Saturday, May 7, 2011

To Groupon or Not to Groupon

Groupon is amazing for consumers, but I'm not sure it's so amazing for business owners. For the last year, we've been contacted by Groupon and many Groupon knockoffs, asking us to offer a deal.

For any Groupon virgins out there, here's how the deal would work, assuming Pacifier offers a $40 gift card for $20: Would-be customers buy the deal on Groupon's website. We can specify a minimum and maximum number of deals sold. Of the $20 paid by the customer, $10 goes to Groupon, and $10 goes to Pacifier.

Under this deal, we would essentially be selling products at a 75% discount. But...let's just say we need more than a 25% margin to stay in business.

Groupon sales reps like to counter my skepticism with the following points:
1. They bring in a lot of new customers
2. These new customers will be repeat customers
3. These new customers will spend a lot more than the $40 gift card
3. We get some revenue upfront

We did offer a deal like this last holiday season with a local company. I think we sold about 150 gift certificates. From that experience, we've learned that #2 and #3 above do not seem to be true. (Just so it's clear - I'm not sneering at anyone out there. I am one of those deal-seekers who rarely spends well above the gift certificate amount. I do, though, always tip at least 20% of the bill before the's the former waitress in me. Unfortunately, customers do not tip at retail establishments, so our employees would not benefit in this way from such deals.)

However, I am willing to experiment. So tonight, I had the brilliant (I hope) idea of running our own social media deal through Facebook. In fact, it's going on right now here:

To publicize the deal, I've created a Facebook Event Ad targeted at the Twin Cities area. Hopefully this will attract some new customers outside of our current fan base. I love trying new marketing approaches, especially with Facebook (it's fascinating how Facebook has changed our personal and business lives). We'll see how it goes.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Mother's Day Super Giveaway!

Check out our Mother's Day Super Giveaway on Facebook! Going on now and ends on Mother's Day, May 8.

We're giving away the Bento Ultimate Diaper Bag by Skip Hop, an Oh Plah! Teething Bracelet by Roundhouse Design, and a $50 Pacifier Gift Card to our favority photo.

Plus, get the most "likes" on your photo and win a $100 Pacifier Gift Card! Tell your friends and family to like your photo!

Good luck and have a wonder Mother's Day!

Friday, April 29, 2011

N,E. Minneapolis IceBreaker Shop Crawl

This Saturday, April 30, only! Save 15% off the entire store. Excludes sale items, in-store, in-stock items only. Lots of great deals from neighborhood businesses, too. Hope to see you there!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Monday Giveaway: modBonnet by UB2

Happy Monday! Today we're giving away a very cool, cute, and retro UB2 modBonnet of your choice! Just in time for high summer.

To enter, tell us in the comments below: what is your favorite outdoor activity when the sun is shining bright? Remember to double your chances by entering on Facebook. The winner will be announced tomorrow on Facebook!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Monday Giveaway: Necklace + Bracelet Set by Chewbeads

Today's giveaway: a bracelet and necklace set by Chewbeads! Mommy chic and baby safe, Chewbeads are made of silicone, which is soft on baby's gums and emerging teeth. They're also BPA-free and come in a wide array of colors.
To enter, simply visit Chewbeads on our website and tell us (in the comments below) which color is your favorite. Remember to double your chances by entering on Facebook! The randomly selected winner will be announced on our Facebook wall tomorrow. Good luck!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Monday Giveaway: Bashful Babies by Jellycat

Today's giveaway will help you fill those Easter baskets: check out Jellycat's super-soft Bashful Babies and tell us in the comments section below which TWO are your favorite. A randomly selected winner will have two shipped to their home. Enter on Facebook to double your chances. We'll announce the winner tomorrow on Facebook!

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Summer Tea is Here: Buy 5 pieces, get 20% off. One week only!

