Summer has suddenly come to an abrupt end. We knew that a lot of shops shut in Polperro at the end of October, or at least just after the half term holiday, and you can see why. Visitor numbers have just dropped. Its not like we haven't been used to it, after all everywhere we have ever based ourselves has been in a tourist location, but its been a bit of a surprised how sudden its been, but to be honest part of me is a bit relieved. Quite honestly we need a rest. We have to remind ourselves that, when we had a business meeting in January this year , we had no plans to move either business or house, so its been a bit of a whirlwind. We have only been in our lovely new home five months and we have not really sorted ourselves completely yet. Don't get me wrong its been amazing and we are both so happy in both our new business home and at the new Ashworth towers. We are sooo pleased with how its all worked out, but its been a bit manic.
Summer has been great. We had a slow start as that amazing hot weather also meant no one was shopping. Why would you when you can spend all day at the beach? I know if I had had the time, that's where I would have been. But it built nicely and we are in great shape to go into the winter.
We wont be shutting. For the time being we have dropped two days a weeks, so will be open Wednesday to Sunday, but we may review that if it is very slow, and hopefully it will pick up a bit for Christmas. There a few reasons for staying open, not least because we do still have rent to pay and even the smallest amount help towards that. Curiosity - we really do want to see what happen and how visitor numbers vary. But mostly because we have a lot of stock to make for next year. This year, apart from other makers work, we have not had any spare stock and if someone bought something then we just had to go home and make another. Sometimes we got on top , but mostly we were playing catch up.
Polperro is a beautiful fishing village on the South East Coast of Cornwall. Despite being popular with tourists, and a haven for holidaymakers over the summer, Polperro has retained its charm as a traditional Cornish village. Despite its size there is plenty here to keep you entertained. Here is our list of some of the best things to do while visiting this magnificent stretch of the stunning Cornish coast.
Learn about Polperro’s infamous history as a smugglers haunt
Polperro is so well known for smuggling that it has an entire museum dedicated to its dark history. The Polperro Heritage Museum of Smuggling and Fishing highlights some of the more dramatic tales, including that of the Lottery, a ship renowned for its involvement in the murder of a customs officer in 1978.
Take in some spectacular scenery along the coastal path between Polperro and Looe
This 5.5 mile walk between Polperro and its larger neighbouring town of Looe, takes in some beautiful views out to sea, and passes an early Christian site where the remains of a medieval chapel can be found. Although this walk is dog friendly, beware of the cliff edges if you are travelling with kids. Find out more at https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/polperro-looe-and-whitsand-bay/trails/polperro-to-looe-coast-walk
Spot some of the locations used around Polperro for film and TV
Polperro is such a picturesque village that it can be seen as the backdrop to a number of TV shows and films. Most notably Alfred Hitchcock used this beautiful setting for his 1929 film The Manxman which was shot almost exclusively in Polperro. Why not check out what other locations you can find in the area, including those currently being seen on the latest series of the ever popular Poldark.
View the harbour from the sea
Take on a different view of this beautiful village by taking a boat trip from Polperro harbour. Boats usually operate between Easter and November (weather dependent), with a selection including return trips to Looe or Fowey, fishing trips and even a glass bottom boat. There is plenty of wildlife and stunning scenery to take in whichever option you choose.
Visit Polperro beach and tidal pool
Polperro may only have a small beach, but its worthy of a visit. The beach is located outside the main breakwater, and is home to Willy Wilcox Cave, named after the smuggler who reportedly haunts the cave after drowning there when he was trapped by a rising tide. As well as the cave, you can also find Polperro’s tidal pool on the beach. This pool is manmade but can only be reached by steep cliff steps. It is often likened to a giant rock pool, both for its appearance, as well as the likelihood of you taking a dip in the company of crabs and starfish.
Polperro Arts and Music Festival
The Polperro Arts and Music Festival takes place every June. Whilst you may have just missed out for this year, one of the main highlights of the event is the crowning of the Mock Mayor, a folk tradition that is found in a limited number of communities across the UK. The festival has been running since 1996 and is based on descriptions of traditional Polperro festivities from Jonathan Couch.
