balance, support and connection between the association, its members and affiliates. The new logo officially debuted at MSA 2014 in Houston. The launch also included the MSA Brand Promise, which is MSA’s pledge to base everything the association does on three pillars of service: CONNECT, LEARN and DO BUSINESS.
MSA witnessed a variety of changes in its membership structure last year, beginning with the restructuring of the Institution Membership. The tiered membership structure gave institutions three membership options, depending on the member’s needs. Dues were determined by the gross revenue of the institution’s store(s). This structure enabled many additional individuals at member institutions to enjoy MSA programs and services. But it also highlighted the need for continued strengthening of the value that MSA offers its members. The institution and individual membership programs continue to be evaluated and further modifications will be made. Vendors began a conversation with the staff and board about potential changes in the vendor membership program to better align with their needs. A new vendor membership will be launched in 2014.
MSA experienced continued decline in membership from the previous reporting year—a pattern that had now become a decade-long trend. All stakeholders realize the critical importance of reversing this trend in the short term to ensure the future of MSA.
MSA formed a learning department in 2013 and hired a director of learning. These steps were taken to achieve goals from MSA’s strategic plan: for MSA to be the essential source for knowledge, for professionals to achieve higher levels of competency, and for those individuals to be recognized as valued and respected members of their institution’s professional team. The director of learning and MSA staff worked hard in 2013 to lay the foundation for new programs that continue to roll out in 2014, including a monthly webinar series and the creation of the MSA certificate program. The department partnered with the newly formed Education Advisory Group (EAG) to create a robust line-up of the highest quality learning sessions for the conference in Houston.
2013 MSA Retail Conference & Expo
The 58th Annual Conference & Expo in April was held in Los Angeles. The event brought 303 buyers to the expo with 256 exhibiting companies. Shortly after the conference, staff regrouped to work on plans for the 2014 conference and expo, setting up several regional events for the
upcoming year and early planning for the 2015 conference. The Sam Greenberg Scholarship was renamed the MSA Memorial Scholarship to further commemorate all who have contributed to MSA. Twelve professionals accepted scholarships to attend the 2013 conference and expo. Staff established partnerships with three regional tradeshows to bring educational content to more members. Planning is underway for MSAâ€™s Boot Camp to be offered in conjunction with the Las Vegas Market.
MSA is focused on upgrading technology, working on a list of priorities designed to enhance member value and improve efficiency. Like many organizations, MSA has identified more needs than the budget will permit in any given year. In 2013, enhancements were made to the website including reorganizing the home page and making sure website functionality work in all web browsers. Additionally, an evaluation was completed and upgrades were made to systems needed to support expanded electronic learning programs including webinars and the launch of the certificate program. A process to identify and track key performance indicators as an association began in late 2013. Clarifying the measures of success for the association and ensuring that MSA has methods to
Members at opening reception.
2013 FINANCIAL REPORT ASSETS Current Assets Cash and Equivalents Marketable Securities Prepaid Expense Total Current Assets Equipment, net Deposits Total Other Assets
37,700 510,165 57,402 605,267 10,074 5,494 15,568
204,265 751,480 85,033 1,040,778 26,170 5,494 31,664
24,909 521,527 546,436
83,310 652,397 735,707
35,033 26,945 61,978 $620,835
294,384 32,585 326,969 $1,072,448
LIABILITIES AND NET ASSETS Current Liabilities Accounts Payable and Accrued Expenses Deferred Revenue Total Current Liabilities Other Liabilities Deferred Rent Total Liabilities Net Assets Unrestricted Temporarily Restricted Total Net Assets
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STATEMENT OF ACTIVITIES 2013
644,463 159,604 140,800 129,772 73,120 19,040 8,113 4,935 3,333
653,116 256,539 163,510 134,926 58,467 30,167 7,372 5,640 3,485
634,921 317,491 134,530 82,423 58,471 49,560 38,267 37,366 20,438 17,943 15,346 12,687 10,625 9,832 7,530 672 69 –
701,754 279,515 121,957 104,201 90,724 43,485 31,844 16,225 29,849 11,023 8,408 9,029 10,862 12 6,853 739 9,844 33
Support and Revenues Annual Meeting Membership Dues Exhibitor Affiliates Publications Investment Income Royalties Website Mailing List Other Total Support and Revenues Expenses Payroll and Benefits Annual Meeting Publications Office and Supplies Rent Travel Accounting and Legal Membership and Staff Development Depreciation Website Contract Services Memorial Scholarship Fund and Related Telephone Long Range Planning Insurance Taxes Chapters and Committees Loss on Disposal of Equipment Total Expenses Change in Net Assets Net Assets, Beginning of Year Net Assets, End of Year 22
M U S E U M S TO R E
accurately track those metrics will allow the board and staff to build on strengths and identify gaps that need to be closed to ensure growth and sustainability.
Seven chapters held educational meetings in the last year. A secretary was elected for each chapter and five chapters replaced a resigning officer. The North Atlantic Chapter held a reception during New York Now! last August—a model for MSA’s 2014 regional events. The Mid-Atlantic Chapter held a reception for museum and vendor members and other stakeholders during the MSA board’s fall meeting in Washington, D.C.
The MSA Board of Directors navigated change in 2013. Three new members joined, two directors-at-large and a vendor affiliate advisor were appointed, and one board member returned, moving from director-at-large to treasurer. The board developed a policy for and appointed a Board Development Committee to identify members with potential to serve as immediate and future board members. Following the board’s newly developed board matrix, which outlines the skills and expertise needed by individual board members, the committee recruited two candidates for board directors-at-large and the officer position of secretary. The board appointed the second vice president and affiliate advisor for the 2014/15 term. The board also appointed a member to recruit and chair a Chapters Policies and Procedures Task Force with the purpose of establishing and updating processes, systems and policies to enhance the partnership between MSA chapters and the national organization with the intent to optimize the strengths of all parties.
