In all my writings of this and that, I realised nothing has been really told about our online shop. So maybe it is time to open the door, invite you in and ‘show’ you our little boutique(s).
Yesterday, I had been thinking about holidays, and when we might next take one. This led me to thoughts on what this entails when you have an online shop. And so here I am, considering various aspects of life in modern day retail shopping.
Pumpjack & Piddlewick, like most good things, began as a dream. Pumpjack had owned an actual wine shop back in the days. In fact, that is how we met. I bought some wine. Fast forward to our move to France and Mr P working as a wine maker instead of seller, and I was in need of work as well.
Within that fast forward the world of shopping had made very noticeable in roads in to the online ether. Etsy was a name that was being bandied about enough that it even came to my attention in the French countryside. The means was there, it was what to sell.
P&P was originally started as a creative outlet for Piddlewick creations. These were mostly seasoned sugars, like lavender sugar, and oils such as St Johns Wort. There were even teas. All made from foraged plants. These morphed into little gift packets with cards. Then junk journal cards were born. And then the odd found vintage item, especially corkscrews, start to show up.
That was the first year of our budding online shop. Rather an eclectic start with no real plan. But in reviewing that year, there was the realisation that I liked being an entrepreneur. It was time to get serious, to make actual plans. We decided to focus it on vintage only. It sold better. Also in review we started to recognise other aspects.
An online shop never shuts. Customers are from all over the world, in different time zones, so very often, most often, purchases (and queries) occurred at odd hours of the day or night. It is definitely not a 9 to 5 job.
But saying that, if one wants a life, especially a work life balance, then it is important in managing an online shop to manage ones time, too. And if one wishes to grow a business time has to be put in. An office was set up for me and I set myself the goal of putting in my 8 hours a day.
One of the best things about being an entrepreneur and having an online business is your hours are your own. You can work them when you like. For us, there were the animals and garden to look after as well. So flexibility was absolutely necessary.
We are, in fact, very strict about time put in to all aspects of our work. That time is not typically French in its 8-12 / 2-6 (Or 3-7). For me, it is more 5-7, 10-12 and 2-6. With the bonus that I can vary this at any time as and when needed. Especially as daylight waxes and wanes with the seasons, altering the schedule of the animals almost daily.
And who knew that online shopping was seasonal? It never occurred to me. After all it’s online, 24/7. But it’s true. There are definite busy times and quiet times. It’s rather wave like in its pattern. And a little surprising considering our customers come from all around the world where there are different seasons, cultures and traditions.
September to December are our busiest months. No real surprises as this is the holiday season for a very large portion of the world’s population. But unlike with a physical shop, last minute buying is not as readily possible. Come December 18th, and the last of the postal deadlines, I find I can draw breath again.
In fact, even though we have three shops now*, the Christmas holidays are the perfect time to take our own holiday. Sure there are some sales between Christmas and New Years, but after the flurry of the previous months, this is definitely a time when I can sit back, relax and recharge the batteries. It’s also a time I use to review the year and plan the next.
*Yes, P&P now have 3 shops! All very different, something for everyone. (Or if not, let us know what we are missing and we will see if can fill that niche.)
Pumpjack & Piddlewick – sells vintage & antique Fab Finds from France, especially and specialising in our passions ~ wine lover gifts (still including corkscrews) anything coffee related, vintage eyeglasses, and quite simply some wonderfully weird French things. (Oh and the odd find from our restoration garden.)
Taking Time Too – French ephemera printable digital downloads to use in craft projects