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Monday, 31 December 2012

Notification to my vintage followers

In the New Year of 2013 I have decided to dedicate this blog to my writing as an author. If you wish to unsubscribe then I will fully understand as there will no longer be any blogs that are vintage related. I am still an e-commerce vintage retailer so can still be followed on my
pinterest page http://pinterest.com/onewomansquest/
facebook page https://www.facebook.com/vintageplazauk
UK ebay store http://stores.ebay.co.uk/VintagePlazaUK
**HAPPY COLLECTING & SELLING FOR THE NEW YEAR**

BOOK REVIEW



 Jenny Pox by J.L. Bryan

JENNY POX (THE PARANORMALS 1) JL Bryan
http://www.amazon.com/Jenny-Pox-1/dp/146096523X/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1356980562&sr=1-1&keywords=jenny+pox

4/5
I was unsure about this book when I first started as I thought the language was more suitable for a YA market. However, the plot had me hooked within the first few pages so I mustered onwards and I'm so glad I did.

I usually prefer to read about fantasy worlds that don't exist but this one was set in our world. However, it still seemed new to me as it was set in a very American environment of a small back town. Living in the UK this was an eye opener for me. As I read through the story I could totally picture my surroundings so the author did a good job with the descriptive settings.

Loved the main 3 characters and the twist at the end was not expected at all. A bit of sex and bit of gore probably means it's not a YA story but these features were done just right and not just for the sake of it. I will be continuing to read about Jenny Pox if there is another tale to tell, she sort of grew on me, you know as a good character does.

Monday, 24 December 2012

PRESENTLY READING - Jenny Pox by JL Bryan

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Jenny-Pox-Paranormals-Book-ebook/dp/B003X9775G/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1356363994&sr=1-1
Jenny Pox (The Paranormals, Book 1)

Not normally my cup of tea as I think this is a YA. At first I thought it was just bad grammar but then realised this type of language must be intentional, as if a young person is telling a tale. Well anyway, that's how I see it but this may not be the case. I am now totally hooked with such good character creation. I will report back once completed.

Sunday, 23 December 2012

BOOK REVIEW - The Book of Deacon 5/5

What a wonderful tale this is.

The Book of Deacon

http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Book-of-Deacon-ebook/dp/B0036FTF4S/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1356300106&sr=1-1

Following the main female character, we see the ups and downs of her life in an adventure of intrigue. Some colourful characters, just what the reader of a fantasy story wants. The plot is certainly not predictable as we are taken through the magical journey of different subplots. There are a few editing issues but not enough to distract from the tale. I downloaded this book as a free kindle version and I will most certainly be purchasing other books by this author.

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

FREE COPY OF DIVIDED REALMS IN MOBI VERSION

A major character from Book 1 Divided Realms (an upcoming trilogy of the Aarabassa World).

RAPHAEL - The youngest of three princes. The complications of birth leave him with fatal injuries and illnesses. It is believed his blood mixed with his mothers in the womb and became toxic. His mother, Queen Elma died giving birth to him. His father, the king, hates him because he loved his Queen and is lonely upon her death. Raphael is kidnapped as a young child,  by the evil Emperor Morte-Bielz and then rescued by a giant snake. The snake is Emperor Morte-Bielz's brother, the Ancient Mage Saurlton. Saurlton goes on to train Raphael to be his apprentice and all of Raphael' s weaknesses and injuries are cured by his increasing skills in magic.

The first 3 people to answer the following question will be emailed a copy of the Divided Realms Book 1 (in mobi version). If you like Fantasy Adventure then you'll love this tale of good versus bad, of family life, of dwarves, dragons and centaurs. Perhaps you may consider leaving that all important feedback on this blog or on Amazon.

QUESTION: What is the mother's name of Raphael?

Pick up a copy of this tale on Amazon for your kindle
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Divided-Realms-Arabassa-World-ebook/dp/B00A8YTHNE/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1353520279&sr=1-1

or Amazon.com


Monday, 10 December 2012

Maggies Fall by Ricki Wilson

Maggie's Fall 
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B005YCZD3I

A true-to-life family saga set in the contemporary west that is both endearing and well written. You won't want to miss this compelling tale. Kindle & paperback.

From the Author

I did not write Maggie's Fall to be either gender or genre specific. It was important to me that Maggie appeal to all readers who love a good story. While there are romantic elements in Maggie, it is not a Romance; nor is it a Western, although I hope it evokes the spirit of the west.

