Post #103 – Women’s Memoirs, Book Business – Kendra Bonnett and Matilda Butler
Gift baskets with books is a marketing idea taken from our firsthand experience.
If you’re a regular on either our Women’s Memoirs or Rosie’s Daughters site, you know that we’ve been in the Rosie the Riveter Legacy Gear business for several years now.
It’s been a growing venture for us that started when Matilda and I made and wore Rosie’s red-and-white polka dot bandanas. We wanted to look the part when we gave presentations after publishing Rosie’s Daughters: The “First Woman To” Generation Tells Its Story. What surprised us was when women saw our bandanas and wanted them too.
Especially for Halloween. Through six years of growth, we have outfitted 1000s of women for the October festivities. And they send us some of the cutest photos of themselves and their children in their Rosie costumes, striking the iconic “We Can Do It!” pose. We call it “Doing the Rosie.” The children are particularly adorable.
Rosie’s Daughters and Even More Gear
From Halloween, our business expanded to group sales throughout the year. We’ve supplied bandanas and collar pins to Union women’s sports teams…to school plays…to dance groups for their annual recitals…to women running (or walking) marathons as teams of three, four and more…even to student robotics competition groups. Our bandanas and pins have even been featured in magazine photos, television and museum exhibits.
Book sales have grown right along with bandana sales. In fact, this year we came out with a new, expanded second edition of Rosie’s Daughters. And we think that’s a good thing because it’s helped us share the legacy that belongs to every woman as we continue to build on what Rosie the Riveter first demonstrated more than 70 years ago: That women can do virtually everything and anything. In truth, women had been proving this for much longer, but with the demand for millions of women factory workers during WWII women in the workplace were noticed for the first time.
We think the message of “We Can Do It!” speaks to the pride of women of all ages. Just as many young women love Rosie and her message as older women. And because of the multi-generational nature of the message, we updated the phrase to: “We Can Do It! Pass It On!”
Gift Baskets Built Around Books
This year, Matilda and I are having fun expanding our gear to include gift baskets, and we’re packing many with books. It’s a great way to share Rosie’s iconic image with those who love to give and receive books.
And not just Rosie’s Daughters. In 2010 we published Dr. Greg’s Dog Dish Diet: Sensible Nutrition for Your Dog’s Health. By combining the book with our Rosie bandana, we brought together two items perfect for pet owners: the memoir of a veterinarian who has dedicated himself to finding the root cause of the most common pet ailments and a bright red-and-white polka dot bandana that let’s your dog step out in style. We call this our Dog Dish Polka Dot gift basket.
Because you–our friends and site visitors–are book lovers and writers too, we decided to kick off our new line of gift baskets with some special pricing for Black Friday and Small Business Saturday. And on Cyber Monday we featured a special writer’s gift basket that features Writing Alchemy: How to Write Fast and Deep and a whole lot of goodies. We know that writers love to help writers and so we decided to pass on some of that love. For each Gold Standard Writer’s Gift Basket purchased, we will give 10% to the non-profit organization called Girls Write Now. Gift giving and charity giving can work hand-in-hand.
Interested in seeing what we’re doing? Here’s a link you can follow right now to read about our current effort to help raise funds to provide opportunities for girls to become writers. It’s a cause that fits perfectly with our own mission of helping women become better writers. We hope you’ll want to help as well.
Tips and Ideas for Creating Your Own Gift Baskets
If you’d like to try making gift baskets to feature your books, here are a few tips that will help you get started:
TIP #1: Make It Fun for Your Audience. Combine your book with related goodies. That may mean adding tea mugs, hot chocolate, candies, bookmarks…anything that adds to the reading experience. In the case of our Rosie the Reader gift basket, we added a soft, cuddly red-and-white polka dot plush throw blanket along with a few tasty treats and a copy of Rosie’s Daughters.
TIP #2: Find Your Audience Online. We’ve had great success using Etsy.com. While the focus is on handmade goods, they do permit you to sell books and gift baskets. Look for other e-commerce sites. You can even try eBay or open an Amazon store. You can see how we created our RosiesLegacyGear Etsy.com store here.
TIP #3: Work Out the Shipping in Advance. Just as you thought about your audience of readers early in your writing and marketing process, work out the details of packaging your gift basket early. Don’t wait until it’s time to ship your first gift to figure out the optimal box size and best shipping method. Keep your baskets cost effective. We ship most of our gifts in medium Priority boxes, but our Dog Dish Polka Dot gift actually fits inside a legal size Priority envelope. And that keeps prices down.
TIP #4: Find Your Best Deals. Once you know the kinds of add-on products that complement your theme, select specific items (e.g., candy, nuts, mugs, teas, hot chocolate, throws, notebooks, writing tools, and more) that you can purchase in larger quantities from suppliers that give you discounts and free shipping. It all adds up.
TIP #5: Make It Attractive. Find a good supplier of packaging materials because the prettier, more festive you can create your gift basket, the more inviting it is. There are many discount suppliers on the Internet; we like Nashville Wraps.
TIP #6: Supplement with Other Products. You don’t have to create everything for your gift baskets from scratch. You can include other products. Quality teas and candies. Pens. notebooks and bookmarks all work. If you have a memoir, maybe you will want to package your book along with other memoirs. If several people in your writing group all have books, maybe you can work together to create a gift basket. Or buy discounted and remaindered books. This way everyone wins. And if you have any questions about an item you want to include, talk with the company. Tell them what you’re doing, and you’ll probably get their full support.
TIP #7: Make Your Baskets Evergreen. While we’re in the throes of Christmas and Hanukkah giving right now, the year is filled with holidays, celebrations and special events. You can tailor your gift baskets for Mother’s Day, graduations, birthdays and more. Book-oriented gift baskets make perfect hostess gifts too. Books really are an evergreen gift–perfect for every occasion.
TIP #8: Above all, have fun. Gift baskets just bring smiles to the faces of your recipients. Giving the gift of reading is priceless. And if you want to start small, create a gift basket around your book. Autograph your book. Add a few special treats, and give them to your friends.