HOSPITAL GIFT SHOP MANAGERS
OCTOBER 23, 2019
Cindy’s Newsletter provides managers an opportunity to exchange success stories and share thoughts on industry hot topics. We report on breaking news, product trends, survey studies, business tips and other articles that give valuable insight into the market dynamics that affect hospital gift shops. There are over 3,000 hospital gift shop managers presently benefiting from the information in Cindy’s Newsletter.
JOIN THE DISCUSSION!
Submit a tip, hot seller, question, or answer to firstname.lastname@example.org. Include the # of beds in your posts. While we try to keep the content at a reasonably advanced level, we occasionally post items for folks newer to hospital gift shops.
State Auxiliary Conferences
February 17-19, 2020
The 2020 California Hospital Volunteer Leadership Conference, “Engineering Change. Inspiring Leadership.,” will take place February 17-19 at the Hyatt Regency Newport Beach.
Trade Shows & Gift Markets
Jan 8-14, 2020
Dallas Total Home & Gift Market (Winter). Dallas, TX
Jan 9-13, 2020
LA Mart 2020 Market (Winter) | Gift + Home. Los Angeles, CA
Jan 14-21, 2020
Atlanta International Gift & Home Furnishings Market (Winter). Atlanta, GA
Jan 15-18, 2020
Dallas Apparel & Accessories Market. Dallas, TX
Jan 26-30, 2020
Las Vegas Market (Winter). Las Vegas, NV
Send us your upcoming state conference and market dates!
Top Gift Markets: What to Know Before You Go
Gifts & Dec
Many gift shop retailers agree that visiting gift and housewares markets and industry trade shows is one of the only ways to stay ahead of the market. The challenge for busy retailers is deciding which shows and gift markets to attend to make the best use of limited time and funds. There are several huge markets throughout the year, plus a growing number of niche events, tailored to specific retail categories and interests from surfing to wellness, to jewelry or collectibles.
We chatted with a handful of gift industry professionals to find out which shows are a must, to help you make travel plans that will pay off for your shop. Read more Top Gift Markets: What to Know Before You Go…
2019 Holiday Forecast: Holiday Sales Will Grow Between 3.8 and 4.2 Percent
October 3, 2019
National Retail Federation
The National Retail Federation said it expects holiday retail sales during November and December to increase between 3.8 percent and 4.2 percent over 2018 to a total of between $727.9 billion and $730.7 billion. The numbers, which exclude automobile dealers, gasoline stations and restaurants, compare with an average holiday sales increase of 3.7 percent over the previous five years.
“The U.S. economy is continuing to grow and consumer spending is still the primary engine behind that growth,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said. “Nonetheless, there has clearly been a slowdown brought on by considerable uncertainty around issues including trade, interest rates, global risk factors and political rhetoric. Consumers are in good financial shape and retailers expect a strong holiday season. However, confidence could be eroded by continued deterioration of these and other variables.”
The effect of tariffs on holiday spending — either directly or through consumer confidence — remains to be seen. Some holiday merchandise — including apparel, footwear and televisions — is subject to new tariffs that took effect September 1, and other products will have the tariffs applied on December 15. Retailers are using a myriad of mitigation tactics to limit the impact on consumers, and the impact will ultimately vary by company and product. Small businesses, in particular, have already been forced to raise prices. Nonetheless, 79 percent of consumers surveyed for NRF in September were concerned that tariffs will cause prices to rise, potentially affecting their approach to shopping. Read more 2019 NRF forecasts holiday sales will grow between 3.8 and 4.2 percent…
Epitaph on a pessimist’s tombstone, “I expected this.”
Oct 31 Halloween
Nov 11 Veteran’s Dat
Nov 28 Thanksgiving
Nov 29 Black Friday
Nov 30 Small Business Saturday
Dec 22-30 Hannukah
Dec 25 Christmas
In a society that has become increasingly dependent on electronic communication, stationery products are now unique in the way that electronic communication was years ago. A handwritten note or gifted journal conveys a more thoughtful and personal connection than any e-mail or text, providing an often-welcomed respite from the constant tweets and beeps most people face daily.
