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  1. Shop – The first month

    At 10.00am on Wednesday 2nd September I opened the doors for the first time, not knowing what to expect – would anyone drop in? Would I make any sales? I need not have worried J

    On many occasions since moving up to the Highlands, I have noticed just how small the world seems to be and how many coincidences there have been…..none more so than my very first customers. As they wandered around the shop I asked them where they were up from……”just outside Bristol” came the reply. I mentioned that I had moved up from Portishead, just outside Bristol – only to find out that this is where they live….not only that, but it turns out that they have an allotment in the very same place that mine was, over 4 years ago!

    After that excitement, I had a steady stream of customers, both local and tourists alike…..and by mid morning I had had so many lovely comments, the sales sheet was filling nicely having sold a wide variety of items from many of the artists and crafters.

     

    The biggest surprise of the day was serving a customer and, whilst looking over her shoulder, seeing a face walking through the door that was TOTALLY unexpected…..my sister and her partner had come up all the way from near Manchester to surprise me and wish me luck, armed with lilies and a stunning card handmade by Daisy Sykes Designs. I couldn’t have dreamt of a more perfect first day…….

     

    The rest of the month flew by in a flurry of activity – sales, more stock ordering, knitting continuously to replenish the knitwear I was selling and a trip to Inverness to stock up on sweeties after one of the local children put in an order for Curly Wurlys J .

    I am delighted to announce that the internet has finally arrived and is working brilliantly; thank goodness as the majority of customers are far happier paying by card at the moment. On that note, I really didn’t want to have to go down the route of putting lines all over the floor and I’m happy to say that the social distancing sign is being adhered to people are automatically keeping their distance, wearing masks and using the antibacterial hand gel (or they are here, at least….it’s such a shame that it’s not always the case elsewhere in the country…..but I will say no more about it).

    After analyzing the sales, Sundays have been by far the quietest days so I have decided to change the shop days for the month of October to see if it makes a difference – so I am now closed on Sundays and Mondays (rather than Mondays and Tuesdays). I also spent the last day of the month totally rearranging the layout of the stock so that for any repeat customers it looks completely different – a process I intend to repeat each month as I am now sitting in the “new” shop typing this and it looks really fresh and different – all set to see what happens in October ….and all I can say is “bring it on!” J

     

     “A lovely shop with beautiful arts and crafts for sale, lots of unique handmade beauties and information about their makers! A very warm welcome (from dogs too!), highly recommended- a great place to have a nosey at!!

     – Facebook review – 10th September

    Social media update

    Website:  www.freedomworkskishorn.co.uk

    The website is fully up and running now – I have replaced the Shop page with a Gallery page instead. The reason for this is that the majority of the pieces in the shop are “one offs” ans as fast as I was listing them on the website, they were selling. The gallery page now shows lots of pictures of items and plenty of different ways to contact me to find out more info. Hopefully this will work much better for everyone concerned.

    Facebook page: Freedom Works Kishorn @Kishornshop

    The facebook page is very busy, which is great. I’ve been loading lots of photos similar to on the website and have done a few online orders so far, which have gone really well and proved that the system is working. I’ve been amazed at the number of “likes” some of the posts have had and admit to now getting worryingly competitive for each post to beat the last…..simple pleasures!

    Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/fwkishorn/

    I haven’t done as much on Instagram as I meant to and intend to work on this more in October.

    Two new sites I can now be found on are “Google my Business” and “Visit Scotland”, and like Instagram, need more work on this month.

    What’s happening elsewhere in thE highlands

    The temperature has been gradually getting colder as the month of September went by, the traffic has definitely been lessening and, I’m delighted to announce, the midges have packed their bags and vowed not to return….well not until May time next year.

     

     

    Another phenomenen of the Highlands is also just under way…..the stags are on their way down to lower ground, in preparation for the rutting season. One such beast was outside the shop last night and ran over into the garden over the road when it noticed me.

     

     

    My weekly commute from Elphin over to Kishorn is a journey of just over 85 miles each way nd the reason that I stay in Kishorn four nights a week as to do it daily would be too arduous. Saying that though, on my journey over this week I found myself looking at the stunning scenery and pitying those who have to regularly commute along motorways and through built up areas….so I stopped several times to take some photos to share on here.

     

     

    The sun rising as I travel along the A835 towards Glascarnoch dam.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Still looks like I’m the only person on the road……been travelling over 40 miles, almost at the junction to join the A832 Wester Ross tourist route and not another vehicle in sight.

     

     

     

     

     

    Now on the descent after leaving Lochcarron and heading down towards Kishorn – the Bealach Na Ba just coming into view. (If you’ve never experienced the “Bealach”, google it!!!)….and when you get hooked and decide to give it a go, make sure to pop into my shop on the way past and say “hello”.

     

     

     

     

    The waterfall just before you reach Kishorn – looking spectacular after all the recent rainfall.

     

     

    So, as I said before, this has to be one of the most beautiful commutes in this country, if not on the planet….and as I have said many times, I really am “Living the Dream”.

     

                                                                                                                                                               

     

     

     

     

    Artist / Crafter showcase

     

    This month’s showcase is Fiona Perry – Drifted into Design.

    Fiona lives in Sutherland and creates beautiful pieces of art - from hanging wall art to small brooches.

     All of the pieces feature driftwood, textiles and sea glass and they are embellished using shells, metal and sea pottery, much of which is collected locally.

     

     

    Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/driftedintodesign

    I have lots of different items of Fiona’s for sale in the shop and am happy to post. If you want any further pictures or information please let me know.

     

    …………….

    That’s it for September and remember:

    October is about trees revealing colours they have hidden all year.  People have Octobers too so let your colours shine!

    I would love to hear if you find the newsletters interesting or if you would like to read about anything else: please email me at [email protected]

    Ali x

  2. When I nervously opened the shop door for the very first time on Wednesday 2nd September, I never in my wildest dreams thought that it would be such an amazing success.

    Over the month I have welcomed so many locals and visitors into the shop.....I've had some lovely comments, positive feedback and reviews several times on Facebook....and even more importantly managed to introduce the customers to a wide and diverse range of arts and crafts from highly talented individuals from all over the Highlands. These artists and crafters put their faith in me by agreeing to stock their items in Freedom Works Kishorn and I'm proud and absolutley delighted to say that the majority of them have already had many sales which, without the shop, would not have been the case.

    On a personal note, I didn't fully appreciate the difference between standing behind a table at a craft market selling my own crafts (which is what I was doing all of last year before this awful "pandemic" reared it's ugly head) and the pressure I would feel selling other peoples' arts and crafts. I admit that this "pressure" is purely self-inflicted as I want to be able to report back to each and every one of them that they have had a profitable month and I feel I have failed for the few for which this is not the case. This is something that I am going to have to work on over the next few months......so watch this space!

    But for now I will be emailing all of the artists and crafters tomorrow with their September sales info and I'm delighted to say that many of them are going to have to get busy making more stock to replenish the shop ~ which is a lovely situation to be in :)