20 May 2012
The We LoVe Crafts shop is up and running and starting to get known. We’ve been in operation for just over 2 weeks now and even though we’ve been so busy that we’ve hardly had a chance to do much promotion, people are discovering it simply because it’s in a prime location. We estimated that we had over 500 people come in during the first week and a lot of people have left positive feedback. The most common things that people say are “This is what Wolverhampton needs” and “It’s great that you’re supporting local artists”. We are collecting feedback on paper in the shop as well to strengthen our case for being able to extend our lease in some way. We want to show that the value of a shop is more than just its financial value.
Regarding this, we hope to have a meeting either this week or next to discuss what will be our next step as, like I’d said previously, we definitely want this to be open long term so that it can have a real impact on the community.
We LoVe Crafts has been accepted as a Community Interest Company, which means that it is seen as benefitting the community rather than just being a regular business. This is important for the ethics of what we want to do so we are pleased about that.
At the time of writing, we have the work of 44 different people who all live in the Wolverhampton area. The range of goods is very diverse and people have also commented on this: that it looks good from outside and it’s really exciting to look through everything that we have on sale. We are currently waiting for a few other people to bring their work in and it is practically every day that someone will ask if they can have their work on sale, so this is the value that I’m referring to. People want this, not just as customers but as self-employed suppliers so that they can get an opportunity to earn money.
In terms of publicity, we have been in the Express & Star (last Friday) with a short article. Hopefully, later this week it will be in The Chronicle with a photo as well. The press release has been distributed to many other publications, although I don’t know which so will rely on other people to tell us if we’re in something else!
We have decided not to open on Sundays any more after trying it for 3 weekends. This is because there hasn’t been enough footfall to justify it but also we are both feeling pretty tired from this and the other things we have to do so are in need of a rest!
Nevertheless, because of getting some sales and knowing that it is starting to get more well known, I see it as a successful venture and of course hope that it will expand and become sustainable before too long.
Thu 13 June 2013
Well, it’s certainly been a very busy few weeks! After getting the shop set up and trying to keep on top of managing that, I was informed of the quickly scheduled launch event for the organic garden. As if this couldn’t have been worse timing, I had a short break booked in the middle of all this and had to work hard to make sure that everyone else who was dealing with things related to these were able to do it while I was away. Not so much stressful as hectic, we managed to get through everything and without any major hiccups.
I came back to the UK very late on Sunday the 2nd and had to get up early to be at the garden the next morning. You can read all about this on the page about the garden. It turned out to be very successful and during the week after, it’s ticking over very nicely. The next step is to organise a meeting for people who might like to get involved long term to manage the garden and reap the rewards. We hope to have that this month or early next month.
The shop is more settled now and we have some self-employed people working there part time as well as me. We have an extension for another 6 weeks and during that time, I hope to register it as a charity, as it is something that has benefit to the community, and therefore reaches one of the criteria necessary. This will help keep the costs down with business rates and so on, therefore giving it a much better chance of remaining long term.