Category Archives: Running a Store

THE BACK ROOM

We’ve started cleaning out the back room at Fragile Earth.

back room

 

Although it still needs a LOT of help, progress is being made! You can see the floor now ūüôā Want to guess why we’re putting in all this hard labor?

 

Another One Lost to the Cuts

Twice a year, Jellycat comes out with new products. As the time approaches, we check their website religiously, looking for new pictures. And thus begins the texting & gasping & “Oh My God, did you see this?!!!”, and there may be a squeal or two. We take our jobs very seriously here at Fragile Earth!

Working hard!

Working hard!

 

However, since Jellycat refuses to maintain a warehouse the size of Minnesota, as they bring in new lines, they discontinue certain products. We’re not sure how these choices are made since the ones they opt to “put in the vault” ¬†inevitably sell well for us. It is with trepidation that we check the list to see who is being retired every year.

Prior Mascot

Prior Mascot

One of the recent cuts is the Medium Cordy Roy Aardvark, as in CLIVE!

Hey can I borrow this?  It's just my size

Hey can I borrow this? It’s just my size

My heart may have actually skipped a beat when I saw that. We put the word out on Facebook that what we have in stock is the last of his kind for us. “Alas, poor Clive, we knew him well!”

Clive in his Batman gear looking for the Batmobile

Clive in his Batman gear looking for the Batmobile

*Disclosure: For now, Jellcat will continue making the Small Cordy Roy Aardvark, just not the medium size.

My brother felt that Brayden NEEDED a Clive of his own so, since Bray was visiting us for the weekend, he went home with his very own Fragile Earth mascot. Last night, we got these pictures of Clive in his new home 

One of the Clive's has gone to live in Baltimore

One of the Clives has gone to live in Baltimore

with the text “At least I can learn my alphabet.”¬†

Of course Clive already knows his alphabet, in 4 languages!

Of course Clive already knows his alphabet, in 4 languages!

I informed him that Clive is fluent in both Latin and Greek and conjugates irregular French verbs to clear his mind. He will fit in perfectly. But beware of that child, Clive! He bites!!

Brayden, wearing a dinosaur hat, gnawing on a bowl

Brayden, wearing a dinosaur hat, gnawing on a bowl

If you would like an aardvark of your own, we have three left in stock, and after that, he is gone for good! Of course, we will be keeping our Clive and he will continue to be the mascot of Fragile Earth, going where no aardvark has gone before!

*Clive is a Medium Jellycat Cordy Roy Aardvark and can be purchased online at our website or in our store Fragile Earth in Red Bank, NJ

Handmade Bibs. Who Knew They Would Be So Popular

Two years ago I got my first sewing machine and I found a pattern to make baby bibs which looked easy enough for me to try.  Not only was it fairly easy, I found I really enjoyed making them.  So I made up two or three and brought them into Fragile Earth to see if anyone would be interested in buying them.  At this point, my sister in law was pregnant with this guy.

Please note the dashing baseball bib he is modeling!

Please note the dashing baseball bib he is modeling!

So I knew, if worse came to worse, I would send them down to her.

hello kitty valentine's day bib

 

The next day we sold our first bib in the store and, as I am wont to do, I got so excited I ordered a TON of fabric to start my new bib making empire. ¬†While it never turned into an empire, our bibs have turned into one of our best selling items in the store. ¬†The funny thing is we put them on etsy and online and they don’t sell, except one every blue moon. ¬†I wonder why?

 snoopy st patrick's day bib

So we continue to make bibs and now we are adding special holiday bibs.  Stay tuned for our Easter collection coming soon.

 

GUND FOCUS GROUP

Helen and I were invited to be part of a focus group at Gund headquarters in Edison, NJ last night. Never having attended one before, we did not know what to expect and were a bit apprehensive.

Gund has their offices in a multiple building compound. I was driving and wondering how we would know which one was the right one when Helen pointed out the giant Snuffles bear sitting outside the door. BINGO!

There were four businesses there with seven owners present, our sales rep Nancy (who is awesome by the way!), Vince the leader of the group, and Gus who was in product creation.

The Gund folks found out a bit about each of the stores represented – what kind of merchandise we carried, who our target consumer was, where we were located, etc. I’m not sure if it was planned out this way or not, but out of the four businesses there, two were close to each other in one location and the remaining two were close in another town. Proximity aside, we did not overlap that much on merchandise carried.

