Monday, January 21

Dreaming is what Hippo does best

Apologies for not posting for a while, been slighty chaotic inside the small brain lately!

Ok, so where have we got to? We now have over 40 makers in the shop, not exactly setting the retail world on fire but it is taking off.  We're seeing lots of returning customers and they love the stories behind our makers.  Who wouldn't? They are so varied and each maker arrived at us through such unique routes it's fascinating.

Craft fairs, again getting there.  We struggled a little last year because footfall wasn't the greatest at some events but as always we take the criticism on board, listen to the grumps and try and put them right.  We know that the venue is critical, but balancing the accessibility against venue is tricky on times.  Had an interesting conversation with our newest Hippoette about this on Sunday, and thankfully the crafters see all the hard work we put in and just feel flat for us that sometimes the venues don't seem to be as supportive as they could be.  So we are trying to be more realistic.  Stick to those that are working, try new ones for a while but need to be a little more business minded and cut them if they don't work.

I have also discovered that I am now getting bored! Not that the shop isn't great, and loving what it's achieving but I didn't set out to be a shopkeeper.  Nothing wrong whatsoever in being a shopkeeper but we're starting to get some serious interest from economic regeneration teams around our area and that part really gets me excited.  The thought of being able to create something of a meaningful scale is just too tempting to my brain.  I've already had talks with a few people about expanding the Hippos and if we can get it to work, my goodness it will be awesome for everyone.

One thing I've tried to stay away from on here and on FaceBook is the politics of it all.  However, think it's reaching that stage now where you kind of need to hear some of it.  So, for all of you that just want pictures of the cat - log off now!

One aspect of work that is particularly frustrating for many is having no control over their own destiny, even William Morris recognised this one.  And for us as the Hippos what we are trying to achieve is a working craft village where they do start to take control of their own work.  For some it may not work, but the chance to try it is something that just seems too far off for many and that needs to change.  We're not trying to say we are the only ones that can do this, however we are finding that folk trust the Hippo idea, feel confident to ask the questions and we have seen some amazing growth from so many Hippoettes that it would be fantastic to offer that out a little more. 

So, the small brain will continue to come up with random ideas - some will work some will just be too bonkers to consider.  But think about this for a second, if no-one ever tried something so silly we wouldn't have aeroplanes or radio or other such amazing inventions and ideas.  The dreamers are needed, but thankfully I have a lovely sensible group around me to flesh out details into something manageable.  Hippo xx