The Stationers Guild

Archive for January, 2014

Forgetting Nostalgia

Thursday, January 30th, 2014

Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree 1931
I recently came across this delightful image of the first Christmas Tree displayed in Rockefeller Center in 1931. Mind you, this somewhat forlorn Christmas tree pales by comparison to the behemoth firs that grace Rockefeller Center today, but oddly it seems more relevant .

Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree 2013

I vaguely recall “the Lighting” this year, but it seemed to have as much spiritual significance as a Super Bowl concert. I tuned in to NBC to see the shape of the tree rather than listen to Mariah Carey or Kelly Clarkson regurgitate their own spins on Christmas classics.

Indeed, the rather gritty tree ceremony in 1931 – at the peak of the Great Depression – seems more in keeping with the spirit of the celebration than today’s sound and light extravaganza.

Before you write me off as a luddite (I own a cell phone, but prefer to leave it at home), I do like the distraction of fast-food entertainment which keeps me and many others from reflection.     I don’t think Joseph and Mary – let alone Jesus – would have approved of this December’s celebration anymore than the laborers who toiled to raise that first Christmas tree in Rockefeller Center.

As we enter 2014, I long to feel and touch “real paper” and celebrate great designs and printing.  I prefer to talk to the artisans that make these great papers  rather than attend online webinars or talk to people in fulfillment centers that have little notion of the craftsmanship that goes into making fine stationery.

Pedalling ever-faster on that great bicycle of progress is causing me to forget those nostalgic moments when this world seemed to make more sense.

Richard May

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Stationersguild x DressLands Elegant Bodycon Dress

Sunday, January 26th, 2014

Stationersguild x DressLands Elegant Bodycon Dress – Gold Sequins/ Chiffon panel

This stationersguild x Dresslands elegant bodycon dress is suitable to wear for summertime after 5 occasions that call for a dressy, sophisticated look. The upper portion of the fitted bodice is graced with a sheer chiffon panel that is carefully hemmed on all edges. Because the fabric is sheer, the hems serve the purpose of pristine decorative trim. Gold sequins form a bustier profile beneath the chiffon panel. This portion of the dress has an irregular bottom edge that extends below the waistline in decorative points, finally culminating into short and long vertical stripes of gold over the ivory skirt portion of the dress. The skirt portion is short, ending at the mid thigh. There is a chiffon overlay that ends beyond the length of the opaque under layer of the dress. This dress has long, sheer chiffon sleeves. It zips in the back and is easy to put on and take off. We are offering this stationersguild x www.dresslands.com dress in sizes Small, Medium and Large.

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Getting Social the Easy Way

Saturday, January 18th, 2014

Many stationers I meet complain that their clients have deserted them for the convenience of the Internet.  When I  ask how they are marketing their bricks-and-mortar store on Twitter, Facebook or Pinterest, they stare at me as if I were some sort of Poltergeist up to no good.   Indeed, many stationery store owners are reluctant to dive into the online social media scene which appears to be destroying their business.

Presumably, these stationers are more comfortable spending several hundred dollars a year in Yellow Pages advertising because “this is what we have always done” even though no one reads the Yellow Pages anymore.

It may seem surprising, but I have little interest in trolling for friends in social media channels.  In fact, I hate it.  Nevertheless, establishing a credible online social media presence is CRITICAL TO THE SURVIVAL OF A SMALL BUSINESS!

Mind you, I no longer care to harp about this much more, but EVERY STATIONERY STORE OWNER should have the following online marketing channels:

  • a website (you can build one for FREE with WordPress)
  • a Twitter account (also FREE)
  • a Facebook Page (also FREE)
  • a Pinterest account (also FREE)
  • a LinkedIn account if you intend to connect with other industry experts (also FREE) and, most importantly,
  • a Google+ account (requires a Google email account but is FREE)!

Now you can hire someone to set these accounts up for you on Fiverr.com for pocket change, but I would probably invest a long weekend with your daughter and/or son and try and do it yourself.

Now many stationery store owners have already established these accounts, but are simply unable or unwilling to put in the necessary effort (about 30 minutes a day) to help promote their business.  I feel your pain, since it isn’t much fun.  In fact, at times it can be quite frustrating and boring, particularly making silly comments on your social media accounts.  If cyber engagement is beneath your level of tolerance for the inane,  you can hire someone in the Philippines to do it for a song at ODesk.com.

Now, I have discovered one tool called EMPIRE AVENUE which is more like a game to help market your business and give you insights into what serious online marketing people are doing to promote their activities.  It is also FREE (with some paid upgrades) but rather painless to use and easily allows you to track your “social marketing” skills and acquire a lot of knowledge of what others are doing.   I just started tinkering around with EMPIRE AVENUE in December and have learned “buckets” in a very compelling and engaging way.

Give it a go!

Richard W. May
Founding Member Stationers Guild

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