7 of the best productivity secrets I learned from the woman who wrote the book on not wasting time


The best thing about Laura Vanderkam’s productivity advice is that it doesn’t involve any major life overhauls.

In fact, it’s mostly about changing the way you think about time, and about realizing that you do have the capacity to fit in all your personal and professional priorities.

Vanderkam, who is the author of multiple books including, most recently, “I Know How She Does It,” stopped by the Business Insider office in October to talk all things time-management.

Below, I’ve highlighted seven tips on making the most of the hours available to you that really resonated with me.

1. Be realistic about how much you’re working

Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images

Vanderkam suggests using the “X – 25” rule to figure out how much your supposedly super-busy friends are really working. If they say they log more than 75 hours a week, subtract at least 25 hours from that number. You can do the same when estimating your own work hours.

It’s not that you or your friends are deliberately trying to seem busier than you really are. Vanderkam said it’s more that, when you estimate your work hours, you’ve got in mind an image of a perfect day, when you really did log 12 or so hours straight. Most days, however, aren’t like this. You show up late; you go out for lunch with friends; you leave early to make a kid’s school play.

The important takeaway here, Vanderkam said, is that a “44-hour workweek, or even a 54-hour workweek, can make for a reasonable life.” You likely have more time for yourself and your family than you might think.

2. Start your day with a ‘power hour’ for maximum productivity

Vanderkam suggested scheduling a “power hour” first thing every morning, when you work on a top-priority task — and nothing else. It’s a time for what Vanderkam calls “real work,” or those bigger projects and tasks that help you achieve your goals and your organization’s.

If you instead start weeding through your inbox, you could find yourself still there four hours later.

A “pro-level” version of this strategy, Vanderkam said, is dedicating all of Monday morning to a bigger task that’s more speculative and requires some deep thought.

Flickr / Leo Hidalgo

3. Stop trying to empty your inbox

And about that inbox — stop trying to empty it. For one thing, Vanderkam said, if you treat your inbox like a to-do list, you’re essentially letting other people’s demands control your day. It’s also important to realize that most of what’s in your inbox isn’t urgent or even that important.

“There is no correlation between having an empty inbox and being successful,” Vanderkam said. In fact, part of being successful may be learning to prioritize the people and responsibilities in your life. The time you spend trying to hit inbox zero might be better spent doing the “real work” mentioned above.

4. Consider working on weekends to reduce stress

There’s no reason why weekends should have to be sacred. In fact, Vanderkam said weekends can be a great time to think deeply and work on more speculative tasks, because your coworkers probably won’t be online and distracting you.

What’s more, when you spend a few hours Saturday morning and Sunday evening working, you might be able to leave a little earlier during the week — which may be especially important if you’ve got young kids to take care of.

reading a book on the couch
Set a priority for every weekday evening, such as reading part of a book.Eden, Janine and Jim/Flickr

freetime5. Schedule your free time to be happier

Vanderkam noticed that while we typically spend time outlining professional goals and planning our workweeks, we don’t approach our leisure time with the same mindfulness. That can result in feeling like you’ve wasted your precious free time — or in feeling like you don’t have any free time at all.

She suggested thinking, “What do I want to accomplish that’s meaningful for me and the people I care about?” and setting one priority for every weekday evening, such as reading a chapter of a novel or calling a friend.

6. Take time on Friday afternoons to plan the week ahead

Most of us are already checked out by the time Friday afternoon rolls around. So instead of forcing yourself to work on a big project during this time, Vanderkam recommends planning for the week ahead. Specifically, you’ll want to make a three-category priority list, with slots for work, relationships, and self.

Put two to three items in each category, then look over your calendar for the following week, and see where you can fit them in.

7. Think of your life in 168-hour chunks

In “I Know How She Does It,” Vanderkam warns against falling into the “24-Hour Trap.” In other words, don’t think that the only way to achieve balance is to fit all your personal and professional priorities into a single day.

Instead, Vanderkam suggests embracing the “168-hour option,” meaning you see every hour of the week as usable time — including the weekends (see No. 4).

Vanderkam told me that some of the most successful women she spoke to thought of their lives in these 168-hour chunks. For example, one woman traveled half the week, so she figured she might as well use that time to work crazy hours. When she was home, however, she spent less time on work and more time on her relationship- and self-oriented priorities.


Thanks to Business Insider for this great article.

Christmas Grotto NOW OPEN in Fitzpatrick Wholesale


Rabbits Rabbits Rabbits, White Rabbits Rabbits Rabbits.

As the final sweet wrappers and being thrown away and the smell of pumpkin subsides, its onwards and upwards to the next Seasonal Celebration.


Christmas or Christmas Day is an annual festival commemorating the birth of Jesus observed most commonly on December 25 as a religious and cultural celebration among billions of people around the world. A feast central to the Christian liturgical year, it is prepared for by the season of Advent or the Nativity Fast and initiates the season of Christmastide, which historically in the West lasts twelve days and culminates on Twelfth Night; in some traditions, Christmastide includes an Octave. Christmas Day is a public holiday in many of the world’s nations, is celebrated culturally by a large number of non-Christian people, and is an integral part of the holiday season, while some Christian groups reject the celebration. In several countries, celebrating Christmas Eve on December 24 has the main focus rather than December 25, with gift-giving and sharing a traditional meal with the family. (Source:

Bah Humbug I hear you say!


