Saturday 31 July 2010

Postcards, Postcards, Postcards!

Postcards are one of the most popular dots and spots products, and the "British Tea Time" range shown above is the most popular postcard collection.

Postcards come in either packs of 4 or 8, each postcard with its own red envelope and the pack sealed in clear cellophane packet.

They make a great gift, or are ideal for invites, 'Thank You' letters or notelets.

Our order book is bulging and I've been busy putting together the packs of postcards.
I thought you might like a little insight into how the packs are put together.

First the postcards are hand sorted into piles of 4 or 8, along with their red envelopes.

Then they are put into their cello packets, an insert sheet added to say how many of each design are in the packet. A tab top folded, punched and stapled completes the packaging.

One box packed and ready to go, another awaiting packaging.

A completed box ready for dispatch.

A pack of postcards from dots and spots!

If you can't wait until the postcards arrive in your favourite high street shop then you can grab a pack from our website:

or through our shop on

Not on The High Street
(and if your quick, you can grab some postcard packs from here with 20% off!)


Tuesday 27 July 2010

My willing helpers!! (well some of them more willing than others !)

dots and spots is still for now, located in our family home. It means we all get to spend time together, even when Jeff and I are working. It has also has given the children a really good insight into how a business runs and how hard you have to work!

Since our return from Harrogate, we have not stopped - Jeff has been busy at the computer - typing out invoices, opening new trade accounts, replying to all the emails that keep 'pinging' through and updating the new database of all our new customers.

Sophie is always a very willing helper - choosing to pick and pack the cards today! She is always asking if she can help or have I any jobs for her to do! May have got her to help too much today when she said it was like 'child labour'!!!

Sam on the other hand is motivated by money!! I once bribed him to go and get me something from upstairs - BIG mistake!! Now any job, whether big or small is always accompanied with 'How much do I get for that - 20p, 50p??' He, at least realises you have to work hard to get money but ......
His favourite job is collecting the red tubes for the owl posters.

And me? I have been locked away in my tiny studio space, embellishing prints, making phone calls and getting the orders ready to send out.

dots and spots is outgrowing the space we have in our current house, so after such a successful show at Harrogate, we have decided to rent premises and relocate part of dots and spots HQ! It is a huge step but a necessary one! My studio will remain where it is but we are looking for a space to use as a store and picking and packing area for all our trade orders.
Exciting times ahead - any excuse to go shopping for furniture!!!

Sunday 25 July 2010

So now the show is over, the real work begins!

We arrived home from the show with a bump! The inbox was full of emails, enquiries and orders so job 1 - update all the orders waiting patiently in the in box and here they are - parcels under 4kg on their way to the post office - anything heavier waiting for collection on Monday!

Job 2 was to go through our file of orders and enquiries from the show. Proforma payments at least give me a breather as we have to wait for payment before the order can be sent out. Jeff spent a solid day of typing, to get all the invoices out and ready to post. I did a tally of what was needed to be done, ordered even more tape to fulfill all the orders and the hardest job on the list, is to do the embellished prints.

I love doing them as they are all hand finished and make a truly special gift but......

......with 60+ on order my opinion of them has now changed. I know I will feel better when I know I have got them done!

They do look good all lined up ready for mounting - ahhh yes the mounting, forgot I still had that to do!

I've also been busy preparing packs for our new agents! We met some fantastic people at the show, who were very keen to sell dots and spots and were over whelmed by just how many. I am being realistic in the amount of work I have ahead of me and have decided to start them at different times, so I can stagger the increasing workload. We already work with 2 agents in the South West and West Midlands but first out of the starting blocks for new areas being covered, will be North East England covering Northumberland, Durham and Yorkshire and Cumbria. Towards the end of August selling in Scotland will begin and then we will follow up the interest and possible contacts we got for Ireland, North West England, East Anglia and Kent!!!
Busy and exciting times ahead!

Thursday 22 July 2010

Harrogate Home and Gift Show

So Harrogate is over and now I'm home I can share with you what's been going on over the past few days and to start this has been our home for 4 days - West Park Hotel.

This was our walk down to the show - not a bad way to start the day, sadly the same can't be said of the way home as it seemed to rain every day, once we set foot out of the show!

So here is Jeff, my husband and sales man extraordinaire! He was a natural and was a huge contribution to our success at the show. Being our first show, we had no idea what to expect but apparently according to our experienced neighbours we had a very good show! We certainly exceeded our expectations, coming home with a full order book, lots of genuine enquires, interest from a department store and a number of agents primed and ready to sell dots and spots across the country now the show is over.

I really thought that that would be all we would come away from the show with but I was wrong. I truly believe I have made some very good friends who were happy to share their wealth of experience with us novices. So as a small way of saying thank you, I thought I would share pictures with you of their stands and work - click on the links and visit their websites to see more!

