Saturday, March 31

The Hippo knows lovely people!

I promise to blog about the shop properly soon - with all the inbetween photos of us fighting with the paint tins! But, just had to share this with you all before the thoughts go from the small brain.

We had our official opening today, and we had forgotten how lovely our friends and family truly are - apologies if that sounds awful. However, think we're all guilty of bumbling along saying oh, must call her and arrange to meet up and the day to day life gets in the way of remembering how fab our friends are.

So here's a photo taken by my fabulous friend Buffy who just happens to be an awesome photographer, and is happily mad as a badger (in a good way of course!)
l-r: Sam Kat; Clare Sherwen, me, Claire Martin

all the lovely people that agreed to be part of the first wave of the Hippos taking over the world!!

We genuinely want Little Hippo Presents to grow into a social enterprise for local crafters and artists and as luck would have it we just happen to know some rather talented crafters who are also good fun to be around - which makes life much more pleasant.

Friday, March 9

Time Management Fail!!

Err, there are only 24 hours in one day - this fact is well known to me and has been around for some time now .... so why on earth did I think getting a new shop ready, helping organise a craft fair and getting our stock ready for the craft fair would be a good plan?? Nope, beats me too! However, this is the situation we find ourselves in so it's just a case of roll up those sleeves and get cracking.

We recently took the keys to this fab little place -

near to us is a garden centre where all the retail units are set up in their own huts and it just seemed the perfect stepping stone for us at this time. We've been trading from the web, doing a few craft fairs and not doing too badly so now to jump into retail!

However, the list of things needing doing just keeps growing and growing and as per usual had I actually stopped and considered them properly then we possibly wouldn't be in this position. But, in true Hippo style of yeah, course we can do that! there was a massive leap into the unknown complete with an assortment of paintbrushes and filler. What is fabulous about this venture is that we can do what we like to the hut (within reason!) so we can truly make it the home of Little Hippo.

One aspect of the business which is growing fantastically is the idea of selling with other people and use it as a sort of community arts venture. Ultimately we would love to have Little Hippo Presents as a social enterprise supporting local artists and crafters and Chez Hippo remains as our commercial venture. That's a way off yet but as per the true Hippo logic in my brain it's only a small step away. Not even finished painting and fitting this shed out and already thinking about the next idea! Beware all of those you that have agreed to sell through us - my ideas brain just keeps going, and going, and going ......!!

Thursday, March 1

All excited now!

Ok, so it's not something that Alan Sugar would be jumping up and down about - but it's a biggie for us! We are venturing into the world of retail. Very, very small to begin with - but hopefully in time we can do ok with it. The parental support has been fantastic, if tempered with the realism of 'have you worked out your costs?' but equally playing shop is one thing as a little girl, making a shop work to bring in an income is something completely different.
 A wise friend of mine said 'if you can make something work when the economy is this depressed, just think what you can do when it picks up' and she is so right. Her words were said years ago to me, but they've always stayed in my head. Before I get carried away with dressing the place, without thinking ooh eck I need to pay for that I would like to say thank you to all those lovely people that have supported us to getting this far. New businesses start and fall by the wayside all the time, we've tried to keep true to our ethos and not just respond to faddy trends.
At the end of the day what we make is hand crafted, it does all start life as a doodle at the dining table and then you have to fight the cat off the kiln to make it. We are an old fashioned cottage industry and hope to keep it that way. Friends make the journey fun, friends pitch in with the paintbrush and if you have continually chased the bottom line of profit then you will quickly lose these friends. So a huge, huge thank you to all of you who have helped us along the way - and if we forget this then please feel free to shout up! xx