M U S E U M S TO R E
holiday guide There’s no summer siesta for museum store buyers who want to ensure a successful holiday season.
BY APRIL MILLER
THERE’S NO SUMMER SIESTA FOR MUSEUM STORE BUYERS who want to ensure a successful holiday season. Planning your assortment early—especially if it’s going to include American-made, handcrafted or otherwise potential limited supply or long lead-time items—requires earlier planning to reduce the potential for inventory issues. “If production is happening overseas, lead times are often such that deliveries will occur in Q4 or even into Q1 of the following year,” says Lauren Melnick, private label account manager for New York-based Galison/Mudpuppy. “Plan ahead. If you’re worried that your stock room doesn’t have the space, ask vendors about placing orders now to arrive at a later date.” Many museums book large exhibits that coincide with the holiday season. Melnick says that audiences are aware of seasonal overlap and may be more likely to look to a museum store as a gifting resource if they are already there to view an exhibition. “It’s a great time to capitalize on that consumer awareness,” she says. “Summer is also a great time to consider product development and custom merchandise for the holiday season and the start of 2015.” Trying to move your holiday merchandise as soon as it arrives isn’t a bad idea either, according to Wendy Szymanski of Safari Ltd. “Christmas in July really does exist because people are always looking to buy their loved ones the perfect gift,” she says. “It doesn’t matter what time of the year it is, if that gift is in front of them, they will buy it.” “The souvenir gift from a far away museum is a special gift for the holidays because it shows thought, taste and deep appreciation for the arts and culture,” adds jewelry designer Michele Benjamin. When you begin your holiday push, look to the Museum Store Association’s Buyer’s Guide for the best merchandise mix for your customers.
M U S E U M S TO R E
Golden Island Int’l Inc. Golden Island Int’l, Inc.’s mission since its founding in 1982 has been to bring out the fun in science. The Los Angeles-based company offers a wide selection of kaleidoscopes that make for wonderful holiday gifts, including this elegant music box model with vintage appeal. Sandscapes, miniature Newton‘s Cradle, Tesla’s Plasma Sphere and other iconic toys and novelties are also available.
Safari Ltd. strives to educate through the joy of play. Since 1982, the company has been a manufacturer of high-quality, authentic replica collections and more. Safari believes that people can explore their imaginations with its “toys that teach.” A fit for all types of museums, the company offers collections that range from dinosaurs to fantasy figures to Civil War confederate soldiers and much more. Safari Ltd. (800) 554-5414
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Personalized paint-by-number kits from Louisvillebased Easy123Art make it easy to paint a portrait from your photo. Choose one of the Ready-to-Paint Kit designs, the popular Paint-Your-PhotoBy-Number Kit or customize your own perfectly artful souvenir for store shelves. The company’s skilled team of digital artists provides design-on-demand service for one-of-a-kind outlines.
Michele Benjamin Jewelry Design creates sea-and beach-themed necklaces in .925 sterling silver, 14K gold vermeil, bronze and brass. Swans, tortoises, dragonflies, bumblebees, butterflies, starfish, angelfish and more are handcrafted in New York City and arrive in a signature-stamped, black velveteen pouch and box.
From EDC Publishing are: Astronomy, First World War Sticker Book and Undersea Life to Color. In the first, beginning readers find out why snakes hiss, how do telescopes work and much more. The second is packed with facts and figures about the key events and most important people of the war. And the third explores interesting facts about anything from angelfish to octopuses.
Easy123Art easy123art.com (502) 225-4006 See our ad on page 34
Michele Benjamin, LLCJewelry Design (718) 791-6249
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EDC Publishing (800) 475-4522
edcpub.com See our ad on page 19
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Carol S. Miller Handbags The Grab and Go clutch from Carol S. Miller Co. is made from remnant leather pieces from the company’s handbag collection and measures 7.5 by 5.5 inches. It’s the perfect size to hold keys, makeup and your cell phone. Just press the automatic turn lock for closure. Carol handpicks every piece of leather, fabric and hardware using the finest from Italy, Germany, Colombia and the USA. Carol S. Miller Co. (201) 406-4578
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General Pencil Company, Inc. Perfect for the artist in the family is a complete drawing and sketching set, all in one handy box. Made by General Pencil Company, which takes pride in handcrafting quality pencils and art materials using traditional methods in the USA, the set includes four charcoal pencils, 10 pastel pencils, one white pencil, two flat sketching pencils, two drawing pencils, one eraser and one sharpener. General Pencil Company, Inc. generalpencil.com (650) 369-4889 See our ad on page 14
Folkmanis, Inc. Baltimore Coffee and Tea Co.
