If you haven’t read part 1, then click here to read it first .
To be honest we have been shocked at the speed of what happened next. Two shops came back to us very quickly after receiving our letters and two Steve followed up with a phone call. He got good feedback and appointments. All asked to see samples of the jewellery, so we put together a sample box to take around to all four.
The first two appointments were in the same town. This was good and bad. Great because it meant we had choice, bad, because it meant we had choices!!
We loved dealing with the first shop, not only had we been impressed on our first visit, but she didn’t disappoint on the second. She knew how to sell, she sold us on her business very quickly. She explained how she worked, the money side of it, ie what percentage she would take, how she would pay us and how often. But also she explained where she would display our jewellery, and how she would display it. She knew what her customers liked and she obviously valued that we picked up the glass ourselves and each piece was individual. She was impressed with our boxes and presentation, and inspected the quality of work. But most importantly for me, she obviously loved the jewellery herself.
At this point we realised we had made a mistake.…. She had obviously decided if she liked our things, she would take them and had expected us to leave the samples with her. Embarrassing really as we had another appointment to go to half an hour later. Coming out I was impressed, but she hadn’t been my first choice. We were going there next. I was very nervous and excited. I had adored this next place when we had first viewed it and was really keen to get it in there. The lady dealing with us was lovely and she chose a few items she liked. She had obviously been told by her manager to take a few items. She wasn’t really clear on where it would be displayed or on how it would be managed. I would have been really happy to go with them, had the first shop not been on offer. Both of us walked out and our instincts were to go with the first shop. So when we got home we rang and arranged to take in some stock. Another mistake, as it meant a second journey, but also a very good learning experience, which we took into the next towns. Steve had preferred our final choice from the beginning and I think I need to defer to his business instincts a bit more, I am a bit too emotional and that sometimes clouds my judgement. The next two shops went very smoothly and we even had a wholesale order instead of sale and return, which was a real bonus. We also have request from both of these shops, for more stock of a specific nature, so that’s a really good sign.
Luckily Steve is good with the money and figures, which has been an essential part of our planning. When adding up the amount of stock we have had to supply, it’s no small amount. All the stock that we are supplying is dead money to us, until it sells. This is something luckily Steve had prepared us for and kept money back for this eventuality.
So back to how busy our minds have been. We are excited but also slightly overwhelmed, by what we have had to do in the last few days. All the stock had to be prepared to go out. We had to have good coding and tracking. Also we have had to order in lots more materials to make up more items, to replace the missing stock in our shop. Luckily we are in a position again, through Steve’s good planning, to do this. Fortunately I had been making a lot of jewellery to prepare ready for the summer, so although, the amount of stock needed took us slightly by surprise, we had enough reserves. We also have lots of seaglass, both local and also from our visit in February to Seaham.
I said to a friend yesterday that it had been easier than I expected, but Steve corrected me on this and said, it had only been easy because we did our research and prepared correctly. And I totally agree. Had we not been on the ball, I don’t think we would have had the confidence in our product, approached the right people, and saved ourselves a lot of time and possible rejections, the money to do the research and to sustain a large amount of stock going out and just about have enough to restock our own shop.
Our plan was always to try and be in at least one shop before Easter, and I’m very happy to report as of today, we now have stock in 4 other retailers, in Cornwall. I cant tell you how chuffed I am with that.
I hope I haven’t bored you too much. In trying to research how to go about this then we found people were quite secretive about the whole process, I have no real idea why. We found very little information and so went on our instincts. Of course only time will tell, if that does actually work …….. I will let you know.
What a busy week, at least it seemed that way. It probably had more to do with the mental acrobats we had to do rather than the physical running around, although there has been quite a lot of that too.
We made a decision late last year to try and get our seaglass jewellery stocked in other shops around Cornwall. We have been trying to increase our sales, and this is one of the options we wanted to pursue. We felt that we need to prepare well and not just rush in, but to think about how this would affect us, and what we needed to do to achieve this ambition. So it has taken us 4 months to get to this stage.
Many of you have seen the new branding, which we are very pleased with and this was the first step. We asked ourselves, what would we like to see when we are buying. For me that meant a good presentation and a product that people felt they could just give straight as a gift and not have to worry about wrapping. For Steve, he wanted a level of professionalism that meant other shops would view us as serious manufacturers and not just hobbyists.