The main part of the evening was spent viewing stuffed animals that are in various stages of development. (I am checking with Gund to see how much we are allowed to describe what we saw. If they say we can go into details, we’ll update the post with more specifics.) Some are in the preplanning stage where they haven’t gotten past drawing boards yet. Others are partially developed and Gund was checking to see what we thought of color choice, fabric swaths, size, etc. And some were full on, ready to go.

Most of the products they showed us sparked quite a bit of conversation. What might work for the chocolate shop in a college town doesn’t necessarily work in a baby store. Some people liked certain fabrics while others weren’t so keen on them. We all agreed that ninjas probably wouldn’t work but that you can never go wrong with dragons. There were certain animals that we liked the look of but the fabric was all wrong, either in texture or in color.

There were a few items that just made everyone go quiet, mainly because we all disliked them. Intensely. This is where being part of a focus group gets hard. It’s very simple to say “I love that one. It’s so soft and squishy.” It’s much more difficult to come up with a constructive way of saying “I hate that, it makes my eyes bleed.”

And then there were three or four lines that elicited the squeals and that everyone agreed would be huge. One is taking several of their iconic bears and turning them into characters from a movie. They are hysterical and I so hope it works because I would buy them for everyone in my family! There were a few that are not like any other Gund products I’ve seen that have so much personality and quirkiness. They would fit in perfectly with our store … and our house:)

As we left, Gund presented us with a bag full of goodies. 

Some items will be making their way to Baltimore and a certain nephew, and Spike and Dru have already called dibs on one or two. Thank you so much to Gund for allowing us to be part of this. We had so much fun and it was very cool to see what is coming up for you guys.

Fragile Earth Stuffed Animals Summer Treasure Hunt in Red Bank

We apologize for being a little absent from the blog recently. ¬†We are busy preparing for our Treasure Hunt in Red Bank, NJ this weekend, June 30th to be precise. ¬†Red Bank is known for many things but one of the main draws to town has been their annual July 3rd fireworks display. ¬†For budget reasons, the powers that be, in their infinite wisdom, decided to cancel this year’s display. ¬†This is huge for local businesses because the fireworks would bring THOUSANDS of people to town for the day.

In an effort to do something for the 4th of July, Fragile Earth Stuffed Animals has created a treasure hunt around town.  You start at our store and pick up your map and loot bag.  The map will take you to other stores in town where they will give you a clue to your final destination as well as a little something for your loot bag.

If you are in Red Bank, NJ this weekend, stop on by 9 Monmouth Street for your treasure map. ¬†Don’t let a little 90 degree heat and NJ humidity scare you away. George is resting up, saving his energy. ¬†I just wish we could do the same.

We just took the picture, he tucked himself in.

There Is Something So Sweet About A Boy Buying A Girl A Teddy Bear

Here at Fragile Earth Stuffed Animals, we don’t see it as often as I would have thought; a teenage boy buying his girlfriend a teddy bear. ¬†Is it because these days girls won’t let themselves be “young” enough to want a teddy bear from their boyfriend? ¬†Who knows. ¬†But on this cold, rainy Wednesday my faith was restored. ¬†I just had a boy and girl in the store. ¬†She was giggling the whole time, as teenage girls are want to do, and she fell in love with this Blue Whispers Bear.

Jellycat Blue Whispers Teddy Bear

And then he sheepishly handed me the bear to buy.  It made my day!

Window Display 5/15/2012

L Frank Baum was born May 15, 1856. He also wrote one of the most iconic children’s stories of all time, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. So, to celebrate his birthday, we here at Fragile Earth Stuffed Animals created our window display around his work.

From left – the Cowardly Lion, the Tin Woodsman, the Scarecrow, Dorothy, and Toto

We grew up watching The Wizard of Oz on TV, usually at one of the holidays. Easter, maybe? The grownups would sit down to dinner and all the kids would watch the movie.

I always loved it when the Wicked Witch of the East’s legs shriveled up and disappeared under the house.

The Wizard (in his balloon), the Wicked Witch of the West (on the bar), and the flying monkeys.

Our flying monkeys aren’t nearly as scary as the ones in the movie!

My mother loved the books when she was young and she kept them in a special bookcase in the hall. We were allowed to read them if we did so very carefully! Many people don’t know that Baum wrote more than one book about Oz. Actually, there are 18 books (including short stories, etc.) that feature the magical land.