Fractiles The award-winning Fractiles Magnetic Tiling Toy (large edition) includes 192 colorful, flexible magnetic tiles, a 12 by 12 inch powder-coated steel activity board and color-illustrated storage folder. Fractiles uses a unique seven-fold geometry in the designs created using three different shaped magnets. Two smaller editions, Travel Fractiles and Fridge Fractiles, are also available. Fractiles (303) 541-0930
fractiles.com See our ad on page 45
M U S E U M S TO R E
Offer visitors teas featuring your museum, region or special exhibit with private label options from Baltimore Coffee and Tea. Choose from more than 100 flavors such as blueberry lemon, tropical paradise or peach melba. Use the back label of the hand-tied ribbon bag to tell the story of your museum. The company also roasts Fair Trade Organics for private label. Baltimore Coffee and Tea Co. (800) 823-1408
baltcoffee.com See our ad on page 45
A natural wonder with whimsical detail, the Folkmanis owlet in tree trunk is nearly ready to take flight. This feathery soft baby bird puppet, for ages three and up, rests in a sculptural tree trunk complete with sweet fabric leaves. Headquartered in California, the company has been making engaging specialty puppets since 1976 and offers more than 200 realistically designed creatures. Folkmanis, Inc. (800) 654-8922
folkmanis.com See our ad on page 5
Galison/Mudpuppy In celebration of the grand reopening of the Cooper Hewitt Design Museum this fall, Galison/Mudpuppy has released a family of stationery and children’s items featuring art from the preeminent collection. The Design Patterns Wooden Magnetic Letters set, for ages three and up, includes 40 wooden pieces with magnetic backing. It comes in sturdy milk carton packaging with a snap closure for easy storage. Gallison/Mudpuppy (212) 354-8840
galison.com See our ad on page 47
Applewood Books Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer is celebrating his 75th anniversary in 2014. The book about this famous reindeer made its debut in1939, written by Robert L. May and illustrated by Denver Gillen. The only authorized reproduction of the original is available from Applewood Books. “Rudolph is the only addition to the folklore of Santa Claus in the 20th century,” says James Barnett, author of The American Christmas. Applewood Books (800) 277-5312
applewoodbooks.com See our ad on page 34
Mata Ortiz to You This five-element bracelet is a one-of-a-kind made from broken Mata Ortiz pottery and .950 Taxco silver. It was created by a Nahuatl Indian using just a few hand tools and a buffer. Mata Ortiz to You also offers earrings, various size pendants, adjustable rings, cufflinks and wine stoppers. Each piece comes with an explanatory customer card. Mata Ortiz to You (520) 744-0639
mataortiztoyou.com See our ad on page 45
American Heritage Chocolate
Madison Bay Company Madison Bay Company boasts a unique line of historical holiday items sure to please a wide variety of customers. Pictured here are the ever-popular ox bone box imaged with a skeleton and a historical silhouette of children decorating a tree. Additionally there are unique jewelry options for Halloween. The East Berlin, Pa.-based wholesaler also offers compasses, spyglasses and much more while introducing new items each year. Madison Bay Company (717) 259-6886
American Heritage Chocolate is an authentic historic line of products based on a recipe from the 1750s that celebrates chocolate’s important role in the lives of Americans during the 18th century. Available in individually wrapped single-serving chocolate sticks, individually wrapped bite-size chocolates in a keepsake muslin bag, chocolate blocks and a re-sealable canister with a bag of finely grated chocolate for drinking or baking. American Heritage Chocolate. Made by Mars Chocolate North America americanheritagechocolate.com (800) 800-7046 See our ad on page 56
madisonbayco.com See our ad on page 43 M U S E U M S TO R E
Schiffer Publishing Masterpieces of Haitian Art by Candice Russell and Harlem Street Portraits by Harvey Stein are just two of the many titles available from Schiffer Publishing. The first celebrates the best examples in each medium produced in Haiti in the last seven decades. Harlem Street Portraits documents the humanity and spirit of the people of Harlem through 165 beautiful black and white photographs taken from 1990 to 2013. Schiffer Publishing (610) 593-1777
schifferbooks.com See our ad on page 3
Solmate Socks Solmate Socks are whimsical and mismatched socks for adults, children and babies. They are a unique and affordable gift for men and women of all ages. Solmate also offers hats, scarves, mittens and fingerless mittens—all made in the US. Sock designing, knitting and finishing final touches are completed at small, family-owned businesses in Vermont, North Carolina and Oregon. Solmate Socks (866) 762-5523
socklady.com See our ad on page 54
Aurora Imports’ beautiful custom-made, fused glass can be created individually in the design, logo or emblem of your choice. Shown is a plate created for the Jimmy Carter Library and handmade copper and lapis cuff. Souvenir pieces are available in various sizes, including animals, flowers, dinosaurs, reptiles and insects.
Q3Art jewelry is perfect for the holidays to accent that little black dress or as gifts for the fashion conscious. The company’s hand-dyed anodized aluminum jewelry is made with great care in its Chicago studio from 80 percent recycled aluminum. The lightweight pieces are affordable, beautifully made and have a streamlined design. Price points range from $8 to $98.
Aurora Imports (855) 452-7478
auroraimports.com See our ad on page 43
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Q3Art (877) 929-4258
q3art.com See our ad on page 49
Design Masters offers porcelain holiday icon ornaments in a star or teardrop with bow design. Each ornament is finished with a gold cord for hanging, packaged with a folded product card including sitespecific information on the reverse and enclosed in a clear cellophane bag with hanger hole for easy display. Design Masters (800) 322-7583
designmasters.com See our ad on page 11
April Miller is a Cleveland-based writer and a regular contributor to Museum Store.
M U S E U M S TO R E
2014 MSA PEER-TO-PEER RECOGNITION AWARD WINNER
The National WWII Museum BY CHRIS MICHEL AND ANDREA MILLER
o acknowledge and celebrate the community of members and vendors dedicated to the nonprofit retail field, MSA created a new program for peer-to-peer recognition awards. A committee of four members volunteered to review 27 submissions in four categories and identify at most one finalist from each MSA chapter. The National WWII Museum was the recipient of this year’s Product Development Award. As part of the museum’s mission to present the story of WWII in a way that is understandable and relatable to younger generations, they created MONOPOLY ©: America’s World War II: We’re All In This Together Edition, inspired by a ninth grade teacher’s project to help his students understand the war. The game is both educational and fun, creating a conversation about what WWII meant at the time and what it means today. During the membership luncheon at the 2014 MSA Conference & Expo in Houston, attendees heard just an overview of what it took to make this innovative idea a reality. Chris Michel, the museum’s director of retail services, describes in further detail the development of the game, its successes and the partnerships that were established and strengthened as a result of the project.
