Barnstaple

Reactions

What a reaction ! The brilliant article in the North Devon Journal a few weeks back has had an amazing response, thank you to all the comments, messages and tweets, I will respond to everyone but have been in the shop almost everyday working to get it open.

I also had a great reaction at the Homemade Craft fair at St Annes in Barnstaple. Luckily my mum helped to man the stall whilst I ran back and forward with handymen and advisers. But she has told me of all the wonderful comments received and how excited everyone is.

I can not wait to open, I keep hoping things will pick up and I will be suddenly at the stage of dressing the windows but that is still a long way off. However I have had a great week for moving forward, I have running water ! a massive thank you to Andy and his team for slogging it out yesterday in the poring rain to connect the drain up and having to clamber past everyone else working in the shop. I also now have a coffee machine ! yes I know, there is still no floor but I now have the time to become practiced with this particular machine and train up all my family to help me out on busy day. 🙂 I have 90% finished the kitchen, all units are up and solid and just awaiting the finishing touches, hopefully to come this week.

So again there will be a bit of a delay between communications whilst I am in the shop, until I get internet in there 🙂 but I will reply when I get longer free to write. Oh and I should say thank you to Gill and Ali from Miles for spending a full day training us on the coffee machine, and for working around the plumbers, lack of facilities and the noisy dusty shop.

Tonia

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Almost Famous

North Devon Journal

My write up in this weeks Journal

A massive thank you to Francesca Taffs and Mike Southon for my article in today’s North Devon Journal. I cannot believe how brilliant it is. I have already had lots of messages from people who have seen it. Hopefully it will create the buzz about the business that I am aiming for.

I have had a great day today, I spent this morning with John Russell http://www.johnphoto.co.uk/ who has been wonderful enough to teach me the basics on my camera that I won with Florence Finds. Who knew how much lighting can change the texture of a product? He explained all the key elements to produce a simple but functional photo, I now need to practice with F Stops, ISOs and white balances to get the best option. See the photo below of me at John’s studio in South Molton. His commercial work is very impressive, I will be sure to get in contact with him again for promotional shots when I get to that stage.

John Russell

John and me at his studio

I got home at lunch time to find the “gift” my parents have bought me for my shop. I realise this is not something that most people get excited about but I have a brand new fully programmable till !! I am so chuffed, I was expecting to be making do with a heavy box and hand written receipts until I started having enough customers. But they believe I will have enough people in from day 1 to need a quick way of offering receipts and keeping accounts. I am so grateful that I am getting this on top of all the help they have given me. Thank  you!

Also I should mention that I got a key this week ….. woooo hoooo !!!! The builders are still in and working hard, but for those of you watching the shop the next few weeks should show bigger changes J

Finally I spent the afternoon with a mentor from South West mentors called John, who is helping me nail out some of the legal requirements and financials. So a big thank you to him for the hours he will have to spend over the next week working it out for me.

Maybe I should retitle this post as thank you ! I am sure there are lots more I need to say but might spread the rest out so that I don’t become to gushing. For all the brilliant people who have offered help, contacts and support thank you, I am a very lucky person!

October

What a long gap! Sorry for the massive delay I am pretty busy as you can imagine it’s pretty hard now to think of all the things that have happened and all the brilliant people I have met.

 

Hoopla Yarns have delivered their spools of fabric yarn, I have 12 colours, all of which I have thought of projects for, the selection of patterns on Ravelry for this yarn is massive, sadly I have to wait until I have completed some of my existing work before starting another one. The postman has been pretty busy, loads of accessories and tools have been arriving on a daily basis, prompting me to look at more display props. I don’t think I have ever had so much post it’s quite exciting, particularly as the postie is becoming inventive with where he hides the packages whilst we are out, each day I now have a treasure hunt around the garden just in case there is a parcel hidden.

This last few weeks has found me meeting people and making contacts again, I spent a morning with Karen from Middle Campscott Farm, who’s yarn I am lucky enough to stock, one of the first UK producers to have organic yarns they have beautiful natural colours. I am also hoping to have some of product she has made in the shop. I spent a long coffee break chatting with Robin Bray who is skilled with a crochet hook, having taught herself she produces brilliant gifts for her friends including minecraft characters. I am hoping Robin will be able to help me out with beginner crochet skills in the shop. I have also met a whole list of other exciting people who will bring needle felting, spinning, yarn and fleece into the shop!

 

Westpoint stitch craft show in Exeter was amazing, I went along with family and friends on the Sunday and loved it, a day there was only just enough, we caught the tarka train up from Barnstaple and enjoyed the calm mode of travel, beautiful scenery and a chance to catch up on the latest news. The show was massive, a must for all crafty people, loads of new ideas and tools to test out, demonstrations and talks throughout the day. Next year when I am open I might just have to organise a coach trip there, to give me the excuse to go again.  I have made some great contacts and hopefully taken the first steps to organising some very exciting workshops. I also met a representative from the Hand Knitting Association who have national campaigns and events, I hope to be able to coordinate with them in future.

We had a fabulous afternoon with Fiona Bates sitting in her kitchen with lumps of clay and learning about the techniques and processes we could use to create items for the shop, they are due to be fired this weekend so looking forward to seeing the results. Some were pretty experimental so there are strong chances they will crack or break in the processes. But great fun to try out a new skill, and have coffee with friends.

In the Sears household since the last blog we have now nearly completed 2 kits for beginners, 6 hand stitched aprons for wearing in the shop, padded 2 chairs, fixed up blackboards, finished the workshop table, baked several amazing cakes including a few rainbow creations, and a sample scarf from Artesano yarns. Phew seems like quite a lot when its listed thank goodness that I have managed to delegate most of it to mum and dad! ha ha

Rainbow Cake

(Originally posted 02.10.13)

Refocussed

Hello,

Well I have had a busy few weeks with work, and my savings are becoming healthier. So to balance it out I have spent more ! Now that one job is completed I am refocused on the shop.

Some of my yarns have now been ordered and paid for which is so exciting, due to be delivered in the next few weeks which will help make sure I have enough shelving. I have also been choosing which patterns to get in. Both decisions are difficult as there is so much I want, but hopefully I will have a selection that will get your creative juices flowing.

I have also been ticking boxes with the council, I am now food registered, correct usage and health and hygiene advised so hopefully I am on track to get 5 star ratings. Thanks to Alan for meeting me on site and explaining the complications of hygiene requirements so I get it right before I install anything.

Also you may have noticed my Twitter post to say congratulations to my mum Jan Sears who has opened her first exhibition with Fiona Bates in St Annes Arts and Community Centre in Barnstaple. It looks amazing we are very proud of you.

Oh and a note – mr site have fixed my poll button issue, so please vote on your favourite yarn weight and help me chose which to buy in !

(Originally posted 15.08.13)