Wednesday 30 June 2010

My daily outing!

I am very lucky to be busy enough to visit the post office so often that now all the staff know me and are always friendly and helpful. But lately it's a daily occurrence and busier still since the arrival of our new catalogue.

Our first mail drop went today - slightly delayed as we had to get all our new products up on our website first and partly because we now have so many stockists, we need to develop a database (lots of typing!!!) more to post out by the end of the week - so don't worry if you haven't got yours yet.

Trouble is, the queue behind me!

''Never look back!'' is my new motto, as the annoyed sighs are very audible as I empty the contents of my bags onto the scales.

Sunday 27 June 2010

And the winner is.....

So England lost and are out of the World Cup but we have a winner!!

Thank you so much to all of you who took the time to leave a comment - your time and effort is very much appreciated and has given me plenty to think about in the future.

So the winner, randomly drawn from the hat is.............

You commented on chickens - maybe you'll choose
our new set of postcards as part of your prize!

Please get in touch , so we can sort out all your goodies!

And, once again,

to all of you who took part.


Friday 25 June 2010

How it all began..

I am often asked how it all began and now that we are celebrating our 2nd birthday I have been thinking back to the beginning.

We had just finished doing up our house and for the first time ever, I had a designated studio space for me. A space where I could start a project, leave it out and go back to it, without little fingers getting in the way!

The children were now both at school and having gone back to teaching full time a year previous, I had made the decision to work part time and not be so stressed. Part time teaching work meant I had a couple of days a week where I had the house and my studio to myself!

I often made cards for friends and it was their encouragement that led me to get my first set of cards printed locally at St Andrews Press in Wells. I had only been a once a year customer before, getting the yearly Christmas card printed, but I plucked up the courage to get 600 of 8 different designs printed.

I figured the worst case scenario would be family and friends would receive the same cards for birthday etc for the rest of their years! The cupcake , still a favourite now, was my very first design. I cautiously approached a few local gift shops I frequented and asked advice about pricing etc and was immensely pleased when the gorgeous Maddie Browns in Wells and the Golden Goose in Frome agreed to stock my cards.

With increased confidence and aware that I needed to get more products made, I next designed a range of 16 postcards. This way I could get more designs on show and brave the next step - the world of craft fairs. I enjoyed a round of local summer fete's and craft shows and approaching Christmas, held my first Open House. The photo below looks so sparse compared to all the products we make today!

We started a blog and had an attempt at our first website - which led people from further afield to start discovering the dots and spots label. Once we had enough products, we had our first catalogue printed and were able to approach more shops and look more professional. As my Granny put it 'it's no longer a hobby!' .

I am very lucky to have a very supportive husband who totally believes in me and dots and spots and is a huge contributing factor behind the scenes to get us where we are now. He is in charge of the ever changing / developing website, keeps a very close eye on the finances - making sure I don't get carried away and has most recently developed our trade shop for our increasing numbers of trade partners. A year ago, I took the plunge and gave up my teaching job to concentrate on the business full time.

Just yesterday I took delivery of 1000 *NEW* catalogues - 20 pages of dots and spots goodies. I thanked the printers as I always do but was delighted to hear Tim the owner tell me, that he thought I was a good example of how to grow a business slowly and successfully! Praise indeed. I wouldn't be in this position today without their help and support.

3 weeks today will see dots and spots reach yet another milestone - we will be exhibiting at our very first trade show - a HUGE step for us, which is both equally exciting and petrifying! but that's another blog post!

So there you have it - the story of how it all began! I'm loving dots and spots and the whole process we have gone through to get to where we are today. I read the above and feel I've made it all sound too easy but it has been a mixture of hard work and fun, with a few tears and headaches along the way. As with any business I wish I had more money to do all the things I'd like to do but maybe slow and steady is the best way! Fingers crossed I'll be updating you all every birthday of our growing and continuing success.

So a huge thank you to you all for your support, friendship and custom and I hope you will continue to share in our journey into the future.

Wednesday 23 June 2010

Cover Girl Status!

So I need to say a huge thank you to the very talented and creative Dee Paramour.

A while ago, she got in touch saying she had an idea for using our new tape in some card designs. I must admit at the time I had no idea what to expect - WOW! I could never have imagined using the tape in this way - all the designs look absolutely fabulous. They are featured in the July edition of the very popular 'Making Cards' magazine that can be bought on-line or from good craft shops.

Step by step instructions give you no excuse not to give these fabulous cards a go and of course the tape can be purchased from our website.

Maybe you feel inspired to come up with some of your own designs.We would love to see them if you do!

for beautiful decorative tape, and more!

Sunday 20 June 2010

Happy Birthday to us!

Happy Birthday to dots and spots!

Today we are 2!

And to celebrate I'm giving away over £60 of dots and spots goodies to one lucky reader.

Its amazing how much we've grown since my very first, tentative footsteps into the world of business and had my first range of cards printed.

Enter the simple competition and you could win a notebook like those above, a roll of decorative tape like those below, and more!