Well this year we at Fitzpatrick Wholesale are going to make it really easy for you.  Everything you will need for the Christmas season under one roof! A ONE STOP SHOP for all of your Christmas needs.

Everything from

santa lights wreaths decorations-2 santa-hats cards

and and of course the essentials,

So call in today or visit our online store now: (Strictly Trade Only)

Spring Forward Fall Back

Spring ForwardIt’s that time of the year again, when we all struggle to remember if the clocks go forward or back.  One way to remember is this little saying “Spring Forward, Fall Back”.  So in Spring the clocks go forward and in Fall (or Autumn to you and me) they go back.fall-back


Happy Halloween from all at Fitzpatrick Wholesale.


The Rule of 7


The rule of seven simply states that your potential customers need to see or hear your message at least 7 times before it resonates with them enough that they remember you.  Even though this is an old marketing concept it is still a widely respected train of thought.  But why stop there…7 is the minimum number of interactions you need to have but remember to always communicate with your prospects and customers.  In the age of social media advertising when brands are constantly being put on our scrolling screens, in order to stand out and be remembered you need to get a consistent message out across many different mediums.  To learn more about the Rule of 7 in Marketing, here is an article from Effective Business Ideas.

How to Leverage the Rule of 7 in Your Marketing

Build your List the Rule of 7
Build your List – the Rule of 7

1. Build a List

Whether your business is online or offline, start building a list of prospects and potential customers who give you permission to reach out to them.

Online, this is as simple as building an email newsletter. Offline, it’s as simple as having a database of your prospects’ mobile numbers, email addresses, office addresses, etc.

2. Appear Everywhere Your Prospects Are

Ensure you’re everywhere your prospects are; this includes events they attend, blogs they read, newsletters they follow, etc.

Don’t just restrict yourself to your platform; leverage other peoples’ platform to get your prospects to notice you.

3. Get Your Message Across Using Every Form of Media Possible

Use text, audio, video, images and anything else you can think of and afford to use.

The Rule of 7
The Rule of 7 Marketing

4. Get Your Message Across Using Every Medium Possible

Use your website, your blog, your social media accounts, your newsletter, adverts and any other medium you can.


If your business relies on selling to people, you want to be everywhere they are; when they start to see you & your offer everywhere, it slowly starts to become a part of their subconscious. Desire for it gradually builds up, and they take action sooner or later.


What is Halloween

Vintage Happy Halloween Typographical Background With Pumpkins

maskHalloween ,is also known as All Hallows’ Eve or All Saints’ Eve.  It is a celebration observed in a number of countries on 31 October which is the eve of the Western Christian feast of All Hallows’ Day.
It is widely believed that many traditions originated from Celtic harvest festivals which may have pagan roots, particularly the Gaelic festival Samhain.  This festival was Christianized as Halloween. Some academics however, support the view that Halloween began independently as a solely Christian holiday.

scary-manActivities include trick-or-treating, attending costume parties, decorating, carving pumpkins into jack-o’-lanterns, lighting bonfires, apple bobbing and games, playing pranks, visiting haunted attractions, telling scary stories and watching horror films. In many parts of the world, the Christian religious observances of All Hallows’ Eve, including attending church services and lighting candles on the graves of the dead, remain popular, although elsewhere it is a more commercial and secular celebration. Some Christians historically abstained from meat on All Hallows’ Eve, a tradition reflected in the eating of certain foods on this vigil day, including apples, potato pancakes and soul cakes.

Straddling the line between fall and winter, plenty and paucity, life and death, Halloween is a time of celebration and superstition.


7 Ways the Budget will affect your SME

isme_v57 Ways the Budget will affect your SME

1. Earned Income Tax Credit for Self-employed and USC Changes
In last year’s Budget, the Minister introduced an Earned Income Tax Credit of €550 for small business owners who cannot benefit from the PAYE tax credit of €1,650 available to employees. The Minister announced an increase in this credit to €950 for 2017. The three lower USC rates have been reduced by 0.5%. Accordingly, all income earners will have a lower tax burden to varying degrees. The ceiling at which the 2.5% USC rate applies is increased to €18,772 – this ensures that a full-time worker on the minimum wage will remain outside the top rates of USC.

2. Minimum Wage
The higher cost to employers arising from the increase in the hourly minimum wage from €9.15 to €9.25 will take effect from 1st January 2017.

3. Entrepreneur relief
The standard rate of capital gains tax remains at 33%. However, the Minister announced a reduction to 10% in the capital gains tax rate that applies to disposals by Entrepreneurs of qualifying assets. Entrepreneur relief offers the reduced rate of capital gains tax on the disposal by an individual of business assets up to a lifetime limit of chargeable gains of €1 million. The Minister is to review this lifetime limit in future budgets.

