International Art Materials Association

January 2, 2019

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Laissez les Bon Temps Rouler:

The Art of the Lagniappe

by Rich Kizer & Georganne Bender
If you follow our adventures on social medias then you know we spend as much time in New Orleans as we can. We love the New Orleans vibe; its history and the energy and the wonderful Southern hospitality. One of the best things about New Orleans is the lagniappe.

The word lagniappe – pronounced “lan-YAP” – comes from the 19th century Cajun French word “la napa” which means “the gift”.  It’s a small gift, a token of appreciation that is given to loyal customers by New Orleans merchants.

In the age of the in-store experience, it’s the lagniappes, the little unexpected gifts and kindnesses that make your store stand out. We’ve encountered many in our travels, here are some of our favorites:

The In-Store Services Lagniappe
Nordstrom Local stores offer plenty of services but they don’t have a single piece of merchandise on the floor for sale. You can get a manicure, meet with a personal stylist, enjoy on-site alterations, and same-day delivery on items ordered from local Nordstrom stores. There’s curbside pickup, and you can bring items purchased anywhere online to Nordstrom Local and the store will ship them back for you for a low flat fee. Or you can just hang out and enjoy beer, wine or fresh-squeezed juices.

Personal shoppers are a welcome lagniappe because shopping with one is like having your own personal assistant. In your store all customers need to do is phone or email to tell you what she’s in the market to buy. You pull the goods and have them ready and waiting when the customer comes in. We bet you do this already. Why not give it an official name and add it to your list of services and conveniences?

Curb Service Convenience Lagniappe
Curb Service has come into its own. Customers call or email the store and place their order over the phone. When the customer arrives she calls the store and an associate meets her at the curb. Curb Service is wonderful for busy moms and with a car full of kids or older customers who have a tough time getting in and out of the car.

Lagniappe Your Referral Program
Word of mouth is the number one thing that brings new customers to your store, so why not recruit your best customers to help you spread the good word?

Our “Introducing My Friend!” cards are an easy way to kick off your customer referral program. Using a template we’ll be happy to share, you create the cards right on your computer.

Give your 25 best customers 20 cards each, ask them to sign the back, and share the cards with their friends. Each card entitles any new shopper who brings in a card to a free gift from your store. It doesn’t have to be big, maybe a paint brush or a free class. Now, those 25 customers get a bigger lagniappe: If 10 cards come back the customer receives a 10% discount on a single purchase, if 20 come back the customer receives a 20% discount on a single purchase, and if all 25 come back the customer receives a 25% discount on a single purchase. You decide what you want the lagniappes to be – that’s completely up to you. Think of the new customer potential!

Welcome Lagniappes
At a scrapbook store and were asked if we’d visited the store before. We said no and were given a cellophane bag filled with goodies, including a certificate for a free class and 10% off of our first purchase.

The back of the owner’s business card did double duty as a punch card. When a customer fills up the card to the tune of $250.00 she receives $10.00 off of her next purchase.

Gift Card Lagniappes
A free gift card on the customer’s birthday is a no-brainer. So is a gift card when a customer is unhappy about a purchase or has been let down by your store. A $5 gift card costs you $2.50, a small amount to keep a customer happy.

Offer gift card promotions during the holidays and throughout the year. A “Buy $50 in gift cards and get a $10 gift card for free” is a customer favorite. This lagniappe almost sells itself – who doesn’t like to get a gift when buying one for someone else?

Circles of Expectations Exercise

Look for lagniappes with our “Customer Care Circles of Excellence” exercise:

Draw a small circle on a flipchart and list all of the cool things you currently do for customers. These might include having a place for customers to park their cars, someone to ring the register, and bags to carry purchases home.

Now, draw a larger circle around the smaller one. This outer circle represents the extra things you do for customers like coffee on a cold day or a bottle of water when it’s hot outside, an unannounced sale, or a handwritten thank-you note after a class.

