International Art Materials Association

    eNews:  October 9
, 2019

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New Address - 9606 Bailey Road, Suite 240, Cornelius NC  28031


Rich Kizer & Georganne Bender

The old adage, “Retail is in the details” is never more true than it is during the holidays. Those details, dotting the I’s and crossing the T’s, that may not seem so important when the thermometer reads 75, but they make all the difference in the world when you have a store-full of impatient shoppers on December 15th.

Ready to make your Holiday Things to Do List? Let’s go!

  1. Plan your holiday in-store events. This is not an option. You need to host at least one major and one to two minor events every week in November and December. And you need to do something to thrill shoppers on Black Friday. Drop us an email at [email protected] if you would like a free copy of our 10 best in-store events and promotions templates.

  2. Hire seasonal staff. You can teach people how to work with customers, but you can’t teach nice, so choose your temp staff with care. This is the time of year when testy shoppers get well, even testier. Commit to a training schedule, and partner each new hire with a seasoned associate who can mentor them throughout their holiday employment.

    Hold meetings with your mentors before the new hires arrive; you’ll need to explain the program, and your expectations. This meeting will also alert you to training needs you may have not been aware of that need to be addressed with everyone on your team.

  3. Cover the basics.
    • Repair, repaint, and replace everything on your To-Do list now, you want everything crossed-off the list ASAP. You don’t need the hassle of replacing the valve on the restroom toilet a week before Christmas.
    • Take a physical inventory of your “never out” store supplies, the things that would be an absolute disaster if you ran out of them on a busy Saturday. Bags and gift cards top this list, but even toilet paper is important.
    • Create your Top 10 Lists of Not-to-be-Missed Holiday Gifts that are available from your store. Do your lists by product category, age, gender – whatever makes sense and will help you sell more product. Every staffer needs to know what’s on it so they can make smart gift recommendations. Have plenty of copies on hand and place them throughout the store. Feature your lists on your website, social medias, in your newsletter, and on bag stuffers. Make it easy for every shopper to buy the perfect gift this year.
    • Be prepared on December 26 with a plan to clear leftover holiday products. Decide what needs to be marked down, how much it will be discounted (hint: the first markdown should be the deepest), and how it will be displayed on the sales floor.
    • Determine how you will handle customer returns. Make sure that your customer-friendly return/exchange policy is clearly posted in the store, behind the cashwrap, and on your website. You may also want to include it in the not-so-fine print on your holiday bag stuffers. If holiday sales are brisk in your store you may also want to decide now where and how returns will be processed: at the cashwrap or on a separate table?

    Lose the auto-response, “Would you like your money back?” Instead, ask the customer if he would like to look around for something else, or maybe he’d prefer a gift card. You’ll save more sales that way, but if he insists on a refund, then give him one with a smile. You want these customers to come back and shop with you again.

  4. Choose a holiday theme. What’ll it be this year? Home for the Holidays? Victorian Christmas? It's A Wonderful Life, A Christmas Carol, or The Nutcracker? Whatever store décor theme you choose, go for it! These over the top displays have a job to do: put customers in a happy mood to spend. So, set your windows to sell, play holiday music, and holiday-ize your dress code. Serve Christmas cookies and cocoa on weekends. Set a schedule of what needs to happen and when and stick to it.

  5. Set your sales floor to encourage holiday sales.  Make a list of these key areas and check them daily:
    • The Decompression Zone is the first 5’ to 10’ just inside your store’s front door. This is where shoppers refocus and collect themselves for the shopping ahead. They will miss anything you place here, so put your DZ to work by leaving it empty. Just beyond the Decompression Zone is where the shopping begins.
    • Speed Bump Displays are small tables loaded with irresistible product that are placed front and center, just beyond your Decompression Zone. Their job is to stop busy shoppers in their tracks and redirect their focus to your merchandise. Change your Speed Bump displays at least once a week, whether they need it or not.
    • Keep shoppers hands-free! Customers who shop with a cart or a basket spend 25 percent more in dollars and up to 15 minutes longer in the store. Place your carts and/or baskets just past the Decompression Zone and throughout the store. Keep an eye open for customers carrying product; you’ll want to get them a basket right away. We tend to tend to stop shopping when our hands are full. The Good-L Corporation makes shopping carts for even the smallest of stores. Visit and take a look at their “basket carts.”
    • Cross-Merchandise by displaying complementary product together, you’ll save shoppers time and sell more stuff! Bundle items on tables; create kits, cross-merchandise with clip-strips and j-hooks everywhere you can. You’ll encourage add-on purchases and increase your average sale. has a wide selection of cross-merchandising accessories to choose from.
    • Impulse buying at the cash wrap.  Women are infamous for making purchases on impulse, that’s why your cash wrap should be loaded with product she just can’t pass up. Set a fab display of gifts on the wall behind your cash wrap so customers never stop thinking about your merchandise. And be sure to place displays of cool product within reach of the cash wrap, so customers can continue to shop while they wait on line to pay for their purchases.
    • Encourage gift card/certificate sales: Studies show that 80 percent of customers spend more than the face value of the gift card, and 40 percent of customers spend more than twice the face value of the card. Push them this holiday – you can’t lose!
    • A gift card stuffed in an envelope doesn’t look like much, even if it’s for a high dollar amount, but a gift card that’s placed in tissue paper and wrapped in a pretty gift box is something special. Your gift card packaging builds a perception about your store in the customer’s mind when she opens it. Don’t skip this important step.

