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JULY 2016 Trends NETWORK NEWS No holiday is complete without seasonally appropriate kitchen towels. The assorted cream and burlap Halloween towels from K&K Interiors (10%) is just the thing to start a tradition. Happy Haunting! $4.50 (877) 647-0111 www.kkinteriors.com Have more fun in the kitchen with Potluck Press’ (10%) traditional flour sack towels! The line features a wide array of designs, from the sophisticated to the whimsical. Made of 100% Egyptian cotton and generously sized, 28” x 30”. $5.00 (877) 818-5500 www.potluckpress.com With the LOL Made You Smile towels from Primitives by Kathy (10%), choose from dozens of designs to create a customized assortment that fits just right in your store. The artful, whimsical, and fun kitchen towels are made of 100% cotton. $4.00 (866) 295-2849 www.primitivesbykathy.com Celebrate the Christmas season with cotton embroidered tea towels featuring holiday phrases in four unique designs from Creative Co-Op, Inc. (10%) Measuring in at 28” x 18”, these towels are perfect for your Secret Santa! $4.00 (866) 323-2264 www.creativecoop.com The Turkish paisley and red medallion set of two decorative tea towels is a new introduction from Midwest - CBK, LLC (10%). The whimsical and eyecatching set make them a terrific hostess gift. Made from cotton. $7.00 (800) 394-4225 www.mwcbk.com Even if you don’t use the delicious pie recipes printed right on the towels from Dennis East Int’l (DEI - 10%), you will love the homespun look of the cotton dishtowels. The two assorted designs feature pumpkin or apple pie. Brighten up dish duty! $3.00 (800) 430-5665 www.deidirect.com published monthly by retail advantage group Merry Christmas Y’all tea towel from burton + BURTON (5%). This linen tea towel features a burlap gathered Christmas tree and Merry Christmas Y’all embroidered message. Linen, wood buttons. Set of 4/$29.99 (800) 241-2094 www.burtonandburton.com in T e x t i l e s This collection of creatively designed kitchen towels are ideal for house warming, hostess, birthday, and thank you gifts. Display these towels along with baskets, a set of beautiful dishes or with decorative hooks for cross merchandising ideas that inspire. trends savings gift shop Farm To Table cotton dishtowels are cleverly ensconced in a fruit crate shaped berry bowl. The gift sets, from Two’s Company (10%), are available in three designs: Feeling Good Tomatoes, Lettuce Eat, and You Look Radishing. $7.50 (800) 896-7266 www.twoscompany.com introducing s Create your style with DaVinci Inspirations from Center Court (10% ex displays). Personalize stackable bangle bracelets, necklaces, or traditional link bracelets with petite, collectible charms. Great mark-up, low-investment. $2.50 - $5.00 (574) 2738985 www.centercourtdirect.com True Brands 10% Discount (800) 750-8783 www.truebrands.com Opening $0 Reorder $0 True Brands is the leading designer and supplier of beverage lifestyle accessories worldwide. From their headquarters in Seattle, WA, they offer the best on-trend products, branding and prices on the market. The multi-brand strategy offers something for every customer, whether it’s an innovative bar tool or quirky animal corkscrew. Fresh ...a curated feature unveiling on-trend products For Arts Sake Greetings & Carol Wilson (10%) “Style-lets” notebooks feature a floral theme with 224 lined pages. Display included with 12 designs, 4 pieces per design for a total of 48. Pre-pack $167.52 (800) 689-5270 www.forartsakeusa.com HABA USA (10%) has curated a collection of toys that fall into the STEM category (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math education). Farming Around includes 22 wooden shapes and even a set of instructions for game play ideas. $20.00 (800) 468-6873 www.habausa.com Invite God’s presence into the coming days with this beautiful 2017 weekly planner from Harvest House Publishers (10%). The pages are graced with verses from the book of Psalms and charming illustrations from artist Michal Sparks. SRP $14.99 (888) 501-0160 www.harvesthousepublishers.com These adorable panda leggings and matching shirt are from Doodle Pants (10%). This is a wild collection offering a great selection of best sellers, including the pink and blue elephant, butterfly and sloth styles. Leggings $9.50 Shirt $9.00 (562) 682-2999 www. doodlepants.com Introducing Coco; Organic Tagua Jewelry’s (10%) 20” necklace is unique like no other, handmade from recycled Coconut Shell, Acai Berries, and Tagua Nut. Complete the look with matching earrings. Necklace $16.95 Earrings $3.99 (772) 266-8712 www.organictaguajewelry. com Don’t Hire Warm Bodies! by Anne Obarski, Merchandise Concepts I have often been asked, “I am a small store owner, how do I compete with the big stores for great employees?” Here’s my answer. First, great employees are not born they are developed in a business atmosphere where training is stressed, individuality is encouraged and personalities are respected. Word travels about the work environment in all sizes of stores. The key to recruiting quality employees is promoting and possessing a positive work environment no matter how large or small you are. A Family Affair Heart of the Family from Center Court (10%) charm necklaces offer everything near and dear to your heart. Display program features three necklace styles and an assortment of charms to represent family, faith, furry friends and more. Free display with Starter Package. $775.00 (574) 2738985 www.centercourtdirect.com Cr e at i v ely R ecru it Employ ees Focus on specific employment needs and develop specific job titles and descriptions for each of those positions. These criteria will be beneficial in matching an employee to a specific position. Later, in the review process, these same criteria can be used to measure accountability. This also is the groundwork for your advertising. Write several different help-wanted ads that can be positioned in various media. Be specific in your requirements. “What personality characteristics do I want and what amount of experience am I looking for?” Do I want “rookies” that will need a lot of training, or am I looking for seasoned veterans that