Welcome to the blog for Embroidered Originals, where I'll keep you up-to-date with all the goings on at our little cottage industry. You can also view our website and shop online at embroideredoriginals.co.uk Marion x

Friday, 17 September 2010

The End Of An Era

Way back in 1992 when Embroidered Originals was just four years old, we decided to build ourselves a studio/workshop to be split neatly in half, one end to be my workspace and the other end to be a shop.

This is our little shop. It is tucked neatly behind our cottage and is approx ten steps from our back door! A reasonable commute to work in the morning.
We used the plan of a garage and had it customised to suit, with insulation and plasterboard walls and proper flooring.

It's really been a success, considering it's all paid for and on our own land so there is no rent or rates. We've had a few transformations too, most notably french doors which we had put in the gable end to allow more light and the chance to open it up in the summer and a rather posh awning too (although that is showing it's age a bit now).

I've had a lot of fun playing at shops - in the early days I was forever moving things around, trying out different types of display, and I even have a shop till ( childhood dreams come true!)

When it first opened, I ran embroidery classes in it two mornings a week which was a bit of a joke. Not the class itself  I hasten to add, but the space, or lack of it. There were around ten class members sat around two tables down the middle with the shop displays around the walls. So when customers came in they had to scramble around the table to see things. It all got a bit chaotic so I moved the classes into the house after a while.

Then I also organised "Open Evenings" for groups such as Ladies' Circles. Another hoot. Wine and cheese and a relaxed shopping experience, except it's hardly relaxed when thirty women are crammed in a space the size of a small kitchen and the wine is flowing! Mind you it was always fun and they were always generous in their purchases.
Oh and fond memories of individual customers....like the American lady who I found one morning before 8am standing in the middle of a pile of dirty washing on my kitchen floor. I was in my dressing gown and had just gone upstairs for more laundry. She just beamed at me and asked if she could visit my shop. When I told her I would need to get dressed she told me not to worry about that, so I let her into the shop and served her in my nightie!!
OR the lovely couple from South Africa, who had read a little piece about our shop in a Scottish tourist brochure back home, and decided it would be one of the main attractions when they came to the UK on holiday. So they caught a flight from London to Edinburgh, then a taxi the 40 miles or so to here (what must THAT have cost!) and didn't bat an eyelid when they arrived and saw just how tiny the shop was. They spent a LOT of money and went away in the taxi back to Edinburgh airport very happy.
OR the man who arrived at 5pm on Christmas Eve one year when it was pitch dark outside and I was stuffing the turkey. So I wiped my hands and opened the shop and he proceeded to do all his Christmas shopping for the female members of his family - wife, sister, aunts etc. Another good customer.
ANYWAY, where is all this going? Have you guessed the MBD (major business development) yet?
Well, I'll tell you.
(Drum roll) After 18 years of our shop open to the public, as of Friday 17th September it is going ....to....CLOSE!!!
No longer will there be a shop part anyway. No display shelves, no till, no opening hours, no early morning (and late night) visitors, no requests for personalised cards when I'm serving a family Sunday lunch,.
In a word....FREEDOM!
Freedom to take over the whole area of the workshop as just that, a workshop/studio. Where there will be a place for everything and everything in its place. (Why do I hear so many snorts of laughter, dear readers? Do you know me that well?) Well at least there will space to swing a cat, and I can't wait to sort it all out and make it a wonderful working environment, worthy of some photos here.
But WHY, you say, when you like playing shops?
Well I suppose the novelty has worn off a bit after all this time. And we're busier than ever with our trade customers, our website and mail order customers, not to mention the retail fairs we go to. Something had to give because after all we're not in our twenties anymore.
My choice was to close the shop so that our time would become our own. We can work all night if we like and then take the next day off to go somewhere.
And go somewhere we are. Firstly the Trade Show in Glasgow this weekend and then we're off on holiday to sunny California for a couple of weeks before the Christmas rush starts. Woohoo!

Friday, 10 September 2010

I Need Matchsticks...

to prop my eyes open. It's yet another ridiculously late night. (Why do I punish myself with these? It's plain crazy and I'm too old for this nonsense!) But here I am again, four minutes before midnight precisely and I'm zipping around the time wasting "social network"- Twitter and now Facebook. Gawd.
Social networking is supposed to good for promoting your business. Hmmm, well I'm sure it is for those dedicated to keeping their name up there. But it is soooo time consuming. I don't believe they can be tweeting and facebooking all day long and still be producing their work at the same rate. Either that or they are superman/woman and I'm a mere mortal.
Anyway, I think I'll wean myself off Twitter for a bit and concentrate my attention back here in my little virtual home.
Today was a real busy one with a lot of shop orders coming in for our new Christmas cards, so there's PLENTY of work to done in the next few weeks.
I've also started adding the Christmas cards to our website and you will find them here. I'd love to know what you think of them, by the way.
And that MAJOR business change I hinted at in the last post.... I'll tell all soon but I want to have some photos to go with the revelation so please be patient.

Saturday, 4 September 2010

Get Ready Folks!

Well, summer's almost over and almost like the change of the season, my thoughts have returned to my blog.
Quite a lot has happened since I last recorded anything here, and a great deal more is about to happen, including a MAJOR business decision. ( More about that later).
It's been a busy summer and things aren't likely to slow down now until after Christmas. But that's good.
I will make time to keep you up to date and I'm planning a rather long and involved post very soon.
Today I was belatedly designing Christmas cards and preparing a Brochure of them for the Trade Show coming up in a couple of weeks.
I think I'm pretty pleased with what I achieved today - the creative juices don't always flow so easily - and I've got seven new designs.
August just disappears for us because of the Fringe Craft Fair. It's an outdoor craft market at the end of Princes Street Gardens in Edinburgh, open seven days a week for three and a bit weeks.
I blogged about it last year with pictures here.
This year there was less rain, believe it or not, which means more visitors and more sales, so we were happy bunnies.
Well I'll be back soon with an explanation of that business decision - I'm off to bed tonight - yawn.
Here's a picture first though - I think it's too boring to have to read a blog with no pics!
Apropos of nothing, this is a favourite snap of our two when they were little ( a long time ago). I've always liked this picture as it seems to capture the moment so well.
Look at Nick's blond curls! I love his little baby neck and big sister Laura is so tall compared to him. She's now about ten inches shorter!
Night all.


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