About the Author

Ricki Wilson is an independent author and professional educator from Oklahoma.  Growing up among genuine cowboys, Ricki learned at an early age to appreciate the true value of a good horse and a faithful dog.  Maggie's Fall, Wilson's first novel, is a tribute to both. 

Divided Realms - Fantasy Adventure Book 1

Picture

Sunday, 9 December 2012

PRESENTLY READING

http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Book-of-Deacon-ebook/dp/B0036FTF4S/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1355087152&sr=1-1

The Book of Deacon

Still available to download onto kindle for FREE on Amazon.

I will put my Review on my blog when I've finished but thoroughly enjoying it is all I'll say for now.

Muddled and Fuddled

Well I've earned the title of Indie Author but no-one ever said how hard this would be. So far I've:- *Approached many Reviewers to hopefully gain positive reviews on their sites.
*Giving away FREE copies on other people's sites to get coverage.
*Try to Tweet, Pin and Facebook my book at least once a day but to be honest I don't really want to spam my book to my followers too much.
*Joining forums of authors
*working out how to produce a printed copy on Amazon's Create.
All of the above is to time consuming that my family think I've gone mad. I really will have to sit down and plan this all out because at the moment there seems little time to actually write and I'm trying to produce Book 2 of this trilogy.
So if any one reads this and knows of other methods of publicity for new authors, then please message me. I need all the help I can get.

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Learning the Ropes as an Indie Author

Writing my book was by far more enjoyable than trying to wade through the etiquette of being an Indie Author. Trying to join so many Social Networks is not only time consuming but also difficult to remember what you have done where. So after changing all own sites such as my blog, Facebook, Pinterest & Twitter accounts to now include my works as an author, I am now offering my book for FREE on other sites via people who do actually know what they're doing. 

So today's offer of a mobi version of my book Divided Realms is at the following the link: 
http://www.inscribink.com/category/books/

I you're a Fantasy Adventurer, like me, then I implore you to give my book a read. I'm still awaiting my very first feedback from a reader. That will be the day I will have an idea of what someone I don't know thinks of my work. Meanwhile I await with eager anticipation.  

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Book Review

The latest Book I have Read is Book 1 of the Fallen Star Series by Jesicca Sorenson.  Downloaded for Free onto my kindle and well worth paying for the remaining series.

The Fallen Star (Fallen Star Series Book 1)

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Fallen-Star-Series-Book-ebook/dp/B004W0COEY/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1354743003&sr=1-1

****
Couldn't turn the pages fast enough in certain parts. Good main female character. Her story unfolds with intrigue & mystery. The author created new creatures for us to experience and lots of twists in the plot. Got this as a free download but I will be purchasing the rest of the series. Found a few little typos but not enough to distract from enjoying the tale.

FREE copies of kindle edition Fantasy Adventure book


Calling all Fantasy Adventure Readers

I'm giving away 10 FREE copies of Book 1 Divided Realms (Aarabassa World trilogy) as mobi version for your kindle. Interested??? Fantastic - then follow this link to find details.

http://www.abookloverslibrary.com/

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

My book in kindle version on Amazon

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Divided-Realms-Arabassa-World-ebook/dp/B00A8YTHNE/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1354662508&sr=1-1
 
Divided Realms, Book 1 of an upcoming trilogy (Aarabassa World).

The destiny of four young people living their ordinary lives, changes almost overnight. The youngest, Prince Raphael, thought to die young through illness, is kidnapped by the evil Emperor of the Dark Side of Aarabassa. His ransom is Heather, the Changeling and key to enabling his vamplin army to enter the Light Lands once he has used the Fire Giant to destroy the Magic Wall. Prince Leon and Prince Amos must travel the realms to unite the People of the Light Lands in readiness for a battle to stop the evil monshaad Emperor from destroying the Magic Wall. Dragons, Dwarves, Centaurs and many a creature will fight for the continuation of their races.

Friday, 23 November 2012

One Woman's Quest: New blog changes for November

One Woman's Quest: New blog changes for November: I am in the process of changing my blog to include my life as a newbie author. I will continue to chat about being an e-commerce retailer as...

New blog changes for November

I am in the process of changing my blog to include my life as a newbie author. I will continue to chat about being an e-commerce retailer as there are so many ups and downs to that role. Hopefully I will grow as an author and this blog will slowly become more interesting - as if it isn't already! I will be back shortly to talk about my book and add the link. Meanwhile my 1st Book, Divided Realms, is available to buy as a kindle version on Amazon. More to follow soon .....

