So you want to setup an e-store? Make your fortune online, working from the end of your garden. How hard can it be? Very! Read on my friends.

Saturday, 27 June 2009

Breaking News - We're in the press!!

Breaking News indeed. Our little company espadrille made it into The Times this Saturday and one of my photos was featured in the magazine. How cool is that!

This is the photo that was featured, although The Times do seem to have some good Photoshop experts as there was no background shown at all.

It was only a little feature, but it did make us smile!

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Flashes Before Your Eyes – Part 1

This is the first of a multi-part episode. Unusually though this story arc is going to be spread over a number of years and is in fact still an on-going saga.

Flashback to June 2006

Getting the overall design for the first site was pretty easy, although I hadn’t appreciated just how difficult it is to come up with words and content. Luckily I had inherited a whole bunch of lovely prose from the previous owner of and with a few flowery sentences of my own I was there. I prototyped the layout of the site in Word, to get an overall feel for what I wanted, then handed that over to Dr Aich with the proviso that he could throw it all away if he could think of anything better, which of course he could.

What every website needs, even if it’s for information only, is great pictures and we all have at least one camera don’t we, so how hard can that be? Yes, you’ve already guessed the answer.

My daughters Olympus Mju compact had enough mega pixels to support a Nasa mission, so we started snapping away. It was around this point I finally realised just how difficult it was going to be. How do we arrange this stuff? We have dozens of lines, what do we photograph? It’s all got big creases in it from packing and they look dreadful in the photos and we can’t afford to write off stock just for this. We snapped away all evening at tea towels hanging from various parts of the kitchen and pictures of oven gloves and bread baskets on the counter, but it quickly became apparent we needed professional help. Of all the photo’s we took I believe only one remains on the site now and those that were used back then needed some serious digital ironing from Dr Aich’s team, but this was only the start of the nightmare.

Thankfully, Mrs G knew a professional photographer from up the road and enlisted his help, at a cost of course. Mrs G thought working with a professional was going to be easier than listening to the stream of expletives coming from her husband, but little did she know…

Monday, 22 June 2009

Stranger in a Strange Land

Flashback to June 2006

About a month before we opened we figured we had better get a logo and an espadrille website sorted out. Aich creative came up with half a dozen concepts for our branding and after a few adjustments we were ready to go. Now all we needed to do was design our spanky new site. To start off we figured we shouldn’t open an online store immediately and should just concentrate on the shop. We therefore decided that the site we needed would be for information only. Dr Aich was very up front about the different options we had and how if we were ever thinking of launching an e-store we really would be better off building it now. The downside of this approach was the cost, which was about 3 times the information only site. So, despite repeated warnings we decided to go with the cheapest option.

Now the result of this decision you’ve probably already guessed. The ‘information’ only site was pretty much a waste of time. Don’t get me wrong, Dr Aich did a very good job and the site looked great, however, the most frequent comment we got was “so, how do I buy online?”. After about 6 months, when we’d missed out on the buoyant Christmas season of 2006, we went back and asked what would be involved in converting our site to an e-store and were not surprisingly told that there really wasn’t a conversion option and we’d have to start over. Dr Aich had been right along.

e-retailtherapy Fact No 1: Listen to the expert you’ve paid to give you advice.

e-retailtherapy Fact No 2: Investing in the right thing up front is far cheaper than trying to reverse engineer it later.

Thursday, 18 June 2009


Flashback to July 2006

So where to start? I seem to recall it all seemed so simple back in the day. Mrs G had found some products she wanted sell and had located some stock in the UK. She established relationships with suppliers in France and sent out proformas’s spending a significant amount of money, although back then of course Sterling was king. She’d found a little shop, brought some fittings and got me to spend many evenings painting our newly fitted custom built shelves.

So what was the next logical step in our planned espadrille & tablecloth empire? Why a logo and a website of course.

As part of the deal when we took on the stock I was also given the domain. I thought this was quite a steal at the time and surely e-success was only just around the corner.

We engaged a local website design company called aitch creative. They lived up to their name and were indeed very creative, coming up with our logo which I still love. Unfortunately, I didn’t really heed their advice regarding creating a website, which ended up costing me hundreds. But I’ll save that story for next time.

Anyway, with our new logo freshly applied to the front of the shop Mrs G opened in July 2006, in what I remember was the last nice summer we had. Everyone loved the shop, loved the product lines and loved her. Life was good back then.

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

The Shape of Things to Come

Well now I feel really bad. Here we are a year later and I haven’t posted a thing. I started out with loads of good intentions and even had half a dozen or so postings planned out and half written. Then things got busy at work and I lost the plot a bit. Now I’ve come back and neither I nor Spotlight on my macbook can find a thing I’d written back then.

Since I last wrote the economy had nose dived and we’ve got more competition. So, I’m now back into adwords (still costing a fortune) and search engine optimisation, and I’ve got a feeling there’s going to be plenty of material related to those subjects.

There’s still a lot of story to be told about how we got this far and I’ll try my best to remember what’s happened over the last 3 years. The exciting stuff we're working on at the moment I'll post in due course, just in case the competition are reading this!

So, for those few who were kind enough to comment, many thanks, and I hope your still following.

I’ll start typing this afternoon, promise!