Thursday, 28 July 2011

Where to start!.....The High Street.....

I decided that I wanted to write about the high street and how I believe we will see many major retailers go to the wall over the next 9 months.

However the more I have thought about this the more complicated it becomes. Its the economy in general that needs to be discussed. Yes we have had a recession and yes we have all been impacted by it. However the recovery seems to be slow and painful and has left many economists wondering if we are heading towards a double dip. Especially with the recent GDP figures for the last quarter being more a little lacklustre. The UK's growth is dramatically behind most other countries in Europe.

Over the last few months we have seen the likes of Habitat, Jane Norman, Focus DIY go to the wall. These are major companies that all have their own individual problems. However the one thing that finally sent them to the wall is cash flow.

Retailers are being pushed in every direction which is drastically shrinking profits....If you look at the supply chain, raw material costs have increased dramatically, production costs have shot up, transportation costs have risen....then add the VAT increase onto this and the fact that many major retailers are discounting have to wonder where their profits are coming from?

The companies that have posted better than expected results are companies who have gone through massive restructuring e.g. they have already closed down stores, minimised their workforce, changed their supply strategies. These are short term gains when compared to the rising costs of retail.

Over the next 9 month to at least March 2012 we will see so many major retailiers go to the wall. In the period of January to June we have seen 21 companies go the 2010 we saw a total of 26.

Maybe I am being over pessimistic but I just cant help it. For me the writing is on the wall. However the only hope for the high street is that maybe a few more independents may be able to pinch a prime spot and a more vibrant high street maybe born from the pain.

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Hey you guys! Feeling retro and the truffle shuffle!

For those of you who get the references you know which iconic film my title is quoted from.....for those of who don't you need to revisit the Goonies. 

On Sunday I may have been a little worse for wear and rather than facing the day on for the first time ever I retreated to my bed and wallowed in my own self pity post cooked breakfast. With nothing but the usual Sunday afternoon dross on the box.... I dug through my DVD collection and found the Goonies. I was actually so excited by this fact I cant tell you!

Whilst enjoying my favourite childhood film and laughing at the truffle shuffle and the broken member of the statue.... I rembered I used to own a Goonies t-shirt....This prompted a wee look on the EBay app....low and behold I spent money without even leaving my bed! I may be too old for a Goonies t-shirt, however I am playing the retro cool card. If that don't wash with you lot well goes I openly admit I am a geek and a little bit of an outsider which mean I am a Goonie and Goonies never say die!

Saturday, 16 July 2011

Working at Corina Corina and the Wife

Today I am working at Corina Corina in Warwick. The inspirational and dynamic owner Ella Myles is someone who I got to know via my shop. She opened up just over 2 years ago on the same street where Be Gorgeous used to be based before we moved online.

Right from the off we became good friends, we were in the same boat. Small retailers trying to provide something different from the rest of the pack! We became each others go to on a tough day. For those who follow me on twitter you will know that I refer to her as the wife! Being a small retailer is not easy at the best of times. The recession was a dark time and retail is still very tough. You just need to look at the major retailers who have gone to the wall even in the last few weeks alone, trading is tough and everyone is having to be innovative and creative. However due to Ella's business model she has created something viable in the current climate. Clever lady!

Her shop is full of vintage and designer gems. Below I have show cased my favorite accessories from her website

Lea Stein is very collectible

Gorgeous brooch prefect for summer dating back to the 1950's

Gorgeous original bag that is in perfect condition

Again it all goes back to being friends for life! I don't know what I would do without my weekly visit to Corina Corina and our near daily texts. Cheers to the wife!

Friday, 15 July 2011

N-Zone frisbee.....a dangerous game! And a challenge for you all

So after yesterdays epic response to the honesty I expressed on my blog. I figure I will share more of my little life. Bet you all so pleased!

Yesterday I mentioned on Twitter that I am an adult civilian instructor at Air Cadets. After moving back to my home city with few friends in the immediate area I decided to get involved with Air Cadet 2438 squadron.