  6. Work your social medias. Social networking builds word of mouth, the number one thing that brings new customers to your store. Give it some extra oomph this holiday season.
    • Increase your number of email blasts from one to two a month, to three to four a month. Customers expect extra offers during the holidays. And remember, not everyone has to include a deal. Offer gift suggestions, holiday décor ideas, and more.
    • The photos you choose to represent your store need to stand out on a busy news feed. Choose photos that are easily identifiable and add a holiday twist.
    • Talk about product and services that make great holiday gifts. Always include a photo, and pepper your posts with the words Christmas, Hanukkah and Holiday. Gift certificates are strong sellers during the holidays, so promote them weekly.
    • Offer coupons and inside deals that are only available via your social medias – if someone is not a friend or follower they miss out. Encourage customers to join you online via your social medias, website, email blasts, newsletters, and signing in your store.
    • Use the Facebook Events tab to help you organize and promote your holiday happenings. Invite friends and fans, and encourage them to invite their friends as well. You can see who RSVPs, comments, and more.
    • Add holiday related hashtags – #Christmas, #Hanukkah #holiday, #gifts, #coupons, #Santa, etc. – at the end of your posts to help you connect with an audience that reaches far beyond your current followers.
    • Work your stories on Instagram and Facebook, and even on Snapchat. Sharing photo reminders in stories doesn’t clog up your timeline, but followers will see them just the same. The photos you post to your stories are only up for 24 hours so you can have fun with them.

And when Holiday 2019 is over, after you take that well deserved, week-long vacation in Hawaii – BACK TO REALITY! When the holiday dust settles, make notes about what worked and what didn’t, and what you wish you would have done differently. Your notes will be important when it’s time to plan Holiday 2020. Yep, retail is in the details. If you get stuck for ideas, give us a call. We’ll always happy to help!


by Rich Kizer & Georganne Bender, professional speakers, retail strategists, authors and consultants.  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

2019 Grant Sponsors


The 2019 Grant Recipients

We received many good applications this year, and thanks to the time and expertise of our Judges who come from within the membership, and the generosity of colart and the Grimstad, Comerford, Del Valle Group, three people will each receive $2,500 for their programs.

Elizabeth Norden
Mercy Home for Boys & Girls, Chicago, IL
Program supports Health & Healing with Art

Ashley Harwell
Canton Museum of Art – Canton, OH
Program supports Military Health & Healing with Art

Grant Johnson
Louisville Visual Art – Louisville, KY
Program supports Art Education

See the details on their programs



Namta President Tony Mines announced today that Executive Director Reggie Hall will be retiring at the end of this year and that Leah Siffringer, Namta’s Manager of Member Services and Art Advocacy, has been promoted into that position.

“I think it’s fair to say that I and the Namta presidents and board members who have had the opportunity to work with Reggie would say that he has been instrumental in reorganizing, revitalizing and strategically positioning this association for long-term success, “said Mines. “His leadership is reflected across the entire organization. The fact that he was recognized last year with Namta’s Hall of Fame Award speaks clearly to how he is regarded by the members of this association and across this industry.”

In his resignation letter to the Board Hall said “It has been my privilege and pleasure to work for Namta and its dedicated volunteers, members and staff the past nine years. The support I have received has been, and always will be, deeply appreciated. I came to Namta with little knowledge of the art materials business and have developed a great respect for the passion, drive and devotion Namta members demonstrate every day for this business and the association.”

Siffringer has been with Namta since 2009 and has held a variety positions, most recently as Manager of Membership Services and Art Advocacy. Prior to joining Namta she worked several years at Marriott International. She is a 1989 graduate of Purdue University.

