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Green Corner

Conservation has always been a cornerstone of the zoo and aquarium industry, but it is becoming much more pronounced as we come to understand the limitations of our world. With that in mind, ZAG will be focusing more on ‘Green’ issues, starting with the new ‘Green Corner’ in the newsletters. 

Buyers and suppliers please ensure you are using “Earth Friendly” packing materials to help limit waste and harm to the environment. What to do:

  1. Do not use Asian Paper and Pulp Co. products as they destroy rain forests to make paper goods
  2. Limit or eliminate all Styrofoam or Poly-foams from packing materials
  3. Use recycled cardboard and organic shipping peanuts when possible
  4. Use old newspapers for packing as it can be recycled on the receiving end as well
  5. Limit plastic bags and tissue in case packs
  6. Use boxes more than one time before recycling
  7. Use crates and pallets over and over again or take them to a used pallet company to be used again
  8. Be creative in packing to reduce materials and save money

Sponsor Question

Functionality versus aesthetics is a continuing struggle with all forms of retail. Sure, you can dump a big pile in the middle and just let people have a go, but that won’t work in the long run – or more than about ten minutes, really. Is that spinner worth the floor space? Do you really, really need your jackets on a waterfall? With these issues in mind, the question of the quarter for our sponsors is this: We are always working on ways to move different types of merchandise and beautify our shops. With your items in mind, what advice would you give concerning presentation?

Becky Garcia, VP of National Sales – CollectA - beckygarcia@collectaus.com
The presentation of your store's merchandise will either serve to reinforce the customer's confidence in the product of their choice or cause them to second-guess their need to buy. There are many ways to present a product and to keep the assortment looking fresh and "new":

  • Shelve it on a table, platform, riser, fixture or a slat wall shelf.
  • Hang it on a peg hook, wall panel or floor fixture.
  • Combine shelving and hanging in a multiple sections throughout the store to create visibility.
  • Make the product accessible to children of all ages.
Different types of merchandising methods can make the product more appealing to your customers. Well-planned product presentations promote shopability and a "buy-now" impulse sales appeal.


Anne Worton – Wishpets – anne@wishpets.com
Presentation - ways to move different types of merchandise to beautify shops - with Wishpets plush 

Plush animal themed lollipops continue to be top sellers for Wishpets. There is a wide assortment of lollipops in the collection and a new frog and cow style have been added for 2012. By adding a Wishpets table or floor spinner display rack helps strengthen the lollipop presentation and in turn increases lollipop sales. 

The floor/table fixture can be neatly merchandised near a checkout for a boost in add-on register sales, merchandised within themed store displays or added to your store's candy departments.

Wishpets spinner racks are sturdy, shipped with a complimentary price point sign and both sizes take up less than 2 feet of floor space. A table spinner holds 64 lollipops, is $50 and offset with 10 complimentary lollipops with an order of 144 lollipops. The floor spinner holds 216 lollipops, is $150 and offset with 30 complimentary lollipops with an order of 288 lollipops.

See attached for table spinner rack and the lollipop collection can be found on-line at www.wishpets.com

Amy Pugh-Campos, Owner – Salvador Kitti - amy@salvadorkitti.com
Salvador Kitti uses Amy's Original oil painting. The originals are available for display in gift shops (free of charge). Locations that have the originals on display find that the products sell out quickly! Many places do not have room for an original painting on their walls which we understand. We have racks cards and will also make custom display cards (free of charge) that tells the customer about our products and that the images are from an American Artist and that a part of the proceeds go to Wildlife Conservation. With the custom rack cards, we work with you to design a rack card that will work best for your gift shop. We have found that the best presentation for Salvador Kitti handbags and messengers is a stand alone handbag rack. Our Change purse, wristlet, pencil bag, and watches work best on counter displays. I will personally work with you to come up with the best presentation for you gift shop. We also have discounted pricing for all zoos, aquariums, and conservation centers.

Angelo R. Governale III, National Sales Manager – Lin Mfg & Design - angelo@linmfg.com
With regards to socks, if there is room on slat wall it is nice to show the socks on foot forms. They can set the form on the plastic tray as I have and put them at the top of the slatwall so they do not interfere with the rest of the product. When displaying the arm sleeve is it nice to be able to have them on a manikin arm.

Marc St.Pierre – Cool Jewels - MStPierre@cooljewels.com 
When it comes to jewelry, display is everything! We’ve found when the jewelry is displayed on a floor spinner, sales are greater than any other method of display. The floor tower allows us to offer 4 unique and well merchandised themes, appealing to a wide range of potential customers.

