London Baby – later that day

I am posting images that I need to credit. I will come back to these and do it. I dont have access to my notebook. Sorry .

The show was truly massive. We arrived as it was opening and immediately felt under dressed. Wow some swanky people attend these things.

We went into the interiors hall first. We had gone to find new girts for Hung Gallery so felt we would leave that until last. We thought we would rip around the interiors area and then cruise the gifts section…then at 3pm leave to catch the Tate Modern.

But as it was our first time at this show we didnt know how big it was. Or how boring it could get. Dont get me wrong….We loved it and there were so many lovely things, but lovely is a little insipid isnt it? And I am afraid there wasnt a lot to make you gasp or even just a ‘must have’. I thought that perhaps everyone is playing safe due to the current climate ?

anyhoo . enough chat and on with the images…We stopped for tea ..off course to gather our energy and had a lovey Scottish treat……

I could go on about each photo..What I liked and what I didn’t, but we would be here for ever. I am always quite critical of layout and function. I am drawn in by how its presented and then how works. I hate getting ‘stuck’ in a stand, I don’t like stupid layouts where if two other people are looking you have to hang about waiting to see.

Food and bags on stands are a total no no to me. I don’t mind coffee etc…but its a show case of your work…have some pride. ( and take a tote to hide it in) if you can’t be organised with your stand how will you be organised with my order?

Maybe I should have split it into the good the bad and the ugly. But you know what you are looking at and can decide for yourself.

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London Baby – Top Drawer

Eeeekkk we are country bumps. We traveled to the show from Euston Station. At rush hour….Pah. Idiots.

It was scary fun…if you know what I mean. How people do it every day I just don’t know. Also we were struck by people demeanor…sullen, in their own bubble and rushing like ants. We were pushed, tutted and  felt on the underground…eeeeuuuw. But it was kinda fun.

Anyhoo…. Top Drawer. I am just going post a few pictures and talk about them today. More tomorrow etc.

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Beautiful window displays

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There is always time for tea

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This was so inspiring. The chunky knits were amazing.

The show was really REALLY big.

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London Baby…the next morning

I wasn’t going to post until after we had been to the show……but grrrrrr. Had a great nights sleep. The sheets were fresh and the bed was great. I was up early -6.30 and I like a cup of tea first thing. I had checked that the dining carriage was 24hr so I was happy to head along and grab the opportunity to charge Ingrids’ phone at the plug point in the dining room.

When I arrived a steward was just sitting. The door to the kitchen was open but no one inside. I assumed the steward was from the kitchen but he didnt even aknowledge me until I eventually asked if I could have a tea… Yes kettle, cup, bag, spew HT milk. Not hard. He barked at me that the steward I wanted was doing his till and paperwork. That I would be getting tea in my berth at 7. Disappointing considering this is the time you get up and want tea? Why not do it sooner or later? Others drifted in as I sat waiting for the phone to charge and they got the same barked comment.

Would it really hurt to just get the kettle on? They take your money everywhere else… but can afford to turn away 10 or so sales? no one actually came to the table with the paperwork on it in the 1/2 hr I was there.Image

London baby

Woohoo.

We are off to London to Top Drawer . I have wanted to go for years and now its really happening. I am going with Ingrid our new Intern (she is amazing) to source new makers and as a learning trip for Ingrid.

Ingrid

Ingrid

We are going on the sleeper which travels straight from Inverness to London over night and you can take a berth. Its not cheap…not at all, but you can find deals if you keep looking on the booking website. Also it means we are traveling over night and ARRIVE EARLY. So we have the day at the show and hopefully the Tate Modern then back on the sleeper…no accommodation costs. Super.

Our berth is fantastic with everything you could need. Two bunks, lots of shelves, a sink and little tables at each bunk. Sadly there is NO plug so no charging phones or plugging in your lap top, which really stupid in these times. There are plugs in the dining carriage so we will check that out soon.

our berth

our berth

cosy

cosy

We have just been to the dining carriage ….. the steward was horrible to us. We were told by the steward in our berth carriage that we had to hand a slip to the dining steward to book and pay for breakfast….this isn’t the case seemingly. So he ripped into us in front of everyone in the carriage. We were so embarrassed.  Then when we asked for a receipt he snapped ‘are you going to have anything else tonight?’ confused we said probably and he said we needed to get it there and then as he didn’t want to have to write more receipts!!!!