“We’re very fortunate to have someone as polished, skilled and capable as Leah working for Namta and ready to lead the association,” said Mines. He added that after two years of training, testing and study she earned the distinguished CAE designation last year from the American Society of Association Executives. “She’s well-prepared to lead Namta and the Board was unanimous in its support of Leah which makes this transition nearly seamless.”

Mines said Namta is facing some important strategic decisions and is fortunate to have access to the caliber of leadership that Reggie has provided and Leah will continue to bring to our association.



The season of Open Enrollment for healthcare is now! As you begin your search for healthcare coverage options, be sure to check with to save 8-12% on comparable healthcare plans for you, your employees, and their families. Namta has joined with MJM Global to launch the healthcare marketplace This amazing platform provides NAMTA members a simple healthcare buying process from start to finish. has created a user-friendly marketplace for NAMTA members to gain healthcare coverage. When you create your account, and answer a few questions, you are met with over 99,000 healthcare plans across the United States. These plans are then narrowed by your location and filtered by your metrics to give you the best plan for your needs. has taken the guess work out of healthcare coverage, but if you do find yourself having a question or needing assistance, they have representatives available via phone, chat, and email to help you through the processes of finding the best plan for your needs.

Learn more or sign-up for healthcare coverage today at!



Scientific studies tell us that art heals by changing a person’s physiology and attitude. The body’s physiology changes from one of stress to one of deep relaxation, from one of fear to one of creativity and inspiration. Art and music put a person in a different brain wave pattern, art and music affect a person’s autonomic nervous system, their hormonal balance and their brain neurotransmitters. -

Read more Facts on

A new issue of Art Advocacy News was emailed out this week.  If you missed it, you can read it here.


#myfavoriteartstore - help us push this hashtag out to artists and art supply customers so they can brag about your how much they like your store, or stores that carry your products, or you can brag about how your store is so fabulous!

You can copy the graphic and put it in your newsletters, emails, and/or website.





On October 1, 2020, travelers will need a "REAL ID-compliant" driver's license, US passport, US military ID or other accepted identification to fly within the United States.

The REAL ID Act established minimum security standards for the issuing of state licenses and their production. It also prohibits federal agencies from accepting licenses from states not meeting those minimum standards for certain activities. That includes boarding federally regulated commercial aircraft, entering nuclear power plants and entering federal facilities.

To get a REAL ID-compliant state driver's license, the US Department of Homeland Security requires applicants provide documentation showing their full legal name, their date of birth, their Social Security Number, two proofs of address of principal residence and lawful status. (States may impose more requirements.)

If you can't produce acceptable identification, your US airport's Transportation Security Administration (TSA) checkpoint will not clear you for flight. That could lead to serious backups at US airports starting October 1 of 2020.

What qualifies as REAL ID?

  • REAL ID-compliant state driver's licenses or other state photo identity cards
  • US passport
  • US passport card
  • DHS trusted traveler cards (Global Entry, NEXUS, SENTRI, FAST)
  • US Department of Defense ID, including IDs issued to dependents
  • Permanent resident card
  • Border crossing card
  • State-issued Enhanced Driver's License
  • Federally recognized, tribal-issued photo ID
  • HSPD-12 PIV card
  • Foreign government-issued passport
  • Canadian provincial driver's license or Indian and Northern Affairs Canada card
  • Transportation worker identification credential
  • US Citizenship and Immigration Services Employment Authorization Card (I-766)
  • US Merchant Mariner Credential

Check the Department of Homeland Security website for more information.


Members - answer this question before October 18.
This is a 2-part question - get both questions right for two t-shirts.

  1. Last February, at Art Materials World 2019, we gave out show bags at registration. Whose picture was on the front of the show bags?
  2. We noticed that Gen Z, Millennial and Gen Y attendees were excited to see this person on the show bags. When asked by registration people how they knew who the person on the front of the bag was, what do you think was their top answer?

Hint: Joy

At the end of the year, whether you've won a bi-weekly drawing or not, everyone who has answered correctly will be entered in a final drawing to win a $100 Gift Card.

The Last Question was in September 25th eNews and the answer is Eric Zelenko, President of Plaza Artist Materials.  Eric was the 2009-10 President of Namta and the 2016 Namta Hall of Fame recipient.

The winner of the drawing for an Art Matters T-shirt for submitting the right answer is Jim O'Brien from Savoir Faire.

Savoir Faire is a 2020 Art Materials World Exhibitor



SLS, now distributing M. Graham Artist Colors, is pleased to announce the addition of six Territory Managers to complement their first-in-service sales team and support their expanded customer base - Migdalia Ramos, Sandy Goodstein, Doug Nefzger, Ken Cavanaugh, Phil Carlin, and Reg Polak.  Read the full Press Release

SLS Arts is a 2020 Art Materials World Exhibitor


Something that we heard from you in the recent Member Survey was that you like to see Member Profile stories in eNews.

