Today’s consumers, led by the growing spending force of millennials and Gen Z, are proving to be thoughtful and purposeful shoppers. Weighing every purchase, they give careful consideration whether a particular brand or store is one they want to do business with. What does this mean for the independent retailer? Be intentional. Introduce your customers to brands that mean something to you. Stock your shelves with meaningful products created by diverse makers.
Diversity matters and representation in gift, décor, toys, games, partyware, stationery and greeting cards is crucial. I was thankful to recently connect with a maker who introduced me to several artists and makers of color. Andrea Lyons, owner of Anna+Pookie is on a mission to allow people of all ages to express and celebrate themselves in a way that is representative of their own interests, cultures, and personal styles. “I launched Anna+Pookie after noticing a lack of gifts, stylish stationery and party decorations that were culturally relevant,” Lyons said. See more products by makers of color in the Editor’s Picks: Diversity Matters.
The adventurous retailers featured in the museums&MORE section prove they are so much more than gift shops. Shedd Aquarium in Chicago and Zoo Atlanta are inspiring stewardship of the planet by providing immersive retail experiences and calling consumers to action. Learn how they are making a difference in the articles Positive Impact and Adventurous Retail.
Stationery and greeting cards have become the medium of connection during the pandemic and beyond. The messages they convey have reached new limits of emotion with off-beat to heartfelt missives reflective of the population. The Stationery Lookbook, The Medium is the Message by Sarah Schwartz, editor-in-chief for sister publication Stationer Trends, includes a dazzling look into the eye-popping Portland stationery shop also seen on the cover.
Last but not least, sit down for a spirited Retail Chat with Cat Hildner, a 40 Under 40 alumni, for a pep talk about building your brand in the this issue’s article Level Up Your Product Business Branding.
And don’t forget to nominate for this year’s 40 Under 40 class of outstanding leaders in the gift and stationery industry. We are excited to welcome everyone to celebrate 2022’s inductees this summer as we host 3 days of virtual programming during Gift + Stationery Week Aug. 9-11, 2022.
As I strive to live with intention, I encourage you, too, to remain true to your values, goals and beliefs. Your customers will appreciate your authenticity.
Julie McCallum, editorial director for Gift Shop Plus