The outer circle is where lagniappes live. But once customers get used to the things in the outer circle these things get relegated to the inner circle. You should do this exercise at a store meeting at least once a quarter to keep things fresh.

The great thing about a lagniappe is that you can keep customers close with a small, inexpensive gesture that builds both buzz and customer satisfaction, making your store a stand out.

Rich Kizer & Georganne Bender are professional speakers, retail strategists, authors and consultants whose client list reads like a “Who’s Who” in business. Companies internationally depend upon them for timely advice on consumers and the changing retail market place. 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


Important reminders:

  • Register your badge names. Call (704.892.6244) or email Karen for help. 
  • Book your room at Namta's Headquarter Hotel - Hilton Palacio del Rio. Reservations need to be made by January 22 to receive the group rate.


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Namta Retailers

You can Attend Creativation for FREE

AFCI, Association for Creative Industries, will hold their tradeshow, Creativation, in Phoenix, Arizona from January 17th to 21st, 2019.

The Good News is . . .
Namta Retail Members will have the opportunity to attend Creativation with no entrance fees.

  • Education begins on January 17
  • Show Floor opens on January 19
Contact Karen Brown at 704-892-6244 or [email protected] to find out how you can register for Creativation with your Namta Membership.


Have You Wondered?

What is the 1800s Barbizon School?

An important movement in French painting, the term 'Barbizon School' refers to a group of painters who, around 1848, settled in and around the French village of Barbizon near the Fontainebleau forest. They were also known as the Fontainebleau School and their work is regarded as the strongest movement of purely landscape painting in nineteenth century France.

Noted above all for their plein-air painting, Barbizon artists developed a remarkable naturalism, minutely observing natural settings. In so doing, they rejected many of the canons of academic art in their quest to establish a new and prosaic form of realist painting - an idiom that led directly to the socially aware realism of Gustave Courbet. Their paintings are mostly landscapes of plains, trees and forests, all rendered in a fluid style.

The most famous representatives of the Barbizon School are Camille Corot and Theodore Rousseau, the latter being the organizer and leader of both the group and proponent of its theories. Other noteworthy figures were Jules Dupre (1811-89), whose work was characterized by the sombre use of light, and Jean-Francois Millet whose work, The Gleaners (pictured right), is an oil painting depicting three peasant women gleaning a field of stray stalks of wheat after the harvest. Charles-Francois Daubigny, a specialist in landscapes featuring riverbanks, was also an important member of the group, as was the Spanish-born painter Narcisse Diaz de la Pena (1807-76).

Notable Quote

"Ars Longa, Vita Brevis."

The Latin quote is often rendered in English as "Art is Long, Life is Short."

- from Hippocrates, Greek physician of the Age of Pericles, considered to be one of the most outstanding figures in the history of medicine.

Mural painting (right) showing Galen and Hippocrates. 12th century; Anagni, Italy




Your Guide to 2019 Rate Increases

- for FedEx and UPS

by Leah Palnik, PartnerShip Blog, December 2018

FedEx and UPS rates will be going up in 2019, and it’s more important than ever that shippers know how to mitigate the impact to their business. In November, FedEx announced that its small package rates will increase an average of 4.9% as of January 7, 2019. In December, only a few weeks before the change is set to take place on the 26th, UPS announced the same average increase.

If you’re thinking that means you can budget your costs to go up by 4.9%, you are sorely mistaken. There is a lot to unpack with these rate increases. For starters, some services are increasing at a higher rate than others - meaning that depending on the services you commonly use, your costs could go up significantly more than the announced average.

