Tuesday, 19 April 2011
Anyone remember our original little Aladdin's Cave?
I came across a couple of old photographs the other day and thought I'd show them here. I've had to scan them so they aren't brilliant but I've shown them to a few customers who I thought may remember our time there. It's so nice to know that some of our original customers are still making cards and remember this time:)
It is strange for us now though that the children that visited us are now coming back with their own children! Gosh we're getting old, and just look how young I looked in the photo!!!!!
I believe the photo above would have been taken in about 1991-1992. This was our first proper permanent base. We had started selling rubber stamps at craft fairs and shows at weekends around the country before setting up permanent midweek stands at craft centres, firstly in Ilkley, then we expanded a little and Ian opened another in Skipton.
After a few years we took the chance of taking on this teeny weeny kiosk in Craven Court, where we tried and pretty much succeeded to fit everything in, honestly it was amazing how much we managed to fit into that space, if I remember correctly it was about 8 ft x 10 ft!! It really was an Aladdin's cave.
We had a removable wooden 'window' that we took down each morning and we'd put up our sample cards. It was great for demonstrating and Ian would have crowds around him and there were often queues to get in to actually shop!
On Saturday evenings at 5pm we would close and have our own little 'supermarket grab', we had an hour to pack everything up and load the car ready to take as much as possible to craft fairs on the Sunday before they closed the shopping centre at 6pm.
We didn't have a van at the time so we had to unpack the car when we got home and then reload it again in the morning, sometimes at 5am if we had to head to Scarborough, Bridlington or Blackpool. Our weekends at Leeds or Accrington were like having a lay in! We did the same in reverse on the Sunday evening and Monday would be restock day. We had one Sunday off a month... I do wonder how we did all that for so long!
Maybe it was because we LOVED it, Ian was demonstrating embossing all day every day and as it wasn't even considered a hobby when we started, he did a grand job convincing people it was a good thing to do. As I'm sure you are all aware now, it's a brilliant hobby and other people loved it back then and kept coming back.
Nobody had showed us what to do and we had to work it out ourselves, when I look at those cards that are draped around the shop now I can see how primitive they were at the time.
I remember that the photo was taken, just before we closed one night, it was for a magazine article and we had been busy all day so it was a last minute thing. No taking a photo and emailing it over back then, it was relying on getting it off to be processed, then hoping the best with the photo and the post!
I spotted in the photo that we did have Personal Stamp Exchange stamps then, anyone remember them? Weren't they just the BEST quality stamps ever, truly the Rolls Royce of stamps.
I got all nostalgic looking through the box of photos so I may bore you with more! It was especially lovely to see photos of times shared with customers who became friends over the years, there's loads of great memories especially from our demo days, so maybe I should continue with my nostalgic ramblings.
I think the next photo I share will be a rare one of the Stamp Man, Ian himself!!! He hates his photo being taken, there's not many of them about... should I show it??