International Art Materials Association

   eNEWS:  December 6, 2017 

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Americans for the Arts Action Fund dedicates 100% of their time, money, and political clout to advancing the arts in America. Their mission is to mobilize one million citizens to join them in mobilizing support of the arts and arts education around the country.

Stay informed on how legislation can is is affecting the arts.  Membership is free.

One Person Does Not Have All the Answers

   by Tom Shay

A retailer once told me "for the most part, good employees are developed, not found." His belief in this idea is evidenced by an extensive training program he has had for many years and by a unique method of working with customers.

The employees are educated to continually crosscheck with one another when they are solving customer's problems. The owner called this method a "solution by committee."

The name of this style was borrowed from Whitey Herzog, who managed the St. Louis Cardinals. A reporter asked Herzog how he decided who would be the team's relief pitcher on any given afternoon. His response was that he would ask the bullpen, "Who feels he is best able to solve the problem?"

Take a look at a store to see an example of solution by committee. A customer comes into a garden center with a problem: a patch of his yard that is dying. The customer tells the employee, Bonnie, that he wants something to kill some bugs that are destroying his yard. In too many cases the employee will simply direct the customer to liquid or granular bug killers.

Not only are these two items that traditionally have a very low margin, but also we do not even know if this is the right solution to the problem. In this example, Bonnie is trained to ask the customer why he thinks he has bugs in his yard. She will listen to his answer and go on to ask if there is an irrigation system or sprinkler being used, how long he has had this problem, how does the rest of the yard look, and if the problem area is growing in size. Bonnie's explains to the customer that the problem could be a result of bugs, fungus, or a lack of water; and she wants him to go home with the right solution for the problem.

She listens to his response, makes her analysis, and then tells the customer how to solve the problem, what products to use, and why she is making that suggestion. The customer often will ask, "Are you sure?" Bonnie responds, "Yes, but let's check with Gordon just to make sure. Gordon has a lot of experience with lawns, and it never hurts to have a second opinion." As Bonnie and the customer approach Gordon, she repeats to Gordon the situation and her solution. Using this method will result in several things.

Upon hearing his story repeated, the customer may often remember additional details that may be crucial to the solution. As Gordon hears the story, he will decide if Bonnie's solution is correct. Perhaps he will need to ask additional questions.

If Gordon agrees with Bonnie, a statement to the effect of, "She has got it solved for you. You will be rid of those bugs in no time." In the eyes of the customer, Bonnie and Gordon are both knowledgeable people and not only is he more likely to return to the store, but also he will probably seek out either of these employees when he does.

What if Gordon doesn't think this is the correct solution? The important thing is that Gordon not contradict Bonnie with the customer present. Gordon can begin to ask additional questions. As he gathers more information, he can say, "From what you first told us, I thought you have bugs; but with this additional information, I am leaning toward a fungus problem. Let me ask a couple of other questions about your yard." From the questions Gordon has asked, it confirms the problem is fungus. The customer would have wasted his money if he had bought the "bug killer" he had initially asked for.

The problem is solved, and Gordon asks Bonnie if she can think of anything else they should ask and if she is in agreement with the redirected solution. Knowing that Gordon has uncovered additional information, Bonnie will agree with Gordon and then assist the customer in selecting a fungicide. She will provide the directions for the proper application of the product and also show the proper type of applicator to use. The sale is made, and the customer is appreciative of both employees.

If Gordon is the more experienced employee, he has heard information that he can use to assist Bonnie in gaining more knowledge. And in a brief moment, he explains why he was not in agreement with her initial analysis, and why he was asking additional questions.

The important thing for Bonnie is that in addition to completing a sale, she received a brief training session and was not put in an embarrassing position in front of a customer. It was also helpful that Gordon had been educated in techniques to assist newer employees.

This successful owner is not lucky. He knows how to educate employees, not only with product knowledge but also with interpersonal relationship skills. Solution by committee is a great way to develop better employees, appreciative customers who return to your store, and a healthy bottom line.

Tom Shay is a fourth generation small business owner providing proven management and business building ideas through his Profits Plus Seminars, Profits Plus Solutions coaching, books authored, and articles written. Tom can be reached at 727-464-2182 or through his web site:

By The Numbers

2017 Thanksgiving Holiday
From Thanksgiving Day through Cyber Monday, more than 174 million Americans shopped in stores and online during the five-day holiday weekend, beating the 164 million estimated shoppers from an earlier survey. The most popular day for in-store shopping was Black Friday, cited by 77 million consumers, followed by Small Business Saturday with 55 million consumers.
Information from National Retail Federation.  Read more . . .

Notable Quote

"The moment you cheat for the sake of beauty, you know you're an artist."

David Hockney - English painter, draughtsman, printmaker, stage designer and photographer.

Art Materials World 2018
March 4-6 in Dallas, Texas

Future Shows

February 24-26, 2019, Art Materials World will be back in Texas in San Antonio!

Art Materials World will be in Chicago at Navy Pier!
April 26-28, 2020  &  April 11-13, 2021

Read the details in the November Update.

2nd Annual Cornhole Tournament

Last year's 16-team tournament was won by Golden's Bill Hartman and Seth Golden.

