30 November 2007
The cowardly part of me wants to tell a wee, well a huge, fib and say I decided not to go ahead with the offer re: Notonthehighstreet.com (NOTHS) for fear of the resounding tut-tuts which may follow close behind; perhaps a part of me feels these tuts are completely justified? Whatever the reason, I am finding this a hard blog to start, so I'll just grit my teeth and go for it...
After a day of umming and aahing, a day where I desperately sought and got advice, thoughts, etc from you wonderful people - Thank You all - I at last came to a decision. My head was pounding from the stress of it all, the endless projecting of imminent failure and loss of money over the possibility of increasing sales, if not immediately then for the future. I received many thoughts from others in a similar boat, some of whom have gone ahead with NOTHS and some who chose not to, and also was lucky enough to have some give me the benefit of their own facts and figures since joining this company - something I cannot thank you for enough. It was this insider-info which helped in my final analysis of things; not one of these people claimed to be making a killing and not one of them painted a picture so rosy the apple was impossible to resist. What worked for me was their unfailing honesty, something which has drawn me to their blogs in the past. They pointed out the pitfalls and they are things which I had already earmarked as possible concerns. For one, I will not be able to have a link to my own website. Also, the commission costs are high, meaning that any income will be lower than if people buy directly through my site. Ok, how do you get round these problems?
Well, firstly although the lack of a direct link is annoying, I will have my own shop that showcases my products. Whenever I have browsed this site in the past I have usually noted the names of the companies which I particularly like and searched to see if they have a site of their own outside of NOTHs. I don't think I am unusual in this. Todays shoppers want to buy into a lifestyle; we want to know about the company we are buying from, particularly I think in the case of handmade goods. The background matters. There is a need to know that the person making the item you are putting money toward cares about what she/he does; surely that is why so many of us love magazines such as CL (I know, I know!). Also, this will be one of the ways I shall market the business. It may be my biggest outlay so far, but I hope it will reach a far larger audience than I am able to from Cornwall. Should I decide to do large fairs, etc then it is not just the cost of the stalls to take into account - fuel costs from the back-of-beyond are a high consideration as all fairs worth doing are a long way from South Cornwall. I am not saying this is a route I won't explore, merely that it is not the quick fix that it can sound. One fair alone could come close to the cost of the outlay for NOTHS and would need high sales to recoup.
Sounds like I am talking myself into it doesn't it? Dave came home last night while I was still hovering, not sure what to do. I had contacted NOTHS and had some queries answered promptly and clearly. I put the whole case to Dave - opinions for and against, costs, bad points and good points.
"What do you think?" he asked.
"That I should go for it." The words were out of my mouth before I had even considered them!
He smiled. " So do I." He kissed me on the top of my head, brought in a couple of glasses of flat cider (typically out of champers!!!) and told me that he had felt it was the right thing to do from the start but knew I needed to work it through for myself. I am fairly sure I would have reached a different decision had the offer not been for a period of five years as opposed to the same amount for one which is the usual tariff, but it felt like it was a risk worth taking.
And so, here I am a fully paid up member of this company who may/may not improve my business standing. I lay awake terrified about the money as it is a lot to take out of a rapidly diminishing family fund and could see me going back to teaching despite our every hope to the contrary but, as my dear Dave said, "at least you'll know you gave it your all."
Thank you all again; you are so very appreciated by me.