Posts Tagged ‘Holiday’

Happy Halloween from MacPherson’s!

Wednesday, October 31st, 2018
Catherine Monahon, Copywriter, MacPherosn’s

If MacPherson’s has a favorite holiday, it may or may not be the one that involves dressing up, decorating, turning the world upside down and tapping into our imaginative, artsy sides. While delivering creativity is what we do on the clock, we embrace (and express) creativity outside of work too—in fact, for many of us it is the fuel that keeps us going! Halloween is a chance for us to show off this creative spark.

Costume Contests

We kicked off the day of Halloween with a costume contest.

The winners in Emeryville:

Jeanine Davids as The Butcher, Ariana Faustini as an American Eagle and Christine Sanchez as Billy the Puppet from Saw.

The winners in Atlanta:

Marianna Powers as a witch, Clifton Turner as a “creepy slasher guy”, Camesha as a bee and Wanda Harrold as a coach; Natalie Simmons as Catwoman

Georgina Aguirre as Spider-girl, Luz Semidey as Jack Skellington.

Haunted Departments

In the weeks leading up to Halloween, various departments in Emeryville strategize, brainstorm and percolate: how can we transform our everyday desk pods into creatively creepy Halloween-themed menageries? Creative Services and Brand Marketing and Category Management had their eyes on the prize.  

Creative & Brand built a giant spider’s lair, complete with a witchy conjuring table and a graveyard — but their efforts were no match for the veteran Halloween champions in Category Management. They transformed their area into a haunted house, complete with lights, music and maniacal characters! While it’s hard to capture the experience in words, here’s what it was like to walk through their creative, terrifying house of horror!

For scale: Creative Services & Brand Marketing’s spidery lair tucked above the (first prize winners) huge haunted house by Category Management.

Congrats to Category Management for a well-deserved win! The amount of teamwork, collaboration and imagination that went into the haunted house is inspiring.

The haunted house experience began with a scary nun beckoning you in, then a puppet (Christine in Accounting) on a tricycle surrounded by creepy toys asking you to play. Dig deep into a gooey bowl of what feels like eyeballs and get the key from the grim reaper (Dave from IT); proceed down the hall where hands grab you and a masked figure jumps out… only to come face to face with The Butcher herself: Jeanine Davids.

Pumpkins

The week before Halloween, Human Resources doles out pumpkins and challenges us to transform them. The winners:

Best Decorated Pumpkin (left), Meghan Mclean (Creative & Brand) To create her pumpkin-turned-Dragon, Meghan used QoR Watercolor medium, QoR watercolors, Koi Metallic watercolors, Sculpey, POSCA markers and epoxy to hold it all together.

Most Creative Pumpkin (right), Hannah Reineck (Creative & Brand) Hannah adorned her pumpkin with a feather boa and created an avian friend with POSCA markers and glitter.

Best Carved Pumpkin (left), Bruce Graham (IT). Bruce went the old fashioned route – all you need is a kitchen knife (and toothpicks to secure the ears)!

Most Technical Pumpkin (right), Howard (IT). Howard’s process, and his result, won him the best technical pumpkin: he devised the method of marbling the pumpkin upside down by drilling a hole, sticking a curved paperclip in: voila, beautiful designs covering the entire surface. He used Marabu Easy Marble and a manikin.

Did you do anything fun for Halloween with your store? Any staff art or contests? Any Art Dog costumes? Tag us in your posts on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram–we’d love to see.

Ready, Set, Go: Black Friday, Small Business Saturday & Giving Tuesday

Thursday, October 25th, 2018
Cassie Brehmer, Midwest Account Manager & Catherine Monahon, Copywriter, MacPherson’s

Mark your calendars! While you’re focusing on sales and promotions for the winter holidays, keep these three retail-related holidays on your radar. We’ve put together key links, hashtags and merchandising ideas so that you can easily integrate Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Giving Tuesday into your promotions next month.

Black Friday, November 23rd

Black Friday is the informal name for the day following Thanksgiving, the fourth Thursday of November. Traditionally recognized as the beginning of the holiday shopping season in the United States, Black Friday is an opportunity to reach a wide audience with deep discounts.