Mission Driven Product Development
MONOPOLY ©: America’s World War II: We’re All In This Together Edition is a World War II-themed twist on the classic game MONOPOLY ©. Instead of the traditional properties, the game features major events and battles such as Pearl Harbor, D-Day Normandy and Battle of the Bulge. The railroads are replaced with WWII supply lines. The money is war bonds. Instead of houses and hotels, the player builds camps and headquarters. The game includes six custom tokens: B-17 Bomber, Combat Boots, Cathedral Radio, LCVP (landing craft), Sherman Tank and American Helmet. MONOPOLY ©: America’s World War II: We’re All In This Together Edition debuted in October 2012. A major focus of The National WWII Museum is to present the story of WWII in a way that it is understandable and relatable to younger generations. MONOPOLY ©: America’s World War II: We’re All In This Together Edition was inspired by a project conceived by a local ninth grade teacher to help his class understand World War II Director of Retail Services and MSA member Chris Michel decked out
HONOR! COURAGE! VICTORY! Honor the brave men and women who faced the global spread of tyranny when you play America’s World War II: We’re All In This Together, a World War II Edition of America’s favorite game, MONOPOLY ©! Wheel and deal World War II events such as Pearl Harbor, D-Day Normandy and Battle of the Bulge in an effort to own these momentous pieces of history. Build support and rally the troops as you establish camps and headquarters on your way to victory! Founded by historian and author Stephen E. Ambrose, The National WWII Museum tells the story of the American experience in the war that changed the world—why it was fought, how it was won and what it means today—so that all generations will understand the price of freedom and be inspired by what they learn. In 2003, Congress officially designated it as America’s National WWII Museum.
as Mr. MONOPOLY ©. M U S E U M S TO R E
before their museum field trip. Appealing to all ages, it is both fun for families to play together and an educational tool. The game starts the conversation about World War II. We hope that the facts, images and stories conveyed by our MONOPOLY © will entice many students to explore World War II history in depth.
Budgets, Goals and Sales
The museum did not have a budget for this project, so the retail department requested approval to exceed our onhand inventory budget and was given six months to recoup the initial investment of $90,000 for development and purchase of an initial 5,000 games. We achieved the goals for recouping the investment within the mandated six months. Unit sales, revenue and gross profit projections for the first quarter, the first year and the life of the product went far beyond the museum’s already aggressive projections, making an additional 5,000-game purchase necessary in order to meet demand. In addition to direct-to-consumer on-site sales, games were sold by the museum’s newly-created wholesale department, as well as our online store serving as a catalyst for unprecedented growth in both businesses. Strong sales continue, indicating that this product will be viable for many years to come.
Engaging the Community and the Museum Team
MONOPOLY ©: America’s World War II: We’re All In This Together Edition was developed in cooperation with vendors USAopoly and Hasbro. It was a collaboration between the education, curatorial and retail departments with ongoing support from marketing and research. The events department notified retail about a teacher who requested a meeting to discuss a product idea. The teacher presented his class’s WWII MONOPOLY © project, inspiring the retail director to investigate the financial and operational needs required to develop a product of this magnitude. Education and research staff went to great lengths to vet the facts and ensure that the game would not only be engaging and entertaining, but also historically accurate. Ultimately, every department played a part. This project would not have been a success without interdepartmental cooperation.
Marketing the Final Product
Because so many departments within the museum were involved in product development, the marketing team was encouraged to create a major launch event. Recognizing that media interest in a retail product would be minimal, retail suggested that the focus of marketing should be on the educational content. Because schools, students and education are much more newsworthy than retail, the media showed great interest.
Specifics of the marketing plan included the development of a microsite, www.americasww2game.com, provides media and consumers a detailed explanation of the game. The site was launched well in advance of the scheduled release date.
Media event with high school students engaged in game play.
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The marketing team generated and distributed press releases at the local, regional and national level. The museum sent personal letters and sample games to 18 national reporters, including Tom Brokaw and Diane Sawyer. Print collateral included a brochure that could be used for everything from bag stuffers to event handouts. A postcard was mailed to a specific target audience of non-members. The president of The National WWII Museum sent a personal letter to museum members announcing the game and asking for support. The museum placed a full page ad in WWII Magazine just in time for Christmas sales. Prior to production, marketing initiatives solicited pre-sales, offering a discount for pre-orders.
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An on-site launch event included the teacher and class who inspired the game and media was invited to attend. The kids were invited to play the game in a public area, generating interest from guests. For staff there was an after-hours MONOPOLY ÂŠ night including food, beverages and game playing, with the winner at each table winning the game. This event ensured that all staff knew about the game and could share with guests.
More On Product Development
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Because the game was licensed by Hasbro and USAopoly, an informational how-to sheet for retailers, catalogers and web designers was created to preserve the license and address the protection of intellectual property through the enforcement of trademarks. The sheet included the correct title of the game, the exact description, a statement about art and logo use and a contact for approved use of the images, name and text. Collaboration across departments creates new relationships, builds confidence between departments and helps others in the institution understand how the museum store truly supports the mission of the museum. By proactively developing an idea inspired by a local school, the game became much more than a profitable, mission-based retail product that extends the guest experience. It demonstrates the power of coming together and acknowledging that everyone deserves a seat at the table. Itâ€™s all in the manner in which you position yourself within your institution. Bravo to the leadership and staff at The National WWII Museum for taking the risk. The reward was absolutely worth the hard work and dedication that went into this project.
