Monday 30 August 2010


dots and spots are 'visual' products - high quality design and high quality manufacture equals high quality goodies!

How to show off these high quality products? Use high quality photography!

And so we recently commissioned the fabulous photographer Belinda McCarthy , found via twitter, to do a product shoot of the dots and spots range.

And I'm absolutely delighted with the results - here you can see a few of Belinda's excellent photos that really do do the products justice.

I hope you like Belinda's photos as much as I do.
I've one thing to say to Belinda:

Friday 27 August 2010

The Ikea mountain!

A little while ago I told about the exciting new direction dots and spots was moving in - *PREMISES* Yep! We picked up the keys a couple of weeks ago but I've had to sit twiddling my thumbs because our furniture delivery wasn't arriving until the 25th! That has been so hard for me - waiting, I hate waiting for anything. I have had to wait a further 3 days to go over and see what my fabulous husband has been up to. He has left the house early each morning, arrived home for half an hours lunch and not been seen again until teatime, for the past 3 days.

This was how I last viewed it - a blank canvas ready to be filled with dots and spots goodies, plus a little other accumulated junk hidden in a corner - the less said about that, the better!!

So I was in for a huge surprise today when I opened the doors. I could just about make out Jeff, hidden behind the 'Ikea Mountain' and hundreds of boxes!

The poor guy has had to build 7 - 5x5 expedit cube units, 2 - 4x4 expedit cube units, 7 - sets of Billy shelving units (3 with doors), 2 large tables, 2 small tables, 2 sets of red drawers, a trolley and a partridge in a pear tree!!!

These are my fabulous Billy shelving units - perfect for all picking and packing all my cards! I'll need a ladder for the top set, being a shorty! but they are just what I wanted! There is even room to add another set as and when I get time to design new cards.

Around the corner is the accumulated junk I mentioned. We used to have a storage unit but have found a corner within the premises to hide it all. To be fair it's not junk - the majority of it, is 10 years of teaching resources which are just too good to get rid of - yet! I didn't want it to be on show so.....

....... have used one of the cube units, covered with an old curtain at the back, to hide it all! Note the 2 willing helpers busy at work - I wonder how long it will last?!!
Tomorrow is another big day, I reclaim my house! All the stock - cards, postcards, Christmas cards, envelopes, cellophane's, tape, notebooks, posters, flat pack boxes, bubble wrap, trade fair display stuff etc, etc go tomorrow! Better get an early night!

But before I go, I would like to say a very BIG thank you to my fabulous husband for all his furniture building but for also supporting me and believing in me and dots and spots. I certainly wouldn't be where I am today with out my fantastic family.

Thursday 26 August 2010


Advertising is an important element to any business - but it is also a very expensive one and with so many publications out there, it is often hard to know where to spend your money wisely. Post Harrogate, we were bombarded with calls and emails wanting us to advertise, so we decided on two publications. The first arrived through the letter box this morning!

Gift Focus is free to the retailer and is sent to our target market - the independent retailer. It included a special feature 'Best Wishes - Opening the envelope on some of the latest in greetings'' The advert looks good and hopefully emails and trade accounts will be 'pinging' their way through to us in the next few days.

We were also given a free editorial - I always get Jeff my husband to write it, as I find it so hard to write about myself and big up what I do! The second publication is aimed at bookshops - a completely different market, who may not of yet come across the dots and spots range of goodies!

Saturday 21 August 2010

My BIG order

For those of you who follow me on twitter and facebook will know that for the past 3 days I have been some what consumed with a BIG order - 1200 packs of postcards! The order came in just after our first Trade show in Harrogate and just before our weeks holiday in Cornwall. Of course, I was delighted, Jeff was rubbing his hands together with glee thinking of the money that would be coming in but I was thinking about the practical implications of putting together such a large order. I knew It wouldn't just 'get done' and had penciled in at least 2 days!

I ordered the insert sheets for the printers before we left for holiday and squeezed the packet tops into the boot as we were leaving. As we were staying with my parents, I enlisted their help and one evening we all sat and folded the packet tops in front of the TV and another night sat punching them and counting them into 10's in preparation for the big packing event!

So the day arrived - I had cleared all my other website and trade orders and had 2 clear days ahead of me. I worked out I could lay out 40 sets of postcards at a time on the table and would have to do that 30 times. So I set myself up in the dinning room, the weather of course was against me and instead of eating outside, as we have done for most of the summer, we had to clear the table every time anyone wanted to eat, due to the rain!
It quickly became apparent that this was going to take a lot longer than I had first thought.
Day One and 440 packs done !

I continued through into day two doing much the same - constantly checking just how many packs I still had to do! It wasn't until late into the evening that my husband offered to help! This proved to be a great help - he laid out the sets, whilst I bagged them up and stapled on the tops!

Day Two - 480 packs completed - 880 in total!

Day Three - the final day! 1200 packs done, packed, completed!
YIPEE! I had finished - well the postcard packing anyway!

This scruffy piece of paper has been my best friend through out the 3 days - crossing off 40 every round I did. Sometimes it was depressing seeing just how many packs I still had to do but towards the end it was great to see it all coming to an end!

The sad thing is once in a box, packed and ready to go - it looks nothing, certainly not 3 days of effort! And of course then there was the actual packing of the boxes, typing out the delivery notes, wrapping in brown paper etc - that in it's self took a little while!

