2014 year review PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sharon Beck   
Wednesday, 22 October 2014 12:53

The review of a small business in 2014

Looking back over the year, popcorn-box has packed in lots for the development of the brand, new stock and overall improvements. Loving the new in house stock room too. Book your nosy tour here !


Christmas event are ALL booked out & fast approaching. Over a 5 week period, we plan to attend 20 plus excellently placed & professional events. This alongside in with the website on line orders will ensure a massive ironing pile.

 

Popcorn-box saw the start of 2014, trading at the Loft Ladder in The Marlands shopping centre in Southampton, Hampshire through till May alongside Jackie from Love Hart trading. Joining The Little Black book, an online local directory with Ealing mums in business. I recently attended The Popup summit, London, where lots of excellent highly recognised speakers such as Mr Boxpark, wearepopup, Appearhere, Huffington post & many more came to give their insights into making a small business grow. A popular line at the summit was, "From popup to stay up". After being in many continual popups in Richmond, Victoria & Southampton this resonates with popcorn-box and growing the business into 2015.

Looking back, I should've gone into Coffee shops & food - Soooooo much more of a profit margin & less storage needed, but I cant cook that well & the coffee would've meant I would be more wired than normal !


Attending the summit has thrown lots of ideas around about what's best for the business alongside understanding the changes in peoples shopping habits & buying power. The high street has changed, whether you like it or not, and I love the quote "The high street is now where you go to do things". I believe that small businesses can build & survive who thrive on collaborations with others share the same goals, experiences, space, time & above all costs.

 

So....... heads down, I am going to enjoy

the mince pies, mulled wine & dehydration

All day long & late night events

Traffic

rain

lugging stock

waiting in line forever in post offices

packing stock out, packing it back

begging fellow stall holders for change

hanging onto gazebos in the wind & rain

wearing long Johns and 7 layers of clothing

waiting in all day for deliveries just to miss them at school run

paying the tax man on time & above all running my own little happy business.

xxxx

 

Last Updated on Wednesday, 22 October 2014 13:58
 
The 2013 popcorn-box Review PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sharon Beck   
Monday, 13 January 2014 12:38

 

2013 was a great year for popcorn-box, the business, brand & developments.

I Felt like the Danny Wallace book "YES Man" on some occasions where amazing opportunities for the business came my way - Initial logistics said NO way. Then the niggle of "Maybe I can.......!" came along.


For example being part of popup Britian in Victoria, London for the 3rd time in 2013 from the summer holidays for 5 months straight till Christmas. Thankfully building good business relationships helped me through this eternal juggle of work, life balance. La paire shoes,  love hart boutiquePinucci shoes, Simple Silver & Brilliant Monsters to name but a few in a oscar style thank you, for stepping in when school run & day job got in the way.

The customers I have met along they way too. From big corporate event orders for hotels, publicity nights, themed events to the unique individual who reminds me WHY the business is still driving forward with great feedback & determination.

 

So far in 2014, we now have a real popcorn-box distribution centre as we call it! built at popcorn-box HQ ! The stock control is now IN control, and finally all on spreadsheets for the very first time.

Lots to improve on- regular blogging, improving the website & keeping up to date with tax returns are my challenges for the year ahead.

 

We have been working with a great team in Hampshire, developing a new funky independent space for small retailers called The loft ladder in The Marlands shopping centre, Southampton. This has been a great opportunity for bringing the business to a new customer. 2014 is going to be a great year of planning, developing the website and great new items arriving on line very soon.

 

Last Updated on Monday, 27 January 2014 14:21
 
No Excuses! 4 months & No Blog PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sharon Beck   
Monday, 12 August 2013 09:40

April was my last blog !

If I attended the small business seminars that are out there - they would advise me to blog at least monthly, as well as tweet & facebook daily!!

I have soooooo many excuses not to blog. kids, day job, commitments, events, school holidays, exhaustion.

Today - no excuse - holed up in an African hotel for the day with free wifi-cloudy outside-slept 10 wonderful hours- emails done-BBC/CNN news bored.

So what has popcorn-box been up to ?

I have reclaimed my home & my spare room. Investing in a short term storage unit with space-station in Brentford. My unit is 50 mtrs in size to see if it brings in value to the business even though it has a no use cost. It is already full, I do feel organised from having it there and it doesn't over whelm me like when it is in the home. I guess people who work from home must try to have clear boundaries with when they day starts and finishes too. Ah!!! that's why Mr Popcorn complains when I ask him to pick the kids up from school if I am running late when he is working from home.

Lots of new stock arriving for the winter and dare I say Christmas ! I am still in love with storage tins for specific items. I have buttons tins, batteries tins, washing powder tins Camper van & light bulb tins!


The ceramic garden gnomes are all gone but one. Its my remaining red hat gnome and currently available for sale for £3 in the Popup Britain shop in Victoria. The Gnomes proved to be a huge hit this summer thanks to the Ikea gnome backlash advert & The Chelsea flower show, thankfully as I had 50 Gnomes stored under my bed at home in March. I guess, its all about timing & trying to predict whats going to be popular for the future season ahead. Being mindful of price & the popcorn-box identity.


