Happy Birthday to us!!
Well a year ago today we opened at our lovely shop on the High Street in Wotton-under-Edge. Contrary to today it was a bright sunny day and enabled us to put out the bunting and our furniture on the pavement under the shop windows.
Today we have decided to close just because the weather is so awful.
However, that doesn’t mean that we aren’t still working. It’s stock taking time and having completed two rooms worth at the shop (two more to go) I shall be counting and sorting the stock that is currently in my loft (Christmas stuff), my dining room, garage and utility room!!! I sometimes feel like I live in the equivalent of Steptoe’s Yard.
Ginny will be doing her usual amazing work of catching up with logging items on to our web and Facebook pages and posting things of interest. And then there are the accounts ….. that’s her department too. I freak out having to do anything with sums or spreadsheets.
Because I am allegedly the artistic one out of the pair of us I get all the praise and as Ginny once said to me “no one ever says, wow what a beautiful spreadsheet”. That’s true of course but it’s a vital part of being in business and thank god Ginny excels at her part of the business and I love doing the creative bit.
Such a lot has happened this year and the time has just flown by. It seems ages ago now that we started the business using £1,000.00 from my savings account. Our rule was that we had to be self funding. No bank loans, no credit cards. If the money wasn’t in the business account we couldn’t have it. Simple as that and Ginny was very strict about it. So its been challenging at times but we’ve seen the business steadily grow and sleep well at night knowing that we haven’t got huge debts hanging over us.
We have a thriving Frenchic paint side to the business and of course running painting courses helps to promote that. We also found that selling the “project” furniture is a great idea. This is furniture that we source knowing it will lend itself to a Frenchic makeover and if it doesn’t sell quickly then I will do it myself and sell it on the shop floor.
Equally as we’ve grown we’ve taken on more trade accounts and are now able to offer lovely accessories and objet d’ar for the home. A lot of times its about how you dress a piece of furniture or put it together with other pieces within the home that makes it special and this is something I particularly enjoy.
Strangely even after a year in our fabulous shop I’m still not able to say with clarity what sells best. Is there a paint colour that sells way more than the others or certain styles of furniture that trend in our particular neck of the woods? The answer is no. Its so random. All I know is that there is something for everyone and in the end even the most quirky and outrageous item will appeal to someone who will just have to have it!
I do know that having your own business is not for the faint hearted and its certainly not all glamour and glory. Behind the scenes there is the effort of sourcing the furniture, going to auctions, house clearances, end of line sales, there’s the collecting and delivering of pieces and sometimes it is so heavy. I remember Ginny and I went off in the van to collect a biggish Mexican pine dresser from a lady’s house in Yate. The lady couldn’t help as she’d recently had an operation so it was down to the two of us and it was in a very cramped room so it was difficult to move in any case. We just about managed to get it out of the house and as we were trying to lift/drag it across the lawn to the van Ginny said “i resign”. It made me laugh to the point where lifting it into the back of the van was near impossible but we did it somehow. I’ve grown muscles where I didn’t know they existed before. I’ve also ended up in A&E with cuts and bruises and had stitches whilst performing my job and using power tools etc. Its certainly not glamorous. Nails….. what are they? Gone are the days of glossy nail varnish and beautiful clothes!!
But would I change it …. no I don’t think I would. If I won the lottery tomorrow I would still want to paint furniture and I’d still want to interact with the public.
And then there are the people you meet…. the locals who start off as customers but become friends, the local business owners of the town who are always there for each other and the amazing Wotton Auction Rooms right on our door step with all their lovely friendly helpful staff. The people of Wotton have been fantastic. So supportive and encouraging. They make it all worthwhile.
So would we do it again …… you betcha!!