Sunday, August 29, 2010

SNB on MSNBC Aug 29-Sept 4th

News Flash: 222+ "thumbs up" as of 9/4 on the MSNBC website for this segment! What a week this has been. I am still adding to previous posts, so scroll down for all info on this topic.

We never saw this one coming... but did you ever see that SNB (Stuart Ng Books) can be found in MSNBC?? Well, now it's official.
Stuart was profiled as part of the MSNBC sunday morning "Your Business" series. The segment aired this morning (8/29/10) and will be featured ALL WEEK on the MSNBC/Your Business website. Producer Frank Silverstein and his crew filmed Stuart at Comic Con... and the crew later visited Stuart at our Showroom. And how did MSNBC find SNB??? Via this very blog (hoist by my own petard folks). It's our 15 seconds of fame friends, in a loop on the internet....Here's a link to view the clip:
Since you know we already have posts for "Your Science Lesson" here on the blog, the post following this will be "Your Business Lesson". Unless, like us, you were up at 4:30 AM Pacific Time when the show aired live, you missed the Q & A with small biz gurus Mike Michalowicz and Michael Port, which followed the segment.
My summary of the Q&A follows in the next post. Meanwhile....
The bonus round question for those who watch the clip on line...can you spot the following artists in the clip: Adam Hughes, Paul Wee, Sean "Cheeks" Galloway, Richard Peter Han, and Frank Cho.
More behind the scenes info on our MSNBC experience soon!

SNB on MSNBC, Your Business Lesson for Today

Here's a pic of footage not used in the segment (Stuart at his desk at the SNB showroom):

For those of us who watched the MSNBC "Your Business" telecast live (that was 7:30 am east coast, and 4:30 AM Pacific coast)... we got to see a follow-up Q&A feature titled "Open Dialogue" after the clip.

Since I haven't been able to find the Q&A on the "Your Business" website, I will summarize it here..

The Q&A featured show host JJ Ramburg (JJ), with guest panelists Mike Michalowicz (MM), founder of Obsidian Launch and author of "The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur", along with Michael Port (MP), creator of Book Yourself Solid and author of "The Think Big Manifesto".

The following is my paraphrased re-construction of the conversation, based on my notes from the telecast...

JJ: The segment brings up a question we deal with a lot on this show... How can a small retail business compete with big chains?

MM: One strategy is the look for the "Not Market". Find the customer base that is not being served by the current market.

JJ: But isn't it risky to be a small company not doing what the big companies are doing? Amazon
is a big fish to be in the same pond with.

MP: Yes, there are risks, but let's look at what "Target Market" and "Niche Market" really mean. These are two distinct terms. Target Market is the demographics of the market. Niche is the area of speciality that you bring to the target market. In this case (Stuart Ng Books), he has identified both really well. He's ID'd his target market of collectors and high end artists. He's bringing them what they can't find at current mainstream sources.

JJ: It seems that in this case, he's "The Guy" in this market. Can there be more than one "guy" even in a small market?

MM: You can sell the same stuff in any market, but you have to set yourself apart as the seller. You can do that with "tonality." How do you present your message and your merchandise in a unique way? He talks about weeding out the "chaff" and offering the good stuff. You need a tone that resonates with your customers.

MP: When it comes to having a successful niche business, you can't have the mentality that you sell to "anyone with a pulse and checkbook." The truth is, there are certain people you are meant to serve if you are going to be successful in a niche. What do you bring to the niche? What do you stand for? How do you develop that personal brand identity? Those are the elements that will give you access to a small area, even if there are other players.


Amy here again... so there you have it folks. Talking heads expert analysis of Stuart Ng Books as an example of a "Super Niche".... when SNB is really just what it's always been.... one guy who for over 30 years has collected, studied, and shared his passion for a certain type of art.

One (of many) questions Stuart was asked during the taping was:

Could someone else do what you're doing?

In my humble assessment, the answer is this: Stuart Ng Books offers value to our patrons because of the unique benefits and services we provide. SNB works because there is only one Stuart Ng. His niche is his abilities and experience. He selects the books and art that inspire other artists. He is able to talk with the artists about the art, and help them find solutions to problems they are working on.

As many of you know, we started out as book collectors who patronized dealers such as Anne Hutchison, Margaret Mannatt, Scott Emerson, Cliff and Barb Erickson, Don Cannon, Bud Plant, Jim Vadeboncoeur and Robin Greer. These were the days before the internet, when we all enjoyed browsing used bookstores and attending large book fairs held several times a year. When Stuart decided to pursue bookselling full time, these were the people who encouraged him. As friends and colleagues we all work together to continue the cherished traditions of hands-on, old school bookseller in the internet age. Maybe its because we're all book lovers and art geeks, but its a pleasure to be part of this business community. We each have our own specialities, so we are each others best resources. Everyone in business should be so lucky. All of our patrons benefit and so do each of us.

Of course, none of us would be here without people like you, dear reader, who value books and booksellers. Thanks for your interest and support.