To qualify for the relief, the business assets which include shares in a company must have been owned by the individual for a continuous period of at least three years in the five years immediately prior to the date of disposal.

Source: newstalk4. Share-based remuneration
Following a public consultation and review of share-based remuneration earlier this year, the Minister announced the intention to develop a new, SME, focussed share-based incentive scheme which is to be introduced in next year’s Budget.

5. Retailers and Tourism
The reduced 9% VAT rate for tourism and related activities will continue to apply. The Minister noted that the reduced rate will act as a buffer for the sector against the weakness in sterling which increases the cost of holidaying in Ireland for British tourists.

6. SMEs in the Construction and Property Sector
The Minister introduced a new ‘Help to Buy Scheme’ for first time buyers of new houses that take out a mortgage of at least 80% of the purchase price. This scheme will provide a rebate of income tax paid over the previous four years. The rebate is subject to a maximum of 5% of the purchase price of a new home up to a value of €400,000. New houses with a cost between €400,000 and €600,000 will also qualify for the scheme but the rebate is calculated at the €400,000 limit. No rebate will be paid on new house purchases in excess of €600,000. The rebate does not apply to the purchase of second hand houses.

The Home Renovation Incentive will be extended for a further two years to 31 December 2018. This measure provides income tax relief to home owners who undertake qualifying renovation works which cost a minimum of €4,405 (excluding VAT). The relief is payable over the two years following the year in which the work is carried out and equals 13.5% of the qualifying expenditure.

Landlords are entitled to deduct 75% of interest incurred on qualifying loans when computing the rental income subject to income tax. The Budget provides for an increase in the deduction to 80% of the interest incurred on qualifying loans. The deduction will be increased by 5% each year over the coming years until a 100% deduction for interest is restored.

Mortgage interest relief is to be extended beyond 2017 to 2020. Details of the extension will be set out in Budget 2018.
7. Farming
Income averaging regime allows a farmer’s taxable income to be averaged out over a five year period. A farmer facing an exceptionally poor year may “step out” of income averaging and instead pay income tax on current year income with any deferred tax liability becoming payable over subsequent years.

The flat-rate addition for farmers not registered for VAT is being increased from 5.2% to 5.4% with effect from 1st January 2017. This scheme compensates unregistered farmers for VAT incurred on costs related to their farming activities.
Farm restructuring relief provides capital gains tax relief on the sale, purchase or exchange or agricultural land. The Minister announced an extension of the relevant period for this relief to 31st December 2019.


Content Source:

Picture of Michael Noonan:

Bulbs, Lights and Lumens

Bulbs, Lights & Lumens

Bulbs Fitzpatrick Wholesale


Governments around the world passed measures to phase out incandescent light bulbs for general lighting in favour of more energy-efficient lighting alternatives a number of years ago.  Phase-out regulations effectively ban the manufacture, importation or sale of incandescent light bulbs for general lighting. The regulations would allow sale of future versions of incandescent bulbs if they are sufficiently energy efficient.*

Types of Bulbs

  • Incandescent – Traditional Lightbulb. These were banned in Ireland in 2009.  These bulbs convert less than 4% of the energy used into visible light, all the rest is heat!
  • Halogen – Similar and about 20% more efficient
  • C.F.L / Compact / Fluorescent / Lamp – The first energy efficient technology

LED / Light / Emitting / Diode – The way of the future

  • Watt = The energy the lamp uses
  • Lumen = The light output from the lamp. 1 Lumen


Have a look at our handy guide to Bulbs-Lights-Lumens.pdf

*Source (



Should You Pay More to Use a Credit Card?

credit-cardThe question has been debated across the world. Should the Retailer, charge more to a customer that used a credit card?

The EU says that retailers can’t discriminate based on payment method and will therefore ban surcharges from next year. Australia has also clamped down on sur-charges by setting limits on how much they can be per transaction. The US Supreme Court has decided to take up this question – and has now sparked international debate.

So what do you think? Is charging a customer a surcharge for using a credit card really discrimination? Do you offer a strictly cash only policy?


Retail Sales Volume decreased by 4.7% in August 2016

According to the latest results from the CSO (28.09.16), Retail sales have decreased by 4.7% in August when compared with the previous month, however there was an increase in the volume of retails sales for the year.


Retail Sales Index

August 2016 (Provisional) July 2016 (Final)

Seasonally Adjusted Retail Sales Index – All Businesses
(Base Year 2005 = 100)
    Volume Index Value Index
August 2015 108.7 97.0
July 2016 119.9 103.7
August 2016 114.3 99.8
Monthly % change -4.7 -3.7
Annual % change 5.2 2.
Retail Sales Fig 1 Aug 2016
Retail Sales Aug 2016

The  volume of retail sales (i.e. excluding price effects) decreased by 4.7% in August 2016 when compared with July 2016 and there was an increase of 5.2% in the annual figure. (See Table 1). If Motor Trades are excluded, there was an increase of 0.9% in the volume of retail sales in August 2016 when compared with July 2016 and there was an increase of 4.1% in the annual figure. (See Table 2).

chart-2The sectors with the largest month on month volume decreases were Motor Trades (-11.1%), Bars, (-2.7%) and Department Stores (-1.1%). The sectors with the largest monthly increases were Furniture and Lighting (+8.8%), Other Retail Sales (+5.1%) and Hardware, Paints & Glass (+4.6%). (See Table 3).

