24 February 2013

Some People Just Won't Take Good Advice

New on the website - a quite
rare French Perrier advertisement
How slack am I?  Contrary to the views of everyone who has been asking where the Blog is, I’ve not been one bit slack – I’ve actually been hugely busy.  But it’s been keep-enough-stock-in-the-shop busy rather than anything-particularly-exciting busy, so I haven’t had much to talk about.  But I shall make up for that now.

New on the website -
French magazine cover
February is traditionally the OMG Nothing Is Happening month in Eumundi, so hurrah that we have had consistently excellent weeks. Which means we’ve been busy keeping the shelves stocked and pictures on the wall.

We’ve sold 20 vintage French covers and advertisements just this week, so some urgent framing is on my To Do list over the next few days.  And we really can’t put off the archaeological dig of our shipping container for much longer, so we can find the stock that was packed away over a decade ago, but the horrendous weather has stymied that plan so far. But autumn is soon upon us, and hopefully a little less pouring, bucketing, pelting rain, and then it will be possible to start the major unpack that we’re facing.

My Valentine's Day card.  The
message is private, thank you.
In the meantime, Valentine’s Day has come and gone, and wasn’t that nice? A dozen long-stemmed red roses and a champagne breakfast in bed was my surprise, and I must say it was a very civilized way to start a Thursday. 

As usual, we entered into various Valentine’s Day conspiracies with various romantic men buying their beloved something nice that we had to keep quiet about. Mostly it was jewellery, but one guy bought every single piece of electric blue French Art Deco glass we had in the shop. I sure hope his wife likes electric blue French Art Deco glass. Mind you, en masse it made a beautiful display so if she has the place to put it, it will look fabulous.

I have just started a course on web design and digital marketing.  This is a particularly difficult course for someone as technically illiterate as me, so I’m finding it a challenge.  So what am I doing wrong on the website and Blog?  Absolutely everything, apparently. 
New on the website -
French magazine cover
On the upside, I now know that our website is too small for the amount of stock I would like to have listed, so I’ll have to move to a bigger site.  Good to know, but what a drag to have to change.  And now I have to learn all about Search Engine Optimisation, Google Analytics (which I already have grappled with and retreated, soundly beaten), Webmaster Tools, Key Words, Meta Tags and various site analysis approaches.  Pah, I don’t enjoy this one bit and I don’t want to do it.  But it’s the way of the future and if I want to undertake effective eMarketing I have to know about it, so I have to suck it up and be a big girl.  Rather than a big girl’s blouse, which I’m currently feeling like.
New on the website -
wooden shortbread mould.
No, it's not a pineapple, as someone
in the shop suggested.
On the Blog side, I’m not one bit professional, it turns out, and that’s official.  But you already knew that.  I am receiving lots of good advice, professional advice, sensible advice about how I’m meant to be writing, but guess what?  La-la-la, not listening, not listening.  These Blogs started because I was writing chatty emails to friends about what we were seeing and doing and buying while on buying trips.  But the ‘send’ list became too unwieldy as more and more people wanted to receive the emails, so a friend (yes, looking at you Louisa) suggested that I write a Blog and let everyone come to me.  So the Blogs just became a different form of writing chatty emails to old friends and now to new friends I've met from being in the shop and writing this Blog.
New on the website - Scottish
lidded ceramic jar, c1930
So anyway, you know that I shall remain resolutely unprofessional.  I talk about the shop enough, I reckon.  I talk about buying stuff when we’re on buying trips, and I talk about that a lot.  I show pictures of specific stock that’s going onto the website, and if you want to see everything new on the website each week it is but a click away.  You already know that I favour Art Deco design, but I’m not averse to some good mid-20th century pieces, and that I like the elegance of Georgian and Edwardian pieces.  None of this is news.
And oh yeah, according to the experts I’m meant to be blogging at least 16 times a month. You’ve got to be kidding. I would call that Spam if I got so many emails from a friend, let alone from a business. And if I don’t have time to do that much blogging – and who does? – then I should consider employing a professional writer to write the Blogs for me. But who can rant like I rant? And how can someone who doesn’t come on our merchant adventures possibly talk about what we’re seeing and doing and buying? That's just silly, so you’re stuck with me. 
Caleb flat out in the shop,
his usual managerial position
And one last thing, the good advice from the experts that I’m not taking says that my Blogs are meant to remain entirely on point, talking only about business things.

But it wouldn’t be my Blog without a moggie in evidence, would it?  So the moggie story this week is that we had a cat show judge visit the shop.

She inspected Caleb and urged me to start entering him into cat shows. She really pushed, but as I’ve said before, when the prize is cash and not pretty ribbons I’ll consider entering both him and Calypso. But while the prizes are only pretty ribbons we shall stay at home and play. As an enticement, the judge said that some shows also offer products as well as pretty ribbons, which got my attention, but when questioned more closely she confirmed that these products do not include wide screen TVs or cars or assorted white goods. Just cat stuff. My cats already have enough stuff. So that’s more good advice that I’m just not taking.
Look at that sweet little face -
you'd Vote 1 Caleb, wouldn't you? 
But I will take good advice from you.  So if you have suggestions about what you would like me to write about in these Blogs, let me know.  I have been an antiques dealer for 25 years so I know a few bits and bobs on the topic.  And I’ve found an increasing and surprising number of people are coming in to the shop to talk about effective cat training, because they are amazed at how well behaved the Moggie du Jour in the shop is. 
Caleb is still learning good manners, I must say, but with training and patience he’s growing into a very nice, engaging boy.  I’m no animal trainer, but I can talk about what has worked for us in bringing up Bengals who are reasonably well behaved (they are Bengals, afterall) and happy to interact with lots of people.  But mostly the Blog should be on antiques and the business, I suppose, seeing how this is what we do.  So if you want a specific topic rather than my generalised news and views, let me know and I shall try to oblige.  Otherwise, each time will be whatever I'm moved to talk about.
Look at those great big paws - Caleb has had a growth spurt lately and is suddenly becoming quite muscular and stocky.  He looks like a wild cat but he's just a cute little pussycat.

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