I am loving being back involved with Popup Britain in Victoria. The contacts, people & ability to showcase your items in a real shop environment is worth its weight in gold for a small one woman business. I am here in Victoria for 2 months with 3 other businesses that I have all had the pleasure of working with before too. Pinucci shoes, Love hart trading & Mimosa Jewels UK. We all share the shop space & all bring something different to the space which we feel make us very unique. Not only to the shoppers in SW1E, but as a example to the town teams & MP's that visit who want to take the concept of Popup Britain around the country to their local towns and shopping areas that are under utilised and boarded up.

With all this going on, I have booked up my Christmas event list already. Some events since March for key dates for Christmas events. I plan to be more selective and only have 1 day booked where I am attending 2 events in one day. I need some of those santa's little helpers.

Maybe that should be my next investment in the future business plan of popcorn-box?




 

Last Updated on Monday, 27 January 2014 14:24
 
5 months without a blog PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sharon Beck   
Tuesday, 30 April 2013 20:07

 

OHHHHHH the shame of it

I dread it - I prefer to clean my kids bathroom & bedrooms rather than blog - its like doing a school essay

My last blog was back in January 2013 when I was reflecting on what a mad Christmas/pop up season I had managed to survive

No excuses for the last 5 months - I have done NADA blogging & very little event presence - we are shifting up a gear with 8 events in May 2013

In this moment of calm that quiet hour between bath time & bedtime I am making a start at least of a small blog- maybe I will complete later tonight after a few glasses of mummy juice

 

The events list is filling up - the stock room/spare room is chocca block with fab new lines  & I am looking forward to the summer ahead! Always ever the optomist in times of austerity & family cutbacks.

I have learnt from previous years to pick carefully where to go to over this summer as Mr popcorn is not a happy bunny when I attend back to back events every weekend in the busy season.

The weather is my other consideration - rain keeps customers away and wind means damages to stock - us stallholders like sunshine and no wind & lots & lots of lovely customers

Ideally, I am aiming to increase the website status as it fits in perfectly with the family, school run & weekends - I fullfil all orders myself and I seem to have gained expert knowledge of the Royal mail's increased postal charges versus courier companies as well as packaging glass ware best practice techniques. I have tidied up the website & have learnt more about SEO & credit card transactions I can now fulfill in person, which should increase my general sales at events.

I have had some lovely leaflets & flyers printed to hand out giving the prospective customer a bright lively insight into the brand. I have put popcorn-box on Pinterest & still finding that all a bit strange but I did say that about twitter & I do love to" tweet" now

 

In the meantime popcorn-box will be very busy in May, as from the 13th May till 26th May will be returning to the Popup Britain Victoria shop for 2 weeks as well as fitting in the wonderful south of the river, Dulwich festival and Goose greeen fair on the 12th & 19th May

We will be at the lovewimbledon market on the piazza for 2 days 24-25 May, as well as the Kids company West london tots event on the 17th May & finally at the fantastically supported Denham village fair on bank holiday monday 27th May

 

I have lots more events scheduled for later on this summer as well as fitting in celebrations for a big birthday! & I will try to blog again before Christmas - promise

 

Last Updated on Monday, 27 January 2014 14:26
 
Pop up shops & 22 Christmas Events PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sharon Beck   
Saturday, 15 December 2012 08:16

What a fun busy Christmas season everyone has had this winter in 2012

In a recession/financial downturn, as a sole trader, I find it very difficult to turn down events & opportunities that come my way.

The Pop up Shop in Richmond was one of those, I just couldn't miss out on the opportunity.


When I was chosen to be part of the concept, the logistics was a big consideration.But, as I live only 3 miles away, both kids are now in full time school & day job was just about manageable to fit around the shop commitments, I jumped into the experience.

I didn't factor in getting stuck in New York with a freak snow storm and not being at the shop for 3 days straight.

The shop was a huge time commitment for me & my family. But worth it,thankfully in a great area of Richmond, where they are actively supporting businesses, local people, shoppers and visitors to the town, who popped into the pop up Britain shop straight out the train station, which was directly opposite the shop.

The road workers directly outside the shop, were our constant companions, the safety screens, long lunch breaks, and noisy road digging equipment was a challenge!!!!

Nothing we could do about that, except work a little harder with the people who came in. Luckily, they did ! & they loved the Start up Britain concept and what we brought to the high street. One customer told me that they chose to visit to see what is new every couple of weeks - " a lot like TK Maxx, you never know what great things you are going to find".

I am soooo grateful to my fellow shop keepers, Mimosa Jewells, Ananya trading, Impkids, Mamaway, Bobo buddies & the hard working people at Start up Britain who supported me over the 4 week period.

Throughout this experience, I realised, I never ever have enough change for the customers, I ran out of shopping bags a lot, I need to get a credit card machine, I need to keep track of my stock a lot more by using spreadsheets instead of it all being in my head, I need to Blog more, I need to consider what sells and what stagnates, I need storage & my website needs promotion!

The day I put my 'Richmond' Stag cast iron hooks and bells in the window, I sold so many more from the general footfall, than keeping the display inside the shop! basic stuff but all part of the learning experience.

Then along side the pop up shop, since August I had booked 22 events for the Christmas season - That has been fun! my sat nav has been my constant companion. Thankfully, only a few events were outside, lovely mulled wine, schools,Churches, lovely Michael Buble songs, Christmas carols & intense selling periods and great customers, old & new.

I do love this little business I can call my own - But, I do need to make a New Years commitment for 2013, & consider what I can realistically commit to for the year ahead with all my other commitments around me.

Last Updated on Monday, 17 December 2012 20:31
 
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