So many card purchases are made when customers never intended on buying a card. “They see cards and it reminds them they need one. The majority of greeting card consumers are female. Appealing to her, and to a broader audience, is all about communicating how the overall offering in the card aisle will meet her needs. It is important to select cards that appeal to the majority of your customers. Merchandise directed at a large group of consumers provides the greatest potential sales.
Most hospital gift shops carry at least three card lines: an everyday card line and two additional ones. Your every-day, basic card line should be strong in Thinking of You, Friendship, Get Well, Wedding, Baby, Good Bye/Good Luck and Sympathy. Employees want cards for co-workers, such as: farewell, Bosses’ Day, congratulations (for new job or promotion), thank you, inspirational, and humorous cards. Also, African-American and Hispanic-American cards. Stick with the basics! You are not a full-line Hallmark card shop.
Card spinners are not terribly exciting. Wall displays that are well marked so customers are able to find the category of card they’re seeking perform better.
Carefully select additional card lines. They will spice up your over-all greeting card selection. Experiment with what works best with your customer. Continually monitor how the new lines perform. If a line is not turning fast, move it out and try another.
Hallmark to Close ‘Home and Gifts’ Division
October 15, 2019
Gifts & Dec
Kansas City, Mo.-based Hallmark Cards announced Monday afternoon that it would be closing one of its six businesses, Hallmark Home & Gifts, which offers home décor and gift products, including the brands Floor 9, Easy, Tiger and J.C. and Rollie.
The business will shut down by the end of the year, according to Andy DiOrio, Hallmark public relations and social media director. Hallmark administration said the change is due to its need to adapt and evolve in “an ever-changing retail industry.” Read more Hallmark to Close ‘Home and Gifts’ Division…
Gift Shop Manager
Houston Methodist Hospital, Houston, TX
Gift Shop Manager II
Maricopa Medical Center, Phoenix, AZ
Gift Shop Supervisor
Providence Medical Center, Kansas City, KS
Gift Shop Coordinator
Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, Cincinnati, OH
Assistant Gift Shop Mgr
LifePoint Hospitals, Gallatin, TN
You Need Heart!
To manage and successfully run a hospital gift shop takes an awful lot of heart. You have to have patience, be able to accept criticism and be willing to change certain things you thought you knew. But if you’ve got a passion for what you’re doing, a vision for how you want it to look and the means to persevere through trials and tribulations, well then, you’re on the right track.
The key to managing, surviving and thriving in a hospital gift shop environment is perseverance and the willingness to change to meet your customers ever-changing needs. Besides taking some risks, you must be diligent and open to alterations!
A great selling category is local items with your city or state imprinted.
by Cindy Jones, Editor
Years ago, I hit on the idea that there probably was something I could do for everyone I met, and it was my responsibility to find out what that ‘something’ was and to do it. To that end I found a simple rule to follow: “Do everything you can, for everyone you can, and do it before you need them.” Over the years I have tried hard to help my friends and clients in any way possible. It has been humbling to receive back their generosity and kindness.
Sometimes I have to pinch myself in gratitude for the opportunity to know and work with so many wonderful people in this wonderful hospital gift shop industry!
Warmies, a heatable plush and home therapy product. They are always adding new items to their line. 844-927-6437
Simply Pairables from Snoozie Slippers. They have added a lot of new items. Simply Pairables are now available in women’s and men’s sizes. 252-650-7000
SwirlyDo Hair Ties by Lindo. I carry them in the large and small and I have reordered several times. This is a great product to keep at the checkout counter. 206-973-2363
— Sally Begue, Gift Shop Manager, Akron Children’s Hospital, Akron, OH. 263 beds. 10/16/19
The Gathering of Friends series is a good cookbook. The photos in this book are fantastic, the recipes just wonderful, and they include a shopping list and place for guests to sign at each gathering. With the holidays coming up I highly recommend it! Cost is $12.50; I sell them for $29.95.