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Still Here

Ok, no blog writing in October but business is sooo quiet there's very little to brag about. Still selling via ebay. Now the end of Car Boot sales so back to struggling for winter stock.

I'm also concentrating a lot on publishing a novel via e-books on Amazon of which I'm quite excited about. If you like Fantasy Adventure then you might be interested my fantasy world where dragons and humans and many other creatures live. Rather than start another blog I'll probably include details in this one and change the name to incorporate both my business and my book.

Sounds a good idea to the make this blog about the things I do in this wonderful life. So I will say to any readers - Hi, I'm a mother (note mother and not mum as my children are all grown up) of 4. That is 3 boys and a girl, age range from 17-30yrs. Plus I'm a very proud and happy grandma of a boy and a girl - can't wait for more! I have a wonderful hubby (32yrs), who supports me in most things I do. I'm always penniless. I don't drive a car as it's far too expensive to learn these days. I don't have a very big social circle. One of my pet hates is that I just can't give to charities - don't they realise that some of us do actually need every penny we earn and really don't have any to spare. I can't even really afford to buy clothes from charity shops as they're getting really expensive. A pet hate of mine and I won't go on about it any more. I believe that 90 % of the population are nice and just a tiny percentage are not very nice people. At my ripe old age of 53 yrs I could tell a tale or two but we should live for the now, not the past or the future but the now, as that is where we are at. I have 2 dogs (one from a Trust and one we got as a puppy). I love them dearly. And of course I love to read Fantasy Adventure. Enough I hear you say. Yeah I think we can surmise I'm a pretty ordinary, boring sort of person. I'll be back in November with an update of business and book. Bet you just can't wait.

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Sunny September in the UK

Well I haven't missed my own website Cathys Curios one little bit so I'm quite pleased I made the decision to shut that shop down.

Although I must say e-bay has been a bit of a struggle this month. I know there is no known reason for this but as soon as the Olympics ended, sales started to go up again. Not quite got back to normal yet, but what a strange coincidence. Sales have most definitely slumped this year. This is my 4th year at e-commerce and so far each year has beaten the previous one in profits. It will hard pushed to happen this year. Anyhow I'll be reporting on that at the end of March 2013.

I've also struggled to pick up stock this year partly because of the rain stopping all the car boots (flea markets) and partly through events within my family. This month there have been some large car boots as the sun has finally decided to come out over the UK. I will start attending the auction houses again soon readying for winter. I'm not too worried though as I now accept these ups & downs as part & parcel of the retail business. At least through e-commerce I don't have the overheads of a bricks & mortar business so I'm not losing money on rent & rates etc.  I have had a bricks & mortar business prior to this and my overheads just got way over my head causing me to shut shop. E-commerce also gives you a much bigger audience of the whole world and you're not just relying on the odd passer-by. Some online shops don't like to ship overseas but they are halving their customer base. At least a third of my sales are overseas and only a couple have gone pear shaped.

Dresses have continued to sell well. Once the jewellery has sold out I don't think I'll be replacing it, not a good seller for me. But of course, ceramics are my love and I so enjoy collecting, researching and sending each one on to new homes. The wonderful feedback we get via ebay makes it all worthwhile and now I've started in this business I don't think I'll ever finish. I just wish I had found this love sooner in my life. Now in my 50s I consider myself semi-retired but I actually work longer hours self employed than I ever did in my paid full-time job. So life is not easier in this semi-retirement, but it is more enjoyable.

I would actually love a little antique shop whereby I would open when I felt like it but it would mainly be my place of storage and my main income will always be e-commerce.

Ah well, nearly Christmas.

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

August - Endings, Continuations & Newbies.

I will be saying farewell to Cathys Curios website today. As soon as I've upated my blog I'm then going on to close down the website. It's not a sad day as I have learned a lot about e-commerce shopping. Plus it certainly isn't the end as I'm still selling via all the other methods I've mentioned in previous blogs. If you're going to run a lone website, then it is definitely worthwhile tracking down good SEO support and paying them. It's a bit like painting and decorating, we can all have a go and do an unprofessional mess at it, or we can hire the craftsman who will do a good job. I learned about SEO and I did SEO but it was never quite good enough. I did the quality 2-way links, keywords, quality homepage, quality products amongst other things. If I decide to run another lone website then I will definitely invest some money into an SEO expert. No more self decorating for me.

