Tuesday, August 31, 2010

And the Survey Says!

First I wanted to thank everyone who answered the survey in our July enews! Over 150 of you took the time to share your thoughts with us - so thank you - You Guys Rock!

I always hate it when I fill out a survey and then don't know what happened with my answers.  Did the business owner read it?  Did they do anything based on my answers or other customer's answers?  Well - I wanted to let you know that I read EVERY SINGLE ANSWER - some of it I laughed about (you guys are very funny), some of it I acted on (thank you for the suggestions), and some of it I pretended I didn't read (no just kidding - I took everything to heart even if I can't/won't change it:)).

So here it is - the summary of the results - reoccuring themes, great suggestions, and my thoughts on them!

1.  How did you read this month's newsletter?  80% read the Swagger Gifts Newsletter at Home, 20% at work, and 15% on the go!

2.  What do you like best about our monthly emails?
  • The majority of the answers were new products - which I promise to keep coming in every edition!  We went crazy at market and there is new *stuff* coming in every week until Christmas!
  •   A close second and third were the coupons and sale items.  I hear ya.  We always give a "Thanks for reading" coupon and I promise not to stop.  However, if you would like to find out more info about sales and to get more coupons - sign up for our "Swagger ME List" on our website's homepage or "like us" on Facebook
  • We also had several votes for our Charity Events!  We appreciate that and are glad to give back to the community!
3.  What could we do to improve our monthly emails?  I loved all the suggestions!  Some of my favorites that we are planning (or already have) implemented are:
  • Suggest how to use an item or who it would be good for.  Great suggestion!  I promise to do more of this on our enews, facebook page, and this blog!
  • Show different ways to personalize an item so that shoppers can envision it.  
  • Maybe "hide" something in the newsletter and the first person to find it and email me wins something. I am working on this idea - it sounds like fun!
  • Be a bit clearer on instore vs. online.  Sorry guys!  I guess since I know which is which I thought you did too - no?:)  I appreciate being called out on this and am consciously working on it!
  • Stories behind why we've chose a product for the store or an adventure we've been on.  I like this idea a lot, but I am trying to figure out how to get it in the enews without it being too long!  For now, we do this on this blog and on Facebook so make sure to check out both of these places frequently!
  • More advance notice on events.  Working on it!  And we already announced our Holiday Open House Preview Night Benefiting Nancy's Butterfly Fund. 2 1/2 months notice!  How's that:)
4.  Would you like to see more Swagger in your inbox? This was a 50/50 split!  And in the spirit of being fair - if you would like more Swagger info including more coupons and sale info, please do sign up for our "Swagger Me List" - I promise you will be happy with what we send you and you will be the first to know about sales and such in between our regular monthly enews list! 

5.  Are you on facebook? 73% of you said YES!  Which leads to our next question...

6.   If you are on facebook, are you a fan of Swagger Gifts? 51% said YES and 49% said NO.  What?  49%? Why not?!?!  Get your butt over there people:)!  We post pics of new items, tell fun stories about stuff going on in the store, giveaway FREE stuff all the time, and so much more.  Now if that doesn't convince you I don't know what will!:)  Join us NOW:)!