Buy unique and handmade Cornish gifts from Wellydog
A new arrival in Polperro, this independent boutique sells beautiful gifts reflecting the charms of its location. As well as their handmade seaglass jewellery, and fused glass pieces, Wellydog have carefully selected a handful of craftsmen whose work can also be found in the shop. You will be spoiled for choice when selecting a one of a kind souvenir to take home. Take a look at the gallery to view the wonderful work on offer, and the shop page to check out their opening times for your visit.
What do you think? Where do you recommend visiting in the area? Have you visited any of the places we have listed above? Share your experiences in the comments below.
Whoa....... what a manic few months. Everything in Polperro has been going well and I just thought I would take 5 minutes to update you on a few bits and bobs.
We still haven't moved house...... Its been a very stressful time , We were let down badly on the sale of our shop in Hayle. We can only assume what happened, as the person buying it, didn't even have the decency to contact us to let us know why. They had been delaying and mucking us about for months and after personally reassuring me, that they had every intention of completing the sale, just days before they dropped out, They pulled out just before completion and so the chain involving 3 families all went a bit belly up. We think it was our fault. Thinking we were being kind, we let them have details of people who had contacted us and were interested in renting the shop, It seems, they hadn't done their research and was asking too high a rent and when told that in no uncertain terms by one of the potential renters ( and who can blame them). they pulled the plug. So after months of jumping through hoops we were left high and dry. All very distressing.
We have however been very fortunate that someone who also wanted to buy the property back in February, has stepped in and we may be able to rescue the whole chain, but only time will tell if people can wait any longer,
So we are still travelling 3 hours a day to open the shop in Polperro. luckily between the two of us we are coping and we are making sure we have on day a week together to rest and see each other.
We have taken on a couple more crafters and are stocking some lovely work. We are expecting some pottery any day soon and we have had lovely textiles from SeaSewBlue.
We are also trying to get on top of making our own stock. We are making quick enough for the day to day sales we are getting, but we have Polperro Music festival in a few weeks and making extra stock for that, is proving a bit more difficult. We are selling almost as quick as we can make and that is a lovely problem to have, but we really want to maximise on the extra footfall we are told will be in the village from the 16th June. We had of course hoped we would have extra hours by now, with not having to travel, but that was not to be. We can of course only do what we can and hope it is enough.
We are still very positive though and are loving our new shop. The people in the village are lovely and the other shop keepers are very supportive and kind.
Hopefully the next time I chat to you we will have moved house so bye for now and keep you fingers crossed for us.
Phew what a busy week we have had. We started the week getting the keys for our new shop and ended it nearly ready to open. So what did we do?
Firstly we sat and contemplated. Sound lazy doesn't it, But we hadn't seen the shop enough to know exactly what to do! The first time we saw it, we fell in love, not necessarily with the shop itself but with the location, which is in the beautiful harbour village of Polperro, in Cornwall. We made the decision, as we quite often do, with our hearts. So as reality set in we decided before we signed the contract ( which I have to say is scary). We would need to see it again. It just so happens that we had a lovely visit with some good friends who's opinion means a lot to us, so we dragged them screaming (NOT) to view it. We all had a good poke round and I started to panic about all of the metal shelves and slat board. As Mr Wellydog put it, we wanted it, 'less Woolworths and more Wellydog!'. So with all the ideas we had discussed with our friends and with all the discussions we had had while waiting for the lease to go through. We realised everything we had thought of doing was not really that possible.
We started to take down so of the metals walls. the problem with this is, we had to be able to store them, as part of our contract says we have to return the shop to its original state when we leave. So apart from storing them, everything we did, had to be reversible.