M U S E U M S TO R E
Selecting An E-Commerce Solution Provider Museum retailers share their knowledge and self-education experiences in establishing and managing lucrative, cost-effective, scalable online stores. BY MARGE D. HANSEN
We needed a platform that we could trust to maintain good security practices. The website templates also needed to be easily tweaked so that we could better integrate the designs of the e-store with the museum’s website.”
he University of Alaska Museum of the North in Fairbanks began selling online in 2010. Now, four years later, the search is underway for a new e-commerce provider. So far, Dan David, manager of visitor services and retail operations, has reviewed Amazon Webstore, Shopify, Squarespace, Magento and WordPress. “I don’t have an ETA for the change yet, mostly because we have a small staff and our daily work doesn’t allow for the free time I need to really dive deep into the platforms. It’s a slow process, but I’m working through the options.” David is focused on finding an easy-to-handle Content Management System (CMS) that eliminates the need to know HTML coding. Must-haves include pre-built templates to allow for quick product build out, easy product/page tagging for search engine optimization (SEO) and a quick learning curve for staff. To accelerate his own education, David has studied a number of online videos. “I highly recommend watching everything you possibly can on YouTube. It’s a great source of information from regular people—not paid staff—who are using the system. Competition is fierce in the e-commerce world. I’m actively looking for a platform that’s a better fit for my current needs,” comments David. Ray McKenzie, assistant manager of retail operations at the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, is in the build/launch phase of the museum’s online retail program. Based on interviews with other museums, he investigated Magento, Yahoo, GoDaddy, Wix and Amazon. McKenzie also engaged stakeholders in the Asian Art’s finance, IT, marketing and creative services departments to better understand their concerns. “We needed a platform that we could trust to maintain good security practices. The website templates also needed to be easily tweaked so that we could better integrate the designs of the e-store with the museum’s website,” he explains. “We want to offer a seamless visitor experience online, as much as we strive to in the museum itself. It is really jarring to have a big visual disparity when going from one page to the next.” Testing each platform to determine easy access, customer service response and page design flexibility, McKenzie was able to cull several companies from his list M U S E U M S TO R E
that didn’t meet his requirements. For example, though highly recommended by their POS system provider, McKenzie found Magento just wasn’t a good match. “It is really built for large retail programs, and their customer service wasn’t aimed for those of us with few skills and even fewer resources to pay for those skills,” he observes. His final choice: Shopify. “I think the ease of use will save the museum store a lot of payroll and outside consultants. The expenses of the site and payment gateways are comparable to the other vendors,” McKenzie says. The plan is to populate twothirds of the site with core merchandise that features branded products, bestsellers and key categories. The remaining one-third will change to reflect current exhibitions. “We will also offer e-store specific product to drive traffic online.”
Ellie Spresser, assistant buyer for the shop at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, inherited Shopify, which had been up and running for about two years when she came on staff in October 2013. Spresser finds it easy to use, but some aspects are more challenging than others. That’s where the benefit of an attentive, knowledgeable back-up team comes into play. “I’ve learned everything by trial and error and with help from the Shopify support gurus. When you want to nerd out on something, there is customer support via e-mail, chat or phone, so tackling bigger projects is approachable,” she says. Spresser recently created a provision for shoppers to add member numbers to their orders, which appears to have helped resolve member discount issues and has made order processing easier. In a perfect world all would flow seamlessly. Legacy systems, however, can present difficulties, as in Spresser’s case. The store’s Microsoft Dynamics Retail Management System (RMS) inventory doesn’t synch with the Shopify inventory. Spresser has devised her own discrepancy detection fix. “We ring each online sale on a house register to take it out of inventory. Then if we sell out of something in the physical shop, I go in and manually adjust the product on Shopify. It can be a tedious process,” she admits, noting that markdowns also require an adjustment so web prices reflect in-store prices. “Thankfully, Shopify and our RMS both export to Excel. I now have a massive Web Shop Inventory Re-Cap form that I use to reconcile any discrepancies.”
Dan David of the University of Alaska Museum of the North.
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For the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles, direct synchronization with its POS system was central to choosing UniteU. “If a customer is able to purchase an item online, we know we have it in stock,” notes Sarah Goldbaum, Skirball’s special projects coordinator. “We also don’t need to make any separate updates when it comes to sale item prices or updating new minimum advertised prices (MAPs) from our manufacturers.