Over the last few months I have gotten more and more involved. I really feel I am giving something back to an organisation that gave me so much when I was younger.

The opportunities for cadets and instructors alike is immense. In the last few months I have even been gliding in the Vigilant (as pictured below) I was even allowed to take control of the aircraft!

Last weekend we took the cadets on a basic field craft weekend where they learnt camouflage and concealment. They slept in the woods under basher's which they had pitched. (picture below). For the whole weekend they ate MOD issue ration packs whilst practically sleeping under the stars. Air Cadets teaches them how to look after themselves, leadership skills and how to work as a team. Its the best thing I ever did when I was that age!
As an Adult Instructor I am organising a canoeing weekend as part of their Duke of Edinburgh Award. I also organise the sports activities on the squadron and I have challenged the Cadets to get fit using the the RAF recruitment training program.

So here is where the challenge comes.....If you want to get fit this summer get involved and do the 45 day program with us! You can sign up to the program online and they send you a text telling you what to do every day. No matter what your fitness level is you can take part! You do a 1.5 mile run on the first day and record your time. At the end of the program you do the same 1.5 mile run and you will see your improvement.

Last night I got the cadets to play N-Zone frisbee......Please see my war wounds to my knee below! Somehow I came off worse than anyone as I have an amazing ability to fall over!
I know this is not the average hobby of a boutique owner, but do you know what? It's a lot of fun! If you know anyone between the ages of 13 to 17 then point them in the direction of the 2438 squadron website. Also if your a big kid at heart then they are always looking for adult instructors.

I hope you will join me on my little challenge with the cadets....let me know if your taking part and we can provide moral support to each other!

Thursday, 14 July 2011

So I disappeared! Why? Well here is an epic explanation with a whole heap of honesty!

Those of you who know me well will have noticed over the last few months I have been slack on my updates on Twitter and Facebook. Don't even mention the blog as the last update was over 6 MONTHS AGO! Why have I disappeared? Well.... I fell out of love!

Back on the 24th December 2010 Be Gorgeous in Warwick closed its doors for the final time to move exclusively on-line. This was a decision that was entirely business driven. The website was and is doing really well and I had to make a decision based on profitability. Its fine to be cold and calculating and to make that decision and to follow it through. However the aftermath is something I did not expect. Emotionally I was a wreck the dream I had set out to have was no longer viable. Yes, I had a fabulous business but not the one I had set out with all my hopes and dreams wrapped up in it.....However I adopted the keep calm and carry on approach. Which seemingly means locking it all in a big ol' box and burying all that emotion nice and deep in an entirely unhealthy way!

To top it off 4 weeks later my relationship of 8 years (We had been together since I was 17 years old) broke down! In the space of 5 short weeks I had gone from owning a shop, a house, having a long term relationship to having none of the above. Effectively I was starting from scratch.

I have spent the last 6 months bumbling along existing and for want of a better phrase 'been trying to find myself'. Hence the tumble weed on my profiles! I have been lacking the energy and the drive. I loved my pretty little shop and all the verity it bought to my life. I never set out to have an on-line business, and being chained to a computer all day meant I fell out of love with Be Gorgeous. Lets face it! It just wasn't the dream. I can admit all this now.....the romance with Be Gorgeous has started over!

Recently I have dealt with some fantastic customers who have made me realise I can have a fabulous relationship with my girls in-spite of the fact I don't see them face to face. I made so many friends in Warwick that are here for life! I hope the same can be said for those that come into my life via the ether.

The last 6 months have been difficult. In spite of that I really thought I had dealt with everything so well until I went to see Bridesmaids....the main character closes her business, loses her boyfriend and generally she's at rock bottom. It is a film that's meant to be a riot! I laughed lots but I cried when no one else was. This was a little realisation that maybe I have not dealt with everything quite so fabulously well! So now my love for Be Gorgeous is starting to bloom again thanks to a few amazing customers I am feeling a need to share my thoughts feelings, and the pretty gorgeous things I find and fabulous business's I come across.

I may be up....I may be down but I will be here and dedicated to the cause!

They say when your at rock bottom the only way is up!