Wednesday, February 2, 2011

" The Next Big Thing Contest" at Dallas Market Center Accepting Entries

If you have never been to a gift show at a major market center, then you cannot imagine the scope of this.  Over 50,000 buyers from all over the world attend the Dallas Market, looking for the next big thing, the next unique and wonderful product that will take the retail world by storm. This is the big time. 

Dallas Market Center has announced it is accepting entries for its national product search contest -- The Next Big Thing. Three finalists will show their products in front of more than 50,000 attendees during the FINDS Dallas Temp Show to be held June 23-26, 2011 during the Total Home & Gift Market (June 22-28, 2011). The contest is for anyone who has the next new product -- an artist, product designer, entrepreneur, stay-at- home mom, your next door neighbor, or any other creative mind. It offers the opportunity for those with great ideas to make their dreams a reality.

"The Next Big Thing opens the door for innovators to have their new products shown to retail buyers from throughout the country," said Bill Winsor, president and CEO, Dallas Market Center. "Each year our finalists are offered opportunities because of the search and we look forward to seeing even more go on to great success this year."

The contest allows up-and-comers, whether companies or individuals, to show their product in front of domestic and international retail buyers at Dallas Market Center.

The Next Big Thing should be a new and unique product -- the latest gadget, perfect gift, or must-have home good. This is an opportunity to get your product out in the market. The finished product should be distinctive with an outstanding design and concept. 

The finalists will receive airfare and hotel for the FINDS Dallas Temp Show (June 23-26, 2011) to show their product in a complimentary custom exhibit space. Judges from consumer and trade media as well as industry experts will help select the winner based on the finalists' products. In addition, the public will have a chance to vote to show their support for their favorite product/finalist on the Dallas Market Center Facebook fan page --

The winner will be selected based on a combination of judges' feedback and popular vote.

The Next Big Thing winner will be announced on Saturday, June 25, 2011 and receive a prize package worth more than $10,000 including a $2,500 cash prize, exhibit space at the Dallas Total Home & Gift Market in January 2012, a profile in one of Dallas Market Center's award-winning custom publications, and consultations from leading industry experts regarding branding, public relations, visual merchandising and much more.

For more information, visit 

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Are you accepting credit cards on your mobile?

One of our Craftstravaganzaa friends turned me on to this new (to me, anyway) service called Square.   It is an app for your iphone, ipod or droid platform phone that allows  you to swipe credit cards for payment anytime - anywhere. 

I've gathered some information from their website and so far, the service looks very cool. No merchant account needed, no contract, no monthly fees - just pay a transaction fee with each transaction.  You don't use it, you do not owe anything.  That's the way I like it! Plus the card reader is FREE! 

Check their website for more info and let  me know what you think of it. 

Is my device supported with Square?
Updated Jan 28, 2011 02:09PM PST
Square is available for a variety of devices on the Apple iOS and Google Android platforms. As new devices are released, we perform stringent and meticulous tests to make sure that each device will be fully compatible with Square and will process payments easily, securely, and accurately.

For a full up-to-date list, check out our 
getting started page.
Find the Square app on the iTunes App Store or Android Market on the following devices:
Apple iOS
Google Android
  • Motorola Droid, Droid X
  • HTC Nexus One, Droid Incredible, Evo, Desire, Hero (With Android 2.X)
  • Samsung Galaxy S series (including the Captivate, Vibrant, Epic 4G and the Fascinate), Intercept
  • LG Ally
  • Dell Streak

Keep in mind that while Square may work on an iOS or Android phone or tablet that is not mentioned above, please remember that we cannot provide support for any devices not listed here. We're always looking to expand this list in the future though!

How do I get a card reader?

During the application process, we'll ask you for a mailing address. When we have your free Square card reader ready for you, we'll automatically email you as soon as it has shipped. As soon as it does, all you need to do is plug it into your headphone port, open the Square app, and swipe a card. That's it!

What are the Transaction Fees?
In order for Square to transfer your funds to you, you'll need to enter your bank account information on your Square account settings page. Square will automatically send you your money after a 24 hour period. It can take 2-4 business days, depending on your bank, for the electronic transfer to clear.

Square's card processing fees are simply:

2.75% + 15¢ for swiped transactions
3.5% + 15¢ for keyed-in transactions

That's it! There are no activation, gateway, monthly, early termination, hidden fees or any additional costs to use Square. Every credit or debit card we accept (Visa, Mastercard, Amex and Discover) have the same flat rate. These fees are static and do not change depending on how much the transaction was for. As our fees are taken out of each transaction as they occur, there is no fee schedule. Square also does not require a contract upon signup and since we only charge per transaction, it doesn't cost you anything if you don't use it!