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Merchandise for sale at the Inn

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Bigbid

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Over the years we have sold several items, customized with our logo, to our guests . Sweatshirts and T-shirts did not sell well and we needed multiple sizes. I have reordered baseball style caps several times but they do not sell real fast. Coffee mugs and an association cookbook we have sell really well. I make a $2 profit on the mugs and $4 on the books and it puts our name in the guest’s home. We order high end stuff and sell around 50 to 100 mugs and books a year.
These items are displayed on a small bookshelf in the office (the mugs are the same ones used for coffee). Has anyone had success selling anything else?
 

EmptyNest

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My association and my personal cookbooks sold really well. Sorry to say, if I stay at a B & B, I really don't want anything personal like a hat or a t shirt. A mug...if reasonably priced would be all the souvenir I would purchase. If you have specialty soaps, etc...maybe something like that would sell if the guest really liked it. I think someone here sells their coffee and teas.
 

JBloggs

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I would buy a tshirt if it was something regional that I had not seen anywhere else, not a B&B name or logo. Sweatshirts are great when it is unexpectedly cold, so they need to buy one, like today!!
If you have a special B&B TEA BLEND that was logo'd and packaged really well I might buy that or local chocolates.
I have a gift shop area and every once in a while sell things, two weeks ago I sold antique brooches to two guests - because I was clearing them out $5 each, they were orig $15-19 vintage jewelry. I sold a vase and a party plate (antique that I had shoved in there when we had to move everything when we painted the parlor) I actually had not sorted it all again and this must have appealed to these two ladies.
I had really cool handmade items that did not sell, I had consignment local artwork that I was sure someone would buy, nope. I still think local artwork if reasonable is a wonderful memento from a trip.
 

Innkeeper To Go

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Ditto on the cookbooks and mugs.
Items guests might need for a picnic also do really well. Stainless steel sports bottles. Those little insulated lunch bags/picnic packs. Corkscrews. Little cutting boards and cheese knives. I always get imprinted.
Items priced at $10 or less seem to get a lot more impulse buyers and sell enough to make ordering worthwhile.
I generally get a fairly large order so I can use them for specials and that keeps the cost affordable. Most of the things I order end up costing $4 or less per item.
Nice gift cards of local scenes by local artists always do well. And the artists are generally happy to put things in on consignment.
 

gillumhouse

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I sell local jams, jellies, apple butter, insulated lunch bags with my logo, I have sold honey & sparkling cider and I do have some teas for sale. I plan to do the coffee eventually. Need to get my mugs made. They flew off the shelf! They are made by a EV potter. Have sold T-shirts and polo shirts (supply is low right now). I cannot wait until our Association cookbook is printed again. I can sell a LOT of those and make a decent profit on it too.
I make something that is in the cookbook for breakfast - muffins, entree, whatever - and then I wave toward the cookbook, "The recipe is in the book." This time i got real smart - the pretzel recipe is in the cookbook and i plan to have a small plate of pretzels with one of my individual domed butter dishes of mustard on the dresser as an arrival snack. The recipe is in the book....
 

Samster

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We didn't have a gift shop. We had guests ask a few times to buy our robes. I didn't want to have to deal with the inventory and additional personal property tax associated with a gift shop from year to year. Just more paperwork here.
If you can sell regional items that are small, I would think that would be popular. Like many folks, I have way too many logo mugs, water bottles (plastic and stainless steel), and other stuff like that making clutter in our cupboards. I always like local and B&B cookbooks.
 

JBloggs

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PS My advertising of an inn equates to YOU sending or giving me one of your mugs. I put it out near guest fridge for guests to use for cider/cocoa etc. You can deliver it in person when you stay with us. (Best method)
 

Joey Camb

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Hi we tried selling postcards and didn't sell any (we have a picture of the B&B on the front) we now give them out as part of our marketing as whoever they send them to gets some of our marketing free. I have had some mugs made up as I am toying with the idea of selling them and with the company I use I can order as few a 1 one at a time. I think and this is only my opinion that you might find it harder to shift things like a sweatshirt at the moment as they can be expensive you would probably be better with small cheaper items. One lady who lives near me sells her eggs as she has chickens and this does very well. It depends on the area you are in.
 