While this “holiday” is often utilized by larger nation-wide retailers to have “blow out” sales, in recent years some companies, like REI, have taken a different approach; not participating due to the perception that the focus on shopping takes away from the otherwise family-oriented holiday weekend. To keep your Black Friday sale family friendly, consider holding a small event with a family theme in addition to a sale. Choose a project like rock painting, alcohol ink on yupo, or ornament marbling.

  • Merchandising Tips
    • Consider having one or two items on closeout pricing. For great deals, check the October SuperMarkdowns list on the Macpherson’s homepage in the Tools drop down menu.
    • Alternatively, be a little cheeky and offer your own version of a Black Friday sale: a sale on all of your black paints, papers, sketchbooks, pens, markers, spray paint, etc.
  • Social Media
    • Black Friday is a great day to post on social media—in 2017 more than 130 million people discussed Black Friday on Instagram and Facebook…that’s more than the Superbowl!
    • Announce your holiday hours and any promotions your followers can expect over the coming weeks.
    • Hashtags: #BlackFriday #deals #giveaway #sale #Christmas #Thanksgiving #Retail #ShopSmall

Small Business Saturday, November 24th

Small Business Saturday is a day promoted by American Express and the United States Small Business Administration as part of the Shop Small movement—a nationwide effort to celebrate small businesses and strengthen communities.

The “Shop Small Studio” is full of free, easy-to-download promotional materials, ideas for events and tips for effective merchandising. To participate in Small Business Saturday and access these resources, you do not need to be affiliated with American Express. For access to even more planning resources, register your business here and receive promotional goodies such as stickers, balloons and tote bags.

  • Merchandising Tips
    • Feature locally made products on the day of, as well as store merchandise like t-shirts, mugs or tote bags.
    • Invite local artisans to set up a booth in your store.
    • Host a creative event for children or adults like “Make a Wishlist” where children can walk around the store and write down which items make it on their dream list for the holidays.
    • Utilize the Shop Small Studio to create custom signage.
  • Social Media
    • Share your story. Reconnect. Show your community why you love being a part of your neighborhood, and how valuable this season is to your business. Honest communication and a humble thank you will make a meaningful impression, differentiating yourself as a small local business that truly cares.
    • Hashtags: #ShopSmall #smallbizsat #smallbusinesssaturday

Giving Tuesday, November 27th

#GivingTuesday is “a global day of giving fueled by the power of social media and collaboration. Celebrated on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving (in the U.S.) and the widely recognized shopping events Black Friday and Cyber Monday, #GivingTuesday kicks off the charitable season, when many focus on their holiday and end-of-year giving.”

Giving Tuesday is a great opportunity to build relationships with an organization or cause that your customers care about. Register here and download the media toolkit. Click here to see what other retailers have done in the past.

  • Merchandising Tip
    • Get wishlists from local community centers or arts organizations and set up donation boxes so your customers can do a little good while shopping for gifts
    • Poll customers or staff to help choose an organization to contribute to that is meaningful to your community
  • Social Media
    • Hashtags: The creators of #GivingTuesday say, “Create your own hashtag. We’ve seen #GivingZooDay, #GivingTreesDay, #GivingShoesDay, #iGiveCatholic, and more. Have fun creating your own twist on #GivingTuesday.”

#GivingTuesday even has an extremely well thought out social media toolkit with pre-written posts to help you post online. Tag @givingtues in your posts.

Super(natural) Merchandising: Window Display Or Portal To Another World?

Friday, October 19th, 2018

Last month, we showcased budget-friendly strategies for eye-catching window displays, with a focus on creating a unique experience and a call for submissions from retailers who are proud of their windows. The holidays offer opportunity for an extra dose of creativity, and it helps to have enthusiastic staff who take initiative. We are pleased to share a creative window just in time for Halloween: this Stranger Things display grabbed attention last year at JWS Art Supplies, in Great Barrington, MA, a quaint tourist town near the Berkshires. JWS has a reputation for having fun window displays that allows them to get extra creative when their favorite holiday comes around, bending some of the rules most adhere to—this window doesn’t feature art supplies, but it draws traffic all the same!

Stranger Things is a popular show on Netflix in its third season. Set in the fictional town Hawkins, Indiana, in the 1980s, the science-fiction horror series has somewhat of a cult following. Think synthy, spooky and supernatural, or, as it is called on the show, the “upside down.” The story revolves around a group of kids’ experiences after their friend disappears and a girl with otherworldly powers mysteriously appears shortly after.