Have your shot at fame, glory and the never-ending admiration of your NAMTA friends!

  • Each team will consist of two players in a single elimination tournament
  • $25 entry fee benefits NAMTA's NEW Art Advocacy Grant Program
  • First Round will be played on Sunday
  • Second and Third Round on Monday *
  • Final Round on Tuesday morning *
  • A bag in the hole is worth 3 points
  • A bag on the board is worth 1 point
  • The first team to achieve 21 points wins the game
  • A shutout occurs if the score is 7 – 0
  • All teams will be notified of their first game via email 
* Subject to change based on number of teams participating.

President's Reception

Sunday, March 4, 2018  •  6:30 – 8:30 PM  •  Union Station

  • All Attendees and Exhibitors are welcome
  • Tickets will also be sold at the NAMTA Registration Desk at the show
  • The reception includes heavy Hors d’oeuvres, beverages and entertainment
  • The cost is $50 per person - can be purchased on Online Registration Form.
  • Union Station is conveniently located adjacent to the Hyatt Regency Dallas and is accessible via a covered walkway located in the lower lobby of the hotel
    Sponsored by:           


Need help renewing your 2018 membership, contact Sue Cohen or call 704.892.6244.


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Click here and see what you might have missed in 2017.

Art Advocacy

Visit for news, resources, and facts about Advocating for the Arts.

If you have a story about advocating for the arts for the December 2017 issue of Art Advocacy NEWS, please submit it by December 15.  Email your story to [email protected] or fill out this form.

"The arts offer cost-effective health treatments that work. Arts-integrated treatments produce clinical outcomes for our active-duty military and veteran populations. Creative therapies help other patient groups, including older Americans, to recover more quickly from procedures, require shorter hospitalizations, take fewer medications and maintain their mental, physical and social well-being."   from
Read all the Facts

ART Matters Posters         

Two colorful posters, three different sizes to download and print for your office, store, or to give to your local schools and art organizations.

Download for Free

Hall of Fame and Lifetime Achievement Nominations

Nominate a Colleague for 2018

2017 Honorees
Richard Goodban - Hall of Fame (left)
Robert Gamblin - Lifetime Achievement

Do you know someone in the Art Materials Industry whose lifetime of work has demonstrated outstanding leadership and devotion to the Art Materials business and NAMTA?

Help NAMTA recognize them by nominating them for NAMTA's prestigious Hall of Fame or Lifetime Achievement Awards.

Recipients of both awards will be recognized Saturday, March 3rd at Art Materials World’s Welcome Reception in Dallas, Texas. The Welcome Reception is free for NAMTA Members.

NAMTA Hall of Fame
Recognizes those who have been supporters, volunteers and champions of NAMTA.

NAMTA Lifetime Achievement Award
Honors individuals who have had a significant impact on the Art Materials Industry.

Submit Your Nominations Here

Nominations Due by Friday, December 15, 2017

Brenda Broadbent

Brenda Broadbent passed away on November 18th. Early in the 1980s, Brenda  founded Paper and Ink Arts, a premier calligraphers supply store. The business became her fulltime work and for 30 years she and her team shipped books and supplies to calligraphers all over the world. In 2003 she authored Parallel Pen Wizardry, a definitive monograph on uses of the Parallel Pen, previously unimagined even by its manufacturer.

Her business was sold in 2011 and Brenda was glad having more time to develop her own art and spend time in the flower and vegetable gardens she loved so dearly, though still teaching calligraphic styles at conferences across the country, and mentoring the new owners of the business. Read more . . .

Member News

Mike Roche, owner of Rileystreet Art Supply, will receive the 10th Annual Pamela Levine Arts Education Leadership Award presented by Miko Lee, Executive Director of Youth in Arts. The award, in memory of the dedication and commitment of Youth in Arts’ former executive director, recognizes exceptional accomplishments in arts education in Marin County.  “I love partnering with Youth in Arts,” Mike said. “They should be the recipients of their own award, especially for what they are doing through Family Art Nights.”  Mike is a member of the NAMTA Board of Directors.


In June of 2016, Nitram Arts in Pickering, Ontario, Canada suffered a devastating fire to their manufacturing facility. Jerzy Niedojadlo from Nitram tells us they've rebuilt and are back up and running.

Jerzy would like to share their latest video, a film made possible with funding from Nitram Art.

A Light In the Valley - Nic De Jesus began a year-long artist in residence program, at Saltmarsh Farmhouse - a 16th century country house in the Cuckmere Valley to investigate a new body of work called, A light in the Valley. After experiencing a psychological breakdown, Nic began an enquiry within, to explore his full potential, that is becoming far more than he ever imagined.


New Product Page

Sakura of America introduces a New Product.

Now offering Gelly Roll® Classic White, a most popular color, in three nib sizes.

Read more . . .



Welcome New Members

Too Marker Products develops and produces high quality markers such as Speedry Markers and COPIC® Markers, used in art, design, illustration and crafts. 

Welcome to John Fullerton (right) at Fullerton Sales & Marketing in Cambridge, Ontario, Canada. Fullerton Sales & Marketing is a manufacturer's sales agency specializing in Independent Art Supply Dealers.


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



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