Lucy was new to Trade shows too so we both shared the experience together!
I loved her clean, fresh designs and this was mirrored in her fabulous, contemporary stand.

Directly opposite my stand was the fabulous Gina of Cornelious Potts and Uncle Monty, kept company by her lovely mum! She and her sister design, make and hand finish all the beautiful detailed cards.She was extremely generous, sharing so much information and experience with us and even pointed an agent or two in our direction. So thank you very much Gina!

To our left was the talented Abigail Mill - again with a wealth of experience and advice. She makes the most beautiful cards and textile prints.
A lady with huge energy, at the end of the Harrogate Show Abigail went directly to the Tatton Garden Show where she is currently exhibiting until Sunday. I don't think I could match such stamina!

Yasmin of YTR Design was probably our youngest neighbour but still had many more years experience than us - I tried to repay all the advice we received with a lesson on how to twitter! Nice to see her as one of my new followers!

Last but not least was FlyTrap a family run business - this was their second year

The cards feature the work of 7 artists spanning 4 generations from one family.

There is still so much more that I could share with you but I will have to do another post!

We had a fabulous first show and will be signing on the dotted line for next year very soon! Now I'm back home and the reality of juggling 2 children and family life, with the huge mountain of work that lies ahead of me, is starting to set in! HELP!


Saturday 17 July 2010

We're here - at Harrogate!

So this is it, this is what you get - a blank box worth in excess of a thousand pounds!

The bit of the show I was really dreading was carrying everything in to our stand but it was very organised and with a porter's help, only took the 3 of us a few trips! Of course it decided to start raining the minute we started to unload!

So stand F20A is my home for the next 4 days - think I'll try and take my stand label home with me as a little memento!

The card hall is in the basement and was surprisingly empty. I was worried that a lot the stands would be complete and that arriving on the Saturday we would be late setting up - but by the time we left we still had NO neighbours at all!

So, here it is - stand complete!

and I must say I'm very pleased with it!

Had a mild panic when the hooks I'd bought wouldn't fit over the back boards but that's why I brought Jeff my husband - sent him off for some cup hooks and used my spare supply of ribbon and major catastrophe avoided!

Already I'm thinking of next year and having a slightly larger stand! But for now it's time to find somewhere to go and eat and park the car!

Wednesday 14 July 2010

3 days to go!

So 3 days to go until showtime and today, at last, I got around to working out how to display all my cards on my fabulous printed boards. I basically took over any remaining space in the house to work out all the fixing and spacing.

I started with Christmas and straight away realised that the cards would have to use the red envelope as a frame, as the blue was just being lost in the background.

I had always intended to peg them on red and white spotty ribbon to keep with the dots and spots feel.

The postcards had to go on two boards so it was tricky to make sure once the boards are hung that they all line up with each other and I have no idea how tall the shell scheme is, so have allowed plenty of blank space at the bottom of the boards so cards are not hidden!

The actual greetings cards will be fixed once we get there as there are too many designs to string up but I did have a go at laying them out just to make sure I could fit them all in!
Tomorrow will not be as exciting - I have to clean the house, do the shopping and write out a list for my parents, who are kindly looking after the children for us whilst we are away.
So that is it for a week or so, I shall be keeping quiet! Thank you to you all for your interest and kind, reassuring comments through out the build up to the show. This is a huge step for us, so fingers crossed it all goes well!

Monday 12 July 2010

Nearly there!!

I really can't believe it - a whole year of talk and planning is coming to fruition - we leave for Harrogate on Friday - no turning back now. Seeing our advert in Gift Focus magazine last week really brought home the reality and the enormity of what lies ahead of us!

I have had planned in my head, what the stand will look like for months and as soon as the display boards arrived, I couldn't resist moving all the furniture out of the dinning room and have a little 'mock up' of our stand - just to make sure it all worked together and would show off all our products to their absolute best.

I found this perfect shelf system to display the little things, like our tape, notebooks and place setting cards - it's supposed to display plant pots but does the job perfectly.

You may or may not know that I absolutely love Christmas - so I did not hesitate in getting this huge Christmas Pud! scaled up for our Christmas area - I already know where I'll put it during the festive season. It does have another purpose, it hides all the catalogues piled up behind it. I've prepared 300 and will take some more with me, as I have no idea how many will be needed!

If you look around the house, piles of 'stuff' seem to be sprouting up in all vacant corners - all immensely important - velcro, bluetack, ribbon, pegs etc, etc!

And of course the vital ingredient - the cards and products themselves!

So tomorrow will be finalising how I'll string up the actual cards and postcards to the boards and attach the red spotty ribbon. There still seems an enormous amount of things still to do, but work and family life still continue and we have a performance of 'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory' to attend tomorrow afternoon, whilst keeping up with our daily orders.
Why did I think having my own business would be easier than teaching?