I'm so grateful for all your support, encouragement (and custom!) over the last couple of years.

The lucky winner will receive ALL of the following:

How to enter!

To take part in our birthday celebration giveaway all you have to do is leave a comment below, telling me what you'd like to see next from dots and spots. Please suggest one new design and one new product. For example, Cupcakes would be a design and notebooks is a product.

It doesn't matter if someone has already suggested your idea, please take part and enter anyway (although the more original ideas the better) - who knows, your idea could be the inspiration for the next great dots and spots design or product!

The names of all those who enter will be put into a hat. Any blog followers who enter will have their name put into the hat a second time (not yet a follower? Its simple and free - click on the 'follow' button in the right hand column to start following my blog and double your chance of winning!) and anyone who posts a link to the blog will also have their name put into the hat a second (or third!) time.

Good Luck!
I look forward to reading all your suggestions.


dots and spots

Cards and gifts you'll want to send and give.

Friday 18 June 2010

They've arrived!

Life seems to extremely busy at the moment and during my working day, I seem to be rushing here, there and everywhere and before I know it, I find myself checking the clock so I don't forget to pick up the children from school. Today is one of those days, having spent my morning packing up orders, making phone calls, going to the post office then a quick dash over to Wells to my printers to pick up the next product range.
16 thousand postcards!!!!

Not too many boxes this time but still some careful thought and re-organising required to find a home for all of these. My poor house is bursting at the seams and it's only going to get worse when I collect my catalogues next week!

Wednesday 16 June 2010

Perfect Wedding

Having been married for nearly 14 years and still *blissfully* happy and with 2 children still at primary school - why would I need a copy of Perfect Wedding?


.......we are featured in it! Our very popular decorative tape has been chosen to sit alongside no other than napkins by Cath Kidston!! We are under the umbrella of Gift Wrapped and Gorgeous - a fabulous website we have joined.

Thank you to the fabulous Giddy Kipper for the tip off!

Tuesday 15 June 2010

Very nearly ....

It's very nearly our birthday
coming soon!
Very exciting!

Saturday 12 June 2010

Come on England!!

So as you can see dots and spots HQ has been kitted out to support ENGLAND
in the World Cup!

The first match has just started - England v USA
and already it's 1-0 to England (phew!)

As you can see everyone is excited and ready for the next 4 weeks ..........

......even the house has been given that special touch!


Friday 11 June 2010

We Won!

I received an email earlier this week announcing I had won a prize in the Dorset cereals blog awards. I was a little surprised as despite all your generous votes I was sure we wouldn't have enough but look what arrived this morning in the post - a very big, purple box of goodies!

I am absolutely shocked at their generosity but am also very mindful and thankful to you all for voting for the dots and spots blog. We will be having a celebration of our own over the next week or so - dots and spots will be celebrating it's 2nd birthday and we plan to celebrate with our biggest giveaway yet!

A huge thank you to Dorset cereals for their very generous prize but a very warm and heartfelt thank you to all of you, who did take the time to vote for us - very much appreciated.

Thank You!

Wednesday 9 June 2010

The Cathedral City of Wells - Work and Pleasure!

So today I headed off to the smallest city in England - 5 miles up the road. I had to visit the printers, deliver an order and the usual daily trips to the post office and bank but Wednesday is Market day, so I treated myself to a little retail therapy.
I love the colours, shapes, smells - so much to touch, taste and just enjoy!

The market is extremely popular with locals and tourists alike.

This bread stall is absolutely fabulous and whenever I get to Wells on a Wednesday I just have to treat myself. There are so many different types of bread to choose from but I have found a favourite.

These strawberries not only look good but they taste absolutely delicious! and are grown locally up the road at Cheddar.

The floral displays are always beautiful all year round, whatever the weather. Whether you want plants for the garden or a posy for your home - Wells Market is the place to go.

So my morning perusing the market was most enjoyable and with my bag filled with goodies, jobs done, I headed home...... enjoy my favourite 'black olive bread'. well I did have a little taste in the car on my way home!

Sunday 6 June 2010


Long, hot summer days and the half term holidays and its been lovely to hear the squeaks and squeals of delight as my two have played in the garden as I've worked in my studio.

What a treat it was when, one warm sunny evening, my 7 year old son wandered into my studio with a little posy he'd picked for me from the garden:

What a little charmer!

Whatever you're up to, and wherever you are, I hope you're enjoying the sunshine, and long may it last!

dots and spots
for gifts and cards you'll want to send and give.

Thursday 3 June 2010

Seeing Stars!

So, the business is called dots and spots, and those that know me know that I love all things spotty and all things dotty, and spots and dots feature prominently in all my work.
Hence, dots and spots!

But while putting my new catalogue together, I was struck but how often stars appear in my collection.

(Sssh! Don't tell anyone, but I think the 'Red Star' is my own personal favourite decorative tape design!)

'One, Two, Twit Twoo!'

So perhaps it should have been dots and spots and stars!

dots and spots