7.  What entices you to visit the Swagger facebook page?  What can we improve?  So this is what the 51% who who already "like" us on FB had to say:
  • Number 1 thing - Love the Giveaways!
  • The other things that entice you are  - all the pictures, coupons, event info, our status updates, and deals!
  • Improvements?  Tell us who the items you are showcasing would be good for - for example Brides, Weddings, Girlfriends, Teachers, etc.  Will do!  I am trying my very very best to do this and promise to come back and read this post A LOT so I don't forget what you guys had to say!:)
8.  What do YOU want to see in the store in coming months?  This survey was completed before we headed off to market so I just wanted to let you guys know that if you mentioned a specific line we checked it out and you might see it at Swagger in the upcoming months!  Other things that were mentioned:
  • More baby stuff!  We saw this over and over again.  We focused on baby at market and believe we found some great lines!  We promise to update you as they come in!
  • More women's accessories such as jewelry, scarves, purses, clothes, etc.  Okay - so we try really hard to get and keep all these items in stock.  But it is SO HARD!  They sell really fast and when we reorder the companies are often out of stock or don't ship quickly.  Believe me when I say we are working on this!
  • More collegiate - coming in any day now!  We purchased wall hangings, serving pieces, glassware and more! 
  • More Scout Bags!  This was the one line that we already carry that was mentioned several times!  We already have the fall pieces in and promise to keep it in stock!
  • Items Made in the USA!  We are so happy that this was a trend we saw at market this summer!  We bought several lines for the store that are Made in the USA and will definitely let you know which ones they are when they come in!
  • More $10 -$20 gifts.  At Swagger, we pride ourselves on having fun and affordable *stuff* to give as gifts or keep for yourself.  We always have items in every category (baby, jewelry, tabletop, etc) that fit into this price range, but we made an even extra special effort for this Fall and Holiday Season!
  • And then, finally, lots of you asked us to carry Pandora Beads.  I will make this short and sweet.  We chose to sell Trollbeads - which we LOVE - and we can't sell both lines (neither manufacturer will allow it).  So come in and check out THE ORIGINAL... Trollbeads! 
9.  If you were the owner of Swagger, what would you change?  This is always my favorite question to ask - even if secretly I hold my breath and get a pit in my stomach before I open the results.:)  I appreciate all the positive feedback about how well you think we do - and that you wouldn't change a thing:)  But I also appreciate the more candid feedback.  So here you go - some of that:
  • Be Open on Sunday!  I compromised and have been open the last several years on Sundays during the Holiday Season.  But to be honest, I just can't do it the rest of the year.  We need a day of rest.  You have no idea how exhausting it is to run a gift shop:)!  (Actually we are often doing stuff for Swagger, during this day of rest, which we couldn't do if the store was actually open!)  So sorry - it doesn't look like this is going to happen any time soon - except for during the Holidays!
  • Stay open later during the week.  Okay so I think we can do this.  I am working on new extended hours for certain days of the week and will get back to you!
  • Don't let items "sell out".  So here is my buying strategy - Buy lots of different cool stuff so we always have fresh new items at Swagger! Unfortunately, that means that sometimes cool things we feature sell out and don't come back in - but you don't want everyone in Cary to have what you have - do you?  Basically if you see something you LOVE you better buy it because it might not be there when you finally make your mind up!   On the other hand, we do keep in a few best sellers - we would be crazy not too - and I think there might be a RIOT!:) 
  • Have a Frequent Buyer Program.  This one caught me off guard.  We have a frequent buyer program - with every $250 dollars you spend you get a $25 gift certificate.  We have given aways tens of thousands of dollars over the years.  Maybe who ever wrote this didn't realize that when we get your name at check out you are entered into the buyer program and WE keep up with all your purchases.  Nothing for the customer to keep up with!  Either way - I feel like we failed someone, because they didn't know this so I am very sorry! 
  • Have a Wish List.  We already do this for Trollbeads but we are brainstorming a better way to do it for the rest of the store!
  • Get rid of the kid play area.  This one has to be my favorite, because for every person who writes this, there is another mother or grandmother that writes "Thank you so much for having a children's play area!  Swagger is only place I can shop!"  So even if "whenever you come in there isn't a child in there" - be assured that it is used quite often!  I still believe that putting in the play area was one of the smartest things I ever did!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Vote Now for the Trollbeads People's Bead 2010

Trollbeads announced that they picked the Top 10 of their favorite designs from the People's Bead submissions from over 6,000 entries - and more than 1,500 of those were received in the final 24 hours!

Now it's up to you to vote for YOUR favorite now - voting ends midnight (GMT) Sunday, August 29, 2010, so get your vote in quick!

The winner will become an official Trollbeads designer and have their bead added to the collection this Christmas and also receive their bead created in 18 ct gold.

Trollbeads also chose 100 designs that deserve an honourable mention for being clever, creative, quirky, or just fun ideas. They'll be sending these Trollbeads friends a bracelet, lock and the winning bead as a Christmas present later this year.

