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A long story, made short and then lengthened again

flatback
Flatback to the drawing board

How time flies…and other such bon mots of clicheville. I hadn’t realised it had been over a month since my last post but it has, it seems, and as the minutes, hours, days and weeks headed south for the winter, so my attention was turned to other things.

Anyone in business will understand that if something isn’t working it needs changing. Cue some hefty decision making and sacrifices on our part to try and head in a more profitable direction. Our main aim (that’s business partner and myself) is to be able to find ourselves a bigger place to live. We currently occupy a shoebox. One where the architect’s aim was to capitalise on the ground space available rather than the living conditions. There is a slight similarity with Victorian living for us: cramped conditions and too many ornaments, though thankfully we do have running water and an inside toilet.

We’re not after a jet set lifestyle (though a holiday would be nice), or loose cars and fast women; there are no ambitions towards rock n’ roll hedonism just a second bathroom, a kitchen with more than a metre of worktop space and a workshop for me so I don’t have to sand furniture outside in the rain.

The first part of realising this ambition began in November with our “Posh Fair”. Our relative success has spurred us on and we have now booked for four more this year. We have revamped our stock: collecting together beautiful objets d’art, fabulous jewellery and rare collectables (ouchies for the bank account). To clear out some of the bits n bobs which have been hanging around for so long they are, quite frankly, starting to hurt our eyes with their lingering, mouldering presence, we are also operating as wholesalers – let someone else deal with all the Staffordshire flatbacks, broken snuff boxes and bright copper kettles ( really not one of my favourite things).

This is a sweeping change. In one corner – top quality antiques, jewellery and fine art and in the other, old bits of brass, diamante and poorly executed daubs. Really? who can tell the difference I hear you ask. Well the discerning collector for a start. One who won’t quibble over price, who will expect to pay what an object is worth and who think the E in Ebay stands for evil.

I actually do, even after a week of cell blindness
I actually do, even after a week of cell blindness

As part of this business partner and I have decided to clear out our Etsy store by having a bit of a sale. Most of the stock will be removed and the shop will retail only the best quality (we may even move to Ruby Lane) Its hard work as there is a lot of sorting involved but we’re closing next  Monday for a complete revamp. So yes there is only one week to grab a bargain with a 25% discount.

All this, plus building the ultimate in office management suites (it should have been done in MS Access but quite frankly that sent shivers down my spine so I’ve ended up creating a rather magnificent, if I do say so, beast in Excel), has torn me away from the interwebs – a rent, I must confess , which has not been so difficult to bear.

So please, forgive our absence for a wee while longer. We will be back with a new name, new branding, new stock and of course our world beating Office Management Suite…if I ever get it finished. Now where did I leave that macro?

Follow us on social media: Google+, Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest  for more on these exciting developments as they happen.

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Happy Birthday Touchstone Vintage

It’s our 1st birthday. Well, not our actual birthday – we’ve been in business for over 20 years – and the name Touchstone Vintage is a little over a year old, BUT it’s our Etsy birthday. We opened our Etsy store one year ago today. An insignificant date really (unless its your birthday too) but we launched with no sales, fewer than 10 items and nothing more than a pocket full of dreams.

One of the first listings on Etsy.
One of the first listings on Etsy.

As with the first year of any business whether online or brick and mortar, the first year (so they say) is always a struggle. “Teething problems” is not the phrase. Learning to negotiate myriad terms and conditions, set up payment options, find stock: list, list, list. Photograph, describe, correct errors, deal with customers – some of whom are a joy to chat with, others for whom manners are a concept which only relate to someone else.

Then of course there’s Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs. Never an easy bunch who don’t seem to want to make being in business an easy task. But…once these little pitfalls have been circumvented for the first time, they are never quite as onerous. So for our first birthday I would rather reflect on the sheer joy of hearing my phone make the “cha-ching” noise when someone purchases our vintage treasures. The cheering feedback from someone who is “Wearing it RIGHT NOW” and the friends we have made along the way.

It may have its problems but Etsy is a community, the focus on teams and forums has helped lead us not entirely blindly through the year and come out with a wealth of sales which exceeded our expectations. And for the year ahead?

Bigger, brighter, bolder

Well we have some great plans. Some larger heavier items, more focus on art and antiquities and a bigger, brighter, bolder store. We aim to move house this year, mainly so my office/workroom is not in my bedroom, but also so we can increase our stock to give you – the antique hungry public – a wider choice of beautiful objets d’art and vintage jewellery.

There’s no call to action in this piece except to ask you to join us as we step into our second, exciting year. We are sure there will be something you just can’t live without, a great gift for a family member or friend and a little bit of history along the way. Follow our blog through WordPress or via E-mail and join us on Twitter, Facebook, G+ and Pinterest for all the latest.

I’m off to blow out a candle and sup on something cold and sparkly. Maybe next year we’ll have a party to which you, yes you, will assuredly receive an invitation.