My new name is now Vintage Plaza UK - much more keywordy than Cathys Curios was. It's taken a lot of time to change all my titles in all my freebie shops ie Groovy Cart, Ebay (not that ebay is in any way free). Presently I have all my sites linking to my ebay shop whereas before they would have linked in to my lone website. So this is by no means the end.

Ebay is still slow and getting slower by the day. Some blame the Olympics, Some blame the economy or the sun, me I don't have a clue but it is difficult riding the slow periods. Particularly if isn't just a second income, which it isn't for me. I simply don't know or understand why ebay has suddenly slumped. Plus of course, less profit means a decrease in purchasing stock so my quantity is slowly decreasing as well.

I've also opened a shop on Etsy UK. Not sure how it will do as Etsy has long been known for its home made products, but time will tell. Ok folksies nothing much to do but moan relentlessly at the moment but the main point is, I have not given up! Hopefully next month I'll be boasting of how well I'm doing and moaning about how busy I am. Ah well - off to close down a website - bye for now

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

July and Mega Desicion Making

Ok, fed up with lack of sales so time to go into action! For some time now I haven't been making ANY sales whatsoever on my own website Cathys Curios. I research all the right things to do as far as SEO is concerned but yet I'm still only graded No.1 (being the lowest) on Google search. Although when I look things up for my shop, I'm always on the 1st page. Just can't fathom it out. So after muchas humming & arrring I've decided to close it down. The problem is if you're a bit of a layman, like me, you really might be best to pay someone to provide a bit SEO support to your site. I considered myself pretty much ok on a basic level but clearly that isn't good enough. My website host didn't provide SEO support so hence the closure. Plus SEO support can range from £200-500 a month and that's a lot of money for a small business.

So --- what am I going to do about this hiccup?! Aswell as this disappointment, ebay sales have also gone down the plug hole. I think the world recession is most definitely kicking in for the little business people. I will continue with my ebay shop as the sales are at least trickling in. I also have one of my freebie shops still turning over at Groovy Cart. Whilst this shop can only have 30 items and limited sales, it's still free and I have had a couple of sales from it. Also opening up a shop on UK Etsy. This again has its limitations as you either need vintage or hand made. I'm only putting my really good stuff in this shop and I haven't opened it yet, as I need to build it up first. I'll report back at a later date on that one. I've also got the hubby surfing the net for an alternative for me. I would love to open a website with a company that has SEO support but just too expensive for my tiny budget.

Now then, on top of all the sales downturn issues, there are also stock issues. The UK has had nothing but rain this summer so the car boots or flea markets that are mostly outdoors have been very poor. This puts me back in the auction housess. Actually I love the auctions, gives me a bit of a buzz, all that haggling. With sales down then profits are down and therefore purchasing stock is down. Haven't quite hit rock bottom yet and hopefully will bounce enough not to get there, but time will tell. Any kind donations gladly accepted.

Ladies dresses still selling well. Jewellery not so good and as soon as stock is sold, I'll be dropping that category. If you can afford silver and gold then you would do well, but costume jewellery is just so widely available cheaply from China, and not just for wholesale but directly to the customer on a smaller order basis.

There you have it for now. Cathys Curios is closing down. I am also going to buy a new domain name that has more effective keywords in it. Still plugging my ebay items on Twitter & Pinterest, not sure it does any good but it's free marketing.

My dream when I started all this 3.5 years ago was that eventually I would have a tiny bricks and mortar shop. I would only open when I'm working there and capture the odd passer by.  My main customer will always be on the internet so it shouldn't matter about the bricks and mortar base being a great seller.  Plus I want to travel around the UK and maybe even France seeking those great treasures. I'm still working on the dream and haven't given up hope --- yet!

Sunday, 1 July 2012

Just took the G out of Blooming June

Bloomin RAIN again! I really must complain to him up there or wherever s/he is, this rain is bad for business. No car boots mean that obtaining stock becomes a problem (much like during the winter months). I had really hoped to go from 350 items to around 500 items this summer in my ebay shop - but not to be. Also I suspect there are more little traders, like me, around now so lots of competition. Not that I'm trying to put anyone off but just be prepared. Actually I don't see a problem with competition in this trade as we all find different things. Maybe there's just not a lot of vintagey item left in the world, so that's causing the struggle, but I doubt it.