There was a decrease of 3.7% in the value of retail sales in August 2016 when compared with July 2016 and there was an annual increase of 2.9% when compared with August 2015. If Motor Trades are excluded, there was no change in the value of retail sales and an annual increase of 1.8%.


Feedback Tips


Giving feedback on an employee’s performance is an essential part of helping them be all that they can be in your capitalist regime. Giving a quick review now and again on what they’re doing right and what they’re doing not-so-right can really help for all parties involved; they get a pat on the back and an incentive to work harder and you get to criticise someone mercilessly. Fun!

However giving feedback can also be tricky. You need to know how to strike a balance between firm and fair; too firm and you won’t have any employees left but too fair and no one will get anything done. Ultimately if you or your employee are leaving the feedback session without knowing exactly what improvements need to be made and how, then you need to work on your technique to better communicate what needs to be done. A poorly handled feedback session will just leave everyone confused and productivity can be left in a worse shape than before. Luckily here’s a handy guide to not do that! Nice.

Courtesy of the Harvard Business Review 2015, reprinted in the Irish Times, here’s a nice and easy top five list of ways to improve your feedback giving skillz. So really everybody gets to improve, far out. Presented by Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic, the CEO of Hogan Assessment Systems, this guide will have you dishing out feedback like a certified pro.

Understanding Brand Colours

brand colours

One of the most important factors in designing a successful logo is colour. It’s the first thing a consumer will notice and they will associate this reaction with your brand forever. You don’t want to mess it up.

Marketo have compiled this really lovely-looking infographic going through the ins and outs of brand colours and what kind of message a certain colour will send with plenty of neat facts and figures along the way. This infographic gives you the basics of everything you need to know about brand colours with plenty of practical examples and statistics from the world’s top brands themselves.

It is vital to get the right message across to your customer as quickly as possible and this guide is a wonderful starting point.


Survey: Irish employees report high stress

stress survey

A new survey states that over 82 per cent of Irish employees are feeling increased personal stress over health and financial concerns, the Irish Times reports.

Red C conducted the survey of 502 Irish employees from around the country on behalf of Mercer. A similar survey conducted in the UK on over 1,000 participants shows that Irish employees are feeling greater stress. In the UK 74 per cent of participants reported increased personal stress, 8 per cent less than the Irish figure.

The study also revealed that over 59 per cent of Irish participants felt concern over maintaining a balance between a health lifestyle and their work schedule. 51 per cent expressed worry over savings for retirement and over 54 per cent displayed reported concern over their family’s wellbeing in the event of their own illness or death.

These high stress levels also seem to be impacting Irish employees’ performance in the work place. 44 per cent felt that stress and anxiety were causing their productivity rates to slip while 64 per cent reported low concentration levels. 59 per cent of those surveyed reported dissatisfaction with their jobs.

“Irish employees are clearly suffering from the burden of increased stress and worry that is damaging their ability to concentrate and deliver the best results for their employer,” stated Niall O’Callaghan, a representative of of Mercer. “Across all life stages and ages, employees’ personal worries about health and financial security are having a dramatic effect on how they operate at work. If employees are worried, distracted, not as healthy as they could be, then they are not as engaged as they could be either.”

As an employer, it is vital to understand the stress employees could be under as a result of their job.

Hasbro Competition with Indiegogo

hasbro competition

Hasbro, Inc., board game manufacture extraordinaires, have joined forces with Indiegogo to launch a new competition looking for the next big hit.

From 28th of August to 30th of September, plucky hopefuls will be able to submit their ideas for the next big board game. Hasbro professionals will then pick their top five finalists who will then go on to duke it out through the medium of Indiegogo campaigns. The ultimate victor will be decided on 3rd of December, winning a not too shabby $10,000 and an all-expense-paid trip to Hasbro HQ to work with the Hasbro team and make their game a reality.

Submissions will be judged based on gameplay, theme, potential for fun-ness, and viability. The goal is to come up with the next happenin’ party game to be played face-to-face with some sort of “physical component,” whatever that means. Whether your intended audience is college kids or actual kids or extended families looking for something to do at another boring reunion, anything goes.

Unfortunately the competition is only open to US residents. But maybe you’ve got an American cousin who you know has got the moxie for this kind of thing. Or you could hop on a plane yourself and apply for citizenship because this competition means that much to you. The sky’s the limit. Here’s the submission page anyway to whet your submission whistle.

Back-To-School Stationery Checklist

back-to-school stationery

It’s officially September, which means all the back-to-school stationery is just ripe for the picking. Send your young’uns to school in style with pencil cases brimming with the essentials and nonessentials alike till they’ve got protactors falling out the sleeve holes. They will cherish their new swag always up to approximately the first week of school, after which they will slowly but surely start to lose each tool until they’re fumbling their way through the last few weeks with nothing but a chewed up pen they found in the hallway one time. And then it’ll be September again and you’ll be back to loading up the stationery once more, the cycle cycles on, The System Works.