BEST ADVICE Before, During and After Implementation “Take your time in researching which option is best. Don’t just go with the first one. Test out different platforms by spending some time building and experimenting.” Ray McKenzie Asian Art Museum of San Francisco
“These different platforms all have pros and cons. Most of the platforms I’m looking at offer a free trial period, so all you need is the time to stumble around. Even if you just watch two videos this week, you’ll be that much closer to jumping into the online retail world. Start selling today with ten products if that’s all you have ready to go. Keep adding products as time allows.” Dan David University of Alaska Museum of the North
“Keep in mind that like managing employees and visual merchandising, there are things to manage when thinking about your Web shop. I make sure that I set aside a little bit of time each week to keep things fresh, and I have a list of projects to work on if I ever have any downtime.” Ellie Spresser High Museum of Art, Atlanta
Barcode information and book ISBNs automatically get uploaded for each item, which is a great SEO benefit. The other great advantage of UniteU is that they maintain PCI Security Standards Council compliance.” Goldbaum counts “client-facing project managers that are able to work with clients who are less technologically inclined” an important underpinning of the service. “I come from a web project management background, so I know how hard it can be to translate from IT-speak into something a layperson would understand. UniteU definitely makes my job easier because they understand both the retail terms and the tech terms.” The John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston also uses UniteU. Similarly, when the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Automobile Museum, located in Auburn, Ind., launched its online store in 2009, the museum decided to employ the e-commerce solution offered by Counterpoint, which had been in use in its museum shop since 2005. Key considerations were security and customer care features. “The staff prides itself on the spectacular customer service it can provide in-person. As the museum transitioned into offering an online store, we worried about how this spotless customer service could continue,” comments Karen Grogg, museum store product manager/developer, who particularly values Counterpoint’s features like the automatic notifications emailed to customers when orders are shipped that also provide tracking numbers. In addition to ease of use, Grogg appreciates that both customer and museum information are safe. Hillwood Estate, Museum & Gardens in Washington, D.C., has been utilizing “employee-friendly” TAM Retail, which was integrated into Hillwood’s existing system a few years ago. There is a possibility that in the future, the online store could use TAM, too. Lauren Chapin Salazar, head of merchandising, likes the online options and open-to-buy features, as well as multiple-location capability. TAM also offers the museum growth potential to keep pace with changes as they are implemented.
One Size Does Not Fit All
From turnkey to complete customization, online museum stores require services as varied and unique as each institution. The e-commerce search and discovery mission is an interactive proposition that demands familiarity with terms and tools like bandwidth, storage space, user guides, fraud protection and customer-centric features that optimize the way shoppers can view products. Defining priorities and understanding what’s included in a fee versus added costs is critical to the success of the venture. “I feel that what we’re really paying for is peace of mind for our store operations staff and our IT department,” says Goldbaum. “That’s where the real value lies.”
DUE DILIGENCE Assess your needs and explore. Here is a baker’s dozen of e-commerce providers that can help you set up, maintain and grow your online operation. 1] Shopify shopify.com 2] UniteU uniteu.com 3] Volusion volusion.com 4] Bigcommerce bigcommerce.com 5] Retail Dimensions retaildimensions.com 6] TAM Retail tamretail.com 7] Amazon Webstore webstore.amazon.com 8] Squarespace squarespace.com 9] Magento magento.com 10] Counterpoint ncrretailonline.com 11] GoDaddy godaddy.com 12] WordPress wordpress.org/plugins/wp-ecommerce 13] Wix wix.com
Marge D. Hansen is a freelance writer based in Broomfield, Colo. She recently wrote “Social Entrepreneurship A Movement that Matches the Mission,” which appeared in the Fall 2013 issue. M U S E U M S TO R E
M U S E U M S TO R E
2014 CONFERENCE RECAP
What Did We Learn in Houston? Enough to Fill the Lone Star State BY KATHY CISAR
The museum store mirrors the basic impulse that drove us to create museums in the first place— to create memories.”
If you attended MSA 2014 alongside your peers, then you know just how valuable everyone found the educational programs, speakers and networking opportunities. Here is just one of many positive comments from a conference attendee: “I came primarily for the classes that were offered. They provided me with a plethora of information that I am using right now in my job duties. It was great to be able to chat face-toface regarding questions that I have had about museum retailing with other professionals and to brainstorm solutions.” Whether you were able to join your colleagues in Houston or not, here are some educational highlights from this year’s event.
Throw Your Assumptions Out the Window
“The museum store mirrors the basic impulse that drove us to create museums in the first place—to create memories,” said Elizabeth Merritt, American Alliance of Museums/Center for the Future of Museums in her opening keynote address, Integrating the Museum Experience. An avid supporter of nonprofit retail, Elizabeth then proceeded to blow the minds of everyone in the audience by discussing four assumptions about museum stores—and then throwing those preconceived notions out the window. • Museum stores choose what to stock and sell. Right? Not necessarily. What about print-on-demand and 3-D printing? Customers can now choose what they want to buy. • Museum stores only deal in tangible objects. Not so. In the future, museum stores might vend data, and data is very valuable.
1) MSA members networked at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. 2) MSA members visited the Contemporary Art Museum, Houston. 3) MSA Vendor Liaisons open the expo with a ribbon cutting.
• Museum stores transfer ownership. But we now live in a “sharing economy” and museum stores can facilitate this by renting a product, such as artwork, to a customer to “try out.” • Museum stores only transact with money. False. In the future, museum stores might allow customers to pay with a certain number of tweets or contact information. Data is the new profit center. M U S E U M S TO R E
2014 CONFERENCE RECAP
Pull Up a Chair and Get to Work
As a nonprofit retail professional, do you find you are always relegated to the kid’s table at department meetings? Want to learn how to score a seat at the big table? During One Big Museum: Making Yourself a Seat at the Table, attendees learned these tips: • The museum organizational chart is an important tool. Find out who can help you achieve your goals. You can’t work together if you don’t know who to work with. • One of the most important boxes on the organizational chart is the one marked “vacant.” The new person who comes in will have no preconceived notions, and they won’t have a full deskload of work piling up. • Define your store’s mission statement and strategic plan to use as a guide in all you do. • Cooperation is a two-sided coin: you can’t expect other departments to help you if you are not willing to help them. • Always let others take some—or even all—of the credit. • Create an atmosphere of healthy tension and big thinking.
Crowdsource Your Way to Product Development
Developing custom products can be a daunting task. But when you get your customers involved, you can’t go wrong.
