We found ourselves outgrowing our previous home at the Purple Shed, but wow did we learn so much from it! Boring things like branding, advertising and marketing - you can have the best product in the world but if no-one knows you have it then you may as well give it to the cat.
So, where are we now? Well, we now find ourselves in a rather lovely and shiny converted barn on an existing farm shop site at Apley, near Bridgnorth. With my usual, yeah it'll be fine attitude we packed up our things and trundled down the road with our pitiful bunch of belongings. It was a slight shock to realise just how much extra space we had gained when what used to cram the Purple Shed didn't even make a dent in this space! You know when you move from that first one bedroom flat to a real house and think oh maybe that sofa isn't so big after all?! It was that kind of moment.
Also, we only had a few sellers with us to begin with - 3 in fact, and 8 weeks on and there are now 21 Hippo-ettes with us and they keep coming. Because it's a real shop, in terms of look, feel and layout we're managing to do rather well. Not out of the woods yet because essentially we started the Hippos with a £400 loan from my parents and been chugging along on pennies ever since. But we always knew it would work, always knew that good handcrafted items would sell and knew that there were awesome makers out there. We just had to put the open sign up and sit patiently and wait. Yes yes to the heckling from the back from those that really know me. Ok, so it wasn't that patient but given that not everyone who reads this knows me personally allow me the indulgence of pretending I was patient and horribly professional (cakes as bribery for all those that nod at this point!).
The other thing that seems to be happening is we're getting a rather lovely reputation for helping - not doing anything special, just reminding folk that they are good at what they do and offering a few suggestions along the way. Quite sure that most go home and go flip she's barking, why on earth would that be a good idea?! But can't be doing that bad as gets loads of hugs and thank yous off folk - hmm more bribery perhaps??
So, in an effort to try and be more organised I intend to update this more regularly, get the books a little straighter (any accountants reading this you really can have cake if you help). Oh, and for those of you that follow the chunterings on Twitter the BT complaint letter is coming next post - and it's a doozie!
see you all soon, and as always many many thanks for allowing the Hippos to flourish even if we do now need to get our own tractor. Hippo xx