What are your achievements?

Looks like I found a good quote for my younger daughters room.

After watching the London Marathon today we are feeling a bit awe struck. Our designer Carrie Osborne (http://uk.linkedin.com/pub/dir/Carrie/Osborne) not only creates amazing Cockpot patterns exclusively for Searching for Skylarks ltd and our Flockers, works for illustrious names such as Liberty’s and Harrods, but she has also managed to find time to train for the London Marathon. Carrie selflessly ran the Marathon for her friend Carly, who tragically suffered life changing injuries in an accident. Completing her first ever marathon in 3 hours and 45 minutes! What an inspirational, fabulous lady she is and what a truly wonderful accomplishment! We are gushing with pride in the nest to have had the pleasure of working with such a fantastic person.

This got us thinking about what our achievements have been, both in our personal and business lives. We may not have run a marathon but we are well into the beginning of our own journey as Searching for Skylarks ltd, being successful business women and as parents and partners. We are not the first and we will certainly not be the last to juggle full time jobs, raising a family, supporting our partners and families and trying to find time for ourselves as well. But we think it is imperative that we recognise it. Otherwise, why bother?

Our lives are very busy, in business at the moment. Which is of course amazing. Cockpots are really popular and we are now offering them exclusively to our Flockers (that’s you) for pre order at www.searchingforskylarks.co.uk, which is an achievement in itself. Any business that can get its first product to market is doing something right. To follow this it is our first birthday next month (May) we find it hard to believe is has been a year already, time sure does fly when you’re having fun. In line with this, as we may have mentioned a couple of times, we are officially launching Cockpots and Cockpot glasses at Pulse in London (www.pulse-london.com). Pulse is a massive trade show, where high end buyers such as John Lewis go to find their new products, it is also open to the press, so as you can imagine the pressure is on to have everything prepared for our product, our stand and ourselves. People don’t just buy into a product, they buy into a brand. Which is led by the people representing it – us!

We are so pleased that Searching for Skylarks ltd, has become a brilliantly strong brand. We speak to well over 5000 daily and this number increases constantly, we wanted to bring people together for fun with a touch of glamour; ‘Playful Elegance’. Having created such a brand that people remain loyal to, is another fantastic achievement and we will continue to delight and involve our Flockers.

For instance, to encourage our Flockers to celebrate with us, we are asking you to create a birthday cocktail and send it to us. We post all entries across our social media pages and our favourite will be chosen to celebrate with on our birthday and will be forever famous on our website. Please do get involved, we want you to be as absolutely creative as you possibly can be. Post them to facebook.com/searchingforskylarks, twitter.com/skylarksnest or on our Flockers Cocktail repin exchange on pinterest.com/flockers all using #birthdaycocktail.

As you can imagine this in itself is a triumph and also very time consuming. But doing that as well as running full time jobs, raising families and maintaining relationships is rather taxing on us. That’s not to say that we aren’t enjoying ourselves.

Our days are spent mastering the art of metaphorical juggling. 15 balls up in the air on any given day. We are managing to kick bottom in every aspect of our lives so sometimes it is nice to say it out loud and give ourselves the recognition we deserve from ourselves, when others notice as well, that just makes us feel fabulous. Remember to take the time to congratulate yourself on a good job! Treat yourself to a #callitaweek cocktail http://www.searchingforskylarks.wordpress.com/callitaweekcocktails, put your feet up and look back on a job well done.

Preparing to exhibit – part 1

We are off to Pulse (www.pulse-london.com) in May, where Cockpots will be making their debut and to add to the excitement, we will also be celebrating our first birthday!! It has already been a year!
Now we are very excited but we have to be prepared and there is a lot to get ready for.
When taking your business to a show whether it be for trade or for anything else there is a vital checklist you must follow to ensure that you have everything you need.
Budget and Team! Devise a budget to start with, that will help to determine what you actually need and can afford. Make sure that you have a comfortable number of colleagues with you to ensure that your stall works as efficiently as it can. We have chosen 3 of us for ours, as it is the first time we are understandably nervous (which is healthy) but the logistics have yet to be seen by us and we would hate to have people looking at and wanting Cockpots and nobody be available to help.
The most important items on your list are those that have the shortest lead times to complete. Such as;
Accommodation – If you are exhibiting in a City that is not your own, you will need somewhere to stay. In our case we will be in London, so places get booked quickly. Usually your exhibition centre will be able to help with this, however, if you haven’t been trading long, or at all, you won’t have a large budget and you may want to search for something a bit cheaper yourself. To do this, either type your exhibition centre into a search engine and accommodation nearby e.g ‘accommodation near Earl’s Court’.
Exhibitor forms – you will receive emails from your exhibitor with lists of things that need to be completed before the event. Read this! Your deadlines could be closer than you think and the sooner it is published, the more visitors to the event will see it.
Things such as your exhibitor profile are very important, this is what people will read about you and your product. We have changed ours a couple of times as at Pulse the buyers are interested in our products and not necessarily our business, so where we had a short blurb mostly about searching for skylarks, we now have a longer more efficient blurb that begins with a description about Cockpots and finishes with who we are. Give the information they want to see, boast and be proud. This is ultimately your first touch with your customers, so make a good impression, stick in their mind and make them want to find you.
Health and Safety. Every company must have a health and safety representative, if you don’t have one, appoint someone and learn the role.
Tickets and Badges. Make sure everyone can get in and is registered. Fill in all of the forms correctly and double check when they arrive.
Product information and images. Make sure that your potential customers can see for themselves what you have to offer. The better the quality of the pictures the better.
How will your stand look? – This is the fun part. You need to know how you want your stand to look in order to feed it into the budget and devise a way to get what you need the exhibition. You will find many different and exciting items to add real pazzaz to your stand. Again this is something the organisers can help with, but these could be expensive, so as a compromise you may want to find things that you already own to take with you. Have a good look around your homes, perhaps ask friends and family to pitch in too. Paint? You may need permission for this so be sure to check first. Banners, there are several printing companies that can provide full length posters and banners, leaflets, information sheets. Do you have a tablet? Maybe you will want to record a video demonstration and have it playing as your sell, so you will need something to display this. Seating is a must, you don’t want to be on your feet for 8 hours a day but it is important to remember not to be sat down all of the time as that will not look professional and body language plays a huge part in a person’s decision to approach you. Tables? Invite a customer to join you and take a seat while you talk through products and prices.
Transport – how are you and your products going to get to the venue? Something big enough to carry you and everything you need. Hire companies are available or possibly borrow a car from a friend, as long as you’re insured of course.
Printing – make sure you have a good think and note down all of the printing you may need. Business cards, information sheets, hand outs, flyers, invitations, banners, posters. Anything you need to decorate your stand and hand out to provide as much information as possible.

This is just part one, we have many more tips for you as we travel our journey to Pulse. Feel free to get in touch with tips to help or questions we may be able to help with. Email us at info@searchingforskylarks.co.uk