Sunday, 27 April 2008

First thing's first...

I can't believe over a week has gone already since the doors of Inkspot & Silverleaf first opened! It all seems to have gone by in a bit of a blur and I think we've got through enough firsts to be able to say that we're well on our way round the learning curve. There's been...

first sale (yeay!)
first mistake on the till (oops.)
first window changeover
first ordering mistake (£36.50 for a thesis on couture? What was I thinking!)
first computer error (second computer error, third computer error... you get the picture)
first 'aargh, we've no £1 coins left!' moment
first customer order completed successfully
first customer order not available from the warehouse
first customer who travelled faaaaaar to visit (thanks!)
first instance of book-meets-small-child-with-chocolaty-fingers
first 'brilliant, look at all the lovely customers!' moment
first 'where are all the customers??' panic
and first cash banked! woo hoo!

And that's just for starters. Also this week, we've finally managed to get the actual proper website up and running. If you've not already visited it then head over to and have a nosey! If you'd like to sign up for our enewsletter there then you'd better be quick as the first installment is scheduled to go out this week. (If I ever finish writing it!)

And in other news, I've been tagged for a meme! Vanessa from the fantastic Children's Bookshop in Edinburgh has tagged me ... if you don't know what a meme is (neither did I!) then the rules are as follows...

1. Pick up the nearest book
2. Open to page 123
3. Find the fifth sentence
4. Post the next three sentences
5. Tag five people, and acknowledge who tagged you

The book I had closest to hand was The Rabbit Factory by Marshall Karp which I happened to be putting back on the shelf, and which is next on my reading list - especially after I've read page 123! Anyway, the 3 sentences are...

It was too late to call Terry at home, but I knew he'd check his office voicemail before he drank his first cup of coffee. I left a message with the highlights of my conversation with Big Jim, starting with his observations on the finger in the flipbook and ending with Danny Eeg and his billion dollar motive.
I hung up the phone.

I'm intrigued!

Anyway, thanks to Vanessa for tagging me - my 5 onward tags are the soon to open new indie bookshop in Tetsbury, Gloucestershire A Yellow Lighted Place, a favourite old haunt of mine Mostly Books in Abingdon, and the folks at the Big Green Bookshop in London... OK, rubbish though my maths skills are, even I can work out that this isn't 5. However, as I'm still relatively new to this blogging lark and haven't really had a chance to get to know many others through their blogs I'm afraid I'll have to simply apologise and tag another two at some random stage in the future... just when they least expect it... mwah hah haaaa! (that's my evil laugh by the way.)

Right! Well, this post has been long enough methinks. More from planet New Bookseller same time, same place next week!

Sunday, 20 April 2008

Woo hoo! We're open!

Finally! Well, yesterday was the long awaited opening day for Inkspot & Silverleaf Booksellers of Bo'ness and what a day it was! A steady stream of fantastically supportive readers throughout the whole day meant we were kept on our toes with recommendations and orders as well as sales, and from the comments we received I think its safe to say that everyone went away happy!

I'll start at the beginning...

We were scheduled to open at 9.30 however at 9.25 when I went to open the shutters and finish writing on the blackboard my first customers were already there waiting - great start! They were a lovely little girl and her dad but unfortunately as I was in a bit of a new-shopkeeper-in-training fug I completely forgot to get their names or take a picture! But whoever you were, I'd just like to thank you again for being such lovely first customers and I hope we see you back again soon!

During the rest of the day we had so many lovely people come in and buy books - their choices were wide and varied and I'm glad I stuck with the plan to get a little bit of absolutely everything as it meant there was something for almost everyone. Everyone was really supportive and most people mentioned how good it was to have a bookshop in Bo'ness again which of course is fantastic news for me!

As far as the actual books go, most popular choices of the day were Barbie Mariposa books and sticker scenes, some of the popular Scottish fiction authors and several of my much cherished historical fact books too. I had my first few 'I'm looking for a book - I don't know the author or title but the cover is blue' type queries which thankfully I managed to figure out and we also now have a few customer orders placed for a few of the books we ran out of on the day. We actually had customers in buying books right until we closed up shop at 5pm and overall I think a great day was had by all!

Of course, there were a few niggles here and there but nothing to hideous - there was a bit of a bumpy 5 minutes at the beginning of the day when I suddenly noticed that the stock control system wasn't exactly controlling the stock - cue panicky tech support call. It turned out that I'd managed to put the scanner connection back into the wrong port in the computer when we moved it at the end of last week... muppet. However, over the whole day only one book decided to launch itself off the shelf, but since it missed everyone standing nearby I've no health and safety issues to report as yet!

As well as local readers, family, friends and interested onlookers we also had a few of the other local traders pop in and say hello with some lovely 'good luck' cards and to buy a few books too - I really think opening in Bo'ness was a fantastic choice for me as not only are the people of the town so welcoming and supportive but also the other local traders have been amazing too. Bo'ness is one of the few places I found that has managed to retain a true local, independent spirit and I hope it keeps and grows this over time - in the town we have an independent toyshop, computer shop, jewellers, craft shop, florists, hairdressers, newsagents, etc. etc. etc. I really value that in the town - it means we're not exactly the same as everywhere else and you really can get something different from a shopping trip here instead of the same old, same old you get in a lot of the retail parks. I really encourage everyone to shop locally wherever possible and I hope we can keep Bo'ness as a little jewel on the Forth.

