Thursday, November 16, 2017

Museum Store Sunday - November 26th

Forget about Black Friday. Consider Museum Store Sunday. This will be the first of what will be an annual event promoting museum stores. Of course, I think museum shops provide some of the best curated gift selections available anywhere...all year long. Not only do museum shops sell great stuff...the profits earned from purchases directly assist in the missions and programming of museums. I can't think of any reason not to support Museum Store Sunday. And besides, if you're reading this blog, you're a fan of Dunitz & Company. And we consistently sell our beautiful fair trade designs to many museum shops all around the good 'ole USA and sometimes abroad! (Did you know that Dunitz & Company is now a member of the Museum Store Association?) If you read the 'News' section of the Museum Store Sunday website, you'll see that many shops are offering special discounts, giveaways and musical entertainment on November 26th. Why wouldn't you do your holiday shopping at a museum store?

Yes! Shop at a museum store.... & take in an exhibit or two.  Since we're located in Los Angeles, I thought I'd highlight some of the museums & shops I've recently visited. Each of these are participants in and are promoting Museum Store Sunday.

J. Paul Getty Museum - is on my list. I haven't been there yet this season. But, our jewelry is in their shop! And their current exhibit Golden Kingdoms, Luxury and Legacy in the Ancient Americas is calling my name.  I'm sure I'll be there soon to take in the Mayan, Aztec and Inca art on display. And yes, I'll take a secret shopper pic of our embroidered earrings and bracelets! They've already reordered, so we know museum store shoppers like their Dunitz selections.

The Library Store -  I was at the Central Library for the opening of Visualizing Language: Oaxaca in LA in September. The murals on display are fantastic. And of course, while I was there, I had to visit the shop. The staff was lovely and they really have some amazing and innovative gifts there. And seriously, many are so affordable. It would be the perfect place to check out on Museum Store Sunday.

Japanese American National Museum - A regional Museum Store Association meeting, hosted by the Japanese American National Museum prompted my visit. There current special exhibit Transpacific Borderlands: The Art of Japanese Diaspora in Lima, Los Angeles, Mexico City, and São Paulo is so worth checking out. There were some fabulous installations. While there, you better believe I visited the museum shop. And it's terrific. There were so many cool gifts to choose from. And some were edible :). Somehow I think many people automatically assume museum shops  only offer expensive goods. This definitely was not the case here. You could easily pick up affordable treasures for all of your loved ones.

Skirball Cultural Center -  I didn't know about Anita Brenner. And now thanks to the Skirball Center and their current exhibit, I do. Anita Brenner, a Mexican Born, American-Jewish woman was paramount in educating those in the United States about the culture and arts of Mexico. It's not a large exhibit...easy to digest in an hour or a bit more. It is well worth seeing. Now let's talk about their gift shop. It's fantastic. The Skirball may have the best selection of Judaica gifts in all of Los Angeles. And guess what? They also sell Dunitz & Company's fair trade Judaica! You'll find our kippot on display and for purchase.

Annenberg Space for Photography - Most of you reading this won't know that I visited Cuba in 2000 for Jazz Fest. I spent 10 days in Havana listening to amazing music and feasting my eyes on the places and people of this iconic city.  The current photo exhibit at Annenberg Space, CUBA IS is replete with breathtaking and thought provoking images. I saw it last week. And now on my 'to do list' is revisiting all of the images on film and slide I snapped while I was there.  If you're interested in Cuba, or photography, consider this location for your Museum Store Sunday excursion.  The shop has gifts and a lot of really cool books.

Hammer Museum - The Hammer has one of the most talked about exhibits currently showing in Los Angeles.  Radical Women: Latin American Art, 1960-1985 had been mentioned to me so many times that I made a point of visiting this museum a few weeks back.  Definitely go with your thinking cap on. There is a lot to read and watch. Do you like watching video?  You'll find it here.  Oh -and while you're there....VISIT the gift shop!

I'm in a tough spot now.  There are several Museum Store Sunday participants driving distance from my home and our offices. Where shall I go on November 26th? All are worthy. All have great shops. I know because I have been to many, just not recently. And we know all of these fine institutions have great exhibits going on as well. OK - so if it's not next week - my mission is to visit each of these museums and their shops over the next several months. This list is long! Pasadena Museum of History, Kidspace Children's Museum, Gamble House, Huntington Museum and Gardens, Long Beach Museum of Art, Cabrillo Marine Aquarium, Museum of Contemporary Art, LA Philharmonic (although I have been to the Hollywood Bowl and there gift shop many times this summer because it is located a stone throw from where I live), Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising, Craft & Folk Art Museum and Norton Simon. Phew. I have my work cut out for me! Where will you be on Museum Store Sunday? - ND

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Steals & Deals - Dunitz Jackpot Jars

So as of today, Dunitz & Company is pilot testing some new offerings to our wholesale customers. And for those retailers that take advantage, we'll call this a little bit of legal gambling. Of course, we think there is little risk. If you now log into Dunitz & Company's wholesale catalog, in the Closeouts & Specials section you'll find a link to Jackpot Jars. OK - not all of these special deals are in jars. We'll be showcasing Jackpot Boxes, Jackpot Jugs and other containers too! Each will be designated with a random number. Each will be filled with random fair trade jewelry.