For a few years the older traders ie pre ebay days, complained that ebay was forcing the market down as they were getting less money for their wares. Well I'm not an 'oldey' trader so I wouldn't know about that but with the economy as it is, I do believe more families are seeking an extra income and they can now sell so easily online, as well as holding down a full time job. I don't blame them either, I would do the same to keep my head above water. In my day you had a full time job plus a little cleaning job to top your income up. Anyway, I'm rambling but basically I think the whole economic market's difficulties are being felt by us little people. Bills forever increasing, but not so with the incomes. It's ok for the few millionaires dodging their tax payments, they do not and will never understand the meaning of economical struggling. To the normal little person £5 is a lot of money. If I made this amount in profit for every sale I'd be happy. The richer don't even think is such little numbers. So, my purpose of this rhetoric is that building up stock, finding unique pieces, fantastic customer service is all ultra important in this business of vintage e-commerce to make that little bit of profit. My sales stats are ok but could be better. I suspect we're all in pretty much the same boat.

So bring out the SUNSHINE so those lovely people hording old things in their attic can come out to play. Plus the sun makes us feel happier and smile more. You lucky people living in the sun & heat all the time probably don't notice how happy you are every day. Come to the gloomy UK and you'll soon feel the misery of grey skies and cold air.

As usual I'm having a good moan in my update to the world. One day I'll come to update this blog and I may have made loads o money and then I'll have a happy tone in my words. Actually I am happy with life - this job beats working in an office, in a city 9-5, any day. Done that, been there, got the leaving pressy! Signing out for June seeya soon .....


Saturday, 19 May 2012

May is Most Merry

I must complain about the rain in the UK. No, not really as we do need it but it's stopping all the luvly juvly car boots from running cos they're outdoors. Needless to say I have not managed to build up my stock level. Was hoping to go from 350 listings on ebay to 500 but it's slow progress. Whilst we add 2 new items daily, we sometimes sell up to 5 daily so it just puts stock down and down. So our increase of stock has not happened yet.

However, our sales, thank goodness, have increased. April was pretty dismal for us but so far May is proving to be Merry for sales. Keep it up please! We are also improving the quality of our stock which inevitably means higher prices for better items. We're gradually attempting to get rid our shop of the stuff we purchased at the beginning, that we're still left with. Yep still have some stock from 3 yrs ago. This also means we often walk past a lot of car boot goodies now, as we slowly go a weeny bit more upmarket.

On another negative note, we lost our Quality Seller label on ebay. We know not why as customer feedback remains annonymous. Yes I know this sounds like a sellers moany moan BUT we have had nothing but good feedback. One customer complained he got his deliver late (it was 1 day later than it should have been!) so he gave us a low postage grade. I'm still convinced it could be other sellers purchasing low value items just so they can get to do some nasty feedback. I know, I know I sound desparate but we really do not know what the problem was and ebay just accuse us of not contacting our customers to sort out any issues. Don't know how we could do this when we have no idea who the customer is.  On a good note, 99.9% of our customers are kind and seem to like us so we decided not to let this upset us and just continue to do our best as honest sellers.

Due to constant increases in Royal Mail we also decided that rather than constantly changing our postage prices, we would add a small amount to the listing price. Hence we now include postage in the bidding price and that is what you pay, no extra for postage. Now our customers know there are no extra hidden charges (other than overseas customers). Not sure it it's working yet but will report in a future blog how this progresses.

Dresses have really taken off but I will be doing away with jewellery once my present stock is gone. Also going to try ladies shoes, so again I will report back on that one. Problem with clothing is you do need lots of choices and lots of different sizes so you need the wardrobe space. Not sure where I'll store the shoes yet!? 

Ok half way through May but my next blog will probs be a pottery history one as I try to alternate. Sunday tomorrow and off to --- yes you got it --- A CAR BOOT. It's a local one run by a school so there shouldn't be too many traders running stalls. I suppose it depends on the weather how many stall holders turn up. I went to done today (showery weather) and hardly anyone was there but still managed to get some stock. Gosh we're nearly half way through 2012 - where did it go - Oh I became a grandma so time has flown by. Happy May everyone

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

CROWN DEVON POTTERY HISTORY (in brief)
*1873 - S. Fielding & co opened by Simon Fielding
*1878 taken over and expanded by Fielding’s son Abraham.
*1880s - the name Crown Devon was seen on backstamps 
*1912 factory renamed The Devon Pottery
*1951 - survived a fire
*1982 closed
Popular wares include:
Majolica - mostly exported to USA,
Musical novelties such as Sandy Powell musical mug & John Peel Tankard
Souvenir Series - seaside novelty items. 
Art deco figurines mostly designed by Kathleen Parsons
Further history and crown devon backstamp can be found at potteries.org

For other Pottery Histories see my website www.cathys-curios.co.uk - In each pottery category there is a brief history.

