Archive for the ‘Making progress’ Category
Dear Lovely Readers,
This is the end of my old and faithful WordPress blog. I have upgraded to a fully functioning webstore. Designed by Sorbet Design, it oozes everything I ever wanted Quincy Lampshades to be – bright, colourful, friendly and accessible. You can find out about lampshade making parties, bespoke shades, designs, trade and shop. I have many plans for my blossoming business which I will continue to share with you via the blog on my new site. Come and join me there!
(In fact, I feel terribly emotional about leaving this blog behind… I have shared my ups and downs, my ambition and mistakes. You guys have commented, liked, and read. Thank you for seeing me through.)
Over the years, me and my laptop have migrated from the sofa in front of the TV to the kitchen table. When my boys were smaller, it was important that I watched them as they sat glued to Tom & Jerry cartoons, while ideas for my lampshade business buzzed through my brain. At the close of every classic episode from the 50s, the producer’s name, Fred Quimby, would roll. Oh! That sweeping, curlicue, brush-stroke ‘Q’!
I wanted that too!
So, with a little tweak, the Quincy name was born. I had to ditch my own dull attempt of a logo and find something that would shine bright with colour, just like my lampshades.
Goodness knows how it happened, but Twitter really did produce the goods by introducing me to Ali Slater (designer and self-confessed typography geek) who being local and clever and having a great portfolio was the perfect person for the job. We agreed on a skill swap – a logo for lampshades.
Ali chose three large lampshades with translucent polypropylene diffusers and a small Black Beetles table lampshade for her home – a converted warehouse with very high ceilings. They are going to look just fab!
The lovely Quincy logo performs beautifully, don’t you think? (And are skill swaps the way to go for start-up businesses?)
A well-groomed mustache instantly ages a modern gentleman by about four years — which is not insignificant when he is baby-faced.
It also gives him an aura of mystery. Women who meet a mustachioed modern gentleman wonder: Will he sweep me off my feet or steal my purse?
Ice cream colours, duck-egg blue birdies, white cherry blossom, cherry-lipped Russian dolls and rose-laden romantic postcards all peek out of the wide window of Exeter’s Insideout store, catching the bright eyes of passers-by. (D’you know? If I didn’t make them, I’d buy them.)
I’m a lean, mean, lampshade-making machine. Record number of shades made today – I have a big order to fill. Can’t wait to line them all up to show you – they are so, so good. And when I’m not making, I’m on the laptop. My youngest son took these pics of me working – I really like them. My favourite colour? Green.
A Design Diva? Moi? I love being featured on other people’s blogs. The focus of this blog is chic living and being a business mum…
The last one of these sold today. I made it at my kitchen table this morning and it was at the post office by this afternoon, ready to begin its overnight journey to a lovely customer in London.
This was a really popular lampshade, especially with parents buying for their children’s rooms. So why did I allow it to sell out? Because, quite simply, I didn’t buy enough of the fabric and it has now gone out of print. In my search for more I found that crafting cottons such as these have ‘seasons’ – they are printed for one season only and are usually in the shops for just one or two years until they sell out. It’s very rare that they are reprinted. Sigh. So, next time I see something I love I’m just going to buy a load of it, then keep my fingers crossed that you guys love it too! Another lesson learned. Wave goodbye to our friend the Owl…
Yesterday I visited two trade shows, both at Earls Court London – Top Drawer Spring and Home. Top Drawer showcases design-led gifts, lifestyle and fashion accessories for 2012, whilst Home was all about new homewares and interiors accessories. Both of these huge bright spaces were packed with really exciting stuff – like the bestest, most loveliest shop you have ever, ever seen. Trouble being that, as an individual, you cannot buy! These shows are for retail buyers – people who decide what’s going to be sold in the shops. As an exhibitor you’re there to show off your product and pick up as many orders as you can.
If I hadn’t had a list of people to meet, products to see and a car parking limit, I could have spent a long, long time wandering the aisles. Some booths were small and peppered with a select range of the exhibitor’s products. Other spaces were huge and set out like shops, full to bursting. Each space was brilliantly lit and tendered by the designer-maker themselves or by the brand’s representatives. It was the designer-makers who caught my attention – I recognised the fascination on their faces as they watched the visitors eyeing up their wares. I recognised the nerves, the hard work, the attention they gave to each and every enquiry made - after all, this person could be placing the big order they went there to get!
I learnt some lessons -
- Must get business cards printed and carry them at all times (I introduced myself to some gorgeous fabric designers, including Thornback & Peel and Abigail Borg, but had nothing to give them).
- Must be more confident with business/trade/retail terminology (I must know what I am talking about).
- Do not attempt a trade show for another few years (I must have absolute confidence in my product, brand, business direction and ability to fulfil orders to stand tall in this very polished environment).
- Continue to use social media to follow through with contacts (a Facebook mention, a Like and Twitter follow reminds them of me and keeps me up-to-date with their work).
- It’s all in the detail. I will start using 12mm tape for the ring set rolling.
So, best of luck to Caroline from Warbeck and Cox, who I finally had the pleasure of meeting, and who found herself in the ‘Spotted’ section of the show – hurrah! (See our collaboration below.) And Lush Designs, whose work is truly luscious and who was just too busy taking a massive order for me to say hi! Take a look at their stand here.