It was very intimidating and not how you expect to be treated when you know how much the tickets cost! We drank our tea in silence and scuttled back to our room. Ingrid managed to get a little charge in her phone. but still no internet to upload my post. Pretty disappointing really. You get wifi on Megabus!!!

The bothy project

The bothy project

Stuff I have been working on

Now that Crochte incoming to an end I have been feeling a bit lost. I am no good at doing nothing. (not that there is nothing to do. Selling, website updates, accounts etc.) but I feel a bit lost.
Not for long.
Crochte has been very successful for some of the artist/makers and customers have LOVED it. I have been asked by both to do a Christmas popup . Especially customers. I remind them that the website is there for a year and that there are some amazing pieces that would make great presents, but some people like to see it ,buy it.
I don’t want to be manning a shop on my own again and so doing a pop up is actually the last thing I want to do for a while. I also have a lot of other work on and so would rather not be tied down 7 days 10-5.30.
So what to do? Mmmm
Well I have an idea. I would like to use the empty windows around town to display local work and produce. Have a website and QR coding system to order for delivery or details of how to visit makers etc to see it, buy it. I think it would brighten up the street and make a great use of the empty windows.
What do you think?

I wonder how ba…

I wonder how bad things are going to get?

All around me there are big name shops closing as well as independents and I have a feeling that the usual ‘Golden 1/4’ = Christmas, is going to come in bronze. If we have a really bad Christmas in retail the next year sees closures and our high street and centre can’t take that.

Inverness as a city has little to offer visitors other than its ‘culture, history and beauty’ Which lets face it only really appeals to tourists from outside Britain. We need to take lead from places that have carved themselves a niche.

Westkilbride has chosen to go down the craft route http://www.crafttownscotland.org/  

Wigtown book town. http://www.wigtown-booktown.co.uk/

Aviemore – the great outdoors

Brighton – arts, gay culture.

I think if Inverness is not to grind to a halt then we need to start thinking about our USP now. I think relying on tourism to heavily will be disastrous going forward. We are competing with so many other historic, beautiful, shopping bland destinations.

As a retailer I am very worried about the next year (and beyond)

 

This is my version of meditation. I take a minute to crochet a heart.

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Today…..

Today I am in Crochte. My pop up gallery in a shopping mall. We have been here since the 1st of June and run until the 4th of October.

It has been absolutely brilliant. I have enjoyed everything other than the hours. The centre is open 7 days and I started with a partner who just couldn’t take the commitment, so I am doing it by myself. LONG LONG hours.

I also have the website to update as I couldn’t afford to have some one else do it. We change area and artists every two weeks and so the site changes too. That’s a lot of expensive man hours…. so DIY it is.

It has to be done after we shut as you have to concentrate, it crashes and sticks if you take to long ( stop to serve etc) and I loose my ‘flow’. I LOVE updating it. I am nerdy and love everything in its place etc. So when I get it right I don’t care that I am up ’til 1am doing it. ( I think I would have loved to be a web designer if I could turn back time)

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This is how it looks today. Not my favourite layout, but there you go.

I have loads of amazing makers in this session.

20120821-130845.jpg This is by Chris ( the Simpsons artist) his work is fantastic.  Check him out on www.facebook.com/TheSimpsonArt   It will make your day!

I better go serve. BBFN

I have technology…and I am not afraid to use it!

I have an IPad. It has taken me ages to catch up. Everyone around me has been app ing and the like and I have been struggling with my stupid phone . 

But I didn’t get the pad for the apps. I have an IZettle. A WHAT? An IZettle. It allows me to take credit cards anywhere. No set up fee. Just 2% commission and the money goes in my bank straight away. No reclaiming or waiting a month.  

It slots in to the charger slot and reads the chip on the card. It sends a receipt to the customers phone or email instantly. 

I think since we got it there are now other devices. World pay have their own version. 

It has been really useful and we have used it at fairs….brilliant. 

So now I am using the IPad to blog. I feel connected again. 

Yeah. Maybe I will be better at it now.