Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Pearl ring safely delivered to British Columbia!

I was invited along to the Burns Birthplace Museum in Alloway, Ayrshire a few weeks ago for a local maker's market.  I really enjoyed the 2 day event and the highlight was that I received a commission from a visitor from Canada.

She loved my sterling silver handwired pearl ring and so she said she would order it on her return to Canada.

I didn't think too much about this as I know that many people say things and perhaps something gets in the way and so I never hear from them,

On this occasion however, I received a direct payment into my Paypal account on 6 August and so began working on the ring.  I made it in her exact ring size and choice of pearl.

On completion I put the ring in a solid glossy wooden box and parceled it up ready to be shipped on it's journey to Canada (I've never been).

I have just received an email saying:

Dear Sheila Just to say that my ring arrived yesterday and I love it!  M

How rewarding is this and my first international order!

Entrepreneurial Spark Update

I can hardly believe that I've been part of Entrepreneurial Spark for 5 weeks!  The time has flown in and there has been so much happening it's like a whirlwind!

I have learned a lot through various speakers especially Professor Les Charm from Babson College and through working with fellow chiclets.

More importantly I have had the chance to take 'time out' and look at my business under the microscope.  I have looked at my pitch in a new light and can see it taking shape.  I have practised over and over but not just in front of my bathroom mirror but in front of a variety of audiences - my fellow chiclets - and then a rethink.  I have been practising when visitors come to my studio.  I also gave a talk to a women's group and used the format plus a bit more (they wanted some funny stories too).

On Tuesday night I delivered my new and improved pitch at the West Coach Hatchery and was delighted to receive such positive feedback.  I had taken on board the various constructive comments I had received and reshaped the pitch to my liking.  The added touch of actually displaying my products proved very successful too.

As far as my business is concerned I feel that the motivation from being at the Hatchery has accelerated many aspects - since being at the Hatchery I now have 3 outlets where I am selling my work.  I am examining how I can 'scale up' my business as I individually handcraft each item.  After researching the possibilities I am currently creating a collection in silver which can be cast and reproduced to the same quality and finish by a company that I can trust within the United Kingdom.  This also produces a profitable margin.

I have also met with 2 separate mentors who have provided me with invaluable information and advice.  I have found that Karine, Jim and Brian in their individual ways, have supported and inspired me to 'go do'.

Within 5 weeks I have designed and created the first piece in my silver collection.  It is now ready to be cast and then I will be 'on the road' delivering my pitch to those specially selected venues.  I can't wait!

Free PR

I contacted the local paper - The Irvine Herald and by emailing an interesting story I got free editorial in the the paper 2 weeks ago.

By using Facebook to advertise I  held an event within my studio last Sunday which I organised by collaborating with other Companies.  I invited them along to provide free hair and make up trials for brides to be and I provided jewellery and accessory advice.  We all gained orders - a good team effort! I will also have an edited video of the Event coming soon as the Videographer was happy to do this at no cost also.We all gained orders - a good team effort!

I am sponsoring the Ayrshire's Top Model Event organised through Butterfly Events for a small fee and as a result I am getting lots of publicity.  I will donate a sterling silver pendant as a gift which will promote my business further.

Finally today I was at the Hatchery and there was a group of VIP's from South Ayrshire Council.  I was asked to deliver my 60 second pitch and was delighted to do so.  It was interesting that all of the women asked for my business card but the men didn't ask.  The group then met with a few other chiclets but I noticed that some returned to the meeting room while others were having coffee.  I decided to approach one of the women and suggested she might pass on some of my cards to the men in the group saying 'many men like to purchase surprise gifts for women too'.  This approach was happily received and she took my cards back into the meeting room.

Sometimes it's better to just 'go for it' if you feel the time is right!  That's how I felt about applying for the Hatchery and I have never looked back!  Roll on the next few weeks and the excitement of not knowing what possibilities are out there!

To do list

My to do list is never fully 'ticked' off.  Just when I begin to reduce my tasks there are always more to add. 

Although this means that I am always busy I am really glad that I never get all the tasks finished.  That might just mean that I have no orders or work to do for my business.  That would really be a worry!

I also find that I am not always in charge of what needs to be done - I may know what orders I have and also the components that need to be ordered.  I am always aware of my cash flow situation and accounts outstanding.  In fact anything concerning my business is always monitored.

However, when it comes to my domestic situation - now that is a different ball game!  For example, today I chose to work from home as I needed to also do some tasks at home as well as banking.  My son who is at College decided that he was going to the Scotland game at Hampden straight from College.  Of course, he had forgotten that he needed to iron his 'whites' for tomorrow - he's doing catering.

He will not be home till 12.30 am and will need to get up at 6.30 am.  The moral dilemma is: do I iron the said items (which I could do in 5 minutes) or do I leave it to him to start doing tonight or a 6.30 am in the morning.  This of course, would entail a lot of noise with ironing boards etc.

Yes I know he should have done this last night but as this is his first full week I can let him off with it - which means I will do it for him.

Of course he will have to get organised and do this for himself as he really doesn't do that much despite all my training! 

So as I said, my To Do list sometimes has the unpredictable.  As in business you also need to allow 'slippage' time for the unexpected!