Props for the Shop
There was a pressing sense that we needed to have everything set up for our online shop before we left for China. That seems kind of strange when we don’t actually have a whole lot of stock yet, but our systems are starting to fall in to place and the ‘shop’ is starting to look like a shop.
I have been reminded this week that all the things I have done in my life are culminating in this shop. When I think about time spent working part time in shops and cafes, it actually hasn’t been for nothing. In every craft and quilting workshop I have been to, I have learned new skills and made fun things. I have learned about ordering systems, filing systems, judicial systems, good food and ingredients, plants and vegetables, how to use colour and how to style it well, what makes good presentation and what is visually appealing to the customer. And probably the most important of all is having social skills to interact with people, so that they will come back again and again because they had a positive and happy experience.
Unfortunately a positive and happy experience was not what we had a couple of weeks ago when we looked into ordering more firewood. Our wood has been rapidly diminishing and the thought of coming home from hot China to a freezing cold house with no firewood was not particularly appealing. We googled local dry firewood and rang a guy who told us he would turn up with a truck load the next day, and we haven’t heard from him since! To cut a long story short, I went back to my tried and true supplier who we got our first load of wood from; it’s already been paid for and delivered. Here’s a heads up to my cousin’s business Handystack, based both in Waikato and Hawkes Bay. Thanks Robyn & Craig!
You see, it’s all about building RELATIONSHIPS with people and working alongside folk who you trust to get the job done, quickly and efficiently. It’s also about being nice to people and building integrity and trust. As LV Martin used to quote many years ago in an old Fisher & Paykel ad on TV – ‘It’s the putting right that counts!’
We’ve put a few things right in our shop. An old bookshelf my father-in-law made a few years ago when the kids were little, then became a good storage unit in the garage. It had a paint job when we moved here & needed a bookshelf. The green paint I used was a bit garish and so after the Annie Sloan paint workshop we used it as an experimental piece, and repainted it Provence Blue finished with Black wax.
It has now had another overhaul. In line with our ‘natural’ look, this time it’s had a coat of Annie Sloan ‘French Linen’ chalk paint. There’s a hint of both the green and the blue coming through the distressed look but it’s basically very natural and will house our products well. I had another brainwave one morning, and NOW it is functional on both sides. A hessian pin board nailed to the back of the bookshelf, with 3 very cool personally made clip boards to boot makes this a shop shelf on one side and an office pin board on the other. 4 wheels have also been added which makes it a very versatile unit. Someone I know is very clever… ????
We also knew we needed more shelving for display, and so after scouting around online and in a few shops, we found some kitset shelves at Mitre 10. They were promptly assembled and at my request, a very cool piece of MDF board was nailed to the back and painted with black chalk paint. I have been longing for an excuse to buy Valerie McKeehan’s book ‘The Complete Book of Chalk Lettering’ and so that has now been ordered on Book Depository. I can’t wait to doodle on my new blackboard with chalk and write some inspiring statements with fancy lettering! I know what some of you will be thinking …once a Teacher, always a Teacher haha!
The last of our little projects was the ladder. We have an order in for some beautiful Lithuanian linen, and this ladder will be perfect to display the colours we are expecting to arrive in early August. These will all be posted on the online shop, which is a constant work-in- progress.
Everything is coming together. As we counted down the days my biggest challenge was to load everything online. It didn’t all happen before we left, as I realised while we are away I won’t be able to action any sales, and may not even be able to access the website. But it continues to be a work in progress…