The next step was to research where we would like to place them. I know some of you may think we are being fussy and we should just go where someone will take us. But we felt if we did our research up front, we wouldn’t waste time targeting shops that just wouldn’t suit our product and secondly, we wanted a good fit and to work with people we saw could sell and had a nice manner when dealing with customers… so yes actually, we are being a bit fussy.
We visited quite a lot of places and this is where the second lot of planning comes in and where I would be lost without Steve’s business head and great ability to cash flow. I have discovered research and development, costs money! Shocker I know, but I am terrible at thinking about things like that. This is not a route to take without thinking carefully about money. Not only does the branding cost a considerable amount and buying in all new packaging labels etc, the research itself is costly…..we did quite a lot of travelling.
Having a list of potential places we would like to stock, we then decided because of delivery costs and not wanting to post stock to places, at least not initially, we would keep with a certain radius. This became obvious quite quickly, when we realised what sort of mileage we were raking up. We were also doing our research in winter and had to think about how places would be in the summer, our local knowledge, and a few friendly chats round all the places we visited, were quite important.
We decided on about 4 towns we initially wanted to target. We decided we did not want to flood a place with our goodies and wanted only one shop in each town to represent us. I don’t think there is anything worse than going around a town, with every shop stocking the same items. We drew up a list of up to 3 favourites in each place. There was one place we only had one on our list and surprisingly two of the biggest towns in the area didn’t even make this list. Mainly because they were too commercial. It is funny how you can have been to a place and think that’s a quirky and interesting town, but when you have a real good look at what’s on offer, and it’s not what you thought it was. We will never rule them out completely, while we have a very clear idea now of what we want, who’s to say that’s the right way to go, I guess only time will tell and I’m a great believer in not burning bridges
How to approach these businesses?
As shop owners ourselves, we get people coming in all the time asking us to stock their items. It has slowed down now but at the beginning it was 2 or 3 a week. We did take in some fabulous jewellery from Wight and Wight at the beginning, with the idea we might take in more as we went along. But we quickly realised, we just physically didn’t have the room, on top of everything we produced. Those of you who have visited us will appreciate that. I never mind being asked, and most people are lovely and genuinely are just trying to make a few extra quid. But we do have a few pushy people! Even after being told we don’t take other people items they will insist on showing you everything and wanting feedback. At quiet times it’s not an issue but when you are busy and trying to serve it can be. So, we wanted to make appointments rather than just arrive and make a nuisance of ourselves. Our solution was to write a letter. We did think about emailing or phoning for an appointment, but I liked the idea of a letter, something a bit more personal, I wanted to be able to put a nice presentation together that would represent us and what we were about. So just over two weeks ago they went out………………………and we held our breath
Part 2 will follow shortly
I had an exciting week. I got to see my work in the Porthleven Baulk Project exhibition. I never get tired of seeing my work in an exhibition. Goodness that sound vain, but really, I do get very excited. This exhibition is of course special, all the money raised with these art works, goes to the Fishermen’s Mission. In case you weren’t aware all the work was made using a piece of the wood from the sea defence baulks, that were destroyed in the storms, two years ago. More details can be found on the baulk project website.
The exhibition was held in a lovely Gallery that used to be a lifeboat station, in the glorious harbour town of Porthleven. As you can see from the picture it’s not massive, but over the week they had over 1,100 people visit. Hopefully that is a good omen for the auction itself to be held on the 18th March.
Here is me with my Painting, like I said exciting……… Squeeeee
So as a result I have finally done something I have been saying I would do for some time. I have booked a gallery for an exhibition of my work. It’s not until next August but that’s great, it gives me plenty of time to put a body of work together. We will of course take some jewellery and some leatherwork, We would be mad not to, but principally it will be all about my paintings. OMG!!! It all sounds very serious. You will of course all be invited.
I need to get a few bits in place but as soon as I can, I will give you lots of details and I may need help for ideas as to what to paint and display ideas, so suggestions and any help, as always gratefully received.
I have painted a new feather recently, I am trying to sort out a frame , it’s certainly not my favourite thing to do. I find framing expensive and difficult to choose the right one. I just like painting them, framing is really no fun! Hopefully I will have a better picture and have it framed by the next time I chat to you. If I can make a decision.