We made the decision to take out the back wall, as that was the easiest one to remove and the wall behind was actually if fairly good condition. Also I felt it would make a good wall to become a focal point. We knew we wanted to move the counter and fudge counter ( yes I know, why do we need a fudge counter?) The counter needed to positioned so we could easily greet people and be able to see the whole of the shop. Moving it sideways on, seemed logical. I had picked some bold stripey wallpaper for the back wall, but when I came to order it, it was discontinued Grrrrr. But actually it was a good thing as we found a wave mural wallpaper, that certainly makes a statement. The way we had to split the picture for the door, meant that there is a strip on the side that needed covering. I painted it a nice windsor blue and painted in some shadows and white splashes to blend it in.
There were three central units which we felt was too crowded, so with the help of our daughter and son in law it was taken apart and stored in the back store room.
It was helpful to have such a tall son in law. He was very useful both in stature and in ideas to get the sign up. We had bought pub letters when our sign at Hayle had got ruined in the storms. I like them, but if I'm honest I miss the old sign. I will live with it for a while, but it may get changed at a later date as we have realised our logo is no where on the shop. How daft.
Then all our jewellery cabinets were moved in and were assembled and attached them to the wall. The cleaning then had to begin, moving loads of bits meant the floor was in a bit of a state. The last thing when did before leaving for a restful weekend, was to paint the store room door. It was in need of a bit of tlc. So here we are at the end of the week just about ready.
Tomorrow we collect some stock from a few of our lovely crafters, we then will finish the last bits of cleaning. (The shelves and the glass cabinets). Then we should be all ready to start filling the shelves, ready to open on Wednesday.
Today was a bit terrifying, we had to move the glass cabinets, We had dismantled them on Sunday so it was just loading all the glass into the car and driving it across Cornwall. Its not the first time but hopefully it will be the last for at least a few years, its quite nerve wraking, but as you can see they all made it. But they do look a bit lost! We are not quite sure where there final place will be, so they haven't been attached to the walls yet. The floor is not very straight so they will need a lot of packing and adjusting, but nothing Mr Wellydog can't handle.
I don't know if you noticed, but we dismantled the metal wall at the back of the shop. I have plans for it. We found an old Arch way, I bet that used to look lovely. We also uncovered the Mirror window in the right hand wall. I quite like it, but I think we will be covering it up again. There are a lot of shelving units in the store room behind so its not useful for any light. We are wondering about the one way sort of security windows, in the back if the shop. Maybe it was a post office or somewhere dealing with money? Anyway they are a bit odd. We know a little bit of the history. Before us, it was a man who ran a gift shop for about 7 years. We have also found the Ghost of lettering on the front window that says it was a fudge shop, We spoke to a lovely couple who run businesses in Polperro and they said the fudge shop didn't last long. There is already a long established fudge shop in the village so I guess they couldn't compete.
We have also met two other fellow shop owners, The lady across the road who runs the Dog gift shop and also the lady next door with a quilt shop. Its nice to be made to feel welcome. Also a fellow Instagrammer, spoke to me briefly and said welcome, which was so lovely.
You can also see we managed to finish moving the monster of a counter, Its opened the back off the shop right up, The fudge counter is massive and very very heavy, so it was quite a palarva. We think we have it in the right place, but wont know until we actually use it in anger. I'm not entirely sure what I'm going to use a fudge counter for? but I sure I will find a use for it !!!
Another long day today and yet another tomorrow.
What an eventful day. We finally got into our new shop. Phew its seemed like a long time coming, but then again we hadn't even thought about moving until 8 weeks ago, so its been quite quick really. For those of you who don't know we are moving from our little shop in Hayle to a much larger shop in Polperro. We will be moving house later in the year to, and we will be closer to family and friends, not masses but enough to stay in Cornwall but to cut the journey into a manageable distance, for more frequent visits.
This morning didn't go quite to plan, we were surprised to still find snow on route and also had to drive though a flooded road. When we arrived at the agents, the solicitor hadn't agreed to release the keys. It took so long to sort out because the solicitors all went to lunch. Apparently they don't prioritize the smaller payments so we had to wait,.... Anyway at about 3pm we finally got into the shop...phew.
