2016 – Where did that go?
2017 is here and it feels somewhat unreal that we are one more year down! It goes without saying that 2016 was another big year in the Shaw household and I am really pleased with what we have achieved with Blue Ticking. With the business we set ourselves various goals which were both financial and creative. We wanted to try some new things and also consolidate what we do. When there is so much going on both personally and professionally it’s commonplace to focus more on all the things that frustrate you or you haven’t quite achieved. I therefore have to have a good word with myself so that I can look back and see all the things that we HAVE done as opposed to haven’t. The major things we wanted to tick off last year were:
- Feature in a national magazine in some capacity
- Refine our products to focus on what really works for us
- Try something different like a pop up shop
- Really shout about The Maggie
- Find a new work space
- Increase sales and our social media audience
We have achieved all of the above but one! The better workshop spaces still eludes us, but on a positive we have made the current space bigger which has made working in the barn a lot easier. It has also meant we could increase the photography area which has enabled me to get better angles etc of products! I don’t think this will combat the long term issue of space or better facilities, and it certainly won’t stop the fairly frequent meltdowns (from me obviously, not John!) but it does provide a bit of a stop gap until we find the right space. It’s a big jump for us so it has to be right and have some future proofing so we aren’t having to move again for a while.
We had a photoshoot at our house at the beginning of June and the feature should appear in a rather brilliant interiors magazine this spring. John and I were somewhat out of our comfort zone with this, having never done a photoshoot before, but we are rather chuffed with the results and hopefully you will enjoy reading the article and seeing the photos too! We are also very well aware of the potential micky taking opportunities this will present our good friends with!!! Don’t hold back 😉
Pop Up Shop
In August our concession at Manns of Cranleigh came to an end. What was only meant to be 6 months turned into a year and it was a great opportunity for us to build our customer base and brand in the area which we live. It also provided some great learning and gave us the confidence to think about trialling some other things like pop up shops. In November we therefore decided to have a pop up at The brilliant Medicine Garden in Cobham. We chose two dates relatively close to Christmas and basically went for it! It was a lot of work both in terms of promotion, getting the goods ready and of course on the day, but it was a great success. It gave us the opportunity to shout about Blue Ticking to a new audience and again try something new.
In my blog this time last year I wrote about one of our new products, the enamel pot seat and how excited I was about it. We knew we were onto something good, but we were aware that we hadn’t quite got the assets to really sell it and showcase it’s brilliantness. We therefore set about changing this and one of the things we decided to do was commission a short video. We were once again thrown into the realms of the unknown and I felt rather anxious about the whole thing. We launched it in November and the response has been amazing and I feel particularly proud of the results. It shows off the product brilliantly and it feels particularly special because it features both Maggie and Edith.
You will notice the name has changed too! Surprisingly we weren’t overly taken with ‘enamel pot seat’ and wanted to think of something that had more meaning and a playful feel! Our youngest daughter is called Maggie and all of her wonderful traits seem to tally with the Enamel seat so that was that! We now are under a bit of pressure to name something ‘The Edith’ because our eldest has totally cottoned onto the fact she hasn’t got anything as yet! Watch this space 🙂
We want The Maggie to be huge so look out for more wonderful things happening with this great product!
Financial goals and audience building
Obviously one of the big drivers is to increase sales year on year. We have done this and by some margin. We have also built a bigger presence on social media and instagram in particular has worked really well for us and is a platform we want to target more. In a nutshell; more people know about us, more people are buying our products and more people are shouting about us. I’d say that was worthy of a few drinks on New Years Eve!!
The Shaw Family
There have been lots of personal highs as well. John boy turned the big 40, Miss Edith finished her first year at school and started horse riding lessons; we had two wonderful family holidays and even managed our first family camping trip (albeit for one night and literally up the road, just as well because we forgot all the bedding!) Oh and I have kept running and we even got to see Adele in concert to boot! There have been endless country walks and strolls along the beach, sunday lunches and fun nights out with friends and simple evenings in watching trashy TV! Amazing and special moments combined with the wonderful every day. So many happy memories I will cherish.
You cannot of course ignore all the weird, unexpected and heartbreaking world events, but i’m desperate to focus on the positives, so very much hoping for a calmer 2017! We have more special birthdays coming up, Miss Maggie starts school and of course exciting things are a foot with Blue Ticking. One of the first things I will be working on are some open days at the barn. It will be chance to welcome all of our wonderful customers and followers into our hidden treasure trove and you can find out a bit more about us and our brilliant products. More details coming soon 🙂