Saturday, 31 March 2012

March the Monotonous Month


Not sure why the month of March is so affected as being the last month in the budget year and, historically my least busiest time. I could actually go on a holiday and I don't think customers would notice whereas the rest of the year, if you go on hols and close shop, the consequences are disastrous to your e-commerce business ie if your listing aren't kept active then they go way down the ratings etc. Any holidays must have internet access.

So this year I've learnt to Twitter and felt very excited as everything I tweeted seemingly got more views. Only to read that often links on twitter are opened by 'Bots' and don't count in the ratings ladder. Not sure what logic is behind this but I'm sure someone somewhere must be making money out of it. Should I keep tweeting I now ask myself, not sure yet, I'll give it a bit longer or at least until business picks up again and I don't have the time to sit tweeting any more.  I also started a business page in Facebook but I can't say it's done me any good, even though I'm on various forums that I can add my listings to. Another experiment is Pinterest ie pinning pictures with short descriptions. I must admit I do prefer Pinterest to Twitter cos there are some lovely pictures out there (although not work related at all). Pinterest is a pleasure to the eye but not necessarily to the pocket as not sure this is much good for PR either, but I'll keep at a bit longer yet. I'm also not spending as much time on my website shop and concentrating more on my ebay shop. Even with their frustrating policies and rules, I still make most of my money there whereas my website seems to be going nowhere. I think I'm convinced that I need to pay an expert to give my website a kick-start. Haven't got the money yet but it's something I'm considering for the future. I then need to ask myself how on earth I find a good reliable SEO expert from the millions advertising out there. I have tried to read up about the hows and whatfors but it really is a minefield. Maybe if we start to learn all about this subject at school as part of the curriculum then the subject will not be so unbelievably complicated. As for us oldies, well we just have to pay someone to hopefully do the right thing for us.

Still enjoying the ceramics and dresses but the jewellery's not doing so good. I'll drop this product shortly which is a pity as I enjoyed buying pretty shinies. Also not doing as many articles on my blog that I should be doing for PR purposes. It's difficult to motivate oneself when you think no-body is reading it anyway. I feel the same with the tweets, they move down the page so fast who is going to read them, I hardly read anyone elses so it's probably likewise. For any newbies who might happen to come upon this rather negative paragraph, I do still believe it's best to keep your hands in all the baskets so yes, I think it best to keep these things going even though it feels a waste of time. Why? Because it's what the experts say we should be doing and seeing as I know nothing of ratings etc, then I can only trust in those who do know what they're doing. I've also still got a few 'freebie' shops on the go. Again I feel they're a bit of a waste of my time and effort to list items in them but until I find a better way of free PR then I'm sticking with them.

I started this blog mainly because the experts say links from a blog are treated as valuabe by the 'bots' & 'spiders' and can put you higher up the ratings. I decided it would be like a diary of my successes and my downs. So, If you're lucky enough to find it and read through it, then you have to put up with my moans and groans. I'm allowed because that's the whole point that I inform you of the different methods I'm trying and the effects they have.

Finally whilst I haven't increased much on last years income, I haven't gone down either. They say it takes 3-5 yrs to build up a business. BUT - and here's the moan .... I wish it would build up quicker so I can feel like it is an adequate income for my family.  So here's to 2012/13 - please let it be a better year for my income, I really do work hard and long hours so I think I deserve an increase. I'm ending the budget year with a small smile but certainly not with a leap of joy.

