Its been a busy old time at Wellydog Towers. We have been planning and plotting for the coming year. Last year, being our first year in the shop, we had very little idea of how things were going to go and what to plan for and when. Looking at figures and sales over the last year, we now have an indicator of what might happen this year. Although as we all know nothing is set in stone, this is a real help to planning for 2017. Over the year we have collated week by week sales figures, plotting events and trends, even weather, so we can get to know what influenced good or bad weeks. I’m a very visual person and not fantastic with numbers. As Mr Wellydog does all the finances and he is a very linear and analytical person then he has produced lovely graphs for me to help me understand the business and the finances. We have been lucky the sales figures have been going consistently up, a beautiful green line on my charts, and although initially spend was enormous we have managed to get a lid on that. The shop is now fully set up. We have invested in furniture, a till, heating, signs, lighting, display stands and oh so much more to get the shop fully functioning. So now we are looking at what we need to invest in this year.
When we started up our business we did a lot of research and it was said that it takes three years to make any profit. The first year you run at a loss as you have all the set up and establishing costs, the second you hope to break even as you become established and trusted. Then the third year if you’re lucky you can start taking out profit. All that has of course changed and they now reckon you need 5 years. No wonder so many businesses don’t survive. We are now in our 3rd year and on track as per our initial business plan, although our first year at Heartlands wasn’t particularly successful we did use the time well and established a good working pattern and really learnt what our business was about and how to develop it. It all sounds very grand but a lot of it is just common sense and hard work. I am aware that a lot of people look at us and think how lucky we are. But Luck is what you make it and hard work and truly believing in what you do, and not just waiting for something to happen, is the best way, in my opinion, to make your own luck.
So what have we invested in, well those of you who follow us on Facebook and Instagram will have already seen our re-branding.
No way was I going to change the name, several people over the years have tried to convince me to change our name, to something that more describes what we are about, but I’m afraid I am so attached to it. I will never ever change it. So we just kept to a visual rebranding. This is where we lucked out. I have a nephew who runs a print and graphics business in Exmouth called Copyrite. And he produced the most beautiful little information leaflets for our jewellery boxes and a new logo. It exactly what I wanted, crisp and clear.
As usual we are on a budget, so to get this logo printed on our boxes would have been a bit pricey and we didn’t want to add any more cost onto the customer, so on Copyrite's recommendation we got a rubber stamp made up. We stamp our own boxes, they are not perfect every time, but we just love that it gives that unique and handmade quality to the boxes and reflects who we are. It is such an elegant solution and we can use the stamp on bags, letter and labels. So in the coming weeks I am going to go stamp mad.
We have also made the decision to repaint the shop in a colour more similar to our new logo. I know its only a year since we painted it, but it was done very quickly and in the winter, I just couldn’t live with the bright yellow already there, so it needs doing again anyway. Anyone up for a bit of painting??? ….. I guess not, so I will just have to do it myself. Although I think we will do it after Easter. The jury is still out about whether to change the sign this year or not???? What do you think?
We also went on our Holibobs!
It was a busman’s holiday. We went to Northumberland and stayed in a relative’s cottage near Alnwick. It’s a very long way to go, about 12 hours with a few stops for poor Fin to have a wee. But so worth it. Why go so far you may ask? Well because of Seaham beach. Yes we travelled 12 hours to go to the beach, that was an hour away from our accommodation!!!. As a lot of you may already know Seaham used to be the home of a glass works. Just up the road is Sunderland. Glass is still a large industry and the fantastic National Glass centre is well worth a visit, should you find yourself in the area. The quality and quantity of glass on the beach is amazing and we can make such a large amount of jewellery from it. Which we need if we are going to supply some shops. As we are a Cornish business we will of course still make from glass found on Cornish beaches, but the quantity and quality are, I’m afraid to say, just not as good. We are careful to separate out our glass, so if you want a specific piece made in Cornwall, we certainly can sell you one, but a lot of people want the beautiful blues, reds and multi-coloured pieces that we find in Seaham. It also makes us a bit more unique in Cornwall, after all who in their right mind would travel all that way for seaglass???? Mmm I wonder.
We are also just signing up for our first 3-day festival. We have four large events that we are trying to book. So, fingers crossed we get accepted into them all. We won’t do the smaller fairs and markets any more but will concentrate on the larger ones. That in itself is quite an investment as they are not cheap and on top of that, there is no point into going to a 3-day festival with ones days’ worth of stock, so we are already making for England to ensure enough to cover all the events, this year. Its good that we have a brilliant finance manager who is very good at Cash flowing, to ensure we have enough money at the right time to buy materials and to book things.
Phew if that wasn’t enough, we are also trying to get our online Etsy shop better stocked and promoted. I am a bit impatient and don’t really give it enough time to establish, so I need to give it some more love.
Anyway, when I take a breather, then I will be back with more news and updates as we go through the year.