Euroffice have compiled a nice and easy top ten list of all the tools your bundle(s) of joy will need to arm themselves with for the coming term. Divided into subjects, the list helpfully guides you through the necessities required in each academic field from Maths to Art to the Humanities. Retailers can check it out as well to see what kind of school merch parents will be on the lookout for.

Once you’ve got an idea of what to get, why not try moseying on down to our Stationery section and see what takes your fancy. And what, would you look at that, we’re currently having a sale on back-to-school/college merch, haha wild.

Top Brands in Ireland

top brands

Checkout magazine have released their Checkout Top 100 Brands list for this year with Coca-Cola winning the top spot for the 11th year in a row.

Checkout compile their list “based on branded value sales across the Irish grocery sector“. Over 6,500 brands were taken into account but only 100 top brands could emerge victorious.

Irish brands prove to be popular among consumers, with Avonmore, Brennan’s and Tayto all securing spots in the top five. Other high-placing Irish brands include Jacob’s (9th), Club soft drinks (13th), Irish Pride (14th) and Dairygold (15th).

“It’s never been as competitive in the Irish grocery landscape, and Ireland’s biggest brands have risen to the challenge,” remarked Stephen Wynne-Jones, the editor of Checkout. “While Irish shoppers are largely creatures of habit, this year’s Top 100 indicates that consumers are willing to switch, provided their quality and value expectations are met.”

And here’s the Top 20 for all your Top 20 needs:

1. Coca-Cola
2. Avonmore Milk
3. Brennans
4. Cadbury Dairy Milk
5. Tayto
6. Lucozade
7. 7UP
8. Walkers
9. Jacobs
10. Extra
11. Yoplait
12. Pampers
13. Club
14. Irish Pride
15. Dairygold
16. Müller
17. Goodfella’s
18. Danone
19. Nescafé
20. Red Bull

Toys R Us to Launch in Ireland

toys r us ireland

The massive American toy retailer Toys R Us have yet to set up shop in the Emerald Isle in their 65-odd-year span of being in business – until now. The toy chain have announced their plans to open ten stores across the Republic of Ireland over the next five years and have just secured their first two locations in Dublin and Limerick.

Toys R Us’ plans to open in Ireland come with the intention of overtaking Smyths, currently the biggest toy retailer in the country. Toys R Us already own four stores in Northern Ireland and while it is possible to order and deliver products from these locations online, the brand have yet to set up shop across the border.

It will be interesting to see how Toys R Us’ presence in the Republic will shake up current trends in the Irish toy market. The chain already boasts a sizable 1,500 stores worldwide in over 33 countries and evidently these numbers only continue to grow.

The first two Toys R Us stores will be located in the Westend Shopping Park, Blanchardstown, Dublin, and in the Parkway Retail Park, Limerick.

Easy Steps to Prevent Fraud

prevent fraud

Companies are plagued every year by the damage caused by fraud. From business to not-for-profits to government institutions, organisations of every size are losing over 5% of their annual revenue due to fraud and unethical behaviour. It is becoming more and more pertinent for company owners to become familiar with both detecting and preventing fraud in their ranks. And here’s a handy blog post on how to do just that. Neat!

FraudEdge are dedicated to helping Irish organisations combat the dangers of fraud and their post on the Top 10 Fraud Prevention Steps is one of their most useful resources. Laid out in easy-to-read chunks, this list covers pretty much everything you need to know in being proactive in preventing fraud in your own business.

The Five Principles of Retail

The Five Principles of Retail

Whether you’re a newcomer to retail or you’re a veritable veteran, it can never hurt to swot up on the basics for a bit of a refreshers course. The Marketing Donut has condensed all you need to know about retailing into five perfectly manageable bullet points. The list includes familiar faves such as the four ‘P’s and being nice to customers or whatever. Definitely worth a quick read-through if you’re a retailer who wants to know how to retail good.

Giant Minion Balloon Terrorises Irish Motorists

Inflatable Minion

In what can only be Gru’s most diabolical world domination attempt yet, a giant inflatable Minion wreaked havoc on the residents of Santry when it flew onto the Old Swords Road. Traffic was halted, reports The Journal, and heart palpitations were  endured, reports us.

Inflatable Minion on Old Swords Road
Wow Pacific Rim 2 look great so far.

The images in this article are courtesy of Erin Van Londen, an onlooker who saw the carnage in action. “I actually rang the gardaí. It was quite an odd thing to have to report,” she later spoke of the trauma. Thankfully the incident seemed to cause little damage other than one unlucky motorist losing a wing mirror.

Inflatable Minion
Do not go gentle into that good night.

The gardaí eventually arrived at the scene to deflate the gentle beast. With its limp corpse being carted away by professionals in a wheelbarrow, we can rest assured knowing that the evil here has been defeated.

Inflatable Minion
Not with a bang, but with a whimper.

Has your whistle been whetted for more Minion-related content in Irish contexts? Check out our Minion range so you can own Minion merch to flaunt off in your own Irish-contextualised hands!! Wowie.