For people who know Stranger Things, it’s an instant draw and a photo opportunity with the lifesize “statement piece”—the Demigorgon, a supernatural demon on the show that staff member Meghan Spaniol recreated with a mannequin, chicken wire, newspaper, paint and a lot of hot glue. For people who have no idea what Stranger Things is, the window is a conversation waiting to happen. From the box of waffles to the Christmas lights, every prop ties into the story.

“We’re known to have a lot of displays in our town. What’s funny is our window doesn’t usually have a lot of art merchandise,” manager Emily Levine muses. “We use the art supplies to actually create the window displays, and those bring people in. Our repeat customers love the window, look forward to it and remember it year to year. New people come in and say, I didn’t know you were here! I love your Halloween set up!”

Logistics for creating a display can feel overwhelming, especially during the holidays. Catering to staff interests and skill sets and using inexpensive or free materials helps.

“We use a lot of supplies that we carry, and we don’t budget much for them. We probably didn’t spend more than $50 on this window, I would say probably even less. We have to be pretty resourceful since we change our window so often, about every two months or every month if it is a holiday. The mannequin we got for free because somebody was getting rid of it, and other things are usually made out of cardboard and foam core scraps. Our biggest expense would be lights, and fabric, which we use a lot so we have a pretty good stock of them.”

Tying In Product & Incentivizing with a Monthly Challenge

Balance is key: while other-worldly windows that draw on pop culture are a great way to create an experience for customers, bringing that imaginative spark to a window that focuses on a specific product line or targets a specific artistic community can drive sales.

Another JWS hit from last year was a window featuring giant sculptures (something of a crowd pleaser in stores) of COPIC markers accompanied by a jumbo illustration done by Meghan. This display is inspired by Instagram challenges and tuned into the social media following for COPIC markers. Staff created a monthly challenge for customers to boost sales of specific color lines.

“Customer participation is growing quickly for the COPIC challenge. They receive 15% off the bundle of three markers when they buy it for the challenge and if they tag us on social media they get a discount on any item the next time they come in the store. We display the art they make in the store if people bring it in, or they can also tag us on Instagram to enter. If they win they get the next month’s bundle for free. It’s picking up each time we do it, and with any new thing you’re trying it takes some time.”

Your windows can be a creative playground, a connection to your social media presence and an open invitation. We look forward to learning more from our community and seeing what the holidays have in store.

Do you have a window you are proud of? A monthly challenge your store has championed? Share it with us at artdogblog (@) macphersonart.com. Or better yet, document your next window display design process, from ideation to execution. We’d love to celebrate your team and amplify your expertise.

Inspire & Spook With DecoArt Outdoor Living Paint

Friday, September 28th, 2018
    DecoArt, Inc.

It’s the most shudder-ful time of the year! With Halloween just around the corner, DecoArt has a range of products that will make your customers shudder with delight. Treat your customers to DecoArt’s Americana Decor Outdoor Living paint to make this selling season truly spooktacular. Durable and weather-resistant,  this paint does not require sanding, priming, or sealing. Outside spaces are being decorated as elaborately as interior rooms, especially during a holiday season. The addition of the DecoArt Outdoor Living line to your store makes it easy and affordable for all customers to transform any piece from daunting to happy haunting. It’s permanent and durable adhesion to concrete, terra cotta, masonry, wood, metal, plastic, glass, and more makes it one of the most versatile paint products on the market. Americana Decor Outdoor Living is an easy to use product for both indoor and outdoor projects.

Here’s a monster mash-up of Halloween projects to inspire your customers to purchase all the materials needed to create a boo-tiful front porch!

Don’t lose your “ghoul!” These 2-3 step projects are simple, even for the most novice craft customer.

Tip: Drive sales by providing your customers with our free downloadable project templates, located on each project page (Practical Potions and Witch’s Chair).

Practical Potions Sign

“Sit for a Spell” Witch’s Chair

Pack your porch with even more thrilling DecoArt projects. See below for even more coordinating ideas and bewitched inspiration for you and your customers!

Learn more step-by-step instructions via the DecoArt Project Gallery: make a Witch’s Brew, a Bubbling Cauldron, a Witch Hat or a Witch Silhouette!  

“Best Witches” from DecoArt, in all of your art adventures!

To purchase DecoArt Outdoor Living products, contact your MacPherson’s representative or shop online today!”