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Carlton Ware Pottery History


Whehey - I'm back. Haven't been able to sign in to my blog for reasons beyond my technical understanding. Anyway it's POTTERY HISTORY time as follows
CARLTON WARE, ENGLISH STAFFORDSHIRE

*1890 - Carlton Ware began as Wiltshaw and Robinson & owned by the same family for 75 years.
*Early products Victorian Blush Ware and at the turn of the century Crested Ware. 
*Brightly coloured lustre ware fired at a lower temperature and more economical than true lustre ware, called ‘lustrous’ with Royale range: Bleu (Blue), Rouge (Red), Vert (Green) and Noire (Black).
*1960s - taken over by Arthur Woods 
*1970's - Walking Ware range introduced
*1990s went into receivership
*carlton ware backstamp information found here - as well as a more comprehensive history

Friday, 24 February 2012

Hippip Hurray is nearly car booty time

Thank goodness March is around the corner and the car boots will be running - why? I hear you say - cos it's just so much fun scrummaging (is that a made up word!) around. I'm going to my last Antique Fair this weekend, until winter is upon us again. Profits are so low from items I buy in winter. Plus as I said in earlier blogs, I desperately need to stock up.

Also last month of tax year and looking at my forcast I'm not up much on last year. Ok so we're in the middle of a recession and what else can we retailers expect. We have to keep on plugging our wares though as we all have bills to pay and have you seen the latest energy bills!!!!! Wow someone somewhere must be making a pretty packet on our need of gas, electric & water, to survive. Doesn't give me much faith in our so called government I'm afraid. Then again I voted for Gordon Brown and I still believe he would have got us out of this mess better. There was a man who couldn't give a toss about media until he was reminded he had to. Whoa I digress!

I also made another big decision in the month of February - I'm not going to spend as much labour time on my e-commerce website because all that I do just does not seem to bring in those sales. I'm still only Level 1 on Google search so what the h... Ebay seems to be my bread earner, for all it's adverse rules & regulations & policies. Oh and another probs I'm noticing on the freebie sites, we now have to put in these new MPN & EAN numbers and of course we in the vintage & antique line don't possess such information. I did apply to have my website allowed leeway in this and was granted such, but it doesn't seem to have made any difference. I'm still being informed by the freebie sites that they cannot list my goodies on google as I don't have this & that in my listing. Somehow this doesn't seem to affect my ebay listings so I'm staying with them.




Thursday, 16 February 2012

Aynsley pottery history in brief


Aynsley vintage china cabinet plate pembroke cobalt blue and gold c1960-70s


 For sale on @ uk ebay

*Aynsley China goes back to the 18th century.

*1862 Portland factory opened by John Aynsley II - china still made there today 

*1897 - Queen Victoria commissioned Aynsley China to produce a set of tableware to commemorate her Diamond Jubilee and this allowed Aynsley China to use the royal crest in its backstamps. 

*They have also produced china for Queen Elizabeth II and the Prince of Wales. 

*1970 - taken over by Waterford - renamed Aynsley China Ltd

* 1997 - Became a part of the Belleek Pottery Group          

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

February a time for Business Plan

January has been a pretty good month on ebay so no moaning there. However, watching the snow fall I find myself pondering on how I can improve my business this year. Not only is it the beginning of a year but it will be the beginning of a Financial Year shortly. So, to the planning board.

I am definitely short of stock. I actually started the Winter on low stock so it was my own fault really. I honestly believe in my trade that the more stock you have the more you will sell and thus the more you will make. Well, anyway that's my Motto. With Car Boots just around the corner I eagerly await to whizz around them. We've been attending Antique Fairs all winter and not many sell to trade so it's hard on us. They want the Collectors as much we do. I have run a couple of stalls at the Antique Fairs myself but with such a limited audience of 'passers by' only, I soon gave up with that one. So onwards and forwards.  I have a good plan that around every fortnight I will attend a huge antique car boot in York and then go on to Bridlington by the sea side to stay in son's house overnight. Then finish off on the Sunday with a huge sea side Car Boot. All I need now is the cash. I must say I'm quite looking forward to doing this throughout the summer. No pennies for holidays this year so a few nights by the sea with my favourite pastime shoud do the trick.

I'm still spreading my wings with all the freebie shops though none seem to be benefiting me. Nor has the Twitter or Facebook page as of yet. For those of you from across the pond in the US, I am just about to open a Ruby Plaza shop, once they have approved it. So we'll see what that may reap.

My Australian customers are remaining faithful with their constant stream of orders and just sent to Thailand for the first time. Japan is probs the next best country for my trade and of course, a few throughout Europe.

By the way, the category for dresses has proved successful. I love it as I get to buy new stock of vintage style dresses and even though they're not for me, I love shopping for them. Jewellery being the complete opposite though. This really hasn't taken off with only a couple of sales. I'll keep plugging for now but may get rid in summer.

