International Art Materials Association

   eNEWS:  July 5,  2017 

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Shred Some of Those Old Ideas
     It Can Be Easy to Impress Your Customers

by Tom Shay

Differentiating your business from the competition relies on a variety of tactics and the good news is that some of them make it easy to impress your customer.

I frequently see businesses spending money on advertising in an ongoing effort to get people and/or other businesses to purchase their goods and services. Unfortunately, too often this same business does little to provide a great shopping experience, or in the case of business to business, does little to let the customer know they are valued.

These businesses use the contact information they gather from their customer to send them emails, postcards and other communications that often continue the message of a special discount on goods or services. And some of these messages even convey (often unconvincingly) a word or two about their great customer.

In today’s business world, we all know that there is very little customer loyalty and one of the key factors in this is a lack of customer service. Too many businesses fail to provide a unique shopping experience or remind their customers of their unique services. Price becomes the driving force.

There are many examples of businesses that have turned their products and unique experiences into commodities where, for the buyer, it’s all about price. For example, airlines, insurance and gasoline.

I’m not here to tell you how to spend your money to improve your customer service but, instead, I want to share a personal experience with my paper shredder.  

The paper shredder in our office needed to be replaced and while I can’t tell you the name of it I can tell you our new shredder is made by Fellows. There was nothing memorable about the purchase or the packaging of our new shredder.  As with many products, there was a registration card that came with the shredder and we registered the purchase online.

Nothing more was thought of the experience until about six months later when we received an email from Fellows with a subject line that was enticing enough for me to take it from the junk mail and read it.

The email stated the manufacturer wanted to make sure the shredder was operating properly and when proper maintenance is performed, the shredder should be in service a long time. To increase the probability of the long life of the shredder, it should be oiled on a regular basis. The call to action line in the email was, “Click on this link to see a video of how to properly oil your shredder”.
There was a short, easy to understand video of how to oil the shredder and how frequently oiling should be done. The video did mention Fellows brand oil, but stated that other shredder oils would also work.

Looking at our businesses, we could have videos that explain how to use and/or maintain any of the products you sell. A person starting out as an artist would surely appreciate the information. They could watch the video in private without having anyone know how little they know about the art supplies they have purchased. Teachers could give insights into new or different techniques.

Videos are only one method for impressing our customer and separating us from the commodity based competition. The bigger message here is that when we can sell products and services that make an impression we make with our build our customer base with more than just a lower price.

This old adage still rings true -- “He who becomes a commodity last is the winner”.

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

Research by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) shows that the nonprofit and for-profit arts is a $730 billion industry that directly employs 4.8 million arts workers. This represents 4.2 percent of the nation’s GDP—a larger share of the economy than transportation, tourism, and agriculture. Arts organizations are resilient and entrepreneurial businesses. They employ people locally, purchase goods and services from within their communities, and market and promote their regions. Arts businesses are rooted locally. These are jobs that cannot be shipped overseas.

Art Materials World 2018

Book Now at NAMTA's Headquarter Hotel
Reservations must be made by February 6, 2018 to receive the group rate.

Keep an eye on the Art Materials World 2018 Dallas page on so you can stay up-to-date on show information.

Advocating for the Arts

Arts improve individual well-being. 63 percent of the population believe the arts "lift me beyond everyday experiences," 64 percent feel the arts give them "pure pleasure to experience and participate in," and 73 percent say the arts are a "positive experience in a troubled world." from

Read all the Facts

Americans for the Arts’ Fifth Study of the nonprofit arts and culture industry's impact on the economy, Arts & Economic Prosperity 5,
is now available. It documents the economic contributions of the arts in 341 diverse communities and regions across the country, representing all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Nationally, the nonprofit arts and culture industry generated $166.3 billion of economic activity during 2015—$63.8 billion in spending by arts and cultural organizations and an additional $102.5 billion in event-related expenditures by their audiences. This activity supported 4.6 million jobs and generated $27.5 billion in revenue to local, state, and federal governments (a yield well beyond their collective $5 billion in arts allocations).
By every measure, the results are impressive. This study puts to rest a misconception that communities support arts and culture at the expense of local economic development. In fact, communities are investing in an industry that supports jobs, generates government revenue, and is the cornerstone of tourism.

Arts & Economic Prosperity 5 shows conclusively that, locally as well as nationally
, the arts mean business! Watch the Video - See the Report

American for the Arts ACTION Fund
recently posted this Presentation on their site about Art & Politics in the era of the current administration.

Rene Haag

Rene Haag passed away on June 24th with her husband Dave at her side.

Rene was an artist, and owned and operated Blaine’s Art Supply in Anchorage, Alaska, a long-time NAMTA member. She began working at Blaine's in 1986, and purchased the business in1998.

Rene was very active in community organizations.  As you can see in this Video about Rene, she was truly a remarkable lady.

Member News

See the  beautiful works of the Winners of the UART 2017 Online Pastel Competition - click here.

The NAMTA Lifetime Achievement Award program began in 2003 to honor the men and women who are recognized for making significant impacts on the Fine Art Materials Industry. Ever wonder who they are? Click here.

Welcome New Member

Brea Reese, located in New Hampshire, hand crafts high quality traditional artist colors, created with pure pigments with no fillers. 

Brea Reese will be a first-time Art Materials World Exhibitor in Dallas, Texas, March 2018.

Office Depot's Savings Program for NAMTA Members has been updated to bring you even more savings.

All of your business needs, including deep discounts on Office Essentials, Cleaning and Breakroom Solutions, Copy & Print Services, Technology, and Furniture. Sign Up

Click here to print an in-store discount card, or use this number when shopping in the store, SPC Account # 8012 806 1458

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



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