As many of you know, I've been designing and wholesaling fair trade jewelry since the early 90's. Every six months we change up all of our colors. Every six months we introduce a host of new designs. Sometimes we have designs that Dunitz & Company sells oodles and oodles of. Even then, we eventually retire those designs. Other times we have designs that bomb.  Sometimes they under-perform because our costs are too high and we can't offer them at a competitive price allowing for successful reselling. Other times, we introduce something that just doesn't excite our wholesale customers. We've also learned over time that what a wholesale customer responds to doesn't always jive with what a retail customer sees. (I've learned this over the years at some retail charity sales I've participated in.)

Bottom line. Dunitz & Company has been around for a really long time.  And we have an office with bins filled with beautiful jewelry that our customers never see.  For this reason, we decided to test market Jackpot Jars. These will be containers of all sizes filled to the brim with some of our older designs. Remnants from season's past.

The first handful of Jackpot Jars are on the site now.  Our customers will never know specifically what they will find. We provide you measurements of the container and a few hints.  For instance, our first jars are primarily filled with fall colored earrings. We also state what the original wholesale value of the contents were. And finally, you'll see that we've slashed our prices way below our actual costs. That's right, way below our costs. That's the point. We might clean up our shelves a bit. Even if a purchaser only sells a few items from any given jar, they will be a winner. Make sense?

This Key Lime Pie cookie tin is a work in progress.  Because of its size, it most likely will be filled with earrings. Going forward, we may be decorating brown shipping cartons. Bracelets and necklaces take up a lot more room. We'll be improvising with this project.

So steal some Dunitz & Company fair trade jewelry for your shop. Roll the dice. We think you'll be happy you decided to gamble...just a little bit. -ND

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Fair Trade Kippot: A Visit to the Skirball Cultural Center

Have you ever been to the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles? I knew when I went there this weekend, I would see the Anita Brenner exhibit and Dunitz & Company kippot in their stunning gift shop. If you live in Los Angeles and you have an interest in Jewish history, this is a must-see museum. The permanent exhibit which explains the history of the Jewish diaspora is exquisite.  Did I say they also have a magnificent gift shop? Yes. Yes. It's even more amazing when they have Dunitz & Company offerings on hand.  Just the same, the choices for menorahs, candle sticks and other Judaica is some of the best available in the City of Angels.

I've been on a mission to see as many exhibits as I can, currently hosted as part of Pacific Standard Time. PST was initiated by the Getty to celebration Latin in Los Angeles. Over 70 arts institutions in and near Los Angeles are hosting exhibitions that do just that. Another Promised Land, Anita Brenner's Mexico, educates us about this influential Mexican-born, American-Jewish writer and journalist who was part of the inner circle of many Mexican artists (Think Kahlo, Rivera, Orozco) most of us are familiar with. It amazed me that she, who had suffered at the hand of so much anti-semitism in her childhood (in Mexico), returned to make a huge difference in educating those living in the USA about the culture and important art scene of Mexico.  I definitely suggest you visit the Skirball Center while this exhibit is there. You'll learn a lot. You'll also see a portrait that Diego Rivera painted of Brenner's then young son....such a precious portrait.

Did you know I absolutely love mural art? If you follow me personally on Instagram, you'll see that I often post images of graffiti art and murals I see everywhere. I seek them out. In Los Angeles, of course. In Melbourne, Berlin, Copenhagen, New York -where-ever I find myself.  I was delighted to see an ancillary exhibit produced by the Skirball featuring many photographs of Ken Gonzales-Day. He has captured images of countless murals that are found all over this expansive city.  It was fun seeing them (most I've never seen) covering the walls of a huge gallery top to bottom. This exhibit is only in one large room, but there is plenty to check out. And the floor you walk on is a huge map of Los Angeles with a red pin for the location of each mural Gonzales-Day has photographed.

The take-away - is definitely visit the Skirball Center! And definitely see as many Pacific Standard Time exhibits as you can. Most are here in Los Angeles through January and February of 2018. Need a suggestion? Send me a note. I've already seen several others.

And, if you're in the market for fair trade kippot, definitely think of Dunitz & Company. And don't forget you can find a nice selection at the gift shop at the Skirball. (And if you're looking to carry fair trade yamulkes in your store, also think of Dunitz & Company! -ND