International Art Materials Association

   eNEWS:  August 2,  2017 

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Change Starts At The Beginning

      By Tom Shay

My insurance agent sold his business to a larger company a couple of years ago and the personal touch quickly disappeared.  It was time to look for a new insurance agent.

A quick search online produced a sizeable list off potential agents with each providing me with an array of ways to contact them – complete an online form; call and leave voice message; email and so on.

I contacted several and eventually found an agent that met my needs.  That said, however, the most memorable agent sticks in my mind for some wrong reasons.

His website said to send him an email.  I did and he responded within an hour asking me to complete the 3-page form on his website.  I responded to say I was not just looking for a quote but also an agent.  His response was that he, too, preferred a “customer relationship” but that major insurers like Geico, Progressive and General Insurance had ruined the part of the insurance business ... turning everything into commodity buying.

This agent didn’t really want to talk to me and ask me questions about what type of coverage I needed.  He just wanted me to fill out his form, send him a copy of my current coverages and then he would call me.  On one level, I understand his approach but, overall, he’s just getting into the commodity game, too.

The lesson learned from this experience has applications that apply to the art materials business.  If you are going to build a business based upon a relationship with your customer, the relationship should start at the very beginning. It is not up to the customer to prove themselves to you; it is your responsibility to prove yourself to your customers.

Learn about the customer and listen to them. There is often a sizable difference between what the customer wants and what the customer needs.  

This is where you can become a more customer centric business. The item a customer is buying may be the best choice for them.  But by talking and listening to them you learn if what their buying IS the best option.  It’s possible that you may have another product that better suits their needs and that customer attention by you can help separate your business from the competition.

Store hours, services, return policies, delivery services and more all help your customer to see your business as different from your competition.

For the best results, your business’s distinctive differences must be present and visible from the beginning of the interaction with each customer.

Tom Shay is a fourth-generation small business owner, author, columnist, coach and speaker who has authored several training manuals for retailers that can be found in the Resources section of the NAMTA website – His knowledge of small business marketing, business strategy, staffing, and financial management have provided small business owners with the help necessary to increase their profits plus build their business for the future. You can learn more here -

By The Numbers

Nearly forty percent of Exhibitors responding to the 2017 Art Materials World Exhibitor Post-Show-Survey said that over 51% of their company’s annual revenue is derived from the buyers who attend Art Materials World.

Art Materials World 2018 - March 4 - 6

Check out how the 2018 Show Floor is shaping up, and see who is exhibiting.

Contact Rick Munisteri with questions about exhibiting.

Advocating for the Arts

A new issue of NAMTA Art Advocacy News quarterly enewsletter, will be emailed out in August.

Keep an eye out for this issue that will include stories about how some NAMTA members are advocating for the arts.

Fact of the Week #132: The arts create a learning environment that fosters teacher innovation, a positive professional culture, and effective instructional practice.  from

Read all the Facts

Savings Advantage

NAMTA Members can access exclusive discounts through National Purchasing Partners (NPP) - see details. Take advantage of special pricing on popular products and services for business and life. You can also share select offers with your employees. NPP membership is FREE and there is no obligation to buy.

to find exclusive pricing from these companies, just to name a few:

Once you register with NPP, you will receive an email request to set your password. Simply set your password, login and explore our catalog of offers. If you need help registering, please contact or call 800.810.3909.

Click here
to print your Office Depot discount card, and see how you can text “NAMTASPC” TO 555-888 to get a store purchasing card to save on your phone. The NAMTA Office Depot Program was recently updated and has a new Store Purchasing Card # - be sure you print the new one to get all the discounts available in-store.  And, if you haven't already, sign up for your online account.


Member News

Australia’s National Art Materials (NAM) is celebrating its 30th Anniversary this year. 

Read this letter  from Pam Fitzgibbons about the company's history.


FLAX art & design - San Mateo
has a new name - California Art Supply Company. Everything else remains the same.

Welcome to David Avila who recently joined Studio Designs, Inc. as National Sales Manager.

Looking for Members to be In The Spotlight.  

Fill out this form (questions have been updated)

NAMTA regularly searches the web for articles and stories that may be of interest to members.



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