Other factors determine how much more you will pay for your FedEx and UPS shipments in 2019. You will need to look at the new rates based on your package characteristics, as well as how far your shipments are being sent. Here are the released rates for 2019:

FedEx and UPS Surcharges

The announced average increase only covers the base rates. You’ll also need to consider what fees and surcharges apply to your shipments. Many of these surcharges are increasing quite a bit. Here are the announced changes:

One surcharge to take note of is the Third-Party Billing fee. A couple years ago, UPS introduced this in response to the growing popularity of drop shipping. Right now if you use third-party billing, you will incur a charge of 2.5% of total cost. Beginning December 26, UPS will be increasing that charge to 4.5%. FedEx is leaving its Third-Party Billing charge unchanged at 2.5% for 2019. This is just one example of why it’s important to evaluate the changes that come out each year from UPS and FedEx. One small difference can have a huge impact on your costs.

The most costly surcharges continue to be those that apply to shipments that qualify as “Unauthorized” or “Over Maximum Limits.” If you send a package with UPS that weighs more than 150 lbs., exceeds 108 inches in length, or exceeds a total of 165 inches in length and girth combined, you’ll be looking at a $850 charge on top of your base rate. That same package will incur a $675 charge if you ship it with FedEx. Either way, you’ll be paying a huge premium to ship larger, bulkier packages.

Peak Season Strategies
It’s also important to note that ahead of the 2019 general rate increase (GRI), FedEx and UPS both announced peak season surcharges. For those larger packages, the carriers applied additional surcharges during the busiest time of year. A huge difference between the two, however, was an additional charge on residential shipments. UPS applied a $0.28 peak surcharge on residential ground shipments, while FedEx decided that for the second year in a row, it wouldn’t follow suit. If you’re a retailer that delivers a large amount of customer orders over the holidays, that charge can add up fast.

Trends in the Small Package Industry
If you zoom out on all of these changes from FedEx and UPS, there are a few insights to glean.

  1. FedEx and UPS tend to institute similar pricing strategies. The carriers have a habit of matching each other when announcing average increases, and when one introduces a new charge or a different way to account for something, the other tends to do the same down the road. That doesn’t mean that it doesn’t matter which carrier you use. Instead, it’s important to stay on top of the changes and evaluate your options on a regular basis so you’re always using the service that works best for your budget.
  2. Many of the changes over the years have been put in place as a result of the ecommerce boom. With more shipments coming from online orders, comes more trends that strain the carriers’ networks. For example, ecommerce has led to more residential deliveries and more deliveries of oversized packages. That’s why you’ll see the carriers making changes that help them to recoup some of the costs associated with these trends.
  3. Both carriers have been making changes throughout the year, instead of just during the GRI. For example, FedEx and UPS both increased their Additional Handling surcharges ahead of the new year – in September and July respectively. When UPS first introduced peak surcharges for residential ground shipments, that was also done outside of the annual announcement. This just highlights how important it is for shippers to stay aware throughout the year.

We know you don’t want to comb through every tedious page of the 2019 FedEx and UPS service guides and compare them to your current rates. That’s why we (PartnerShip) did the leg work for you. In our free white paper, we break down where you’ll find the highest increases and explain some of the complicated changes you need to be aware of. If you’re looking for ways to offset the rate increases, we can also help with that. If you’re a member of one of the many associations we work with, you can get access to exclusive discounts. Contact us and we’ll find a way to help you save.

Visit for Namta Member discount details.

At this time, shipping discounts can be used in USA only.

Welcome New Members


Art Plaza Incorporado

Located in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Art Plaza Incorporado sells art materials and has an art gallery and offers framing service.

TVP Global

This company is located near San Francisco, sells online and plans to have a brick and mortar location in 2019 to sell their products local. They are looking forward to attending Art Materials World 2019.

Member News

Sam Flax Atlanta is moving to a new location and Sophia Bowman-Albirt and Mary Ellen Long are purchasing the company from Leonard and David Flax. The new owners are excited about this new era at Sam Flax and look forward to carrying on the incredible traditions of customer service, community involvement and excellent vendor relationships established by the Flax family. The new store will be located at 1495 Northside Drive, Suite B.

Great Web Articles and Stories that may be of interest to members.



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