Bill Stout signing & "Salon" with surprise guest

We were delighted, as always, to welcome our friend William Stout for a signing at our showroom on Saturday August 28th..

In addition to meeting fans and signing books for all the mail order patrons who can't attend the event but are eager for a signed copy..... our artist guests also enjoy meeting the fellow artists who stop by. This event's "salon impromptu" brought together Bill Stout with Dice Tsutsumi (Blue Sky artist who contributed to the "Out of Picture" books, now working at Pixar) for a wide ranging discussion. (Stuart is the elbow in the background). Our art-filled showroom is the perfect Salon setting (not hair salon.... Salon in the sense of an artist hang-out without the absinthe --- I just realized there is "sin" in the middle of that word, but I digress...). These personal connections are what make the signings such special events for all of us. Our next signing is Sept 18th. Details on the website.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Get Inspired --Menagerie: The Art of Animals Exhibit UPDATED NOV 2011

UPDATE NOV 2011 This is post 1 of 3 posts on Art of Animals Exhibit from 2010.
Here is link to PHOTO images from exhibit online via Glendale News Press photo story:

Dear readers! Here's an art show you MUST see!!! Thanks to our friend, Bill Stout (who co-curated this exhibit), Stuart and I were guests at the opening reception last night for this amazing display of animal art. Of course, I forgot my camera... so I can only show you pics from the program... not pics of Stuart chatting with Bill, Drew Struzan, Andreas Deja and our other friends like Jim Mitchell, Bob Harper, and Russ Vossler who were also there. I even had a nice chat with Jenny, who remembered me from our booth at comic con (small world :)...

This exhibit is open now through Jan 2, 2011. Admission and parking are FREE!!!

Here are some images from the program...

Bill Stout's intro ...

Lion image below is "Leo's in Love" by Pete Graziano...

Here's a detail from the Andreas Deja's "Lioness Hunting Zebra"...

There are amazing works by Marc Davis, Iain McCaig, Leon Joosen.... and originals (YES ORIGINALS) by Charles Knight, Charles Livingston Bull, Antoine Louis Barye and Paul Jouve. I plan to return to the exhibit and take more pictures. The chance to see these works close up is not to be missed. There are lots of sculptures as well as paintings, drawings, and works in paper.
What I don't have pictures of YET... but will get on my return trip are images like Andreas Deja's stunning wire-sculpture of a frog that looks like a Heinrich Kley drawing come to life.... and Iain McCaigs delicate pencil piece of an octopus.... and Doris Hardoon's Rainbow Trout!!

Best of all is the setting... a little gem of a museum at the summit of Forest Lawn (yes, the cemetery park) in Glendale.
Here's a link:
The Park is open 8AM - 5PM 7 days a week, but the museum is CLOSED on MONDAYS!
To get to the museum, just keep driving up and up and up the hill. There are directional signs, but they stop appearing right around the time you're sure you're getting lost. On our way to the exhibit, we passed by lots of lost-looking cars. It's worth the trek. Not only for the exhibit, which is the main reason to go, but also for the other rooms of works, and the stunning view from the terrace outside the museum space. There are restrooms and a bookstore at the museum.
I can't recommend this exhibit highly enough. The space is small enough that you can really see and appreciate everything there. Don't miss this!!!
For other posts like this... search the blog for "Get Inspired"

Get Inspired: 3-D artwork from Art of Animals, new post 9/7

This is post 2 of 3 on Art of Animals. Here are 2-D big cats by Drew Struzan....

These are some of my favorites from the Art of Animals show. You have see this 3-D wire frog by Andreas Deja in person. It's the most mind-blowing experience... every way you look at it in the glass case, it comes to life all over again...

Just as lovely is this 3-D paper sculpture "Rainbow Fish" by Doris Hardoon:

All this and more.... all FREE to see.

Get Inspired -- Art of Animals, more views of museum

This is 3rd of 3 posts on Art of Animals exhibit. Here are more views of the Museum... this is the place you're looking for at the summit of Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Glendale...

When you exit the museum.. there is this stunning view.....

Here's the poster for the exhibit at the Museum entrance...

Lots and lots of free parking in the lot... there's even shade at the far end...

all this... and it's free... and there's amazing animal art. Why wait????

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Horse Show coming: Sept 10, 11, 12th 2010

Grab your sketchbooks gang... it's almost time for the Horse Show. Here's the link with the schedule of events:

This year is the 53rd Annual Portuguese Bend National Horse Show at Ernie Howlett Park in Palos Verdes, CA. The show is a fund raiser for Childrens Hospital LA...See horses up close in a shady park w/ ocean breezes. Enjoy food (including a sports bar) and games for all ages. Parking is free... slight admission charge, but all the money you spend goes to charity. Lots of pics on my previous Horse Show posts. Don't miss it!!!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Link to Commentary on Comic Con by Liz Ohanesian

I'm still working on a post with my post-comic con commentary... but in the meantime, here's one of the best summaries I've read regarding what's going on with Comic Con.

It's a terrific article by Liz Ohanesian from the LA Weekly, 7-29-10.

Check it out!