Argos Top Toys 2015

August is nearly upon us, which means it’s about time for that relatable retail feel of planning for Christmas stock a full five months in advance. Just hear those sleigh bells ring-a-ling indeed.

To help out in securing the most anticipated toys for this year’s Christmas season, Argos has released their predictions for the top sellers of 2015. Linzi Walker, Argos’ Chief Toy Buyer, talks us through the list which sees plenty of reliable favourites throughout such as Nerf and Lego. Walker also predicts that films and television shows will have a big influence on what children look for this year. With the Minions film releasing this summer and with people still talking about Frozen, kids will surely be clamouring for related merch.

The video is definitely worth a watch for retailers looking to see what big name stores are stocking up on for winter.

Buzzfeed – Americans Pronouncing Irish Names


Always a favourite. American Buzzfeed writers (or just people Buzzfeed found on the street? They never say who these people are in these videos. And those two groups of people don’t necessarily have to be mutually exclusive, one supposes.) try their darndest to pronounce Irish names, fadas and shéimhús and all.

Princess Leia Figure from Hot Toys

Princess Leia Figure from Hot Toys

Sideshow Collectibles has partnered with Hot Toys to release a new hyper-realistic Princess Leia action figure.

This 1/6th scale model depicts Carrie Fisher’s iconic look as immortalised in the original Star Wars IV: A New Hope (1977). At only just over 10″ tall, Leia comes pre-equipped with two blasters, several different hands for the sole purpose of voguing probably, and 28 points of articulation. The figurine will be joining the ranks of other hyper-detailed Star Wars characters from Hot Toys, such as Han Solo and Chewbacca, Darth Vader, and R2D2.

Princess Leia Figure
Just appreciate those hair loopies though.

Princess Leia will be expected to drop in early 2016 and is available to pre-order now at a modest $204.99, or €185.39 for those of you really into currency conversions.


ISME Briefing Sessions Open for Registration

ISME Briefing Sessions

ISME (Irish Small and Medium Enterprises Association) has just released their timetable for this year’s briefing sessions. These sessions are free but places are limited, so register online to guarantee your spot.

The sessions will take place from Wednesday 9th of September to Wednesday 30th of September in over twelve locations across the country including Dublin, Galway and Cork. The events promise enlightening perspectives on business from industry leaders including ISME’s own CEO, Mark Fielding.

If you’re a small/medium business owner looking to earn a few more business-savvy brownie points, this is the place to do it. For a full timetable, check out the link above.

Es-cent-ial Guide to Rounding

1c 2c 5c - Rounding

Here’s a less charmingly titled article as a mild follow up to our last post on the Rounding scheme being rolled out on 28 October.

The Central Bank has released a quick guide as an overview of what’s happening in October with the Rounding initiative to slowly reduce the use of 1c and 2c pieces. Here’s a prettier PDF for all your prettier PDF needs.

The guide clears up a couple of misconceptions. For one thing, the scheme is totally optional for both the consumer and the retailer; both parties can still use exact change in the transaction if they want. And Rounding won’t be applied to single products but to the the total bill.

Check out the full guide for further info.

Business Mogul Dolls Funded on Kickstarter


“Our girls are smart and savvy. Isn’t it time their dolls reflect that?” proclaims the Kickstarter page for iBesties, an upcoming toy range designed to inspire young girls to seek entrepreneurship as a viable career path.

The brand of toys and books revolves a group of six friends who become successful internet moguls after their blog goes viral. Each iBestie is equipped with a different area of business expertise or technological know-how, from McKenna the Business Boss to Sunny the Coding Queen. Each doll will come with a book full of information to teach girls business savvy and tech skills along with lessons in friendship and teamwork. The series hopes to incorporate a number of different platforms, from the dolls and their fashion to books and online games.

The iBesties come from a wide range of cultures and backgrounds with unique personalities and skills. Nice.
The iBesties come from a wide range of cultures and backgrounds with unique personalities and skills. Nice.

iBesties is a creation from sisters Jenae and Gina Heitkamp. Disappointed with the lack of representation for girls in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics), they decided to create their own. They felt that young girls deserved to see themselves in successful career paths and understand that the sky is the limit for their future. As their Kickstarter video cites, less than 7% of big business CEOs and heads of tech companies are women. The Heitkamps believe part of this is due to young girls having little to no toys or media showing them that they can achieve in these high-power positions and as a result grow up with a much more limited idea of career paths. Basically, “you can’t be what you can’t see.”

The project was launched to Kickstarter on the 15th of June and reached its goal of $50,000 earlier today, the 28th of July. The deadline is the 31st of July so there is still some time to back the project.

July Sale

July Sale - Fitzpatrick Wholesale

Yes, July is the month and we’ve got a sale, it’s happening. Check out the website for the latest scoops and deals, for example this giant outdoor Snakes & Ladders game. Yes, now you too can have a whimsical round of this affront against the natural order of board games belonging on tables. Confound tradition, you exclaim, you want to play your childhood classics on the dirt with your 80s-quality-photoshopped family in front of your stock image of a quaint neighbourhood while a giant cartoon dice looms above you all, judging.

