Monday, February 25, 2008

Still FLATOUT in love

Just over two years ago, I saw the cutest teddy-bear ever. Working in the film office, one of my co-workers walked in with a FLATOUTbear and asked if it was something I think celebrities may like. Well forget the celebrities - for me it was love at first site.

Not much later, I was back in Australia for work and had dinner with Prue and Sarah (the most delightful sisters behind the FLATOUTbear) and I liked them almost as much as the FLATOUTbear. Hence the launch of Cute-ture. This was our first product and now with so much more in our stores that I adore, I am still as in love with this adorable teddy as on that first sighting.

In fact, a Milk FLATOUTbear has just made his way onto our bed. I am not really one to have teddy-bears on my bed, but in our new house, with so much going on, and feeling a little overwhelmed with life and very tired, it was the bear (named Lindor) who I chose to add to our bedroom for secret little cuddles between renovations....

Today I went back onto the FLATOUTbear website and was so excited to find my nephew Jude featured! Check out the link on the title and look for Jude and his bear Roadie.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Taxi's across the globe

One of the things I occasionally struggled with in Australia was taxi-drivers that wanted to have a good chat. Now its not that I don’t understand the need for them to chat – its pretty boring sitting in a car all day and the brain goes numb from little interaction, but rather, after getting off a long distance flight or having just had a stressful day in the office, sometimes the last thing you feel like is an in-depth conversation with a person you don’t know in a small space.

Especially when they tell you their politic views which are vastly different from your own – and as a young woman (with a set of strong political views herself), it is a challenging situation to not argue when you are alone in a car with a complete stranger who is passionate about things such as ‘women not working’ (I am not kidding – after a long day, that was one of the topics my cabbie needed to discuss).

So where is my blog going with this– well here in the USA I have discovered a new cab driver – the New Yorker! These one’s don’t actually talk to you but just talk. At first I kept trying to understand what they were saying, and even enquired to be sure they asked me something, only to learn they are immersed in a conversation with some unknown person on the other end of an earphone. This conversation seems quite one way, since there is no break for the person at the other end to be responding.

The airport is a good 45 minutes to an hour from the airport, and Cute-ture takes me to New York 4 – 5 times a year, so after a few years of these taxi rides, I have realized that in fact I don’t have the same cabbie every time but rather there must be some test all cabbies do to see if they can talk non stop for 45 minutes in a mumble without a breath in between.

As for Los Angeles Cabs – well I think there may only be one cab in all of LA…they are very rare to see (not to mention to actually get one) so if you see it – jump in!

Saturday, February 9, 2008

New York, New York

Cute-ture took New York by storm this week, showing our lovely little people's luxuries at the New York Gift Show. The show is known as 17 miles of aisles...Quite overwhelming to the senses! That being said, it is a wonderful place to be inspired, find unique items and shop for one's store!! And happily for us, it seems we inspired and were unique enough to have a very successful show.

Cute-ture was in the Metropolitan Pavilion which we love (so much more than the enormous Javits Center) mostly because there is a great French coffee shop - called Telegraphe Cafe next door which actually makes an extremely good latte. They also have soup and sandwiches and are not at show prices (as in not so overpriced that our entire profit from a $20000 sale is spent on a sandwich for lunch). New York is somewhat known for its coffee but as a coffee snob - I have to tell you, its awfully difficult to find something that an Aussie or Italian would consider drinkable...sorry New York - but your coffee sucks. So finding a 'cuppa' next door at a reasonable price was quite a find indeed.

The other bonus of the Metropolitan Pavilion is that the Container Store is around the corner. For those of you not familiar with doing tradeshows, the biggest winners in the tradeshow business are Ikea and The Container Store where it is cheaper to buy your stand (display cases, bookcases etc) than to rent it from the show organizers. This is an international standard mind you - buy a clothing rack at The Container Store for $30 or rent one at a show for $110....What would you do???

The funny thing about each show we do, is that the little finds we have - such as the cute cupcake containers (found at $1.99 at... The Container Store), to put our handsqueakers in, become as hot an item as the squeakers themselves. I guess that makes us somewhat successful merchandisers and the store must wonder why they have a sudden rush of buyers wanting those funny looking cupcake containers. Last show it was miniature plastic chandeliers that run on batteries which I used to dress up bookshelves turned into little clothing cupboards that were the hot display show item. Inspired indeed.

So New York rocked - and now we are back in LA contemplating shipping all those orders or moving house.... Oh the joys of being snowed under - even if it only snowed once in New York.