International Art Materials Association

    eNews:  September 11
, 2019

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by Rich Kizer & Georganne Bender

How good are you at keeping up with what’s going on in the creative world, the latest in artistic trends and what’s happening in your community? We know you’re busy; running a retail store isn’t for the faint of heart, but we also know that you need to sharpen your retail senses on a regular basis.

Operation Observation

•  Begin by doing what most retailers say they do, but really do not: spend time with shoppers. Start with conversations with customers on your sales floor – and on social media – about their hobbies, upcoming family events, even favorite creative projects outside of what you sell. The goal is to find out what your customers like to do when they are not in your store. The information they share will help you determine which new product areas to explore.

•  Utilize Facebook posts, Facebook surveys, polls on Instagram stories, and email blasts to solicit customer opinions on what product they’d like to see in your store that you do not currently stock.

•  Take a trip to the mall at least once a quarter to observe shoppers in other retail environments. Note what they are wearing, carrying, and what attracts their attention. The goal is to discover new ideas for your own store. Keep an open mind, and don’t say no to anything you observe until you think about how it might be used in your store. Think about other places you might visit, such as maker fairs, craft fairs, school science fairs, and even museums.

•   Spend an hour or two online. Large chain stores have teams of buyers whose job it is to find new product and cross-over merchandising opportunities. They might not stock a large selection of what you sell but that doesn’t mean you can’t be inspired by what you see to try something new. Spend another couple of hours on creative sites like Pinterest and Etsy. Pinterest, by the way, is the best online focus group there is. Use the search box to find out that people a talking about.

•  Keep a notebook handy to record all the ideas you’re sure to find or record them on your phone. These notes will be an invaluable tool you can take with you to Art Materials World or any other trade show you attend.

Walk Each Trade Show Floor with New Eyes

•  Once you discover how to look and think about merchandising differently, you will begin to see things at trade shows you hadn’t noticed before. In addition to the must-haves, keep your eyes open for new opportunities. Think of each booth as a mini-store: What are the stories being presented? Which products/categories/ideas are you seeing repeated in more than one booth? Make a point to visit vendors that you normally pass up, and block time to spend with new exhibitors.

•  Follow the crowds and then decide if the booths are packed with people who are just there to be entertained or if there is cool merchandise or product applications that you need to find out more about. If it’s the latter, these items might be a fit for your store as well.

•  Ask your current suppliers for suggestions on ways you can boost business. Your vendors talk retail with buyers from all over the world every day. They hear success stories and strategies and they are willing to share, so ask which items sold and which ones flopped. Your vendor partners are an endless source of ideas and opportunities.

•  Watch the industry trend-setters. What are the big names – the industry celebrities – talking about? Which products have they incorporated in their latest projects? Do you carry the components necessary to recreate these projects in your store? If not, what will you need to add to what you currently sell? If the celebs hold classes or demos, make it a point to attend.

•   Network! If you already have friends from other states, make plans in advance to get together at the trade shows you attend. If not, look for other retailers to compare notes with once you get there. Set a goal to meet five new retailers each day and discuss how you can help one another. You’ll find this network of non-competing retailers to be an important source of information and support throughout the year.

•  Agree to meet with your networking group at a specified time at the end of each day to discuss the best things you’ve each found at the show. Together, set a goal for each member of the group. Assigning questions like, “Find the best vendor for _____________” or “Look for the best price on ________________” are a good place to start.

•  Keep your group together after the show and agree to get together at all future shows. Set up a private Facebook group or hold monthly Skype or telephone meetings with your network. Share what’s new, hot, and happening in each of your stores. You might even choose a “Challenge of the month” to be discussed at the next teleconference meeting.

Retail is in the Details

•  Think of new categories as fashion items that have a shelf life. Buy the manufacturer minimums and ask about re-order availability so you can be prepared if the items take off. Be specific about when you want the items you order to land, and be specific about cancel dates when they don’t arrive as promised.