So my first BIG order is packed and ready to go! Can't say I really enjoyed putting it together but it will be nice to think that people in the South of England will have the opportunity of buying a pack of dots and spots postcards very soon in one of the 40 shops they are on their way to! At least if they reorder, I will be in premises and won't have to take over the dining room!

Sunday 15 August 2010

Sales & Seconds

Quality is our top priority at dots and spots - we know that you love quality, so we demand the highest of standards from our manufacturing partners.
Unfortunately, they can't always meet our expectations and supply us with goods that are, well, not quite good enough! Some rolls of our hugely popular decorative tape have reached us from the manufacturer with scuffed or marked cardboard cores, and we're not prepared for these rolls to reach the shops and be sold full price.

So we've opened a "Sales & Seconds" page on our website to sell rolls of decorative tape that are not quite good enough to make it onto the High Street.

The tape itself is perfect, but the inner cardboard core is a bit 'shabby' - fine if you're buying the tape for yourself, but perhaps not good enough to give as a gift.

To reflect this, we're happy to offer these 'seconds' rolls of tape for £3.50 each - saving you 29%!

Remember - the tape itself is fine, its the inner cardboard core that doesn't come up to scratch.

The tape is perfect for adding the finishing touch to any package or parcel - who wouldn't want to receive this through the post?

Add the finishing touch to the perfect present with dots and spots decorative tape.
Stock levels will vary - we keep reminding our manufacturer of our standards! - and this offer will only be available if we have 'sub-standard' rolls of tape, so why not head over to our Sales & Seconds page now and grab a bargain while you can!

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

Friday 13 August 2010

Back home with a bump!

So the holiday is over, it's always nice to get home except for the mountain of washing that always accumulates whilst you're away!

For the first time ever, I have also experienced the accumulation of orders whilst I've been away! 13 large trade orders await me on Friday the 13th!! and already a secondary pile is beginning to form of orders due out in September!

We also collected the keys to our new premises!
Thankfully it looked bigger than I remembered and armed with a tape measure, roll of masking tape and the ever faithful Ikea catalogue, I spent a very happy hour planning what I needed and where everything should go!

Let's put it this way, Ikea LOVE me!

Wednesday 11 August 2010


I adore St.Ives and if I ever won the lottery, I would buy myself a little part of it!
Whenever we go to Cornwall we always come here at least once and this year has been no exception. Mum and dad offered to look after the children so we booked a table at our favourite restaurant and enjoyed a child free evening.

We had time for a wander along the harbour wall, watching all the fishing boats coming in with their catches of the day but they were not alone!

We were joined by 3 very hungry seals, who obviously follow the fishing boats in every day, in a hope of being fed

They were very friendly and stayed swimming around right in front of us for a good hour.

Some were luckier than others!

We could have enjoyed their company all evening but we had a table booked and who wouldn't want to enjoy this view!
One day, I will have this view all to myself!

Monday 9 August 2010

What a difference a day makes....

... to the weather!

Yesterday we enjoyed beautiful, clear blue skies - not a cloud in the sky.

But today I can not even make out the view from the window - we are stuck under a miserable, grey cloud of mizzle! The stuff that gets you really wet!

Hard to believe the children were swimming and paddling in the sea at 7pm last night!

Saturday 7 August 2010

Birthday Boy!

How is it my little man just turned 8? Today is his birthday and by his request, we are spending his special day on holiday in Cornwall, on a beach!

Most of day has been spent in the water once we found a secluded spot out of the wind! The sun actually came out and stayed out for most of the day! Miracles do happen!

Tuesday 3 August 2010

Decisions, decisions!

So today has been a good day -

Firstly, it is our Wedding Anniversary - 14 years of wedded bliss!

Secondly, my sister offered to take the children off our hands for the day.

Thirdly, we had 2 appointments booked, to view premises .

Our first appointment was at Kilver Court in Shepton Mallet, to view 2 potential offices. The buildings and setting were lovely and everyone seemed very friendly.

The two rooms on offer were up a flight of stairs and were joined, so could be used together - which is what I would have to do, to get the space I need! They were light, had windows and a separate access so I could use the space every day until about 7.00pm.

But... I couldn't imagine myself there day in, day out. You know that 'feeling' they talk about - well I didn't have it.

Despite the beautiful gardens I could enjoy in my lunch break!

So, appointment number two had all my hopes pinned on it - The Anglo Trading Estate - a building I pass every day on my way to the post office.

This is the impressive frontage!

But I was to meet the agent around the back! The space we came to view was in the second row of windows so again a flight of stairs! (worth considering when I think of all the boxes I will be taking delivery of and dispatching!)

At 575 sq feet, the space was much bigger than we asked for, but from the very first moment it felt 'right'! It is an L shape in layout but gives me the potential to have a storage area and then a separate 'pick and pack' area. There is a window for natural light and a carpet - which is apparently rare! This room was used by a former, very well known company, as their offices - I may reveal more another time - but would love to achieve the success they have had, as they are moving on to bigger premises!

The security is fantastic, it is a gated space with coded doorways and lockable units. I can come and go as I please, any hour of the day and night. It is close enough to walk to or has ample parking and space for deliveries etc. And, it's affordable! We only have to take out a years lease and there is plenty of scope to 'get bigger' if the opportunity ever presents itself.

So I am going on holiday, armed with a sketch book, Ikea catalogue and will sit on a beach making lists and drawing out no doubt, numerous ways of organising the space! We can take it on as soon as we get back, which is perfect for the amount of school holidays we will have left!

So a very eventful day and certainly is the next step in the dots and spots adventure!