Scout Trunk Show Starts TODAY!

Our Scout Trunk Show starts today and runs through this Saturday August 28th.  Come by and stock up on "back to school", tailgating, and Christmas presents while we are running these great promotions! 

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

And the WINNERS of the "Where Have YOU Swaggered Lately" Photo Contest are...

This summer I thought it would be fun to have a photo contest starring all our fabulous customers and their *stuff* from Swagger Gifts - appropriately titled (if I do say so myself) "Where Have YOU Swaggered Lately?" :)

First off, thank you to everyone who sent in a photo!  I loved seeing how you all enjoy the gifts you get from us.  Thanks for sharing your special moments!

SO without further ado - the WiNnErS ArE:

A Swaggerlicious photo indeed, coming in third and the winner of a $25 Swagger Gift Certificate, Kim Walker who entered a birthday party picture of her getting some SWAG!:)  Kim - I love how happy you look in this photo - it is contagious!  I smiled every time I came across it in the photo contest!  You go girl!

Kimmie with her new bag (not to mention her monogrammed ring from Swagger that she already has on her right hand)!

Coming in second and the winner of a $50 Swagger Gift Certificate, AnnMarie Janni and her two beautiful kids, Ryan and Jennifer!  The thing I find so VERY swaggerlicious about this photo is the number of Swagger items in the crib with the two kids - I count at least 6!   Love that!:)

You can see the love Ryan has for his Swagger puppies and Jennifer looks like she might break out into some Reggae tunes any minute:)!  So cute!

And finally, the picture with the most votes and winner of a $100 Swagger Gift Certificate, Chris Kline who entered a picture of her sweet grandbaby, Callie, swaggering with her Harold Hippo!  MOST definitely a Swaggerlicious photo!

Such a sweet photo!  I just want to pick up both of them and give them a big kiss!:)

Congratulations to you all!  And thanks again to everybody for entering your pictures!  If you would like to view all the submissions click here!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Trip to New York City for the Retail Excellence Awards 2010

My husband, Nathan, and I headed to NY, NY on Friday August 13th for the Retail Excellence Awards (REA) 2010 where Swagger Gifts was a finalist for an award in Branding/Integrated Marketing. 

When we got to the Helsinki airport we were a little bummed to see that our KLM flight was cancelled, but we were quickly rebooked on a Finnair direct flight into JFK, and as we were getting on the plane we were upgraded to FIRST CLASS!  No Friday the 13th bad mojo for us!  Woo hoo! 

You have to go for the Champagne when you are suddenly now seated in 1st Class!

Cheers to already having a great weekend!

The best part about Finnair's 1st Class?  The seat laid down completely horizontal to sleep - no jet lag for us!

Nathan's Grandfather and extended family live on Long Island, so we took this opportunity to spend a couple of days with them.  It is always great to spend time with family! 

Family Photo!

Sunday we headed down to NYC for the REA Gala.  We stayed with some of our friends who live in Manhattan.  I love meeting the kids of people you have know since college or high school - it is so funny to see the mini me version of the party guy or girl and know that they are in so much trouble in another 15 years or so:)!  Good thing both Nathan and I were perfect angels as teenagers and college students so we won't have anything to worry about once we have kids!  (A girl can dream - right?)

Finally it was time to head down to The Lighthouse at Chelsea Piers for the awards ceremony.  The venue was beautiful and I'm sure the view would have been great if it wasn't pouring down rain.:)  The Retail Excellence Awards Gala is put on by Gifts & Decorative Accessories Magazine, and the entire event was top notch - from the catering (so good!) to the story boards about each of the finalists - it was a night I won't soon forget!  There were about 250 industry professionals in attendance - everyone from manufacturers, to rep groups, to store owners.  I was a little worried we wouldn't know anyone since it was NYC and not Atlanta, but we mingled with people from some of the companies Swagger purchases from and had a great time! 