— Anonymous, please. 10/19/19
EMPLOYEE DISCOUNTS ON GIFT CARDS
Q. For those of you that are selling store gift cards (Amazon, Dunkin Donuts, etc.) are you excluding these from the employee discount? — Shawn L. Richardson Alice Peck Day Hospital Gift Tree Shop, Lebanon, NH. 10/12/19
GIFT BAG VENDOR
Q. I am looking for a new vendor for gift bags, besides Gift Wrap Company and Kelli’s. Any suggestions? Thank you.— Donna Sant, Carle Auxiliary Retail Mgr, Carle Hospital, Urbana IL.10/15/19
Q. I would like to know if any hospital gift shops here in Arizona or other states are currently selling CBD products? If so, what was your process to obtain approval from administration? Were there any barriers that you faced or guidelines that needed to be followed? If you were able to carry CBD products what company do you buy from and what products are you successful with? I appreciate any feedback or advice you may have. — Jenny Inglett, Retail Coordinator, Gift Shop, Corner Stork Café & Daily Grind, Yuma Regional Medical Center, Yuma, AZ. 8/8/19. +:It seems that CBD Oil is all the rage right now. I am wondering if anybody has stocked it in their Gift Shop? If so, how are the sales? — Jodi Babineau, Lakeview Medical Center, Sunshine Gift Shoppe Rice Lake, WI. 40 beds. 8/17/19
Our Senior Leaders would not allow us to sell CBD oil in our gift shop. Our Employee Health Nurse Practitioner agreed with their decision. We sent out a request on the SHVL list serve website and there was an overwhelming response from other hospitals that they were not allowed to sell it in their gift shops also for many of the reasons that Connie Slingluff listed in her response.
— Cindy Fox, CAVS, Director of Volunteer Services, Maury Regional Medical Center, Columbia, TN. 10/17/19
It is imperative that if a shop is selling this product that there is a pharmacist on staff that can discuss benefits, detriments, drug interactions, dosage, uses, etc. The purity of the product is of utmost importance-where is it grown, harvested and manufactured? Are pesticides used? What are the additives? Is the product grown, harvested and manufactures on the same site? Or is the product transported-and under what conditions? I believe at this time we should leave the CBD products to our pharmacists and medical personnel to sell.
We have a natural medicine pharmacist on staff that I have had the pleasure of working with as she introduced CBD into one of our pharmacies. She has done an extraordinary job researching the best quality product. Our pharmacists are trained to ask the right questions regarding using these products and contraindications. I find it worrisome that there is so much product flooding the market. Love reading your newsletter!
— Noel Donohue, Manager, Retail Operations, VIVO Health, Northwell Health. 10/19
Interestingly enough I am able to sell a full line of herbal tinctures, tea’s, and salves in our mini apothecary section and our hospital is pretty progressive in thought when it comes to a holistic approach to healing. We offer Aromatherapy, Reiki, meditation, yoga and even guided visualization to our patients. However, when I approached admin about the potential for selling CBD’s in our shop it was denied. There are whole lot of folks that still need to be educated about how CBD’s work and those same folks still group this in with illegal substance. I find that sometimes what’s “on trend” at the trade show’s may not be “on trend” in my area and I need to keep this in mind when I purchase. For example; unicorns, sloths, llamas, and narwhals just do not work for me!
— Colleen DeSimone, Gift Shop Coordinator, Orange Regional Medical Center Gift Shop, Middletown, NY 381 beds. 9/13/19
With approval from administration beforehand, I purchased Twine CBD oil in Atlanta at the Link2Sales Showroom. In fact, Link developed the product. However, I put it out and it got downed by the medical doctors doing the drug testing and the pharmacy so I am discontinuing it. It is selling all over our community. I am not a medical expert and our gift shop does not need to be seen as controversial so it is not for us right now. The problem is that in companies where they do drug testing, there is an issue with CBD oil causing them to fail drug test. I sold out of the cream first and am on the last of the oil.