Whatever is happening in this scene it belongs in the Smithsonian, this is art.

It doesn’t get much more ‘July’ than this, folks.


1c 2c Rounding

For want of a better title please make do with this hilarious and charming pun.

As previously shared on our Facebook page and as previously reported by the South Dublin Chamber, 28th October 2015 will bring with it the start of the National Rounding Project. This scheme seeks to reduce the use of 1 and 2 cent coins by rounding the total cost of transactions to the nearest 5c. This follows the likes of other countries such as Canada, Sweden, Denmark, and other countries who have previously scrapped their small change.

The next four months in our barbaric, backwards society awash with 1cs and 2cs will be used to give retailers and consumers alike time to adjust and plan accordingly. The late October date allows adequate time for retailers to prepare for the busy holiday season. The Central Bank also plans to launch education campaigns for consumers and provide support and resources for retailers still in grieving.

Spray the Cray Away

feck off spray copy (2)

Never before has a product been acclaimed as so innovative and revolutionary for simply doing exactly what it says on the tin. This exclusive aerosol makes short work of removing petulant pests from your immediate vicinity for up to four hours with a success rate over 30% more effective than that of giving one word answers in conversation and hoping they’ll take a hint eventually.  The spray has been tested on a vast range of eejits and cretins you’re sure to encounter on your daily route, even politicians and other arbitrarily disliked groups of society. The tend to swarm during summer, so make sure you’re prepared. Only available while stocks last, so act today and spray away!

Of course if you’re more the ‘honey over vinegar’ kind of citizen then you might be more interested in our full air fresheners range. Who knows, maybe you’ll convince the assholes in your life to take a fresh and floral-scented perspective on life.

Marketing to Generation Z


The millennials have been the target of a barrage of advertising over the last two decades in the hopes of tiding over the materialistic new kids on the block. However, now that the millennials are aging gracefully into the ripe old demographic of 20-37 year olds, it’s about time for marketers to start shifting their attention to our new and shiny batch of impressionable youths: Generation Z. While only having been born in 1995 or later, these up-and-comers have already established new ideologies and media consumption patterns totally different to their predecessors.

Marketo have compiled a very useful infographic breaking down the characteristics of this new Gen Z which will prove to be vital for any retailer looking to appeal to this new audience. Know your enemy and all that, right? However bear in mid that all of the figures cited in the graph pertain to American Gen Z kids, but it’s still a fairly good stab at what Irish kids are doing nowadays too.

Make Social Media Work For You

In this unforgiving capitalist world of ours, social media seems to ever be on the rise as a means of connecting with your audience. However simply signing up for a new-fangled account on Facebook or Twitter or the next big thing of the next three months won’t be enough – you need to engage with social media smartly so as to benefit not only you but also your customers. Here’s a fun guide from RazorSocial detailing how you can get the most out of your social sites to guarantee you’re reaching the audience you want and delivering the content they need. And if you’re hungry for more after that, RazorSocial have plenty of pieces on business and social media to keep you going.

While you’re here being interested in social media and all, why not another cool reminder to check out our Facebook, the ultimate paradigm of business savvy and the genuine power of friendship? It really is some solid stuff.

289 New Derry Jobs with US Firm

Ireland continues to attract international business as proven by OneSource Virtual’s bold multi-million investment plan which seeks to employ over 289 workers in Northern Ireland by 2017. The Irish Times reports that the company was drawn to Derry because of the skilled, tech-savvy work force to pool from. The centre plans to support output from its US headquarters and begin its expansion into the rest of Europe. Jonathan Bell, Northern Ireland’s enterprise minister, named Invest NI’s £2.9million worth of financial incentives as a big contributor in securing OneSource’s placement in Derry.

UK Poll: 22% of Adults Play with Toy Cars

Can you blame them, look at these things, they’re rad.

As the Irish Examiner recently reported, a survey of 2,044 UK adults showed that over 22% of participants still play with toy cars, regardless of if their kids are in the room or not. Only half of these kids at heart feel comfortable enough to play with their toys if other adults are around to judge. The survey also found that 7% of adults put their cars on glorious display.

13% reported that they had received toy cars as a gift but if you happen to feel a kindred spirit-type connection with the 6% that wished they had received a toy car in their adulthood, fret not; we’ve got just the thing. For your perusal, our toy cars range form the greats including Matchbox, Hot Wheels and more. You’re welcome.

Current Promotions – Paddling Pools

Dinosaur Pool
Be hip and cool like these fun kids.

Summer has finally come upon us in these early days of July and it is like the prodigal son returning if the prodigal son brought with him sweating and blinding uncertainty as to what to wear to keep you warm but not too warm and getting it heinously wrong each and every time, it is an absolute struggle. But don’t worry, we’ve got you covered in this sweltering heat with this rad and cool paddling pool!! And when you’re done cooling off with that, check out the rest of our summer toys range. And why not go the whole nine yards and check our full toys range too, it’s all great.