•  Before you buy, ask yourself if the new product fits into a current story. If not, can it be easily incorporated into one or will you need to develop a new merchandise story and sales strategy? Next, you need to develop a marketing/merchandising plan for each new category that includes how will you sell and display it, how you will introduce it with fanfare, as well as a timely markdown strategy to dispose of out of season product and product that does not sell as expected.

The goal is to rethink your business and what you sell. Why not up the ante?


by Rich Kizer & Georganne Bender, professional speakers, retail strategists, authors and consultants.  KIZER & BENDER’s observations are widely featured in national newspapers, national and international industry and consumer publications, and on radio and television programs across the U.S. You can learn more at



by Mark Dolliver

It never made much sense for marketers to ignore Generation X (defining Gen Xers as those born between 1965 and 1980), and it makes even less sense now that Xer households earn and spend more than other age groups. But Xers are also financially stressed, so a marketer must give them a good reason to buy. When Xers do spend, they often use digital tools to get the most for their money.

Do Gen Xers make much money?
They do. Federal figures show Xer households with yearly incomes averaging slightly more than $100,000 - nearly $25,000 more than the average for total households. One reason is that Xer households often have two earners, more so than other generations.

Does that mean Gen Xers are in good financial shape?
Not exactly. Their above-average incomes come in tandem with high levels of debt. And it’s not just mortgages, though about half have those. Xers also carry lots of credit card debt, and many have car loans. Student debt (for themselves and their kids) is also a burden. Many also feel they haven’t recovered from the Great Recession.

Are Xers big spenders?
Average yearly spending by Xer households is well above the average for total households, $73,681 vs. $60,815. With larger-than-average households, they spend above-average amounts in nearly all consumer categories. But being big spenders does not mean being free spenders. Digital commerce appeals to them partly because it helps them find low prices.

Do smartphones figure into Xers’ shopping?
Naturally. Many use retail apps to gather information about goods, as well as to transact purchases. They also use phones to streamline their holiday shopping.



October is National Arts & Humanities Month

National Arts & Humanities Month - NAHM, a coast-to-coast collective recognition of the importance of culture in America. was launched by Americans for the Artsmore than 30 years ago as National Arts Week in honor of the twentieth anniversary of the National Endowment for the Arts. In 1993, it was reestablished by Americans for the Arts and national arts partners as a month-long celebration, with goals of:

FOCUSING on the arts at local, state, and national levels;

ENCOURAGING individuals and organizations to participate in the arts.

ALLOWING governments and businesses to show their support of the arts.

RAISING public awareness about the role the arts and humanities play in our communities and lives.

Get Involved!

Whether you’ve participated before or want to get involved for the first time, there are many ideas to help you celebrate. Here are four easy ways to bring NAHM to your community this October.

Take a look at Americans for the Arts NAHM resources page for even more event ideas and tools.

"When arts content is connected to content in other subject areas (such as math, language arts, science and social studies) through mutually-reinforcing objectives, student learning deepens in both areas. Students learn to see the connections and big concepts across disciplines."

Read more Facts on


Members - answer this question before September 20th, to be in a drawing to win an Art Matters T-shirt.

These members, and great looking couple, started their company in 1981 and are at every Art Materials World - who are they?

Hint: Social Events

The last question was in August 28 eNews, and the answer was that badges printed on bright colored paper at Art Materials World mean the attendee is a New Member.

And the winner of an Art Matters T-shirt is - Brandy Hoerber from Athena Sales, operated by Brandy and husband Aaron Hoerber, (pictured).

At the end of the year, whether you've won a bi-weekly drawing or not, everyone who has answered correctly will be entered in a final drawing to win a $100 Gift Card.


Namta really appreciates the time and thought you put into taking the Membership Satisfaction Survey. We look forward to hearing from you in future surveys and throughout the year.

At the end of the survey you had the chance to be entered in a drawing to be one of five $50 Gift Card winners.