Examples of the best selling themes for this Spring have been color changing mood jewelry, boys cord & shark teeth necklaces, rhinestone fashion, and bright colored fashion.

Custom tagging with a uniform look gives the product a higher perceived value to the guests, and also helps to souvenir the item. We’ve found by offering ZAG members free custom tags, it helps us to partner up with the individual locations and move through higher volumes of product. Lighting is also very important. Whenever possible the display should be positioned in a well lit area, or have spot directed onto it. You can never have too much light.

ZAG Interview
Tommy Brown, Gift Shop Manager at Saint Louis Zoo

Describe your facility…acreage, annual attendance, major exhibits, most popular animals, etc.
The Saint Louis Zoo is part of the largest park in America with an annual attendance of over 3 million.

We are best known for our Penguin and Puffin exhibit, our state of the art nutrition facility, our 13 wild care conservation centers around the world, our rare Horned Guans and our breeding programs of Asian Elephants and Hellbenders. Not to mention we are over 100 years old and still adding exciting new exhibits yearly with this year’s opening of our new Sea Lion Sound exhibit. 

We also had the privilege of working with Safari Ltd. to create the first African Village Play Set that features our conservation center of the Grevy Zebra. This project took the Saint Louis Zoo’s logo and mission worldwide in the retail world. We are very proud to have a play set now on the market that truly focuses on conservation. I would highly suggest this play set to other Zoo’s that care about conservation and educating children through play. 

Describe your merchanise operations…number of year-round shops, seasonal shops, square footage, seasonal carts, etc.
We have 3 all year gift stores and 6 seasonal locations, with 2 of the all year locations being gate exit stores. 


List some of your best-selling merchandise items and categories. Where possible, please include specifics like vendor name, color, etc.
Barry Owen Jewelry by far is our best selling product with a 5 times mark up. Plush is also a large category with us and the penguins from TY are always our number one plush seller. Name programs are also a hit here from Miami Souvenir’s name shot glasses and mini license plates to Swibco name mood rings. It seems anything with a name on it is a winner.

Are any items or categories trending downward in popularity?
Silly Bands have run their course here in Saint Louis, so they will not be coming back for this season.

What trends do you foresee in 2012?
I foresee people spending more money on higher end merchandise this year, as people still cannot redo a whole room in their house they can however buy a painting, lamp or sculpture to add a new fun look to a room. We have already seen many items of $100.00 or more being sold within our slow time.

Will there be any new shops, carts, or attractions in 2012?
We will have a new gift shop coming in July of this year and our Safari shop just had a total fixture remodel. 

Do you have any special merchandise projects that are unique to your facility (for example, photo opportunities, special sale events, school bags, web site/catalog sales, gift cards, off-site shops)?
I do community outreach within St. Louis to educate about “green” items and what items the Saint Louis Zoo has to offer at our gift shops that are “green” or conservation minded. We also have products that are hard to find at other stores within the Saint Louis area, thus making us a destination for unique gifts. We have a traditional Holiday Zootique event in November where we have drinks, food and special discounts for members to kick off their holiday buying season. Another great retail event we do is the Museum/Zoo garage sale where we host our other sister institutions here in the spring to sell off their sale items. This event draws thousands of people to the Zoo for a day filled with fun and great bargains.

What trade shows do you go to?
The Gathering, Vegas Gift Show, Atlanta’s America’s Mart 

Anything you'd like to add?
We all must remember we are conservation organizations and what we buy as buyers sends a message of what is right and wrong to our suppliers. I urge all Zoo and Aquarium buyers to research what they are buying and ensure it fits into the world of conservation and that the people creating the products are treated with respect and given fair wages for their area of the world. All of us Zoo and Aquarium buyers have chosen to make a difference in the world by working for conservation institutions and together we can.The products we buy and sell can inspire the next generation of zookeepers, scientists, or doctors. Dreams come out of playing as we do when we are children, so that vet kit we are selling may inspire a child to be something he or she never thought of being until the power of play unlocked an inner desire. Our job as buyers impacts people every day, so be proud of how you impact the world on a daily biases. 

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New Logo

For 2012, we bid a fond farewell to the ZAG otter and welcome a new logo. The clean look and sleek design represents our organization as we move forward and into the future. We can thank Donna Steakley and the design team from Fossil Rim for this superb new look.

Sponsor Specials

Squire Boon Village - http://www.squireboone.com/email-blasts/ZooFariEmailBlast.htm

Lord’s International - http://www.lords-international.com/ZOOSpecials.shtml 

See attached for specials on mugs, scarves and wall graphics

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