Sunday, 27 March 2011

Not just shelves

Yes, we finally have shelves!


This might not seem particularly exciting to the outside world, but it means that we can finally get some of that stock out of boxes and up on display. Then come the difficult decisions...for example, Disney princesses with the girly stuff, or the Disney stuff? It's a hard life.


We also have our sign up. This makes things start to feel very real indeed. We need to find a matching shade of outdoor paint to cover up the knackered existing turquoise paintwork soon.


You might have noticed I missed doing my usual update last weekend. That's because it was super-hectic, in a good way. We invited some friends round to do a test run - trying out the paints, brushes, bisque etc. I'm so glad we did it, not only because it was great fun, but it really helped us see what we needed to provide, particularly in terms of wet-wipes, aprons and such.

It was fantastic to see how much the kids (and possibly the grown-ups too!) enjoyed choosing and painting the pieces, and we're really grateful to them all for coming along.


What's left to do then? What's not left to do! Create a website, put more shelves up, put together a window display, deal with a mountain of paperwork, fix the tablecloths to the tables, relocate the coffee machine...well, if I go on any more, I'll start to feel dizzy.

Not to mention painting up about 40 more samples.

We are still waiting to hear whether we've been granted planning permission for our change of use on the property (apparently there are 'quite a few applications ahead of us in the queue'), which considering how much we have yet to do, isn't the biggest disaster in the world!  And the good news is that I finished up in my 9-5 job on Friday, and am looking forward to dedicating myself to the shop full-time.


Sunday, 13 March 2011

Exciting progress

Lots of exciting things have happened in the last week.

Firstly, we took delivery of our first big order from one of the suppliers we're using for bisque and other equipment. Not only does this mean that we now have a stonking great kiln in the back of the shop:
(Check out that control panel! The manual is about the size of the Yellow Pages...)
 But we've also been able to start painting up samples for the shop! Here's a sample of our handiwork - we've started with the kids stuff which is basically like fun colouring-in, and are just moving on to decorating bowls, plates and mugs having got used to the techniques, which brushes to use, etc. You'll notice the colours look very pale and dull - this is part of the fun of ceramics painting, as when glazed and fired they'll be transformed to bright, glossy colours.
(Yes, poor Snow White does look a little goggle-eyed... I still need a little practice doing eyes!)

The shop itself is a hive of chaos activity at the moment.

The sign arrived this week, and just needs to be installed on the shop-front - quite a tricky job which may well test K's fear of heights!
Enormous, isn't it?

The walls are now painted, with a lovely purple colour in the front window area and back section:

And, possibly (sadly) the most exciting thing to me, we got our tablecloths - polkadot vinyl, to bring a another splash of colour to the place.
Now I just have to work out a way of taping them to the tables...

Aaand finally, the holding page is up on our website! We still need to do the proper site, but it's great to have something, anything there. You can find it at, but it's pretty hard to find through a google search at the moment as I haven't done any of the techie stuff which needs doing behind the scenes yet.

I think that's quite enough for one week... We should hear by the 26th if our planning permission has gone though, so keep your fingers crossed for that, and with any luck we should be able to open in April. Time to start recruiting some customers!

Sunday, 6 March 2011

The Delivery is Nigh

Hurrah! We finally placed our first big stock order of bisque and equipment, among which is the kiln - very exciting. It took a lot of work, and much weighing-up of the merits of mega-monster T-Rex figurines vs. Princess Cupcake trinket boxes and the like.
As you can see from this picture, yes, colour-coded spreadsheets did get involved.

Once the stock arrives tomorrow, we'll be able to get started painting up samples for the shop - I can't quite describe how much I'm looking forward to this part of the job!

A slightly less enjoyable, but equally important part of the process has been absorbing as much knowledge about running a small business as possible. We've also been getting some great advice from friends and family, and my Devon Libraries card has been working flat out giving me access to some very nerdy business books, whilst K is doing the sensible thing and tracking down a good accountant.
Light reading

Makes for exciting bus reading though...(well, when compared to my Pass Your Driving Theory Test book anyway.)

Hopefully over the next week we'll have some sample pieces painted up ready to show you. If anyone has any ideas for designs, I'd love to hear them!