What We’re Up To

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What we're up to: Richard working on our gift shop website

Close to Home – January 2021

We’re deep into Lockdown #3 and missing everyone who visits us in our little gift shop, but we’re still working. We’ve actually been working more hours during the lockdowns than we do in normal weeks! Here’s what we’re up to:-

This ‘Ere Website

Most of our time during the lockdowns has been taken improving our website. We’ve had a website for a few years now but I had left it all to Richard because he has more patience with computery-type things. The first lockdown gave us time to think about things a bit more, and we had to acknowledge that times are changing so we decided to use the free time that has been imposed upon us to concentrate on improving our site.

Near & Fair Gift Shop website home page

Richard, being the more technical one, did the stuff that costs money – upgrading this, that and the other, and paying for stuff that would allow us to put more on the site and have it running faster and hopefully with no glitches. I, on the other hand, am the wordy one, and it turned out we needed a bit more wordiness so I got stuck in. We now have our own little system: Richard puts the products on the website, along with photos and a brief description, then I “posh it up” a bit with a few more words and a play around with the layout and presentation. We’re no experts, but so far I don’t think we’ve done a bad job of it. We have definitely seen an increase in online sales. Whether that’s a result of our efforts or simply because so many other people are also sitting at home looking at their screens I guess we’ll never know. If nothing else, it’s keeping us out of mischief.

Thanks to the website and social media we’re now receiving regular online orders which we process every Tuesday and Friday during lockdowns. We deliver to our local area* ourselves so the items go through less hands before arriving at their destination. For orders further afield, we pop them round to the local Post Office and let them magic everything to where it needs to be. Once we can open the shop again we’ll be able to process online orders Tuesday to Friday.

Didn’t We Already Expand a Few Months Ago?

We’re actually quite enjoying working on the website a lot more than I thought we would, and we want to get even more items on it. Despite expanding into a larger retail unit in Trinity Market Arcade, we still don’t have enough room to display everything we want to sell. The website is a perfect solution! We’re now in the process of sorting out some storage space for the extra items we want to sell and then we can display everything on here. Anything you find on the website that we don’t have in the shop, you’ll be able to click and collect (when not in lockdown), or have us deliver or post it if you prefer. We have plans for a lot of new lines that we’re really excited about and I think you’ll love as much as we do. We’ll also be able to stock more sizes of the clothes giving you all more choice. Watch this space!

It’s Not All Work

We don’t just work. We have our own little pastimes too which we do most days. The triple-“dum” I’m hearing as I type means Rich is playing darts upstairs. The cat likes to watch him. I don’t know if she’s brave or a bit daft. Probably both. Later on, I’ll be having a dong on my piano. During the first lockdown I learned Simon and Garfunkel’s “The Sound of Silence” which is ironic because I think my family might actually prefer silence to my clumsy musical efforts! In Lockdown 2 I learned a couple of Dog’s D’amour songs (think late ’80s glammies) and Lockdown 3 has me in Rory Gallagher-mode learning “They Don’t Make Them Like You Anymore“. Playing music is not my strong point, but it’s fun.

We’ve also been out a few times for fresh air and exercise and last week we enjoyed exploring around some derelict buildings – safely, of course. I’ve always loved street art – as a viewer – and there’s plenty to see around there. Since our trip there, a nearby subway has been designated as legal walls for street artists to use, so we’ll be going back in a couple of weeks to have a look at the improvements.

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Mum’s got some explaining to do!

As we finally approach the end of the longest January on record we are keeping our fingers crossed for a bit of snow. Just for a day or two so we can put on our Bernie mittens and chuck snowballs in each other’s general direction. Then before we know it, it will be spring and we’ll be enjoying bird song and daffodils. I don’t know about you but I’m certainly ready for the longer days.

Last week’s blog post was Fragrance of the Month and I wrote about white sage incense. Next week we’ll be in February and we’ll be back to Product of the Month again. I’m excited to tell you about one of our new items, I just haven’t decided which one yet.

I hope you are all keeping well and are safe and warm. Take care of yourselves and each other.

Julie xx

*our local area is Hull and the area just to the west. If you live in one of these areas you can get free delivery on orders over £10 by using coupon code HULLFREE at checkout. Orders over £50 are automatically postage free nationwide.

Photo credits

Silver and copper jewellery courtesy of Siesta. Abandoned building and “Dad’s Called Dave” by Katie. The others are our own.

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