On a negative note - of course I had to have one - studying my forcast I think I will only just do a little better than last years income. On the good side it isn't down - well not yet anyway but still a couple of months to go.

Friday, 27 January 2012

Business life in January

Wow - January nearly completed- where has the time gone!

Latest update on website shop is not good. Sales still very low and thank goodness for ebay is all I can say. Also I changed the template to dress the shop up a bit and LOST every single internal link. I think this will effect the google views as broken links are frowned upon by the robots. Ah well, I'm slowly wading through to put them all back again. Views are only down slightly so far but sales are pretty poor. About 1 a month on average.

As a punishment to myself, I'm spending lots of time trying to PR my site. I'm putting mini sites on any freebie I find (they usually let you put between 10-30 items on for free). I then add a link to my main website. Trouble with this is one must remember to go and delete all items on other sites that have sold elsewhere - so now I tell my spreadsheet where everything is advertised. My spreadsheet is my Bible. Yes, of course this is hard work and takes from around 9 in the morning until around 9 at night to get through but I'm hoping it might help an incy bit. In between I'm wrapping the items I do manage to sell and dashing off to the post office.

So If you fancy giving all this a go I have now joined the following:-
1 UK ebay
2 Main website Cathys Curios
3 Free Web Store
4 Groovy Cart
5 BT Tradespace
6 Free Ads
7 Face book Business Page
8 Twitter
9 Ruby Plaza (in process)
10 I'm trying this new Pinit
11 My blog
12 updating Exchange Links continually 
13 Free Directories whenever I come across them.

Plus I'm sure I'll find many more. All of this makes it fuller than full time but I enjoy it so that's what matters.

Think I must be due to add a bit something educational to this blog so I will try to return very soon with a bit of pottery history.

To finish off with I'm going to a huge Antiques Fair in Manchester at the weekend (700 stalls) and the good thing is - I get in free if I show my business card. I hope to come away with lots of goodies to make my fortune.



Tuesday, 10 January 2012

The Challenge Continues in the New Year

Christmas out of the way, New Year done and dusted and holiday season finished. So, ready to continue the challenge of business growth.

First of all I have to report that December was my best month so far in this tax year. Strangely enough one of my busiest weeks was Xmas to New Year whereby I sold something every day. This surprised me as I don't do Sales or Offers, I just plod on as normal. Anyway, I'm not complaining other than I had to wrap lots during holiday season.

We're now into January and thinking about our Tax Returns. I do it every year, leave it till the last minute. Good job I have a nice Accountant who does it online for me.  This can be a costly affair so worth shopping around and getting a few quotes. I've been with the same Accountant for years. Anyway we won't talk about year ends yet as that, for a business person in UK, is March. January is just the month we all panic to get our figures in.

I'm excited about 2012 because I plan to go further afield for my stock. Normally I try to stay local but now we're going further and staying overnight, so it's like a mini shopping holiday - well shopping for stock is just as exciting to me as some women like to shop for clothes. Honestly I love it. Ok I'm still selling the cheaper end of the market as I haven't yet grown enough to purchase the more expensive pieces. That will come though. Infact, viewing my Sales Reports on ebay I'm averaging £10-£15 per item at 70-90 sales per month. Still chicken feed to some of the bigger 'antiquers'. Nonetheless I do have growth. To start with that was £2-£5 per item at around 20-30 sales at the beginning, so over the 3 years it has increased, all be it slowly. On the good side aswell my vintage style clothes are doing ok, though the jewellery hasn't done much yet. I'm glad I expanded to include these 2 extra categories as they are fun to buy.

This weekend I'm going to outer Manchester for a 300 stall fair and end of next month there will another in Manchester with 700 stalls, so surely I will find some lovely pieces affordable to my business. I also plan to find some fairs near the seaside to have a day by the sea. I dare not go on holiday because of my business. Honestly, if you close down for a week it takes another 4 weeks to get your ratings back up. So all hotels or camp sites must have internet access so I can run my business on hols.

One negative aspect though is my website shop is doing rubbish. Ebay is still the best seller but we've had some ups and downs with their silly rules for sellers. Whereby my little individual shop, which I spend every day with PR work, is hardly selling a single thing. It won't stop me continuing but sometimes I think the only way forward is ebay. I had hoped the stand alone website would get me out of ebay, but that hasn't happened yet.

I'll report back when I have my goodies.