Here are the winners:

  • Mac Warrick, ARCH, San Francisco
  • Bart LoSchiavo, RAM Sales Group, NY
  • John Fullerton, Fullerton Sales & Marketing, Canada                    
  • Jamie-Lou Nicol, Holbein Artist Materials in Canada
    2020 Art Materials World Exhibitor
  • Steven Atlas, Atlas Tape-Channeled Resources, Chicago
    2020 Art Materials World Exhibitor


Jacquard Products

Position Title:
Purchaser - Art Materials Manufacturer

Position Location:
Healdsburg, CA

Estimated Start Date of Position:
October 1, 2019

  See the details


Designed by artist and teacher Rick Alonzo, GoEasel makes painting easier by reducing time-consuming set up and clean up. Once you try GoEasel, you will see that it is the one artists' tool you can't do without.
2020 Art Materials World Exhibitor



Product Evolutions
produces the Big Squeeze tube squeezer, an ergonomic tube squeezer that helps you easily empty all your tubes of painting saving you time and money.
2020 Art Materials World Exhibitor


Recently GOLDEN employees celebrated employee ownership by holding Paint Day, an entire work day set aside for staff to paint and take workshops organized and led by fellow co-workers on staff who are artists. The answering machine said, “Golden Artist Colors is closed for the day. All the employees are making art.”  Staff was able to choose workshops in a variety of media – acrylic, oil and watercolor – and in a number of different styles and applications, including plein air, pouring, monoprinting, color theory, mixed media, and gestural drawing and painting, just to name a few. Workshop instructors were staff from the company’s Material & Application Specialist team, Marketing Department and also the Paintworks Division of the company. chance to be artists for the day, spending their time pushing around paint, experimenting with materials and being creative!
“It's an opportunity for folks to see the materials through the artist’s eyes and experience the paint as users and not makers,” said Mark Golden, company CEO. “It's a day for collaboration, idea sharing and fun."



Following up on the August 24th event at Raw Materials Art Supplies new location with Certified Ross Instructor David Arquette (pictured with Bob Ross wig) teaching a Bob Ross Painting Class, to no one’s surprise, the class sold out quickly. In just under two hours, students eager to start a painting hobby learned how to paint an outdoor landscape. Based upon the PBS “Joy of Painting” series with Bob Ross, these artists of various abilities and experience painted and learned Bob Ross’ painting techniques, thanks to David Arquette’s guidance and friendly style. David said he had so much fun he’d like to do it again and a new date will be announced.

This event was a partnership of MacPherson’s and Raw Materials Art Supplies with Bob Ross Inc, a 2020 Art Materials World ExhibitorAll of the proceeds of the event went to inner city arts a nonprofit organization that empowering Los Angeles children, teens and the community through the transformational power of the arts.  See more pictures of this event.




In 2003, the street artist Banksy stuck his own work to the wall in the Tate Modern Museum.

The prank was soon undone by its inadequate glue, but for a few hours Crimewatch UK Has Ruined the Countryside For All of Us was hung in one of the world’s most famous museums. It also inspired Andrzej Sobiepan, a Polish art student, to a similar feat in 2005, where for three days he successfully passed off his work as part of the National Museum’s collection.

The picture consisted of a rural scene with an image of police tape stenciled on to it.



"Company cultures are like country cultures. Never try to change one. Try, instead, to work with what you've got."

- Peter Drucker

Good articles on the Web that may be of interest to you and your staff.

These 13 Strategies

Can Help Small Businesses Choose the Right Tech Vendor

Post written by Expert Panel, Forbes Technology Council
Successful CIOs, CTOs & executives from Forbes Technology Council offer firsthand insights on tech & business

1. Vendor Transparency
Smaller organizations or those without access to in-house IT staff need to remember that while some solutions boast excellent feature sets, the success or failure of technology projects often comes down to the users. Is deployment easy? Is the UX simple enough for our staff to use day-to-day? Is the vendor transparent with the long-term costs? Are you able to talk to a current customer?

2. The True Cost
Make sure you understand all of the costs. Many software providers offer a smaller subscription or purchase price but make up for it by charging excessively for implementation, training, configuration and other “add-on” services that are necessary for a successful implementation. Always keep an eye out for hidden expenses, especially “premium” support services.