You, dear blog follower, get a head start on this deal. Buy 5 pieces of regular-priced Daily Tea or Tea Collection, get 20% off. Enter Tea coupon code LIMONADA at checkout. Shop Tea's new summer collections now: Costa Brava and Spanish Nouveau. Offer ends Sunday, April 10.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Monday Giveaway: Uncle Goose Wooden Blocks

This week's giveaway: a set of Uncle Goose Wooden Blocks in a language of your choice! Uncle Goose makes these beautiful blocks in many languages, including Spanish, Korean, Russian, French, Norwegian, Chinese, and Hebrew. Check our website for all languages available.

To enter, tell us: If you your child could learn an additional language, what would it be? Double your chances by entering on Facebook. We'll randomly select the winner tomorrow!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Monday Giveaway: Skip Hop Zoo Backpack

Today's giveaway is your choice of a Skip Hop Zoo Backpack (a $20 value)! Perfect for toting along toys, snacks and loveys. Choose from 6 designs. Here's the monkey:

To enter, tell us below: What is your little one's lovey, and does it have a name? Double your chances by entering on Facebook! A randomly drawn winner (using will be announced tomorrow on Facebook. Good luck!

Yes, that was my toddler screaming on the plane

We had a lovely 5 days in Florida last week with my in-laws. We ate ice cream.

We walked to the beach almost every day.

And we played in the sand to our heart's content.

Unfortunately, the plane ride home was not so lovely. We sat on the tarmac for about 40 minutes before takeoff. This means we blew through one or two toys that were supposed to keep Nico occupied for the duration of the flight. Next time I'm taking at least 3 extra toys. And a bag of lollipops. I guess surviving the 20 hour flight from Korea made me a bit overconfident.

Anyway, Nico melted down for about 3 minutes, complete with kicking and screaming. I noticed a lady in front of us turned around and gave us "the look." OK, I get it - she was annoyed. I've been there. But don't I get any credit for keeping a squirmy 2-year-old quiet the other 3.5 hours?

Monday, March 14, 2011

Monday Giveaway: Powder Room Case and I-Belong-To Tag by Petunia Pickle Bottom

I kind of wish I could enter to win this today's giveaway: a Powder Room Case and I-Belong-To Tag in Heavenly Holland by Petunia Pickle Bottom (a $40 value).

Powder Room Case in Heavenly Holland
I-Belong-To Tag in Heavenly Holland

To enter, tell us below: What's the best beauty or make-up tip you have ever received? Remember to double your chances by commenting on our Facebook wall! A randomly drawn winner will be announced on Tuesday.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Happy Birthday to My Little Boy

My little boy recently turned two. It was an extra-special birthday, because it was the first one we got to celebrate with him. We adopted him from Korea when he was 14 months old, so we missed his first birthday.

I have to say, what a difference a year makes. Last year, I was depressed to be missing such an important milestone and tried to be cheerful by going out to dinner with hubby. It didn't work out too well because we ended up having the most dreadful food and service at Salut, a local place that is usually pretty good.

This year, we started out the day with a birthday pancake.

The hot pancake melted some of the blue wax candles, but he seemed to enjoy it anyway. The next day, he got a "real" birthday cake at his first birthday party with us.

I could finally say in person to my little boy, "Happy Birthday, dear Nico." We are so lucky to have you.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Monday Giveaway: WallCandy!

Is it Monday already? But hey, it's Valentine's Day! We're celebrating by giving away a Chalkboard Heart kit by WallCandy. WallCandy makes super-cute wall decals for kids and grown-ups -- all removable, reusable, and repositionable without damaging walls. Perfect for lazy decorators such as myself.

To enter, tell us: who was your first celebrity crush? Double your chances by commenting on Facebook. Triple your chances by posting a photo of said celeb crush on our Facebook wall!

Mine: the dreamy Simon Le Bon, circa 1982. Laugh all you want, you gotta love the hair.