Pollyanna

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We have sale shelves lined up all around the walls of our dining room. It's like a little country store. We sell my own books (I'm an author) cookbooks, tea gift sets, local honey, jams, candies, and our own shortbread and fudge, which are always available for sampling in the snack area. Since we often have afternoon teas here for various groups like the Red Hat ladies, wedding showers and the like, we also sell vintage teapots and teacups which I simply collect from local yard and estate sales and also from culling our own vast collection. I price each according to the going rate on ebay.
We live right next door to a small farm and there are often colts, calves, lambs or baby goats for viewing or feeding carrots right over our fence. So we also carry stuffed farm animals of the same sort which I get in bulk. We also carry stuffed doggies and kitties that look like ours. We allow children here so I place the toys within reach and the moms can't resist their little ones. For the kids, it's a little souvenier of the happiest part of being here. We supply a lot of toys here for our guests, but the (real) dogs and cat are always the favorite play thing! They often buy one or two stuffed animals and name them after our dogs or cat.
One unusual thing we do is that each guest room has a shelf with a selection of books, mostly novels. We custom make bookmarks that we tuck into each book stating that the book is available for them to take home and finish reading for just $10.00. All of them are $10.00 which is quite a mark-up since each was about 50 cents at a yard sale. The books we offer are in like-new condition, of course.
Between these enterprises and our add-on romance or welcome baskets, we make enough additional income to make the effort worthwhile.
P.S. I just joined and made my initial foray into posting in the vacuum thread!
 

Innkeeper To Go

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We have sale shelves lined up all around the walls of our dining room. It's like a little country store. We sell my own books (I'm an author) cookbooks, tea gift sets, local honey, jams, candies, and our own shortbread and fudge, which are always available for sampling in the snack area. Since we often have afternoon teas here for various groups like the Red Hat ladies, wedding showers and the like, we also sell vintage teapots and teacups which I simply collect from local yard and estate sales and also from culling our own vast collection. I price each according to the going rate on ebay.
We live right next door to a small farm and there are often colts, calves, lambs or baby goats for viewing or feeding carrots right over our fence. So we also carry stuffed farm animals of the same sort which I get in bulk. We also carry stuffed doggies and kitties that look like ours. We allow children here so I place the toys within reach and the moms can't resist their little ones. For the kids, it's a little souvenier of the happiest part of being here. We supply a lot of toys here for our guests, but the (real) dogs and cat are always the favorite play thing! They often buy one or two stuffed animals and name them after our dogs or cat.
One unusual thing we do is that each guest room has a shelf with a selection of books, mostly novels. We custom make bookmarks that we tuck into each book stating that the book is available for them to take home and finish reading for just $10.00. All of them are $10.00 which is quite a mark-up since each was about 50 cents at a yard sale. The books we offer are in like-new condition, of course.
Between these enterprises and our add-on romance or welcome baskets, we make enough additional income to make the effort worthwhile.
P.S. I just joined and made my initial foray into posting in the vacuum thread!.
Welcome Pollyanna and thanks for sharing such a great range of very smart ideas for add-on revenue!
 

SecondAct

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We have sale shelves lined up all around the walls of our dining room. It's like a little country store. We sell my own books (I'm an author) cookbooks, tea gift sets, local honey, jams, candies, and our own shortbread and fudge, which are always available for sampling in the snack area. Since we often have afternoon teas here for various groups like the Red Hat ladies, wedding showers and the like, we also sell vintage teapots and teacups which I simply collect from local yard and estate sales and also from culling our own vast collection. I price each according to the going rate on ebay.
We live right next door to a small farm and there are often colts, calves, lambs or baby goats for viewing or feeding carrots right over our fence. So we also carry stuffed farm animals of the same sort which I get in bulk. We also carry stuffed doggies and kitties that look like ours. We allow children here so I place the toys within reach and the moms can't resist their little ones. For the kids, it's a little souvenier of the happiest part of being here. We supply a lot of toys here for our guests, but the (real) dogs and cat are always the favorite play thing! They often buy one or two stuffed animals and name them after our dogs or cat.
One unusual thing we do is that each guest room has a shelf with a selection of books, mostly novels. We custom make bookmarks that we tuck into each book stating that the book is available for them to take home and finish reading for just $10.00. All of them are $10.00 which is quite a mark-up since each was about 50 cents at a yard sale. The books we offer are in like-new condition, of course.
Between these enterprises and our add-on romance or welcome baskets, we make enough additional income to make the effort worthwhile.
P.S. I just joined and made my initial foray into posting in the vacuum thread!.
Pollyanna, (love your screen name, BTW ... if there was ever a description of me in one word, it's Pollyanna :)) Anyway, I'm just curious ... do any people remark that they feel your prices are too high? Specifically, with the novels. If someone can go to a yard sale, library book sale, or second-hand book store and get these same books for a lot less, do people ever comment that they think the prices are high? I think what you're doing is great and is something that innkeepers need to do to find ways to boost their income; I'm just wondering if your clientelle feel it's value for their money?
 