So what next........ we need to inject some colour or at least soften the effect of all the slat-board and metal shelves. Its a too bit harsh for my liking. Unfortunately as we are renting, then whatever we remove or change we have to be prepared to return to its original state, when we leave at the end of our lease. So anything too major will be hard as we cant store that amount of shelves etc. But I have some ideas and a little bit of a plan as formed in our heads this afternoon.
The units are very heavy and we did manage to move one, but its going to have to be in easy stages so I don't wreck Mr Wellydog already delicate back.
Anyway Its been a long day but we will be back tomorrow to see what else we can do.... watch this space .
Sadly we are leaving our cute little shop on Hayle harbourside and moving to pastures new. In the next couple of weeks we will be packing up everything and moving to a new larger and much bigger shop. Its exciting but also terrifying and a little sad to. We have truly loved our time in Penpol Terrace. While we work, we have been watching the boats go up and down in the harbour as the tide ebbs and flows. Its been wonderful. But things do have to change and for a number of reasons……. We want to expand the shop and to do that we need larger premises. We want to stock more variety of things and to collect more crafts people to sell with us, for that we need space. One the most common things we hear in the shop is, “It looked bigger in the photos”, being able to have more than 6 customers in at any one time will be amazing! But also I haven’t settled in West Cornwall. I miss my family and friends and I miss having a garden. So when the opportunity came up for us to take on a shop further up in Cornwall, it made sense to move, home and shop closer to those we miss. So the shop has been sold and will soon have new owners. Our house has also sold and we have started looking where to move to. We are not sure where we are going to live, but it’s exciting exploring new areas as possible new homes. So we will be quiet for a bit, while we get organised, so please look out on facebook and Instagram for updates and as soon as we officially get the new shop keys, we will tell you where we are. Janice
The start of a new year is always a time to reflect both personally and for the business.
One aspect of the business that is not working for us is pillow talk… haha, not as interesting as it may sound. Being a married couple who run a business together, then business talk is always on the agenda. Sometimes it is too intrusive, and I especially am guilty of discussing anything and everything whenever it pops into my head. Mr Wellydog is much better at writing down thoughts and then discussing them at more appropriate times. So with a promise to try and separate our business and personal life better in 2018, we have had our first meeting. With advice from the Wellydog apprentice (she is very clever business woman), we made sure it was away from home or the shop and we went out and had a coffee. We had a strategy meeting to look at our long term goals for the future of Wellydog. It was interesting really as we looked at figures and targets and Mr Wellydog had done some clever graphs and figures to show all sides of the business and how it compared to previous years. Although I knew we were on target to have an ok year, things were better than I had thought. So although we know we are in for some very quiet months before the end of our trading year, we are still looking at a successful 2017, where we exceeded planned targets. We now need to look at how to grow the business next year.
Selling in other shops has not proved to be as good as we had hoped this time last year, and we have scaled down where we stock. It is hard to keep stock sitting doing nothing in some places. But others may have had quiet times, and we know they are doing their best for us and we hope to continue with them. We have had some shops who are ordering wholesale so that again is another avenue to consider growing.
Online is always a struggle for us. We had some great advice and training this year, which certainly has helped, and we have seen a small growth. But there is a dilemma between successful online selling and keeping the one of a kind nature to what we do. With the time involved with listing each individual item, instead of producing 10 or 20 of identical items under 1 listing, it is a fine line of time against profit. We have looked at the possibility of listing similar items under the same heading, for instance a green seaglass bracelet, but each made to order and although the structure will be the same, then the glass will vary on each one. It would also help with the stock tracking. At the moment then each item listed online is marked. If it sells in the shop we can immediately remove from online, but it only takes for a busy time, or and internet access problems and we could run into problems. Does doing this mess with the essence of our business, the business of handmade, does that cause a conflict?? Are we getting into mass production? And if we do, is that a problem? We still haven’t come to a conclusion on this one yet. I have a feeling this will be an ongoing discussion. I would be interested in your thoughts.