come with valuable retail experience. The distressed white weathered framed wall art with delightful sayings for grandparent’s home by The Grandparent Gift Co. Inc. (10%). Rope for hanging and unbreakable Plexiglas front. Made in USA. $12.50 (770) 619-3167 www.grandparentgiftco.com Go back to your list of criteria and decide what the “have to have” items are and those that would be “great to have”. Example, ”Seeking associate with strong sales record and must have managerial experience.” It is obvious that the candidate must have a sales and managerial background. Compete with large stores by attracting new employees through creative advertising. The ad must reflect the positive aspects of working for your company. Something should spark their curiosity to respond to the ad. “Specialty store seeking a highly motivated person to join our creative sales team. Fun atmosphere and great benefits.” One or more of the descriptive words must catch their attention to make them want to respond to the ad. Try unique ways to advertise. Recently, I saw this sign in a jewelry store window, “If you like looking at our merchandise, you’d love selling it. Inquire inside.” I had to hold myself back. The Fanatic Group’s (10%) 16 oz. Soft Touch Tumbler is a best seller! The double-walled, stainless steel tumbler is available in all colleges and high schools. The Mom & Dad gift set is just the thing for your next tail-gating event. $14.00 (732) 512-1777 www.thefanaticgroup.com H i r i n g a nd Int erv iewing On Purpose Did you know that most people spend more time with the people they work with than with their own family? As you interview, be conscious of personality traits that will be an asset or a possible hindrance to your team. Don’t be afraid to ask specific questions that the candidate must answer and take notes that you can refer to later. Within the interview, begin questions with the phrases, “Tell me about a specific time...” Or “Share some examples of..” or “Tell me about how you handled a difficult customer.” Look for concrete examples. If you are ever questioning the decision to hire someone, ask yourself, “Would I want this person working for my competition?” Po wer Tra ining Too often small stores overlook this important component of developing a strong retail team. I read recently that salespeople should see training as an ongoing process that will enhance their careers permanently and not just a quick fix. The cost of hiring and training a new employee can run almost 50% of the annual cost of the employee. Your incentive should be to train to retain. Don’t Hire Warm Bodies! continued on page 4 VENDOR UPDATES Due to a lack of orders, the following Vendors will no longer be extending a discount to Retail Advantage Group Member Stores: Kurtz Designs 5224 West State Road 46 #337 Sanford, Florida 32771 4 07.2 6 8 . 4 4 4 4 www.retailadvantagegroup.com Wanderlust… The Heartland Collection from Haute Jewelry Concepts (30%) features your favorite state on earrings, toggle bracelet or toggle necklace. A unique way to show off your hometown pride. $2.90 - $5.90 (844) 559-6626 www. hautejewelryconcepts.com Spirit of the Southwest, from Green Hill Productions (6.5% ex distributive titles), is an instrumental journey through the heart of the American Southwest. The instrumental styling carries you to spiritual bliss. $7.19 (800) 200-4656 www.greenhillproductions.com Mele & Co. (10%) has been “America’s Jewelry Box” since 1912. The brand represents history, tradition, craftsmanship and legacy. Keep your jewelry organized while you travel with the best-selling, Giana fabric jewelry box. $12.00 (800) 635-6353 www.melewholesale.com Escape to a tropical retreat at home! Let the scent of island flowers bloom while you cleanse, hydrate, and soften your skin with 30% Aloe Vera in Frangipani Bath and Shower Gel from Key West Aloe (10%). $3.00 - $8.00 (305) 521-0701 www.keywestaloe.com Don’t Hire Warm Bodies! continued from page 3 There are a number of great video training products that you can invest in for your employees. Invite guest speakers, send your associates to seminars, and develop a library in a break room with motivational and sales training tapes and videos they can borrow. Team development should be an on-going process and a good manager should be continually looking for ways to add to the learning process. Research has shown that money is not the number one motivational factor for employees. Regardless of what type of business, employees are looking to find a sense of belonging and where it is recognized that their work efforts make a difference in the company’s success. Practice, practice, practice! Reward , R e wa rd , a nd R e tai n Rewards do not always have to be monetary! Is that a surprise? It shouldn’t be. A good manager knows it is important to On the Go game books make the perfect travel toys for kids! From Melissa & Doug (5% ex Sunny Patch & Trunki), each of these fun-packed activity books is bound in a compact format with a sturdy back cover to support comfortable coloring. $2.50 (800) 284-3948 www.melissaanddoug.com Carson Home Accents (5%) revolutionary Dura Soft™ fabric is remarkably soft yet extremely durable and enhances the rich, vibrant colors of each design. FlagTrends messages are readable from both sides! $5.00 (800) 888-1918 www.carsonhomeaccents.com be a cheerleader as well as a coach. You can reward all of your team players by possessing winning characteristics yourself. Motivate your employees by allowing them to make suggestions, to take risks, to fail, to be challenged and to succeed all the while knowing that you have an open door policy. Radical thinking says that the customer never comes first, the employee does! If the employee is happy in their job, if they feel appreciated and if they respect the leadership of the store, they will give outstanding customer service because they enjoy what they are doing. Reward daily. A simple compliment, a written note, a public acknowledgement at a weekly meeting are all nonmonetary ways of compensating employees. Review their performance frequently, not always to add a raise, but to provide feedback for successes as well as for areas of improvement.