The session Product Development: Watch it Live! offered some simple tips to make things easier: • How do you know which are the best images to use on your custom products? Check your postcard sales and find out which ones are bestsellers. • Not sure where to begin? Start with magnets. Choose six images from your collection or building. Then let your customers decide what their favorite image is. Develop your product line from the winner.
Speaking the Same Language
Tracy Cude, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, offered these words of advice in her session Aligning the Museum Store and CFO Office: Keep It Simple, Stupid (KISS), and get really familiar and comfortable with some Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for your store. She explained, “CFOs like pictures and diagrams to explain things…doesn’t everyone?” Tracy suggested focusing on a few basic KPIs to help clarify some store concepts for your CFO, as well as to align your goals with the institution’s and show accountability. Not sure what a KPI is or what’s important? At the bare minimum, you should track attendance, capture rate and average sale. Attendance goals drive marketing, so make sure your store has that information, or try to project it yourself.
Tired of Saying No to Kids? Then Say Yes!
There’s no reason to treat kids in the museum store like second-class citizens. After all, they have money burning a hole in their pockets just like the rest of us. A panel discussion during More Than a $1: Benefits of Engaging With Kids in Museum Stores explored the challenges—and opportunities—of having children and large school groups visiting the store. Here are some of their words of wisdom: • Engage with kids and show them how a game or toy works, or how to handle a more delicate item. Otherwise they stop touching, learning and buying. • Instead of “don’t touch” signage, use language that says “Please Let Me Show This to You!” • Price smaller items that add up to an even amount, like $1 or $3, and have pre-printed receipts ready. • Have a chaperone and/or volunteer help kids in line get their money together. • Be sure the store volunteer on duty during school group events actually likes children. Members from the Northwest Chapter gathered together at the opening reception.
• Open up the store floor plan with a designated kid’s zone. • Always thank kids and make sure you invite them back.
M U S E U M S TO R E
2014 CONFERENCE RECAP
Facebook and Pinterest are two of the most powerful social media outlets for retailers. And one of the best features is that these platforms don’t cost a dime! You don’t need to be a tween or 20-something to excel at social media. Spread your wings and try something new! Remember, your social media accounts are, in fact, stores—treat them as such! Here’s what we learned in I’m a Fan of Following: Facebook & Pinterest Optimization: • Change your profile page—it’s your store window. • New posts are like new merchandise. • Talk to your fans like your customers. • Keep normal business hours.
Take the Lead
Do you want to be seen and respected as a leader at your institution, but no matter how hard you try, the museum store is always viewed as the stepchild of your organization? Try out some of these words of advice from one of this year’s discussion groups on leadership: • At museum functions with the board, trustees and senior management, always make sure to sit down next to a stranger. It might not be easy, but social engagement will get you further along in your leadership role at your museum. • Always offer to help out whenever possible, whatever the project. It shows you’re a team player. If you missed Houston and want to learn more, don’t forget that you can purchase video recordings of most of the 2014 sessions. Contact MSA or visit museumstoreassociation.org for details. M U S E U M S TO R E
updates from the MSA community
Howard Thornton to Buyer, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco.
Lawrence A. Singer to Store Manager, Vizcaya Museum Café & Gift Shop, Miami. Kristie Frieze to Executive Director, Wycliffe Discovery Center, Orlando.
Heather Groff to Museum Shop Manager, Chazen Museum of Art, Madison, Wis. Jessica Whiteman to Inventory Coordinator, The Barnes Foundation, Philadelphia.
Ilana Stollman to Manager of Retail Operations, New York Transit Museum, New York City. Hope Van Winkle to Director of Merchandising, Metropolitan Opera, New York City. Jeannie Humphrey to Park Store Manager, Texas State Parks, Tyler, Texas. Lucy Villamar to Museum Store Curator, Museo Amparo, Mexico.
M U S E U M S TO R E
Leslie Hartman retired from Sauder Village in Archbold, Ohio after serving 17 years as the retail manager. Hartman also served as MSA board president from 2010–2011. Hartman reflected on her time in the nonprofit retail field,”It was the third buying/management job in my retail career. I’ve loved all my experiences in retail and have found the museum community extraordinarily fulfilling in embracing the needs of nonprofit locations. MSA staff and members are the best group of professionals that I have had the pleasure of working with. The guests at our venues are the most rewarding customers in retail. I’m grateful for the opportunity to continue in the community as an emeritus member.”
Mary Ann Keane retired from the Orlando Museum of Art after serving more than ten years as the store manager. She also served as a Florida Chapter MSA officer for the last two years. MSA wants to keep you up to date with your community. Let us know about changes in your life or the lives of your colleagues. Send a notice to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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M U S E U M S TO R E
Just for Vendors
building relationships that last We consider ourselves partners with museums. While we are makers of products, we are first and foremost a service company.”
useum Store Products was awarded the title MSA Vendor of the Year at the 2014 MSA Retail Conference & Expo. This new award celebrates vendors that contribute to the MSA community through activities such as member collaborations, broad-based support through sponsorships and supporting the nonprofit retail industry. What makes Museum Store Products the MSA Vendor of the Year? What do they provide that makes them stand out above the rest? We spoke with Wood Huntley, owner and operator of the company to find out more.
What is the customer service philosophy of Museum Store Products? We consider ourselves partners with museums. While we are makers of products, we are first and foremost a service company. Additionally, we pride ourselves on providing quick turnaround, especially for temporary exhibits, of our Made in America products. We are also firmly dedicated to helping museum stores fulfill their primary mission of education by providing image and general museum information on every product.
What makes Museum Store Products unique? We provide a variety of custom products that are short run. My mantra is “shallow breadth.” We tell a story using multiple images—or just one if the situation dictates—over a range of products ordered in small quantities. We feel it is important to let the customer decide what’s popular. Mistakes could be made when choosing an image for product development, so limiting the choice to only one image may result in a true test of consumer reaction to your product development program.
