Custom Products: Meeting the Needs of Shop Owners and Guests

The Dumbarton House, located in our Nation’s capital, not only serves a large museum guest population but is also the headquarters of The National Society of The Colonial Dames of America. Dating back to 1799, it offers guests a unique opportunity to view one of the finest examples of Federal period architecture in the U.S., along with its impressive furniture and decorative arts collections.

Hillary Hughes, Programs and Events Manager at Dumbarton House, has worked closely with the Maizie Clarke team to create and source product she knows will be a perfect fit for both visiting guests, as well as their very special visiting Dames. Hillary says, “I like to think of our gift shop as a puzzle. There are many complex pieces that I have to fit together. First, we have practically no storage space- so any item I carry needs to store easily in my small space, or I have to be able to place very small orders.” We understand this is a constraint with so many of our clients and make carrying smaller inventories possible with our low order minimums.

Currently, they carry custom tea towels and totes with an illustration of the facade of The Dumbarton House. A piece of feedback we receive from all of our museum clients that carry custom tea towels is that their guests love them! This is no different at the Dumbarton House. Hillary can barely keep the tea towels in stock! She says about the products for both groups The Dumbarton House serves, “The two group purchase very different items and they rarely cross-over. Dames usually buy at a higher price point and are interested in items branded specifically for them: their seal, Dames quotes, etc. or items that make good hostess gifts or are practical for everyday life. On the other end of the spectrum is our museum visitors. They are usually walking around our neighborhood or are traveling from out of town and come to see the historic house. They are not interested in the same items as the Dames. They prefer small or light items they can throw in their backpack or purse as they spend the rest of their day sightseeing, and then will easily pack in their luggage. Both groups want something to remember the beautiful historic house they visited- this is why I LOVE the tea towels! They appeal to the Dames- they make great gifts, are beautiful, feature their national headquarters and are practical. They also appeal to museum guests: they are light and easy to carry and are a beautiful piece of art that will remind them of the museum they visited. I win too: their items are small and easy to store, and everyone loves them! They are the perfect piece!”

There are many applications for custom artwork outside of gift shop sales as well. The Dumbarton House also uses their Maizie Clarke illustration on their brochure and in some of their museum marketing materials. By serving two populations and using their custom artwork for internal and external collateral, they are truly putting their investment to work!

We always strive to make sure our customers are more than pleased with their entire experience with Maizie Clarke. From the initiation of a project to when the items are store landed to the moment your guests leave proudly with their new loot in tow, we want every step of the process to be seamless, exciting, and productive! Our team is dedicated to providing the best customer service and will always be solutions focused on our clients.

What issues can we help you solve? From merchandising to boosting ROI to enchanting your guests, we are always here to help!

Custom Collections: Catering to Enthusiasts and Impulse Buyers

Hooking customers that come in the door by offering pieces that aren’t run-of-the-mill is easier than you might think. Have you considered adding a custom collection to your institution’s retail inventory?

Tammie Carey from the Old Simpson County Courthouse in Franklin, Kentucky reached out to Maizie Clarke looking not only to capture the beauty and history of the Courthouse but to find a unique product offering that would appeal to her shop’s visitors throughout the year.  For us, creativity is never straightforward and that’s what we love most about the amazing collaborations we work on with our clients. Each project takes on a life of its own and can completely morph from an initial idea into a final product that delights even the creator!

From the first meeting with Tammie Carey at The Old Simpson County Courthouse, we knew this project was going to be something special. The building is beautiful, the setting stunning and what a piece of history! What truly sets the collection apart is not only that it’s custom, but we worked with Tammie to create a depiction of The Courthouse during the four seasons of the year - something we hadn’t done prior. You could call it ‘custom within custom’, a strategic approach to showcasing a historical institution in various noteworthy settings. We started with an initial illustration that we knew would reflect the true nature of the Courthouse but took it a step further by adding various details and nuances attributed to each season that we knew would appeal to the same buyers over and over. Instead of one ornament appealing to an impulse buyer, all four did, and true collectors and enthusiasts of preservation shop with renewed interest when they see a unique piece they cannot find anywhere else.

The custom collection has helped The Old Simpson County Courthouse create a one-of-a-kind offering for its visitors throughout the year, and we are so grateful to have had the opportunity to collaborate on such a special project.

Did you know there are many ways to create a custom collection for your gift shop? Custom collections can commemorate not only the seasons of the year but special events too! Does your town or museum have a noteworthy Fourth of July event or other holiday presence? What about sporting events or non-profit awareness? If you dream it, we can do it!

Are you looking to differentiate your gift shop inventory? We’d love to hear from you!