The Most Amazing Camera for Amateurs

I know I have not posted any personal pictures so far, and the reason for that is simple: all the photos I take with my Canon point-and-shoot camera absolutely suck. I want to be able to post pretty pictures, like the ones on this blog or this blog. (I know, that second one is a food blog, but aren't the photos gorgeous?)

To that end, I just got one of those new micro 4/3 cameras, specifically the Olympus Pen E-PL2. Basically it's like a DSLR camera in a small body - perfect for amateurs like me who just want decent shots of my kid, without the expense and size of a real SLR. I've got enough stuff to lug around, I don't need a huge camera and lense taking up valuable diaper bag real estate. It takes great photos right out of the camera, with not a lot of fuss. It also has a cute retro vibe to it.
I'm not saying I'm going to be able to take photos like photog extraordinaire Lisa Slotsve, who has done mini photo sessions at our store. But at least I'll hopefully have some pictures that will be decent enough to post on this blog!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Monday Giveaway: I Love My Mom/Dad Onesie or Tee

UPDATE: This week's winner is Kacie Worrell, who posted on our blog and on Facebook. Kacie, please our Facebook page for instructions on how to claim your prize!

Today's giveaway: a Valentine's Day-inspired onesie or tee of your choice, printed by local Minneapolis printer Too Many Many Suitors.
Simply tell us what your idea of the perfect Valentine's Day spent WITH the kids would be. We'll randomly select the winner tomorrow morning. And don't forget to enter your answers on Facebook to double your chances. Good Luck!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Moving up. Hopefully.

We're in serious talks to move our downtown store to a skyway location. We're currently on the street level of a mall. An OK location, but anyone who works in downtown Minneapolis knows that the action is on the skyway level. (Which reminds me of one of my favorite Replacements songs.)

I'm nervous because the rent per square feet is double what we pay at the Northeast Minneapolis store. But it's small, which makes it affordable to us. It will also get much, much more foot traffic in the winter, compared to our NE location. This is important, considering our winters (which I don't think are really that bad, but that's probably because I grew up here and don't know any better).

The leasing agent is trying to figure out how much TA they can provide. TA stands for "tenant allowance," which is the amount they'll give us to make the space look nice and pretty, the way a baby store is supposed to look. In exchange for TA, we will probably need to sign a 5 year lease, plus the rights to our first-born. Good thing we adopted.

I get slightly terrifed thinking about committing to a 5-year lease in a high-rent space, so I'm going to stop now and instead post some photos that are in my inspiration folder for a new store.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

20% off New Tea Destination: Barcelona Beach

Destination: Barcelona Beach has arrived! After slogging through all the boxes and tagging each item, we are ready to go with our special Tea Collection deal. Buy 5 or more regular-priced piece, get 20% off.  Enter coupon code 'barcelona20' at checkout. Offer ends Monday, February 14. Happy shopping!

Monday, January 31, 2011

Monday Giveaway: Robeez Shoes from the Spring 2011 Collection

UPDATE: Congrats to winner Heidi Backer, who commented on our blog and on Facebook! Heidi, we've PM'd you through Facebook. Have a great week everyone, and check back next Monday for another giveaway!

Time for another Monday Giveaway! Robeez just came out with their new spring styles so we're giving away a pair of Robeez Soft Soles. Our favorite is Touch of Tulle...

To enter the giveaway, simply visit our Robeez page and tell us which of the new styles is your favorite in the comments below. We'll randomly select the winner tomorrow, who will get a pair of Robeez Soft Soles of their choice!

Enter your answer on Facebook to double your chances. Good Luck!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Monday Giveaway: Set of 3 DwellStudio Touch + Feel Board Books

UPDATE: Congrats to our winner, Sarah S, who entered here and on our Facebook page! Check back next Monday for another giveaway!

What were your favorite books growing up as a child? Tell us below for a chance to win a set of 3 DwellStudio board books. Remember to enter on Facebook to increase your chances of winning!