Retailer’s Choice: Next “Demo Days” Feature

Thursday, September 27th, 2018
Cassie Brehmer, Midwest Account Manager, MacPherson’s

Last month we introduced a new feature called Demo Days, which outlines instructions and materials needed to create an in store demonstration or workshop.

Regular in-store activities help to foster a sense of community and make your store a destination spot for artists and hobbyists alike. Allowing your customers to participate in a hands-on activity that educates them on products and lets them leave your store with an item they are confident they can recreate. We’ve put together a list of demo ideas for 4th Quarter. Let us know which activity inspires you and we’ll outline how to do the most requested one in our next Demo Days feature. Want to see something that’s not on the list? E-mail us at artdogblog (@) macphersonart.com to let us know!

  • DIY wrapping paper – block printing on craft paper
  • Giant snowflakes with decorative papers.
  • Wintertime felt trees
  • Furniture antiquing techniques
  • Face painting for parents
  • Making your own calligraphy inks
  • Marbling glass ornaments
  • Oven Baked Clay – beads, ornaments, and more

Best Practices: Plan Ahead For Holiday Merchandising

Monday, September 24th, 2018
Cassie Brehmer, Midwest Account Manager, MacPherson’s

The holiday season brings in customers beyond the everyday shopper, which is an exciting opportunity to connect and encourage repeat business from these “non-regulars” throughout the year. In reality, it is also the season where empowering customers to help themselves will keep sale opportunities moving through your retail space in a healthy flow. Early October is a great time to set-up a a semi-permanent featured items table or end-cap up in store to rotate through Halloween, Thanksgiving, and the December holidays. Your regular customers may notice something new – and your new customers will see fun products at great prices.

October

Ah, Halloween, the season where a customer could ask for literally anything under the sun to create the perfect costume… The obvious requests for essentials like masks and face paint and glitter arise – but for creatives wanting to explore more advanced costume making techniques, consider featuring any of the following:

  • Mold making tools and supplies
  • Plastercraft
  • Styrofoam
  • Carving tools
  • Armature wire
  • Glues that adhere to multiple surfaces
  • Fabric paint and glue
  • Oven-bake clay
  • Beads and ANY craft supplies (buttons, sequins, rhinestones, findings, etc.)
  • Economy acrylic paints
  • Googly eyes
  • Tissue paper

Provide project ideas, images of how the products can be used, and share relevant YouTube videos on your social media pages. This a great time of year to educate curious customers on new materials and inspire them to try something out of their comfort zone at a great price.

Click here to revisit featured Halloween items on www.MacPhersonArt.com!

November

Holiday shopping begins!  You can leave a lot of your craft items from October on your features table here. In preparing for the holiday rush, start showing your customers how to make their own wrapping paper or placemats using a block printing techniques, how to create a handmade “hostess” gift, fold easy origami ornaments and the classic – homemade holiday cards. Consider featuring the following:

  • Craft supplies
  • Block printing tools and materials for printing on paper and fabric.
  • Craft paper rolls or white paper rolls
  • Hemp/twine/ribbon
  • Candle or soap making supplies (easy hostess gifts!)
  • Origami paper and other paper crafts
  • Card making supplies (see project ideas from Strathmore here)

This is also a good time to get store staff involved by writing notes about supplies they are “thankful for” and prominently posting them on displays. Start to set out some holiday sets as a preview for what’s to come.

December

Holiday Bonanza! It’s time to feature all those sets you brought in at great discounts for the holidays. Create signage to educate your customers on the differences between sets. Physically separate them into categories for “Child/Beginner,” “Hobbyist,” “Student” and “Professional.” Don’t forget to have a few sets open and ready to try with appropriate surfaces. Focus trending products under a sign: “Your Grandkids will LOVE….{Insert: marbling, alcohol markers, slime kits, or glitter gel pens}”. Put together a house kit for a trend like bullet journaling, with a creative staff-made examples! Other products to consider:

  • Fine paper/wrapping paper
  • Ribbons/twine/hemp (for wrapping and gift tags)
  • Gold and silver writing pens
  • Scrapbooking appliques and stickers
  • Blank cards (see top selling Strathmore cards on Page 25 in the Buyers guide)
  • Knives and blades
  • Tape (double sided and regular)
  • Glitter/glitter glue
  • How-to-calligraphy and hand lettering books
  • Paper mache figures
  • Origami paper
  • Ready made frames

Wicked Halloween Assortments

Monday, September 24th, 2018

Halloween is just around the corner, so don’t forget to check out this assortment of key Halloween items and seasonal goodies, perfect for a prominent display or end cap.

