Sunday, 22 October 2017

This week's WINTERFEST2017 Developments - plus other news!

Hello again, Everyone.

Cy Bear back again with some updated items to share with you from the  COLDHAM CUDDLIES!

They are mostly connected with the upcoming Big Event in our lives - viz. WINTERFEST2017, the Christmas Craft Fair and Bazaar being held at Thoresby Hall, Newark, Nottinghamshire towards the end of November.

First of all, the Owl production line mentioned last week in our post here commenced early last week, and to date we have one Baby Owl (6 were cut out), one with sewing completed, but requiring final stuffing, and a third under way.   Here's the completed one - together with evidence of a major development in our WINTERFEST2017 preparations this week:

Baby Owl No.1, beside a sample of our proposed packaging for WINTERFEST2017

That's my Friend Yellow Plush Bear you can see standing in this special paper bag - one of a supply of seasonal paper bags (carrying on the Coldham Cuddlies environmentally friendly attitude - in not using extra plastic ones, as far as practicable) which were ordered early last week.

Isobel was checking on a supply of  Business Cards which she hadn't received from our supplier, when she noticed they supplied plastic bags like this, so decided to research the paper variety - just to see if they might be affordable.  It's always nice to be able to put a sold Cuddly in a bag for a Customer - because sometimes people feel embarrassed to be seen carrying a Toy, if they're a grown-up!  (I cannot think why - because, to me, that's the most natural thing for a person to be doing!!!)  She discovered a company who had lots to choose from, and decided that this particular variety would suit us admirably, and promptly ordered some:  that was Tuesday morning.  They arrived early on Wednesday morning.   (We're still waiting to hear about the Business Cards!!!).

Isobel tried out other samples of our existing stock, as well as Yellow Plush Bear, just to see how the packaging "works" for our purposes. 

Yellow Plush Bear fits in rather well!

Hairy Bear is somewhat cramped.

Isobel did find it was possible to use the handles with Hairy Bear in situ, but it wasn't comfortable for either my Bear Friend, nor her hands to carry him for a long time.   So, it may mean we'll need to take some of our plastic bag stock, to accommodate Hairy Bear-sized toys (or, maybe - if we're lucky - more than one big Toy).

Talking of Big Toys, although she's by no means as large as Hairy BearBetsy, our Yellow Dressed Rabbit, fits in quite well standing - even though she's actually made to sit.  So there would certainly be room for her - and a smaller Cuddly like an Owl or a Baby Koala (or even another Dressed Rabbit or Fox!!) at the same time - as you can see from this picture.

The Baby Owl and other Toys of his size -  and smaller -  will fit in easily, as you can see. So we hope that potential Buyers attending WINTERFEST2017 will agree, and give lots of COLDHAMCUDDLIES Forever Homes at the event.  THAT result would certainly echo the sentiments expressed in the message on the paper bag logo!

There's been no further major progress on the matter of the Card Reader authentication I told you about last week - largely because there was a bit of a family emergency early in the week, with Clare falling in their garden and damaging her right hand (she's right handed, of course) and although she can still use the limb, the injury is impeding her normal movements, so everything else is taking longer to do than normal.  We're hoping that some progress can be made with checking out suitable smart phone models next week, after we've done the planned recce of the Venue for WINTERFEST2017 (The Courtyard at Thoresby Hall).   Both ladies involved on behalf of the Cuddlies are great believers in the maxim "time spend on reconnaissance is never wasted"!!  (Isobel is "treating" Clare and GrandsonE to lunch out - as it's the Little Man's first half-term holiday all week - and it's also the day that she normally spends with him each week, too).

However, Isobel's son-in-law kindly showed her his "work" smart phone last evening, when she went around to be there for GrandsonE while his parents went to a concert in Nottingham.  She was able to handle it - as well as his own daily used equipment, to see some of the different shapes on offer on the market.  This one had a rounded back, which was very comfortable for her increasingly arthritic hand to hold easily.  (She hadn't realised that there WERE such differences - showing just how  technically illiterate she is, you see!).  I'm told that Alan followed up this helpful advice earlier today by showing her how the machines work.  (Isobel finds that other people on their 'phones move alarmingly fast, which could be one of the reasons she's not made this major step into the 21st century earlier!)  That demonstration was also re-assuring, so she's even more determined to become a "modern IT user" - if that's the technical term - so I'd hazard a guess that we'll be able to bring you up to date on that side of things soon, too.   I'm also given to understand it could be one of the reasons that we're not getting as many sales via the route these days - because folks use their 'phones more these days, rather than ordering by email via their computers!!  So - watch this space, as I often say to you all! 

(We seem to be spending quite a lot on this  WINTERFEST2017 gig, but we do want more people to learn about us:  and besides, our Order Book (off-Etsy anyway) is in not bad shape, so we feel justified in this outlay.  There is a saying I'm told which goes - you have to speculate, to accumulate!  That's just what Isobel is doing!!).

As a matter of fact, one of the Baby Owls under production has already been sold to a friend of the family who attends St.Barnabas Cathedral at the same time! That's due to be hand-delivered next week, and there's a further Ladies' Novelty Slipper order - not required until the New Year, however - so it's not ALL outgoings.  We remain very positive about the future of our Toy Shop business!  Although it has to be said, all sales off-Etsy, don't get reflected in our Etsy stats - which, in common with many of our Team Friends on that site - do remain in the doldrums presently - despite all our daily promoting activities!

Finally, when Isobel was chatting to a fellow Slimming World attendee yesterday, she was asked what else she did when she wasn't at the regular weekly weigh-in event!  She quickly established her credentials as a Toy Maker, and the lady then went on to enquire whether she might be able to make her a Whale.   Having visited South Africa recently with her husband, they had seen a major pod of such creatures off the south-west coast of that country (at a place called Hermanus), had enjoyed the experience very much, and she wanted to give him a "fun reminder" of the occasion as a Christmas present.  (Isobel knew exactly where she was talking about, incidentally, as she remembered the name of the location from her stay in that country in 1967 - although she hadn't actually been there herself.)

One thing led to another - Isobel  said she'd check our pattern library, and took the lady's telephone number, and so on.  The upshot of the exchange is that after WINTERFEST2017 is over, and Isobel has completed the order for two pairs of  Novelty Kids Slippers we already have on our Christmas Order Book, she will embark on creating a Whale for MrsPA to give her husband as a Christmas present - using this Simplicity pattern (which is one of the patterns we've purchased from various Etsy Shops since we've been on that site since 2010).

That is actually for a Dolphin:  but MrsPA agreed with Isobel, that for this purpose, if we don't use the nose as shown and perhaps move the eye position somewhat, we'll end up with a perfectly recognisable Whale Decorative Toy - albeit he'll still weigh in at roughly 2lbs (4.4 kilos), will be circa 30 inches long (76.2 cms)  and about 12" (30.48 cms) high!!   (I can see an order for more stuffing being made - to our usual supplier of that commodity, Fred Aldous & Sons of Manchester!!)  We've only got one more 1.1 kilo bag (3 lbs) in stock, plus about one-third of the bag Isobel is using for our current production purposes:  and we'll need at least one and half bags for Hermy  alone (MrsPA's name for her new friend:  we'll be listing him as a Custom Order in the COLDHAMCUDDLIES shop:  but for our purposes, Isobel thinks we'll call him Wally the Whale!).  

Right - that's it for this week.   Life is hectic, but fun.  Hope it stays that way, and we'll all see each other again next week.

Your FriendCy Bear.