 A randomly chosen winner will be announced tomorrow morning.

 Some of my favorites: Corduroy, One Morning in Maine, Bread and Jam for Frances. Also, I have to confess I still re-read the Little House and Betsy-Tacy books at least once a year.

Friday, January 21, 2011

$100 Giveaway at My Mom Shops Blog

Pssst...we're giving away $100 worth of Tea Collection clothing at My Mom Shops blog. Pass it on. Or not.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Monday Give-Away: UglyDolls

UPDATE:  Our winner is Jackie, who commented on our blog at 5:18pm! Jackie, please email kristin[at] so that we can ship you an UglyDoll of your choice. We also posted a message to you on Facebook - thanks for commenting there as well. Have a great week, everyone!

Before we opened the store 7 years ago, I was home sick in bed one day, feeling miserable. My husband came in with two UglyDolls - the original Tray and Target. They were still hand-stitched at the time and only sold at Giant Robot. It's corny to say, but they brought a smile to my face and made me feel better.

Since the above picture was taken, the UglyDoll family has grown a bit, as you can see here. But they're still not mass-marketed at the local big-box discount store, which is a probably good thing because my husband has a tattoo of Tray and Target holding hands. (His look of horror when I suggested the possibility of UglyDolls hitting the shelves of Wal-mart was priceless.)

If you've never heard of UglyDolls, the story of how the company got its start from the international love letters of a couple in a long-distance relationship is a sweet one.

What was a memorable gift you've received in the past? Tell us below and we'll enter you in a drawing to win a 14" UglyDoll of your choice! As always, increase your chances by entering on Facebook, too! Winner will be announced on Tuesday.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

My son tells me to "go away"

In the baby and kids' world, it seemed like last year was the year of all things Korean. Tea Collection's spring and summer collections were inspired by South Korea. Uncle Goose, purveyor of classic wooden blocks in an array of foreign languages, released their Korean hangul set. Thanks to a tip from an acquaintance, we just received the Korean set at our store this past week.

And in May of last year, we brought our son home from South Korea. He was 14 months old. It was a long and hard process - harder and more painful than I would have ever thought. I read somewhere that adoption is not for sissies. So true. I will tell more about it one day.

For now, we are just so thankful our son is finally home. Even after a day like yesterday, when he was upset at us for being away all day. (Because of staffing issues at the stores, we both had to work all day. Usually one of us is home with him for half a day.) He was angry when we came home and put a new favorite phrase to use: "Go away." In his cute 22-month-old voice.

This morning he has apparently forgiven us and is his usual sweet, bossy self. Hopefully because he is beginning to realize that we will never go away.

20% off all Uncle Goose Classic Wooden Blocks - enter coupon code "gooseme20". Available in English, French, Spanish, Swedish, Hebrew, German, Polish, Chinese, and Korean. Code expires Feb. 1, 2011.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Monday Give-Away - Zoo Tableware Set by Skip Hop - UPDATED

UPDATE: Congrats to Rhonda Woodruff, the winner of the Skip Hop Tableware Set! Rhonda, we've sent you a PM through Facebook. Check back next Monday for another give-away!

Our Monday Give-Away debuts today! Every Monday we'll be giving away something new, cool, and fun. OK, it might not always be a product new to the market, but I promise you it will always be cool and fun.

Today we're giving away a Zoo Tableware Set by Skip Hop. We already love Skip Hop for their very functional and stylish diaper bags, creative bath toys and gear, cute and modern kids backpacks and lunch bags, and soft playmats and toys. So when we saw their new, adorable tableware at the big ABC Vegas show last fall, we instantly placed an order.

To enter, comment below and tell us which tableware pattern is your favorite: the monkey, owl, or bee. Increase your chances by commenting on our Facebook page as well!

The randomly chosen winner will get to a free tableware set of their choice (plate, bowl, and cup).

Here's the Bee tableware:

And the monkey:

Friday, January 7, 2011