White pumpkin, marbled with black and white Marabu Easy Marble

Thumb Through Your Fall Buyer’s Guide

The Fall 2018 Buyer’s Guide is full of inspirational resources for the coming fall (check MacPhersonArt.com for a link to the current Buyer’s Guide and promotions). Try a fun fall demo so customers can see how easy it is to use some of these products, like the marbled pumpkin featured on page 61. Click here for a refresher of how to transform a pumpkin into festive decor – no carving required!

Inktober For Everyone!

Tuesday, September 18th, 2018
Catherine Monahon, Copywriter, MacPherson’s

In 2009, illustrator Jake Parker set out to challenge himself for the month of October: create a work of art in pen and ink each day, and share it online. He dubbed it with the catchy name “Inktober” and got to work. Nearly ten years later, tens of thousands of artists are a part of the Inktober community. 31 drawings in 31 days, all under the hashtag “#inktober,” the artwork spans from fantastical to realistic, lettering to abstract. As long as it’s ink, it qualifies. Each day of #Inktober has a corresponding prompt to tackle creative blocks; see the list here for inspiration.

Inktober in Your Store

While Inktober reminds professionals to loosen up and have fun with their craft, it also challenges beginners and enthusiasts to push themselves and improve. It is a great opportunity for you to engage with customers who use pen and ink or those who would like to challenge themselves in new ways. So what supplies are your customers craving?

We’ve compiled a list of supplies you can feature in September to get your community excited for October 1st! In addition to featuring ink related products, you can also host in store competitions, staff artwork or have a gallery showing in November featuring the work of local Inktober artists.

Collaboration

Jake Parker, the founder of Inktober, is professional illustrator who has helped build the Inktober community over the years. If you would like to use the Inktober logo for promotions, please connect with Jake directly. He is open to collaboration; run an idea by him if you’d like to go beyond an endcap or demo and do Inktober events, gallery openings and more. He also offers online classes if your customers are interested. Please contact him and tag him in social media posts with #inktober @jakeparker.

Beyond October…

Monthly challenges have gained popularity in recent years and are a great way to engage with customers or showcase specific products. Check out Dynovember, March of the Robots or Sketch a Day May to learn more about what future months hold!

Halloween and Cosplay Go Hand in Hand: Creative End Caps For People Who Love Dressing Up

Tuesday, September 18th, 2018
Catherine Monahon, Copywriter, MacPherson’s

Halloween is a great time to introduce customers to the wild, varied, inclusive world that is Cosplay. CosPlay is the practice of dressing up as a fictional character–any fictional character–and it is not just popular during Halloween. Customers’ imaginations are already in gear for creating witty, spooky, realistic or outlandish costumes, so this is a great time to introduce another costume-related art form. Peak the interest of that special group who secretly wishes Halloween happened more than once a year and engage with a community of cosplayers you may have never known about.

The Cosplay Community

The word Cosplay is combination costume and play, and it is a global phenomenon. The philosophy of Cosplay is “you can be whoever you want”–cosplayers are driven by passion, obsession and creativity, and they are in dire need of all kinds of supplies to make their favorite character come to life. Cosplay originated when sci-fi fans in 1908 who would dress up as Mr. Skygack, a martian from a popular comic.

The day book. (Chicago, Ill.), 10 Feb. 1912. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.

Cosplay has evolved to include comics, anime, TV, movies as well as all things science fiction. Characters from anime, movies like Harry Potter or the Miyazaki films, video games and sci-fi novels spring to life. This article highlights some impressive cosplay characters at this year’s Comic-Con San Diego, a yearly convention that is one of the biggest draw for cosplayers. It is essentially a festival where artists, writers, creators, actors and fans gather to peruse, converse and perform.

Connecting The Dots: In Your Store

So how does your store fit into all of this? Relevant materials are endless, including fabric, embellishments, face paint, craft foam, acrylic paint, mold-making kits, craft glues for different surfaces and more.

Specific materials that a Cosplayer looks for:

Sci-fi fans will appreciate a Cosplay shout out in your store, as will people who go that extra mile to create an artistic, wacky, one-of-a-kind Halloween costume!