How long have you been in business? To what do you attribute this longevity? Museum Store Products has been doing business with museum stores for 28 years. We feel that our commitment to service and to short runs with lower priced items has helped build solid relationships with our clients.
What have been your biggest successes over the years? Why do you think these projects have been successful? I think our greatest success has been in enabling museums to be well stocked during temporary exhibits by receiving reorders within one or two days of the order. This lets museums order based on customer buying preferences. Many museums tell us that by the end of the exhibit they are sold out, but they are able to keep the most popular items well-stocked until the very end.
What has been your biggest challenge and how have you overcome it? Inventory control. We have learned how to adjust for the needs of museums. We do a complete inventory of component parts twice a week. We have worked hard
M U S E U M S TO R E
Just for Vendors
MSA Executive Director/CEO Jama Rice with Wood Huntley of Museum Store Products at the 2014 MSA Retail Conference & Expo in Houston.
to strike a balance between having the inventory to fill an order, without carrying too much to affect the bottom line.
What words of advice do you have for vendors new to the nonprofit retail industry? • Be willing to start small. • Give clients the leeway to experiment and determine what really works for them. • Do what it takes to ensure that today’s customers will be there in 20 years and beyond. Give them the flexibility to be able to buy as they need and not be stuck with items and images that have not done well for them.
What does MSA provide to your business that you can’t find anywhere else? The loyalty of the customer. Museum stores don’t order unless they can pay their bills. In 28 years, I have experienced less than $4,000 in non-payments. Our museum customers are intelligent buyers. They like what they do. I work with extraordinary customers exploring interesting topics in their museums. People ask me when I will retire. Why would I want to retire? I look forward to Mondays. Working with museums is the best form of retirement. M U S E U M S TO R E
professional confession BY KRISTEN YEAGER
IN A TIME WHEN MORE AND MORE museum stores are closing, Maureen Baughman is lucky to be able to tell people that her store at the Calvert Marine Museum in Solomon, Md. will be expanding. After creating a master plan in 2008 and spending ample amounts of time and money on this project, Baughman would tell you this expansion has nothing to do with luck and everything to do with a great staff, amazing volunteers and the willingness to work hard. In 2008 with a master plan in place, Baughman came across her first hurdle. “The initial bid for the contract came in high, which forced us to scale back and reschedule the entire renovation in two phases. The store was moved to the second phase with the caveat that the infrastructure would be put in place to make the future expansion possible.” However, when the first phase of the construction was in the works, one of her previous volunteers came to the rescue. “In November, after the renovation of the museum had begun, we received word that a dear friend and former store volunteer had left a bequest in her will for the store renovation. This was the catalyst for putting a new version of the expanded store back into phase one.” Baughman used this money and also launched a campaign that raised $22,000 to fund furnishings for the store’s expansion. Although there wasn’t quite enough to fund the vision she has for the store, Baughman states,“As money becomes available, we will add new pieces.” Her determination and positive outlook kept this museum store out of the endangered category, but she will tell you that she didn’t do it alone. The new store at the Calvert Marine Museum in Solomon, Md.
M U S E U M S TO R E
“I think that there are three main differences between a successful store and one that closes,” says Baughman when asked why her store has been so successful. She went on to explain the key elements in maintaining a successful museum store.
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The most important difference is great staff and volunteers窶馬ot just people who come in and do their job but people who genuinely care, who make the store a fun place to be and who provide superior hospitality to every single person who walks through our door, from the delivery man to fellow staff to our visitors. A successful store must have thoughtfully selected missionrelated merchandise that is creatively displayed, constantly refreshed and clean. Keep your customers coming back with regular introductions of new merchandise! Finally, you must have the support of the community, which includes museum staff and volunteers, members and visitors. By working hard to attract and keep a following of loyal shoppers the museum store can become a gift destination for birthdays, weddings and other occasions. This helps you enjoy good sales even when museum visitation is low. Although the store was closed for four months during the renovation, the reopening that took place in May was worth every second of hard work put in by Baughman, the volunteers and the staff. A warm, welcoming environment can now be found in the newly expanded museum store with constantly changing merchandise that will keep visitors coming back for more.
M U S E U M S TO R E
release your inner nerd BY ANDREA MILLER
Did you attend the closing keynote in Houston? Want more of Beth? You are in luck! Beth will be in Hartford at the 2015 MSA Retail Conference & Expo to faciltate a workshop for museum store professionals called So You Think You Can App? In the meantime, learn a few new tools and tricks in Beth’s book, Release Your Inner Nerd. It’s time to release your inner nerd to embrace technology and discover which apps and programs will help you become more productive, creative and awesome. For the first time ever, nerds are sought after and celebrated for their expertise. Author and professional speaker Beth Ziesenis, Your Nerdy
Best Friend, shares hundreds of her favorite apps, websites and software that will transform you into the nerd at home and in the office. Learn how to get more from technology you already own with the 450+ free and bargain tech tools inside Release Your Inner Nerd while you dazzle your family and co-workers with the latest in technology. Release Your Inner Nerd is published by Your Nerdy Best Friend Ink and is available on amazon.com.
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M U S E U M S TO R E
AUG 16-20 -
J AV I T S C E N T E R + P I E R 9 4 , N E W YO R K
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This issue of Museum Store Magazine contains the MSA Annual Report and articles related to financial management, store operations and strate...
Published on Jul 10, 2014
This issue of Museum Store Magazine contains the MSA Annual Report and articles related to financial management, store operations and strate...