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Every Friday, I post a small insight into running Curio City and/or Blue Hills Editorial Services. My most recent posts are directly below. You can also start with the first post, or use the subject labels to the right to home in on particular topics. Feel free to comment on anything that interests you.
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Friday, January 13, 2017

Yeah...Not Going to Happen

I won't miss the complaints about fixtures not being included with Switchables covers, or the ensuing orders for a single fixture (costing me a 50-cent box, a 5-cent label, and my time to process a $7.50 sale). Every single nightlight cover's product page includes this text:

This is not a self-contained night light. Switchables stained glass night light covers are designed to be used with the Switchables Nightlight Fixture (sold separately). Switchables are "switchable" because you can easily swap any one of our covers onto the same simple fixture. You can also use your Switchables cover as a suncatcher, a Christmas ornament, or with any other kind of light source. To display your Switchables cover in a window, add the optional suction cup. Switchables make gift-giving easy: Start your recipient out with a fixture and one or two covers, then buy him or her new covers on future gift-giving occasions.

The category page repeats this message in slightly different wording. Additionally, I added "Light fixture sold separately" text to most (but not all) of the product photos. Plus, all of the product names end with the word "cover." And yet, around 10% of customers still think they're buying a complete nightlight. People just plain don't read. 

Because I had found Switchables at the Boston Gift Show (a.k.a. The Cavalcade of Crap) 10 years ago, I faintly hoped that I might find a replacement for them there this spring. I should have registered for that by now, so I Googled the date. Turns out that the 2017 Boston Gift Show has been indefinitely postponed (why not just say canceled?), with suggestions to attend trade shows in Philadelphia, Atlantic City, Gatlinburg (the capital of tacky...didn't Gatlinburg burn to the ground?), or Myrtle Beach. Hah! Nope. The Boston show was of dubious value when it was free, and it died for good reasons. I'm sure not going to travel far away to browse tacky souvenirs, mass market junk, and handicrafts.  

As glad as I am for the excuse not to roam that sad and deserted convention floor this year, it does leave me with no plan for finding a Switchables replacement. I might overcome my hatred of travel to consider a road trip -- at my own expense, obviously; Curio City sure doesn't have a travel budget! -- if I thought that any of those other shows might be worthwhile. New York's Toy Fair (Feb. 18-21) is the only one that could be worth it. "Toys" are not a great fit for my store since I don't cater to children at all. But Toy Fair is enormous, and it defines "toy" very broadly. Admission is free to retailers, but of course staying in NYC is not. Even with free Amtrak tickets, meals and a couple nights' lodging would approach $500.

But behold their online component called shoptoys365.com. I found a lot of my opening products on the Toy Fair website back in 2005, so I have requested access. That it is a gated community encourages me. 

Now I just need to grit my teeth and shop it. It's hard to get motivated when one has no money.

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