Thursday, 14 July 2011

Flaming Busy June!

It’s Bastille Day, warmish, nearly sunny and quiet in the house. So what am I thinking about this mid-July day?

Christmas – obviously!

If you are of a sensitive disposition you may wish to re-tune now.

Actually I am going to dwell for a moment on what the last month has held for me as it has been hectic to say the least and involved all of the following: a day trip to Phoenix Trading Head Office in London, the temporary loss of an E-Class Mercedes in a Gatwick short term car park (see explanation below), a delicious meal and a meeting with David’s charming future in-laws in St Andrews, an opera in Southampton, 9 hot days on the Cote d’Azure, a whiz up to London for Bridesmaid’s shoes, hair and dental appointments, a mere 15½ scintillating hours in my car over 2 days with a meeting and lunch in Wolverhampton followed by my car breaking down, a 21st Birthday party in East Yorkshire, a day trip to Gatwick for our Christmas launch, a Freshwater Pearls and cards evening, two test drives of new cars (not bought – ‘old’ car repaired as still under warranty), a strawberry tea with cards in aid of Kent Air Ambulance, a comedy night at The Stag, a Southampton University Orchestra concert, dinner at the Three Mariners, Faversham.

Life – don’t talk to me about life!

Most of it was of course rather fabulous and fun. I got a tan too. Beware Gatwick though – they are at liberty to move your car in your absence (on some kind of trolley, since you ask, into a disabled bay) and they don’t even leave a note to say what they have done let alone apologise for it and the fact that having set off the alarm (doh!) your battery is now as flat as a proverbial pancake. Taxi home to Sevenoaks anyone? (Thank you Nightingale Travel)

I am quite sure that employed people who have to ask for days off and cannot gallivant to this extent must be green with envy at this itinerary. The grass always is greener on the other side isn’t it? So I shall not complain about the ironing and metre high grass back at home! It is remarkably green actually.

I am now fully recovered from all that and am pleased to announce that I am ready for battle, no, I mean Christmas, I feel as though the last month has lasted about 6 times that. I have no desire to sleep anywhere but my own bed and am very pleased that I’ll be here (probably in bed) until Nick’s wedding next month.

As you can see I have also taught myself how to insert hyper-links and gay abandon hardly comes close to describing the manner with which I have already managed to sprinkle them here.

So down to work now – planning for the Christmas season starts now and anyone wanting to get a seriously good discount on their Phoenix order should contact me asap.

For the Phoenixers among you – I am still not putting my cards in cellophanes, though I do understand that some of you doing outdoor events feel it is a necessary precaution. Hopefully we’ll do most of our selling indoors from September and you can wean yourself off the cellophane for the busy time ahead.

I will just mention that the new range is something special – it is more expensive than last year – isn’t everything? But Phoenix do print all our cards in the UK and supporting UK industry comes at a cost. Sad to tell, many large card publishers have deserted the UK for overseas printers to keep their prices down. Our Christmas cards are charity cards as always, and I will be supporting Venture Trust again this year at my ‘At Home’ events. I will be very happy to help any charity that asks me though and I am already booked to do a local event for Action for Children, among others. Always happy to do more – especially the small ones.

Back to posting out the few remaining summer supplements I have to customers who haven’t heard a peep out of me for months. Ah – a peaceful job with no brain input required. Mailing out the Christmas brochure in a couple of months might be a bit less relaxing – Harriet Lynch – do you fancy helping me out again?

If you would like to be on my mailing list and receive your own personal brochure – let me know. I will just say however that the whole range is available to view on-line – aha, I feel another link coming on here: my website. Christmas IS coming but not quite yet. Promise I’ll let you know just as soon as it is but in the mean time – shall we just enjoy the summer?

…exits to the tune of ‘in an English Country Garden stage left.

Monday, 6 June 2011

It's June and it's Raining

Well here's a turn up for the books - it is raining in Kent for pretty much the first time this year and I am finally doing a follow up to my very first ever blog. What a remarkable Monday this is turning out to be. No gazebo action this weekend - just a lovely concert by the Southampton University Symphony Orchestra with my daughter on principal flute. One day I will learn how to insert photos into this and I'll be showing her off all over the place - bet you can't wait!

To be honest I have been somewhat paralysed and awed by the success (well, I was pleased with just short of 300 page views!) of my first attempt and the real proof was always going to be whether anyone would want to take a second look. I was impressed with the breadth of hits from all over the world too. How amazing to be able to see exactly how many people had opened the page and where they were when they did it. Isn't technology extraordinary? I'm making myself feel a bit nervous again now.

