Pick Up Sticks Mentors III – Gil Tani and Lothantique

When we were just starting out in this biz, we didn’t make a concerted effort to find mentors.  We just sort of stumbled upon them.  Remember Hondo and Alice?  We met him while taking a break.  Carol the Seaglass Girl?  Sat up down the aisle from us and took us under her wing.

Gil's Pick Up Sticks booth in Toronto

Always, just at the moment when we felt like maybe our business needed a bit of tweaking, someone came along who had knowledge and experience, and by paying attention and listening, we learned amazing things.

It’s difficult to say which of our mentors gave us the most guidance, but we definitely want to recognize Gil Tani and Lothantique.  We wrote about him before in this blog – we called him our own Pick Up Sticks rock star.  Gil is our distributor in Canada and his distribution company operates under Lothantique, Inc..  He’s also the owner of gorgeous retail space, Belle de Provence, in Toronto, so he has vast experience selling elegant gifts.

The rock star himself, Gil Tani at the New York International Gift Fair

Meeting Gil and his wife Yvonne when we did always felt a little like serendipity.  Things hadn’t worked out well with our distributor in Canada, and Yvonne  happened to walk into our booth in Atlanta on the right day.  After discussing our needs, she led us to Gil so that we could talk to him about taking over the market in Canada.  We’ve often discussed how we felt an instant connection with both of them.

Our business in Canada soared under Gil’s direction, and this year he’s helped get us into the European market.  We’re headed to London to do a show this fall, and all the credit goes to Gil!

Gil is a man of much action and few words, so when we asked him to give us a paragraph or two for this blog, he predictably didn’t waste a lot of space.  Here’s what he said:

“We initially got acquainted with Pick Up Sticks as a retailer, we found the line at the Atlanta Gift Show, and carried it in our Belle de Provence store. Two years later we were doing well with the product in our store and Sabrina & Glena were looking for a distributor in Canada.  As we love the line we volunteered to represent them in Canada. We found Glena & Sabrina very open & friendly and the connection was instant.

In regards to advice, I told them to concentrate on what works!”

Gil's fabulous sales team selling Pick Up Sticks in Toronto

We’re forever grateful to Gil and Yvonne for taking a chance with Pick Up Sticks and for continuing to give us ideas for building our business.  Check out their websites – their product is gorgeous and very luxurious and we’re sure you’re going to want to place an order.

And if you’re in London in September, stop in and see us.  Thanks, Gil, for inspiring us to make that big move!

Lothantique and Gil Tani – Pick Up Sticks in Canada!


Pick Up Sticks in Gil's booth in Toronto at CGTA - True Elegance!

We have our own Pick Up Sticks rock star, and we want to introduce him – he’s our distributor in Canada, Gil Tani.  His distribution company operates under Lothantique, Inc. (www.lothantique.ca), but he’s also the owner of gorgeous retail space, Belle de Provence, in Toronto (www.belledeprovence.com), so he has vast experience selling elegant gifts.  He also has great things to say about Pick Up Sticks, and good ideas for display and marketing.  If you’re feeling like your retail space may have become predictable or stagnant, this is a relevant post to ponder.

Gil’s immediate comment about Pick Up Sticks is that it surprised him.  Pick Up Sticks was the first jewelry line he purchased for his retail space, and he didn’t expect such high repeat sales numbers.  He says his wholesale customers in Canada say the same thing – they tell him that they reorder because Pick Up Sticks sells!

Gil is in the soap industry, and says it’s easy to expect soap to sell – people use it up. But jewelry?!  He was shocked to find that customers in his retail space were coming back for their 2nd, their 8th, even their 12th charm.  He praises the customer service he receives from Pick Up Sticks – he finds them professional, courteous, and best of all, “When I call, there’s no blah, blah, blah. Just answers, and if they don’t know the answer, they’ll ask someone.  Their orders are accurate, always.”

Gil’s had amazing success in his retail space, and suggest that retailers be mindful of their traffic patterns.  “Everyone moves a certain direction when they come in your door,” he says.  If you watch to see what that pattern is and then strategically place items where they’ll catch a customer’s eyes, you’ll see an immediate response. 

He also says that every store has a “table” or display from which more merchandise is sold than any other.  “Figure out why that is, and then try moving your slow sellers to that place. If they won’t sell there, get rid of them.” 

When asked to compare the retail market in Canada to that in the U.S., Gil thinks that perhaps the economy has recently been slightly tougher in the U.S., but not much.  American retailers, he says, are always interested in the next new thing – the quick sale.  Retailers in Canada are more likely to find a great line and, if it sells, stick with it and wait it out.  His suggestion is that we all be more patient with what we’re selling, that we be loyal to lines that are selling well.  He thinks customers tend to appreciate consistency, and will come back for more of what they already know they like.

Great comments and great ideas.  Thanks, Gil, for your loyalty to Pick Up Sticks.

If you have your own tips for moving the line in your store, let us know. We’re dedicated to sharing both new and proven ways to market Pick Up Sticks!

Gil's entire booth in Toronto - see why we think he's a rock star?

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