— Connie Slingluff, CDVS, Director of Volunteer Services, Blount Memorial Hospital, Maryville, TN. 8/17/19
BREAST CANCER PINS
We had a few members of the hospital staff wanting cancer related items. Most companies sell just breast cancer things and that is it so that is what our gift shop had to offer. It was a great point these customers made, all cancers matter! I found
ChooseHope.com who donates 10% of its net profits back to cancer research and customers are extremely happy about this. We have a sign stating that the company donates to cancer research next to all the products, along with a chart showing which colors stand for which cancers. Lots of different items & prices. Just wanted to share with everyone.
– Tessa Soulsby, Retail Coordinator Culpeper Medical Center in Virginia. 10/19
Annaleece offers a nice breast cancer pin with Swarovski elements that are very elegant and classy, which retails at $42.50. If that is too expensive, Kelli’s Gift Shop Supplier has a nice option that retails under $5.00.
— Bev Craig, Providence AK Gift Shop, Anchorage, AK. 9/16/19
Working with TSR Wholesale (Password: fall2019) is a real delight. I have been buying for the ARHS gift shops from this company for years. TSR carries an excellent line of clothing with some of the same name brands you can find at the larger high-end department stores. If I can get my order in to TSR before 3pm, I have my merchandise the next day. That service cannot be matched. TSR has great prices on their lines and very competitive.
— Sallie Woodring, buyer, Appalachian Regional Health Care. 2 gift shops (Boone NC and Linville NC) 10/13/19
Q. I am looking for a new candle line. Right now, I sell A Cheerful Giver, which has been good but I would like to try something different. I would love ideas. Thank you — Jodi Babineau, Sunshine Gift Shoppe Rice Lake, WI. 40 beds. 8/12/19
— Winifred Major, Gift Shop Manager, AR. 10/1/19
We carry Village Candle. If your order is over $1200, you get free freight. If less, you get half freight. It is certainly worth it to take advantage of the free freight. Maple Butter is our best seller. We no longer carry votive’s as they do not sell for us, but the melts are great!
— Sherry Miller, Gift Shop Coordinator, Southeastern Med, Cambridge, OH. 9/2/19
I have a candle recommendation for Jodi who is looking for a new candle vendor: Swan Creek Candle Company or email email@example.com. I have carried several lines of candles in the past and this one outsells them all consistently. Also, Stony Creek at Home, Inc. has some wonderful Christmas light up décor and snowmen.
Some other Christmas items that I would recommend are items from DM Merchandising, candles, clothing, jewelry, Snoozies socks, anything with snowmen on it, scarves and gloves. Our Christmas décor is selling less than it used to; I am noticing that the younger generation prefer minimal items in their homes for décor. Love your newsletter!
— Diane Honsberger, Manager, Volunteers/Gift Shop, Mercy Health, St. Anne Hospital Gift Shop, Toledo OH. 8/23/19
We were also looking for a new candle line and decided to start carrying the Swan Creek Candle line. The sales representative helped us determine the best-selling scents and sizes. We chose to start with 12 scents in the 12 oz vintage glass containers and purchased the basket displayer to show 16 of the sample-size glass containers (tiny jar with lid). We put them out and customers were amazed by how strong the fragrances were when you opened the lids. We sold so many the first 4 days we placed a reorder of both the sample size jars ($6.99 retail) and the 12 oz jars ($16.99). I think the combination of the great fragrance, cute container and the great retail prices make this line a winner. We have been looking to make a change for quite some time from Woodwick and the price increase and move to in-house sales sealed the deal for us.
— Anne Sutton, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Gift Shop, Cincinnati, OH. 8/19
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