It's going to be quite short for various reasons - not least my nails are too long for typing easily and I have lots of stuff to do at Bluewater: the pull of the shops is massive. No really - I am in the mood for shopping. As are my customers, which is cool. How superficial do I sound? Don't answer that!

How am I selling my cards so well at the moment? Here's another turn up for the books: NO cellophanes. There. I said it. I have got so fed up with cellophaning my cards I have literally stopped dead. Sunayana and I had a chat and she told me she had stopped as it was making her back sore. I have stopped because I didn't have time to do it and it is expensive and boring. I'd rather spend my money on 100 supplements than 3 packs of cellos.

When I took the March release out and displayed it all on the A frame stand in packs of 5 of each design I noticed customers were chatting about the quality and look of the cards far more than I had heard before AND they (you!?) were buying 2 or 3 of each card. I tried the same again with the May cards (to be honest this sounds more like a strategy than it really was) and sales were even better.

I added 5 butterfly cupcakes cards to my stand - sold out! Same for anemones, the union jack with heart, fairy mice, butterfly wishes, knickers and camper vans. Our cards are really gorgeous you know!

So - now you can try this out. If you are a customer and would like a 'naked' (I mean no plastic coverings for the cards, obviously) display in your own home for an hour or two to share with friends and neighbours, even family - call your local Phoenix trader or me!

Cards going out unaccompanied in baskets however, different matter - I still cellophane those. I use an able-label or a sticker from to seal them with contact details on. Also if you have accident prone pets or small children and nowhere to store the cards safely, cellophaning them may be wise. Phoenix fans - do you fancy borrowing a basket for your office or just to play shops for a day or two?  We can raise funds for charity this way too. Contact a nearby trader and see what she or he can put together for you. No nearby trader? Well alright, you can call me.

My fundraising efforts are focused on Children's Hospices this week - if you would like to get involved I would love to hear from you.

One last thing - new photo about to go on my 'about me' page of my website ( taken only last week in Paris. Oh yes - I am a jet-setting Phoenix trader! Bisous to my French team.

Speak soon! A bientot!


PS M25 blocked between here and Bluewater - hmm. More weather related comments withheld here. We do have a lovely umbrellas card though! Will have to get on with some supplement posting... Customers might like to receive their orders too I suppose.

Monday, 23 May 2011

Windy Monday

Here we are half way through Monday and almost half way through the year!
I was practically blown half way across Kent yesterday - 2 gazebos sadly lost their fight to survive. Mine was damaged but I am told some replacement organs are available and rescue is feasible. I sold lots of party invitations and got a booking for the summer in an open garden - take a look at and see the charities we can help through selling our cards. I also re-booked to do the Christmas bazaar at the same school and arranged to drop off some brochures for the committee and those who didn't brave the gale force winds to be with us.
We are more than half way through Butterfly Tea Party month supporting Children's Hospices UK Only 10 days to go, but don't worry - to make even the smallest contribution you can still order some of the fabulous cards featured in the charity campaign. Do make a special effort to do this as every little helps, as they say. You can order all 12 of the cards as a set which sells for £12. Obviously the cards can be bought singly if you prefer.
While you are ordering, calling all Phoenix Traders - remember to book your place at a summer road show - I will be at Wolverhampton, York, Huntingdon and Gatwick to catch up with as many of my Phoenix team as I can. I have two spare seats in my car for Gatwick - anyone coming with me from Sevenoaks? It costs £7 for your lunch. Starts at about 9.30, all over for 4.30pm. The 2011 Christmas card artwork will be on display. Guests welcome.
I am going to visit Head Office in June. It's a great opportunity to chat to the staff who look after our orders, to meet and have lunch with the directors, see artwork under consideration for the up-coming releases in a small group and have a glimpse into how the company works. Lift on offer from Sevenoaks.
Take a look at your diary - what is happening after half term? Now would be a great moment to book a lovely lazy summer afternoon with cards and strawberry scones, or later into the evening with cards and Pimms, or stick to the morning with cards and coffee. You don't need to have hordes of people, caterers or bunting - a few friends, a basket of top quality cards round a pot of coffee and a packet of hobnobs will do the trick perfectly.
Next team meeting will be Monday June 13th, 9.30am coffee, 10 - 12noon, my house. 
See you then!