We also need to look for more peoples work to stock in the shop. As we qet busier then we are not keeping up with the making quite so well. The people we currently stock have all agreed to continue with us next year, which is lovely. But we also had some issues with stock levels at a very busy time, because we had a few people who we agreed to take work in from, but they never delivered. So we will start to look for new people again and hope to form new lasting relationships and have a shop full to the brim in 2018.
Overall though we are happy with where we are, but where we go from here is the unknown. I am excited for 2018 as I feel this will be our turnaround year. Hopefully the one that takes us from doing ok, to actually gaining ground. Of course, only time will tell but I am looking forward to finding out.
Happy new year to you all
I saw a Facebook post today from the Design Trust. It was about all the pledges people make, especially around Christmas, to support local small businesses. Patricia who wrote the post talks very passionately about how we, as creatives, should not just be asking or begging for support, but explaining why it is important. Not just to talk about the economic benefits or how its keeps our high streets a more vibrant and safe place, but also how it impacts on us as individuals, especially what it means to us as individuals!
So I have pledged to tell 10 people about how I feel. About how every time you make a purchase with me, small or large, I smile and want to do a little dance. It is not just about the money, although that is important, it's about how you value what I do. How when you buy something I have made you are saying 'you did a good job'. Don’t we all like to be told we do a good job? Ever since I was a small child I wanted to make and paint things. I had the confidence to just explore and create what I wanted. I felt no boundaries. But as an adult I had boundaries pushed onto me. Being a creative, when I was a teenager was not considered a job, although I was indulged there came a point where inevitably I was told to get a proper job. Not because anyone wanted to stop me being creative, but out of love for me and concern for my future. Inevitably I never settled in any meaningful career and jumped from job to job with no purpose and no sense of achievement, and quite frankly very little praise. But, importantly, it did mean I could help support, my growing family.
But now you are that person who says yes I can be creative, yes I can do something you feel is important. You make me feel fulfilled and gives me a sense of purpose and achievement. You make me feel confident and empowered. You make me proud of what I do. And yes I feel that way regardless of whether you spend £2.50 or £250 with me.
…..and for that I thank you x
Its been 5 months since Mr Wellydog gave me a microwave kiln for my birthday. So I thought I would give you a bit of an update on how it’s been going. Some of you may have seen the results of some of the things I have been making. You may have noticed that I have been using it quite a bit. It’s been well loved but unfortunately not very well cared for.
Opps!!! yes there have been some accidents, thankfully none that have caused any physical pain, but my kitchen worktop and my kiln have been deeply scarred. I guess the problem is my frustration with not being able to produce what I really want to. Having said that I have discovered I LOVE frit…… what is frit you may ask?.... its crushed-up bits of glass. The bits I like are very finely crushed, you can get course/big bits, but no matter what the size they are, they come in a whole exciting range of colours. So with just clear glass and frit I can make patterns and pictures. What I really want to move onto is powder, so I can ‘paint’ more realistic pictures. But that’s probably best resisted for a bit longer.
My kiln has been used excessively in the few months I have had it. I was reading an article the other day that suggested they were only good for between 250 and 300 firings depending on your microwave. I would say I’m getting close to the lower end of that and to be honest I can notice the difference. The firings are getting very noticeably longer and not as even. What used to take about 8 – 9 minutes now takes 15 – 20 minutes. I don’t suppose it helps that I have quite a few chunks missing out of the base of my kiln.
As far as I can see the advantages of having a microwave kiln are;
Mr Wellydog says he’s created a monster. I am always firing something and not a week goes by without me getting everything out 2 or 3 times. I am still completely in love. I drop hints all the time for him to buy me a larger one, even though I know it’s not possible at the moment. So I will continue with fusing little pieces as I am still having soooo much fun, I really can’t complain. I may look into sharing a kiln with someone I know local, so I may get a chance to do larger pieces. My latest little experiments have been with Christmas trees, which was a total blast. Some of these have gone to new homes already and I do sell a reasonable amount of little sun catchers and hearts. So watch this space or my folksy shop to see what I get up to next.