Anyway, back to opening day! I have to say that sadly I was particularly rubbish at taking pictures but have posted below the few I did manage to take...

Here's one of our themed windows - Book Heaven (with angel wing bags, fluffy clouds, sequins and a selection of our heavenly books!)

Inside - if you haven't been in yet (or live a little too far away) here's what a few of our more random sections look like... at the front is wicca, and myths and legends whilst in the back is a little of our biography and fiction sections

Outside again - with a few of our new customers...

Inside - Fiction (General) at the side with Fiction (Crime) at the top...

So that was opening day. And after all that excitement, last night we toasted opening with a lovely bottle of champagne and some gorgeous chocolates, and I fell into bed at 9pm and slept like a log!

Today was day 2 and we opened for a few hours in the afternoon, and although obviously things were a little quieter than yesterday we still had a few more customers than expected (yeay!) and it gave me a chance to recover from yesterday, go over the stock levels in each section and figure out the next step in my bookselling adventure!

Tomorrow (Monday 21st) the third day of our extended opening weekend meaning there are still chocolates on offer, competitions to enter and a fab 10% off all books till the end of the day, so if anyone in the area hasn't been in to have a nosey around yet we're open from 9.30am till 5.00pm and we hope to see you then!

Sunday, 13 April 2008

Drumroll please... Opening date set!

Yes, that's right! I've finally got organised enough to start talking about opening the shop and actually selling some books! Inkspot & Silverleaf Booksellers will officially be open for business as of 9.30am next Saturday morning, 19th April 2008! It's all very exciting, if a little nerve wracking!

OK, so I'm still waiting on the credit card chip and pin thingy machine, there's another delivery of books yet to come, and there will of course be the last minute panics over window displays and competition prizes etc. but all in all, everything is now looking a little more on schedule and as if it all might be ready-ish on time. Yeay! So hopefully I'll see one or two (or more) of you bloggers over our extended opening weekend (Saturday 9.30 - 5.00, Sunday 12.00 - 4.00, or Monday 9.30 - 5.00) for some '...competitions, special offers and more!' as I keep telling everyone, secure in the knowledge that by Saturday I'll have worked out what these all are! There's a theme too - did i mention that....?

In other news, this week the shop has been featured in our local newspapers, the Bo'ness Journal and the Linlithgow Gazette! There's a little editorial write up alongside a photo in which I look a little stunned but happy, which to be fair, I was. It's on news stands till next the next issue appears next Friday so go buy one! And when the next issue does appear, buy another copy to see the little ad I worked so hard on last week which should be in there too - hope it prints OK!

And also this week (it's been a busy few days), I toddled off to a networking event run by the local business group 'Bo'ness Means Business'. As well as having a lovely time at the Bo'ness and Kinneil Railway, I got to meet some of the other folks in the town who run their own businesses and work together to promote the town and to keep making it better for residents and visitors alike. Without exception everyone has been incredibly supportive of Inkspot & Silverleaf (so I'd like to say a big thanks folks!) and it's helped me feel a little more settled as a first time business owner. I look forward to doing my bit for the town in future too!

And on top of all that I managed to shelf a few books... though I'm getting very tired of the 'thunk!' noise I hear every time I try to stand one up neatly and it decides to throw itself unceremoniously from the shelf - usually landing on my head. Never mind, hopefully some of them will be sold by this time next week and I'll have a whole other lot of books to keep from base jumping off a 6ft bookcase!

More updates (and hopefully a few photos too) in the run up to opening this week. Fingers crossed it all goes well!

Sunday, 6 April 2008

Books! It's a Sign!

Such a lot has happened this week in the world of Inkspot & Silverleaf that I'm not even sure where to start! OK I'll start at the beginning.

Way back on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday (which feels like a lifetime ago), I spent a crazy amount of time just chasing things up, making phone calls, transferring large sums of money and worrying... those really weren't happy days for me! However as the week progressed things began to take shape and then on Thursday...

Some books arrived!

And then on Friday...

More books arrived!

Then whilst I was scratching my head wondering where I was going to start with the three trillion boxes in the middle of the floor....

The sign arrived!

So since then, it's been all hands on deck! Books are being fired into shelves left, right and centre now - they're all in their sections and the fiction titles are in alphabetical order too, but beyond that the rest are not really in order yet's taking a while as I keep stopping to read! However, I've had an absolute ton of help this week from a family and friends again, and hopefully this coming week I'll get them all placed properly and be able to fill any gaps that become obvious.

As well as all that, next week I'm looking forwards to finding out when the credit card machine thingy will finally get here, arranging some advertising, and also taking delivery of the bags I'll be using. I'll be starting to work on the shop theme for opening too next week - top secret of course! So it's all very exciting, and coming together rather nicely!