3. Trial Periods And Waived Integration Fees
The sales process often involves integration fees that are meant to seem unreasonably high. When the SaaS sales team offers to waive these fees, there is an impression of value gained that can feel like a win for the business, but it's usually a simple psychological tactic. If you decide to proceed and an agreement is required, negotiate a trial period where you can bail if your needs aren't met.

4. Security Of Your Chosen Solution
If you don't have tech experts to evaluate and run software, your choice will most likely be a SaaS solution or a managed service provider. Once you're sure the solution meets your business needs, the next critical step is to verify it is secure. Ask your provider for any trusted third-party validation of their processes. Certifications such as SOC type 1 and 2 or ISO 27001 can be a good indicator.

5. Fit With Your Business Needs
Make sure you are choosing software that best suits your business requirements. Sometimes solutions are robust with features end-users don’t need. Develop a list of requirements that can fulfill your business strategy, link them with objectives. Outlining critical processes for your organization will help to eliminate systems that lack the functionality, as well as the ones with unnecessary tools.

6. Commitment To Customer Success
Software projects, especially those touching fast-moving or newer technologies, will encounter unanticipated problems. A good vendor will get in the trenches with customers through the unexpected challenges and help establish a maintainable system to deliver value.

7. Track Record And Customer Feedback
Having the ability to tap into the vendor's current customer base could exponentially assist with making the right decision. Non-technical folks can learn about how the company's products solve problems, customer service, and how they are treated overall as a customer. Nothing will solve 100% of your needs but if you can find 90% and willingness for the vendor to adapt, it's a great way to choose.

8. Adoption Rate
They need to be honest with themselves and carefully analyze the likelihood of this software being adapted. If, as a manager, you feel the software will genuinely make a positive difference within your operations, then you need to try to check if your team feels the same way. If not, convince them before a long-term contract is purchased.

9. Integration Capabilities
Software that solves all of your business needs is way too expensive for a majority of SMBs. You will instead need to select a variety of solutions that each accomplish a specific task but can be combined to support the entire organization. Therefore, it is imperative that the software you choose is easily integrated with other software through the use of specific applications or open APIs.

10. Meticulous Planning
IT vendor selection is a challenge regardless of the size of the business. A small business can benefit by first setting specific criteria. Then, gather a list of vendors, ensure the process is well-defined, evaluate quotes and choose the most appropriate for the organization's goals and monitor vendor performance. It is also helpful to gain referrals from peers or existing customers.

11. Access To Top Talent
The most effective software companies guarantee that they have access to the industry's top talent. These partners will help you expand your candidate pool by allowing you to access their exclusive list of developers, enabling you to find top talent without investing in a high-cost recruiting team with no guarantee of immediate success. Look out for highly-skilled and experienced software engineers.

12. Data Processing Agreements
If a SaaS vendor will have access to personal data of your customers, make sure to sign and read a data processing agreement (DPA), which is a necessary step when dealing with compliance standards like GDPR. You’ll want documentation of which security measures the vendor is taking to protect your data, as well as details about backups and system redundancies.

13. Cultural Match
A software vendor should not only be qualified to perform the work but must also be a great cultural match. To verify this, you have to get a clear view into their process. Look at their previous examples of work. Get transparency on your budget ahead of time. Study how their team communicates and what processes they employ to ensure projects stay on budget, on time and have a positive outcome.

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"Number 80, you go up the middle, 27 you go deep,
79 you reserve our booth for Art Materials World 2020."


NAMTA's Art Materials World is a unique opportunity to connect with serious art materials buyers from around the world. The show will be held in Festival Hall A at Navy Pier in Chicago April 26 - 28, 2020. Please note that the show entrance is at the 1400 aisle, this is due to construction happening at Navy Pier which will remove the Terrace A West Lobby.

Please click on the following for the Exhibitor Prospectus, On-line Floor Plan, On-line Booth Application, and Exhibitor Rules & Regulations. You can complete your booth application on-line, email me a PDF, or send through the mail. Please note that NAMTA no longer has a fax machine.

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