It's been a while.
I love the idea of writing, but my discipline leaves a lot to be desired.
Take this blog entry, for example. I have started, deleted and rewritten that first sentence ten or fifteen times (honestly, and this is the best I came up with). I know that something written is better than nothing written. And yet, every time I write I critique each sentence to death. The end result is that I write far less frequently than I intend to.
Anyway, this is to say - sorry (as if anybody cares) - I had intended to share much more of what we're doing, what's been going on, and how things have been going. So here are three (make that four) notable things that have changed in the last few months.
We've experimented with listing our store on Etsy and Amazon, and have settled on Amazon for the time being. I know, I know, they're a big corporate monstrosity. While they take a hefty slice of any sale, the listing process is much faster and slicker, allowing you more customisable options, which is particularly useful for our range.
Our main sales continue to be through scribbledsquirrel.shop. We have moved to a Wix platform - the integration with social media advertising and integrated customer management system is fantastic for a small business. A really usable phone app which allows us to respond to customer queries and review orders while out and about - necessary when juggling the shop with lockdown childcare responsibilities. Since we rebuilt the website I took the opportunity to simplify our product range and update the photography. Hopefully you have noticed a cleaner, more airy feel to the design.
New and Retired Products
We've introduced some new bar keyrings and pendants, which can be personalised with handwriting or heartbeats. We've also added the option to include a swivel lobster clasp on our keyrings which has been really popular. Because our keyrings have always been a best seller I wanted to increase our range of non-jewellery products. Since March we've included fridge magnets, pin badges and brooches which can be personalised with your own drawings. Like the keyrings these have been really popular as gift items. Once we've finalised a design we'll also be offering them to be personalised with your own handwriting.
Our framed products were retired during the lockdown when queuing at the Post Office wasn't very appealing - the plan is to have them back up for sale before Christmas. Before Covid-19 struck we were making a lot of marathon and race mementos, we've been pretty quiet on that front since all the races were cancelled. We may reintroduce them when events are back up and running, or perhaps sell them only through Amazon.
We've also made some colour changes - turquoise has always been a favourite amongst customers so we have kept that, as well as purple and peach, and added a mint green. White, black and grey are out - they were never as popular and don't fit as well with our cheerful, fun design. We're working on getting you some shimmering metallic colours to add to the current options - we'll let you know as soon as they are ready to go!
Schools & Nursery Reward Scheme
We're in the process of launching a reward scheme for schools and nurseries - it even has it's own dedicated page on our website, which I would love you to take a look at! We'll be inviting schools and nurseries to sign up to the reward scheme - they'll receive their own unique code - each sale made using their code will give them a 15% commission and the buyer a 5% discount. Fundraising is hard work at the best of times, but with the current restrictions on gatherings many organisations will find their usual plans are no longer going to work. We hope our reward scheme can play a part in plugging that gap.
As an environmental manager in my professional work I've always been conscious of running Scribbled Squirrel in a way that minimises, so far as possible, our environmental impact. Happily as a small business our impact is relative minimal - we have very little waste, a minuscule water and energy use, and most of our travel is undertaken by foot. But there were a couple of areas I wanted to do more - the most pressing being our raw materials.
Although our pieces are designed to be keepsakes and be treasured for a lifetime they will, obviously, at some point need to be disposed of. Resin printing is a rapidly developing field for small scale manufacturers, when I started carbon-based plastics dominated the market but there has been a move to introduce plant-based and degradable alternatives. After testing alternative resins we made the switch to using exclusively bioresins some months back. We've made some adjustments to the manufacturing process to account for the different properties of the resin, but the final result is now virtually indistinguishable from the original product. We'll always try to make environmental improvements wherever they are possible.
So that's that. Until next time!