gillumhouse

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We have sale shelves lined up all around the walls of our dining room. It's like a little country store. We sell my own books (I'm an author) cookbooks, tea gift sets, local honey, jams, candies, and our own shortbread and fudge, which are always available for sampling in the snack area. Since we often have afternoon teas here for various groups like the Red Hat ladies, wedding showers and the like, we also sell vintage teapots and teacups which I simply collect from local yard and estate sales and also from culling our own vast collection. I price each according to the going rate on ebay.
We live right next door to a small farm and there are often colts, calves, lambs or baby goats for viewing or feeding carrots right over our fence. So we also carry stuffed farm animals of the same sort which I get in bulk. We also carry stuffed doggies and kitties that look like ours. We allow children here so I place the toys within reach and the moms can't resist their little ones. For the kids, it's a little souvenier of the happiest part of being here. We supply a lot of toys here for our guests, but the (real) dogs and cat are always the favorite play thing! They often buy one or two stuffed animals and name them after our dogs or cat.
One unusual thing we do is that each guest room has a shelf with a selection of books, mostly novels. We custom make bookmarks that we tuck into each book stating that the book is available for them to take home and finish reading for just $10.00. All of them are $10.00 which is quite a mark-up since each was about 50 cents at a yard sale. The books we offer are in like-new condition, of course.
Between these enterprises and our add-on romance or welcome baskets, we make enough additional income to make the effort worthwhile.
P.S. I just joined and made my initial foray into posting in the vacuum thread!.
Welcome. Since I am a reader and know what it is to want to read and not have a book with me, I have a bookcase in the upstairs hall and a bookrack in the reading nook of one of the rooms that I stock with books from the Library sales and forays to Half-Price Books clearance rack. these books are there to be "stolen" and they are not to come back. I buy books I want to read and then put them upstairs after I read them.
 

Pollyanna

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We have sale shelves lined up all around the walls of our dining room. It's like a little country store. We sell my own books (I'm an author) cookbooks, tea gift sets, local honey, jams, candies, and our own shortbread and fudge, which are always available for sampling in the snack area. Since we often have afternoon teas here for various groups like the Red Hat ladies, wedding showers and the like, we also sell vintage teapots and teacups which I simply collect from local yard and estate sales and also from culling our own vast collection. I price each according to the going rate on ebay.
We live right next door to a small farm and there are often colts, calves, lambs or baby goats for viewing or feeding carrots right over our fence. So we also carry stuffed farm animals of the same sort which I get in bulk. We also carry stuffed doggies and kitties that look like ours. We allow children here so I place the toys within reach and the moms can't resist their little ones. For the kids, it's a little souvenier of the happiest part of being here. We supply a lot of toys here for our guests, but the (real) dogs and cat are always the favorite play thing! They often buy one or two stuffed animals and name them after our dogs or cat.
One unusual thing we do is that each guest room has a shelf with a selection of books, mostly novels. We custom make bookmarks that we tuck into each book stating that the book is available for them to take home and finish reading for just $10.00. All of them are $10.00 which is quite a mark-up since each was about 50 cents at a yard sale. The books we offer are in like-new condition, of course.
Between these enterprises and our add-on romance or welcome baskets, we make enough additional income to make the effort worthwhile.
P.S. I just joined and made my initial foray into posting in the vacuum thread!.
Pollyanna, (love your screen name, BTW ... if there was ever a description of me in one word, it's Pollyanna :)) Anyway, I'm just curious ... do any people remark that they feel your prices are too high? Specifically, with the novels. If someone can go to a yard sale, library book sale, or second-hand book store and get these same books for a lot less, do people ever comment that they think the prices are high? I think what you're doing is great and is something that innkeepers need to do to find ways to boost their income; I'm just wondering if your clientelle feel it's value for their money?
.
Good question, SecondAct, but we've never had that happen. I guess with new books costing so much, they may even feel it's a bargain since they all are in new condition. We also have a guest library and sometimes people offer to buy those books too! A lady from France liked her in-room Jan Karon book so much recently that she asked if I had more and we scoured our guest library in the living room for several more. She left with 5 and paid 10$ each happily. I know for us scavengers it seems strange, but some people never go to yard sales or book sales, so the price tag might seem like a bargain to them. It's all relative. In our little country store, we keep the prices on the lower side and our room rates are reasonable, especially for the elegance of the place and quality of the breakfasts, so I think just overall people leave feeling very satisfied. We are fortunate to have the highest ratings of any B & B, hotel, motel or any type of accommodation in our area on TripAdvisor, so we know people are leaving feeling good about their entire experience. BTW, we see more guests coming with their Kindle or other reading device, so who knows how long people will value hard copy books? That's a change I'm not looking forward to!
 

