July 2004
Ornaments For All Seasons By Shelli Lissick, Beth Lorentz and Ingrid Liss

Ornaments are not just for Christmas anymore.

What merchandise takes up little space, can be displayed in many eye-catching, unique forms (and maximizes use of display space); doesn’t have to be watered; and provides a low-risk way to extend your gift section? Ornaments! No longer just a Christmas purchase, ornaments are becoming the three-dimensional greeting cards of the millennium. Oprah is even into this trend — her December 2003 issue of O magazine included an article celebrating the ornament. Some of the top home décor magazines — Country Living, Mary Engelbreit’s Home Companion and Better Homes & Gardens, to name a few — are also using ornaments in new ways such as napkin rings, place card holders, bulletin board décor and more.

Consumer Research Says . . .

According to recent consumer research conducted on behalf of Midwest of Cannon Falls, purchases of ornaments are driven by impulse. When she sees it, she has to have it, and price is not typically a factor. The relatively low price points in the ornament world make this an affordable luxury and a low-stress purchase.

The research also revealed that consumers believe ornaments have an excellent perceived value and giftability. Appropriate ornaments are used as single-item, inexpensive gifts or as a way to enhance another larger gift. Ornaments are also purchased by consumers to decorate their homes throughout the year.

Maximizing Sales

As you well know, do-it-yourselfers represent a major piece of the shopping pie for garden centers, as well as home improvement stores. So why not cater to their needs for hands-on involvement not only when it comes to landscaping, but also for your gift section? Offering ideas and inspiration that customers can add their own personal touches to will draw the do-it-yourselfer’s attention — and sales. The following hands-on ornament ideas are perfect for do-it-yourselfers, for their indoor or outdoor decorating, or to give as personalized gifts for every occasion from birthdays to baby showers. Set up a display showing some of these ideas.

Place Cards. Choose an ornament that can be written on, then simply add guests’ names in permanent marker. Tuck place card into the napkin or glass.

Napkin Rings. Wrap a piece of ribbon or wire around an ornament and tie onto napkin.

Shadow Box. Choose an ornament with a relatively smooth backside. Buy a frame to fit the ornament, along with paper or wood to place in the back of the frame. Use hot glue to attach ornament to backing and place in frame.

Package Tie-On. Choose an appropriate ornament for whoever will receive the gift. Simply attach it to the gift with a ribbon, wire, twine, raffia, etc. Ornaments with a flat front surface may also display the gift recipient’s name.

Plant Picks. Hot glue an ornament to a metal stake or pick (depending on if it’s for outdoor gardens or indoor potted plant) for a quick, personalized plant pick. Photo Frame. Start with a plain flat front photo frame. Choose a theme, and gather appropriate ornaments that support your theme. Paint frames to match ornaments if necessary, and hot glue ornaments to the frame. Add your favorite photo and you’ll have a great gift with a very personal touch.

Magnets. Choose some coordinating lightweight ornaments. Simply hot glue magnets to the back and voila! For a larger gift idea, buy a magnet board to accompany your personalized magnets.

Wind Chimes. Select several, lightweight metal ornaments. Tie each ornament to individual pieces of fishing line, ribbon or twine (each piece should be approximately 8-10 inches long). Purchase a triangle (the musical instrument) and tie each ornament to it. Add ribbon or fishing line to each side of the triangle to hang indoors or out.

Flower Pots. Choose a terra cotta (glazed or unglazed) or wire flowerpot or planter. Select an ornament appropriate for whatever the gift giving occasion. Hot glue to terra cotta container, or wire onto a wire planter.

Last Words

If you begin a “how to use ornaments in new ways” section, be sure to add new ideas on a regular basis to keep your display fresh and unique. This area may become the first place consumers stop for inspiration. Go the extra mile by printing instruction sheets, including materials needed and directions for making each item. Try to include a photo.

While women typically are the largest consumer group who buy ornaments, offer a mix of more male-friendly fare to grab male attention, too (i.e., fishing, hunting, cars, etc.). Also try mixing in other accent pieces that complement the ornaments (or vice versa). Due to their miniature size, ornaments are easy to add into an already-existing display, as long as the themes or colors are coordinating. If you don’t offer a gift section, garden-themed ornaments may even be tucked into existing merchandise such as flowerpots.

And finally, keep in mind that ornaments are no longer just for the holidays. Plus, they’re an easy buy — and take up little room to display. Customers who start buying ornaments now will likely come back during the holidays and all-year round.

Shelli Lissick, Beth Lorentz and Ingrid Liss

Shelli Lissick is brand communication specialist; Beth Lorentz is vice president of Seasons of Cannon Falls; and Ingrid Liss is vice president of Creative Services for Midwest of Cannon Falls, Cannon Falls, Minn. They can be reached by phone at (800) 776-2075 or E-mail at [email protected].