Here's a form that you can fill and submit and we'll put you In The Spotlight in an upcoming issue. You don't have to answer every question, just what you want us to know. The only requirement is that you are a Namta Member.

2020 Exhibitors

Being In The Spotlight is a great way to keep your company on the minds of eNews readers.

"Gentlemen, contact Rick at Namta and see what spot he recommends in the 500 aisle."

 Exhibitor Prospectus




“Things turn out best for the people who make the best of the way things turn out.” 

- John Madden, former football coach and sportscaster.

Recent business articles from the Web that may be of interest to you and your staff.


by Syed Balkhi, Guest Writer, Entrepreneur, Growth Hacker and Marketer

Facebook, Instagram, Twitter. If you’re a smart marketer, you’ve been using these top social media giants to share your content, promote your products and services and grow your business. But rival platforms are being created all the time, and while many of them don’t reach the same heights of success, a handful could give mega-popular platforms a run for their money. Moreover, if you’re an early adopter of up-and-coming alternatives, your company could reap the biggest benefits.

If you want to be ahead of the curve, keep your eye on the following five social media platforms to watch.

1. TikTok
Previously known as, TikTok has become a huge hit with younger audiences. In fact, according to research firm Sensor Tower, TikTok was the fourth-most downloaded app for all of 2018. TikTok is all about short-form videos that play on a loop, similar to the now-defunct Vine. Users can easily create and share video content, but what sets TikTok apart from other video-creation platforms is the simplicity of adding musical overlays, fun effects, AR filters and more.
Why You Should Consider Using It: TikTok has gotten a bit of a bad rep as being a silly lip-syncing platform for kids, but if your target audience is between the ages of 16-24, it's a great place to promote your business and especially effective for fashion and e-commerce who want to work with influencers.

2. Lasso
Lasso, which was quietly released in late 2018, is basically Facebook's version of TikTok; users can create and share short videos with fun filters and effects. They can also log in with their Facebook or Instagram accounts and cross-post their videos to their Facebook Stories. A feature that allows for adding Lasso videos to Instagram Stories is said to come in the future.
Why You Should Consider Using It: While Lasso isn’t as popular as TikTok now, it could rival its top competitor soon, so if your target audience is using TikTok, Lasso is a platform you’ll want to keep an eye on.

3. Vero
Vero is an Instagram alternative that boasts about having no ads, no data mining and no algorithms. Users on Vero can share content such as photos, music, TV shows, movies, books, links and more. Plus, users can decide who can see each post by choosing between four categories: close friends, friends, acquaintances or followers.
Although there’s no ads on Vero, brands can still work with influencers on the platform and pay to add a “Buy Now” button to their posts.
Why You Should Consider Using It: Without ads and algorithms, Vero is touted as the more “authentic” social media platform. It’s perfect for companies that want to build a stronger, more meaningful relationship with their audience. Plus, because users can share such a wide range of content, it’s great for learning more about your target audience.

4. Steemit
Steemit is a blockchain-based blogging and social media site that rewards users with the cryptocurrency STEEM for creating and curating content. So, when a user creates content that gets upvoted, they’re paid, and when users upvote the content of others, they get paid too. Then, users can take their digital STEEM tokens and exchange them for real money.
You may think this Reddit alternative is all about cryptocurrency and technology topics, but it’s not. Users can create content on a wide range of subjects, such as travel, photography, music and sports.
Why You Should Consider Using It: While Steemit has a relatively small user-base so far, smart marketers can use the platform as an additional channel to share their content and grow their audience, all while getting paid for it at the same time.

5. Caffeine
Caffeine is a social broadcasting platform similar to Twitch that was created by a team of ex-Apple designers and mainly focuses on gaming, entertainment and the creative arts. You can create live broadcasts for friends and followers, and viewers are able to interact with you in real-time with comments and emoji reactions.
Why You Should Consider Using It: According to Livestream, 80 percent of consumers would rather watch live video from a brand than read a blog, so live broadcasting on a platform like Caffeine could really generate a lot of attention and interaction. And it’s not just for gamers. Your business could host live Q&As, a behind-the-scenes tour of your company, product demonstrations and more.

Take a closer look at these up-and-coming social media platforms to find out which is the best option for your business. Jumping on them early can provide big benefits for your business, and you’ll be one step ahead of the competition. As they say, fortune favors the bold.

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