Joey Camb

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With the books what we do as a marketing Idea is put in the sticker on the inside of the cover with our details on so where ever the book goes it is a free advert for us. We just buy cheep volumes in good condition from the local charity shops (my dad then reads them) and then they do out on the shelf for guests to take. (My dad would buy them anyway so its doesn't cost us anyway).
 

Pollyanna

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With the books what we do as a marketing Idea is put in the sticker on the inside of the cover with our details on so where ever the book goes it is a free advert for us. We just buy cheep volumes in good condition from the local charity shops (my dad then reads them) and then they do out on the shelf for guests to take. (My dad would buy them anyway so its doesn't cost us anyway)..
Super idea, Camberley! The more folks see your name, the more confidence they have in you, so the more the merrier!
 

Joey Camb

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Found the idea in a book I was reading so can't take credit for it but its all about putting your name in people's minds isn't it?
 

JBloggs

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Found the idea in a book I was reading so can't take credit for it but its all about putting your name in people's minds isn't it?.
Camberley said:
Found the idea in a book I was reading so can't take credit for it but its all about putting your name in people's minds isn't it?
Sorry, not in my opinion, not for me, we are not Coca Cola.
We do not market to locals.
A sticker in a book is not my idea of marketing. A sticker in a book is a "Susie owns this book." Plenty of people put their stickers in books for ownership purposes.
I think our marketing needs to be a bit bigger and more honed in than that.
Or as the saying goes "Howz that working' for ya?" I think marketing needs to be more than someone seeing your name.
 

white pine

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Found the idea in a book I was reading so can't take credit for it but its all about putting your name in people's minds isn't it?.
Camberley said:
Found the idea in a book I was reading so can't take credit for it but its all about putting your name in people's minds isn't it?
Sorry, not in my opinion, not for me, we are not Coca Cola.
We do not market to locals.
A sticker in a book is not my idea of marketing. A sticker in a book is a "Susie owns this book." Plenty of people put their stickers in books for ownership purposes.
I think our marketing needs to be a bit bigger and more honed in than that.
Or as the saying goes "Howz that working' for ya?" I think marketing needs to be more than someone seeing your name.
.
We actually stayed at a place where there was a "book exchange". If you finished a book there, you could leave it and take another with you when you left. All of the books were stamped inside with a "From the Book Exchange at --followed by their name, address & phone".
As avid readers, we are always picking up books everywhere, and if I saw that stamp and address at a place I knew or travelled to, I would look them up. If I was unfamiliar with the town, I might google them to find out.
This would cost next to nothing, and is something I plan on doing too. As for marketing to locals, we visited an inn for lunch back in Feb. a couple hours from here, in the middle of NOWHERE. Their 3rd year. They have a small restaurant and an old historic inn, and thought they would be dead. Dead area, Dead season, Dead economy.
He had nine rooms booked who had just finished up breakfast, and was expecting a bunch of snowmobilers in that evening. Where were they coming from I asked? Oh, I get mostly bored locals who want a change! He is working it! He has a local snowmobile "Poker Run", an Inn Hockey Team, Ice Fishing tournament, and said the "WII Bowling Tournament" took off really well for Thursday nights-- everyone from the Realtors to the Loggers--some stay over! Food was very good too. We left in awe.
 
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