Celebrating Five Years of Art Hearts: One Retailer’s Story

Art Hearts, DEMDACO’s top-selling collection of heart-shaped sculptures, is celebrating five years of artful creation. Each heart features a colorful illustration from a popular artist in the gift industry, expressing sentiments of love, friendship, celebration, and thoughtfulness in the artist’s one-of-a-kind style. Customers choose the Art Heart that speaks to them and conveys their personal message. And because each Art Heart is unique, they are the perfect gift to give again and again.

While the collection launched with 36 designs by 19 different artists, there are now 88 Art Hearts available, which includes 20 specific holiday designs. The curated collection has also expanded to offer the smaller, pocket-sized Art Heart Tokens, and the larger Art Heart Keepers—keepsake boxes for holding small treasures.

To illustrate how consumers respond to Art Hearts, we spoke to Sharron Quinn, former owner and current buyer for CardSmart, a gift shop in Houston, Texas. She’s had great success selling Art Hearts and had this to say about the line:

How long have you been selling Art Hearts?

Sharron Quinn, CardSmart, Houston, Texas

We have been selling DEMDACO Art Hearts since they were first introduced 5 years ago.

What is your experience with marketing and selling Art Hearts?

As the buyer for our store I have the opportunity to see many different types of gifts available at market.  However, from the introduction of Art Hearts, I knew that this was a “special and unique” collection of heart sculptures that offered a broad spectrum of ways to express the sentiments of every customer looking for that unique gift with the inexplicable message which is sometimes difficult to express. Much like a greeting card, the Art Heart conveys the message often too difficult to put into words for the gift giver. The Art Heart does it for them with a gift to last a lifetime. 

There is an Art Heart which expresses love, friendship, hope, celebration, caring, family, love of one’s pets, the seasons and the holidays, and now a special message for each month of the year. And the best part is there are so many different artists with their own special look to give each heart its own unique style. We love them all.

“They all sell! There is a message in these heart sculptures for most everyone’s needs.”

Because our store is located close to the Houston Medical Center, we have customers from all over the world; many of whom do not speak our language.  Just the shape of the Art Heart itself draws them to our display to inquire. In my experience this makes the Art Heart a positive experience in selling. Seeing the emotions and joy of our customers who can say, “This is the perfect gift.  It’s just what I am looking for.” Additionally, the price point is perfect as is the packaging.  I don’t want to say it is an “easy sell” I’d like to convey that it’s a “rewarding sell.”  Our sales associates are thrilled to meet the needs of our customers and to see their joy at finding the perfect gift.

I am also responsible for all the Social Media for CardSmart. Whether it is on Instagram, Facebook, or an email, marketing the Art Heart offers a multitude of creative options. Just an image with a phrase can make such a dramatic impact.

What do you think is unique about the Art Hearts Collection?

That there are so many messages easily conveyed. Each of the individual artists’ styles add another dimension to the message, and they offer a gift option for any gift-giving need, for any age (gift giver or recipient) and any gender. Perfect for the gentleman looking for a gift for his mom, his wife, his daughter, or a friend in need of some inspiration. And always perfect for women! Whether hung with the tassel, or standing with the key, Art Hearts make the perfect home accessory, too.

Is there a trick to successfully displaying Art Hearts?

There is no real trick to displaying the Art Heart. We do place individual Art Hearts in some of our displays for an extra pop to the story, but we have found that just placing them around the store individually will cause you to lose the impact of the complete collection you carry. We have found the best success if we simply place them in the displayer provided. This makes the biggest impact when seeing them all together. Obviously, the bigger collection you have, the bigger the impact! And the more you will sell. We have customers who will purchase 4-6 at a time. We currently have four full displays and are adding a fifth. One of our displays has the holiday Art Hearts, and they are already selling. Note that we also display the DEMDACO Artful Crosses with our Art Hearts for the individual who is a Christian looking for that special message on a cross.

Is there a top seller, or a theme that tends to sell better than others?

You may be surprised to hear that we don’t have a “single” top seller.” If you’d asked me before my research in 5-year sales I would have said, “Hope.” I think that it should have been number one. However, I recall times that there have been customers who asked for it, but we were out of stock. Of course, we promptly reordered it.

They all sell! There is a message in these heart sculptures for most everyone’s needs. However, after reviewing our sales for the past five years we have found that we have six “top sellers” and the others follow close behind. Across the board they all just sell! As they turn so quickly, we are frequently calling our rep Kara Bailiff to reorder. But for reference, the Art Hearts at the top are “Hope,” “Friends are the Flowers in the Garden of Life,” “Trust in the Lord,” “She Believed She Could so She Did,” “Best Mom Ever,” and “Always My Sister, Forever My friend.” “Paws” was just one under the totals above.

Have you received any interesting or memorable customer feedback about Art Hearts?

The most memorable comment I recall was that of a customer who was shopping for a gift for a 20-year-old friend who had just had a heart transplant at the Medical Center. She purchased “Kind in Heart” and said her friend would love it. “She loves flowers and blue birds and this one has a happy looking little blue bird on it who looks like it would sing at any moment just like my friend. She has a new heart!” Sometime later this same customer came into the store with her young friend. She so loved her Art Heart that she wanted to see the entire collection.  We were so moved at this beautiful young woman who had just been given a new heart, who was overjoyed at her beautiful Art Heart gift.

Another moment for me personally was when a gentleman was looking for a gift for his wife’s birthday and in just a few minutes said, “That’s it! ‘You are my Sunshine.’” “Perfect. She loves sunflowers and she is surely the sunshine in my life.” That same gentleman returned to our store a few days later to thank us for carrying the Art Hearts. He said his wife just loved it and he’d be back for more for upcoming gift giving. And he did. He said his wife was hard to buy for. “She has everything,” he said. But she didn’t have an Art Heart.

What is your personal favorite Art Heart?

My personal favorite is definitely “Hope.” Why? The word says it all. It’s what everyone needs in life. The artist’s rendering in the soft pink color with the beautiful butterfly is so promising. A perfect gift for cancer patients, especially breast cancer patients. It speaks to the heart no matter the turmoil, trials, tribulations or the pain. Hope evokes a promise of things to get better. We all need hope.

Hope Art Heart