You know I had to wear a zebra dress if I was going to be accepting an award for marketing!:)

The awards were announced after dessert (seriously could they make us wait any longer!), and I was SO excited when they called Swagger Gifts as the winner of the Branding/Integrated Marketing Award!  After a short video they put together on Swagger, I had to make my acceptance speech!  This was the part I was dreading - I'm not an extemporaneous speaker - but Nathan helped me put something together in case Swagger did win and it was a hit.  I even had a couple people come over and tell me it was the best acceptance speech:)  Yeah for Nathan being a Toastmaster and for his coaching!

Yeah - Swagger Won!  I have to give a shout out to Lisa Jeffries at Raleighwood Media - because without her I know we wouldn't have received this award!  You rock Lisa!

Either sister seriously needed some powder or there was a major glare off the huge silver platter!  Let's go with the glare:)

Great weekend in NYC which was topped off by getting first class seating on the way home too!  Now I know how the other half lives and I don't think I want to go back:)  An unforgettable weekend for sure!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Great NEW Garment Bag - our weeky blog giveaway! {Winners Announced}

Congratulations to our winner - commenter # 7 - Emily Griffith!!!

  After you see how wonderful your new garment bag is - we would love for you to order them for your bridesmaids too;)
THANK YOU to all our other commenters!  We love you guys!

So do you guys have any trips planned for the rest of the summer or the fall?  Need a garment bag?  Here's your chance to get one for FREE!

The Giveaway
The Milano Series Garment Bag!

Simple and sophisticated, the Milano Series Garment bag is made of their signature polyester material.  This garment bag is incredibly lightweight and easy to keep clean. A 3.5 inch clear gusset in this travel garment bag allows generous space for many dresses or suits and the frameless construction makes this bag easy to fold.  It measures 46 tall x 26 wide.  $25 without monogram

I love the colors - you can make this bag really girly or quite sophisticated.  I think the black one is perfect for the guys too!  And speaking of guys - wouldn't this make the best bridesmaid or groomsmen gift? 

Do you want it?  Comment on this post and tell me which color is your favorite or where you might need to take it!

I want the brown one with an off-white monogram to match my luggage! And I really really really want to take it to NYC with me next weekend - but since they just came in today - I can' have it shipped to Finland (where I'm living for the summer) in time for next weekend or I would:))! Instead - I will be carrying a horrible plastic cover from Dilliards over my cute dress - this *might* be a little better if it was a Nordstrom or Saks bag but no it's Dilliards:)! However, you can guarantee I will have one for the next time I travel!

The Deadline:

This giveaway contest will run until Monday August 9th at Midnight EST. The winner will then be chosen by their comment number via random.org and announced on this post on August 10th- so be sure to come back and check to see if it is you!

The Coupon!

Now through next Friday August 13th we are offering Half Off Monogramming on these Milano Garment Bags!  If you would like to purchase some, please call us at 877-SWAGGER or come to our store in Cary, NC.  Just let us know you saw this special on Facebook or our Blog when you come in and we will give it to you!

Thanks for participating and Good Luck! Please also join us on Facebook for more great gift ideas and cool stuff! We are currently hosting a Photo Contest! Check out the details here.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Trollbeads 2010 People's Bead Contest is on!

I'm so excited - the People's Bead contest is back!!!  Trollbeads is running a contest where YOU get to be the designer!  So what do YOU want to see in the Trollbeads line?  What story do YOU want told?  Well here is your opportunity!  Trollbeads 2010 People's Bead Contest!

So here's the deal - show Trollbeads what inspires YOU:

Show us what inspires you - submit your ideas, drawings, and photographs and you could become a Trollbeads designer!

100 of our favorite designs will receive a bracelet and lock with the winning bead as a special gift.

10 finalists will be chosen and you'll have one week to vote for your favourite design.

1 winner will have their design added to the collection this Christmas. As a Trollbeads designer you'll receive all royalties from the sale of your bead and a copy of your bead in 18 ct gold!

But don't delay!!!  You only have until August 22, 2010 to submit your designs - so what are you waiting for?!

Look under Events at http://www.trollbeadsuniverse.com/ and unleash your inner designer today!

Good Luck!  I can't wait for the winner to announced and it is  Swagger Gifts' customer - woo hoo!