Linda & Lee Oppenheim in front of Arts & Letters

Buyer’s Corner: Arts & Letters

{Sponsored} In a year that was a boon for greeting cards and slower for custom stationery, the owners of Arts & Letters in Santa Monica, California, persisted through the COVID-19 pandemic with the same level of care and service they’ve always offered to their clientele. Their “old-fashioned main street” setting is usually bustling with tourists. Owners Lee and Linda Oppenheim are hopeful that as their area opens back up and the temperatures warm in their location near the beach, business will start picking up.

Arts & Letters is a high-end destination for customized stationery, greeting cards from independent makers, beautiful journals and unique gifts that sees traffic from locals as well as tourists — both international and domestic. Customers return for the selection and Linda’s attention to detail and superior customer service. “It’s not your typical Hallmark or grocery selection — we carry different, smaller vendors,” Linda said.

In addition to handmade greeting card brands like Quilling Card, Arts & Letters stocks leather and paperback journals, tasteful photo albums, candles with lovely scents and other items that are not usually found at big box stores.

Greetings cards continue to be an important category for Arts & Letters, and the Oppenheims look forward to getting back to Las Vegas Market to source new makers to add to their offerings. The Oppenheims have attended Las Vegas Market for five years, and they spend time in both rep groups with extensive line offerings as well as the Temporaries, which is a place where they’re often able to find lesser-known card brands to add to their offerings.

Favorite lines

A customer favorite, Quilling Card makes art out of fine strands of paper in the traditional methodology called “quilling,” or wrapping the strands around pins, resulting in a three-dimensional style unique in the greeting card industry. The Oppenheims have discovered other best-selling lines at Las Vegas Market. Buddha Boards are another favorite of their customers, with water painting boards that allow users to create art that slowly fades away as the water evaporates, taking stress and the weight of the world with it. Handcrafted jewelry from Silver Forest is a work of intricate art, and their U.S-made earrings are a staple in Arts & Letters.

Tips for getting the most out of Las Vegas Market

Whether buyers are new to Las Vegas Market or returning buyers, it’s important to shop the show in a way that will net the best items and the top deals. Here are the top tips that the Oppenheims have for buyers to get the most out of market and stock their shops with the most unique items:

  1. Don’t buy the first items you see in each category. Take time to check out every potential vendor, take good notes and go back for the best of the best.
  2. Talk to the sellers. These are the people who know their product best and will have suggestions on how to shop the line.
  3. Touch everything you buy. There’s nothing like shopping for products in-person; knowing how much something weighs, how the paper feels, and that the quality is exactly how it looks will ensure that you get the quality you expect.
  4. Take advantage of show specials. Free freight, pre-priced freight or lower minimum order quantities can mean the difference between a profit and a loss for smaller shops or orders. Once the show ends, you may no longer have access to deals like you can get in-person at the show.
  5. Visit the Temporaries. Having a unique selection in your store will set you apart from the shop down the street, and working with smaller, newer vendors is the perfect way to bolster your customers’ favorites with things they’ve never seen before. Adding new products from small vendors on a regular basis will be a reason for your customers to come back to visit and shop more often.

For anyone worried about the future, Lee Oppenheim offered some words of encouragement. “Things will get better. Might not happen overnight. Trade shows are great and customer service puts you ahead of your competitors if you do it correctly. You’ll have a repeat customer,” he said.

 

Join us in Las Vegas this month!

August 22-26, 2021

Gift & Home Temporaries: August 22-25, 2021

Register here!

 

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