Double Your Retail Return – Alex Cochran

In this detailed five step plan, Alex Cochran promises to get you doubling your net profit without having to spend a single cent. Cochran’s blog is populated with tips and tricks on expanding your business and maximising profits and this guide is no exception. ‘Double Your Retail Return’ uses lots of diagrams, bullet points and business-sounding initialisms such as GPROSI in order to whip your business into shape. A must-read for any retailer looking to increase their profit margins.

HSA Guide for Safe Workplace

A solid few minutes were spent debating whether or not to title this post with some ‘Safety Dance’ lyrics but given that safety is THE most important topic we could discuss the council ultimately conceded that that would be a bad call. Maybe some other time.

What’s a GOOD call, however, is making sure the risk statements and safety assessments for your business are up to scratch. If you don’t know what these are, you absolutely need to. And you’re in luck cause here’s a handy link to the HSA‘s dandy guide on making such statements and assessments. The document walks you through the main health hazards you or your employees are liable to, how to minimalize these risks and what to do if something does happen. It lays out all your legal requirements as an employer in easy-to-understand terms which will make it much easier to avoid any accidents in the future. The guide also prepares you to write your own safety and health policy and even includes a number of forms at the very end to fill out and get yourself sorted. Safety is important, go check it out!!

Grey is the New Black

It can be difficult enough finding a target audience to target with your assortment of amazing goods and products, which is why it’s important to not automatically write off any particular group of potential customers. In their study ‘Grey is the New Black‘ conducted on the behalf of Retail ExcellenceBehaviour & Attitudes found that many retailers dismiss older people as a potential demographic because they are all notoriously stuffy and penny-pinching and upsetting to look at obviously. However if we let go of these misconceptions, it becomes clear that this significant portion of the population (nearly 23%) is continuously undervalued as a possible market. For example, over 82% of the age 65+ demographic agreed that they had no large financial commitments as opposed to only 23% of the age 25-49 group. While this study was conducted in 2011, many of the observations still ring true today, maybe even moreso now than back then; the study remarks that while older people are not associated with being tech-savvy, many in this group have come to embrace such technologies as Sky+ Television and Skype. This study is an excellent read if you are looking to expand your market into this underappreciated demographic as it not only includes statistics and figures but also market research into this group to see what older people appreciate in their customer care.

How to Upsell

Wikihow is a pretty wonderful resource on most everything you’re gonna have to face in life, including your business. This particularly excellent article on upselling is a really handy guide on making a closer connection with your customer and convincing them to get more bang out of their buck by splurging on a few more items. All the while the guide is illustrated with an anime-esque young woman staring sultrily and directly into the camera with a fairly distressing number of close-ups dedicated to her hands – it’s a win-win all around, honestly.

Retail Sales Techniques – Evan Carmichael

Here’s a handy video on selling techniques from Evan Carmichael. This channel is packed with videos on tips for success and here we see an especially helpful rundown of three golden rules when it comes to convincing customers to buy what you’re selling. Running just under seven minutes, this video is definitely worth a watch!!

Working long hours and just getting by?

Business Owner Question: I am running a small retail operation and my wife and I are able to take a salary out of it by working long hours and the business just about breaks even. We are beginning to tire and are looking for some inspiration.

Reply: I meet people in your situation quite a lot who have got their shop to a sales level which makes it barely viable for them to take a salary out of it, but leaves nothing left over. Usually, as you describe, long hours go hand in hand with this model.

I can give you lots of recommendations, however, a lot depends on your point of view and how willing you are to re-energise the business and yourselves. I could, for example suggest that you embark on a programme of promotional activity, improving the look and feel of your shop and generally stimulating your customers to a higher level of activity, however that is going to require some funding and certainly more energy.

It sounds like the business has got a little stagnant and you both are stuck in a slight rut. That is not going to change unless you do something. It would be worthwhile putting in some energy in the short term to allow you to drive sales and profitability upwards and possibly reach a point where you could employ someone so at least you could work more reasonable hours. I understand it is tiresome after such a long time, but allowing yourself and the business to stagnate will only worsen the situation.

You should carry out an analysis of the businesses’ current spend and future cash flow forecast. By doing this you could potentially allocate some cash to marketing activities or to employing an extra person to give you a break from the business.

You don’t have to be a big, high-tech company to reinvent your business. In fact, the smaller and leaner your business already is, the faster you can shift gears and zoom back into action.

Sit back and take a cold, hard look at your strengths and weaknesses and possible markets. Ask yourself the hard questions first: Do customers still want and buy the same type of products or services you sell? Have industries and styles changed since you started business? Have you kept up with the changes? If not, what changes should you implement to make your business competitive again?

Do you need to develop new products or services? Don’t guess at what customers want and will pay for. Analyse your existing sales and talk to living, breathing prospects. What do they need? What can you provide? What’s the best way to deliver solutions to them? What’s going to bring in the most profit?

Is there any particular niche that buys regularly from you now? If so, consider how you can bring in more of the same types of customers, and what other merchandise they’d be likely to buy.

Finally, remember why you started the business. Money is commonly fought about in business, but keep in mind that the business is there to make your life overall better. You didn’t go into business to make your lives worse.