Monday, 31 March 2008

The Wet Paint Bookshop

I'm thinking things would be easier if I just changed the name of the shop.

To explain, in the two weeks since I last posted we've finally gotten round to painting the outside of the shop more in keeping with the rest of the colour scheme, and at one point the whole place was festooned with wet paint signs... and judging by the way the actual sign has progressed these last two week (i.e. to a grinding halt over Easter), it might just be easier to change the name to 'The Wet Paint Bookshop' as those signs are already in place!

See... before - clean and tidy, but looking not entirely dissimilar to the colour of the faded double yellow lines on the road:

And after:
Nice and shiny and lovely and new! ...with a few of the aforementioned wet paint signs dotted around...

Well, perhaps I'll hold off on the name change for now.

Anyway, in other news over these last two weeks (during which I've singularly failed to update this blog - apologies!), I have managed to finally order the books - after two extra days and a minor excel slip up! So great joy all round now! It means that I should at least have something to sell soon. And, I've had the computer system installed and been trained on the fancy schmancy software too (I now have a scanner which makes a very satisfying beep ...though it looks a little like the alien from all those movies... a cute little one though, and nowhere near as slimy of course). Unfortunately though I'm still stuck with a clunky old till - like in Open All Hours - but it's built like Fort Knox so it'll do me perfectly well for now thank you very much!

On the paperwork side of things I'm now officially a member of the Booksellers Association and the Federation of Small Businesses too, and on the labourer side of things, early on last week I managed to mangle both a bookshelf and my hand. It wasn't my finest moment I'll admit. Well I've recovered now, though I worry the shelf might be done for. However, the rest of the bookcases are now tied to the wall ready to be filled, the problem pillar has been painted thanks to some cling film, an angled brush and the ubiquitous masking tape, and I've even got round to painting the blackboard in the hallway. So, all in all, I'm one more step closer.

Next week will hopefully bring everything last week didn't... a sign would be nice, some books, the credit/debit card machine chip 'n' pin thingy, and hopefully a little time to start promoting the shop too - so much for my prophecy of faffing about with marketing plans! 'Best laid plans' and all that!

Sunday, 16 March 2008

Tempus certainly does fugit...

Last week I mentioned I'd need to organise an opening date... well now I think I've pretty much decided on one, but I'm holding off posting it here or on the website for now as I'm still not sure everything will be finished on time... There's just so much to do, I'm starting to quietly panic!

However, I finished my actual, proper, real job on Friday which means that from tomorrow onwards I can spend an extra 8 hours every weekday reading book reviews and faffing about with marketing plans (though I doubt I'll have time to implement much of them before opening). My mountain of tasks seems to keep growing except the deadlines are now getting frighteningly short... Still, the shop is starting too look more the part - I've started building the bookcases now and they've only fought back a little bit (thank goodness for electric screwdrivers!) and tomorrow there'll be another trip to pick up some more. Also the sign is underway and I finally got my business bank account set up so can stop paying for everything out of the coppers I found down the back of the sofa! Hurrah!

And so to ISBNs. The books ordering issue has been dragging on a little because getting the shop habitable took priority for a while, but now that the end... or rather, the beginning... is in sight, it would be quite nice to have some books to sell when the doors eventually do open. So the next few days will be spent hunched over the computer as I get the opening stock order finalised and sent off asap! Right, to Excel before any more precious minutes roll by!

Sunday, 9 March 2008

Flooring and Ceilings and Lights, oh my!

This week has seen some dramatic changes in the shop - it's starting to look like how I imagined it! It's all very exciting! With some hard work from some brilliant, wonderful, fantastic, amazing friends and family (thank you, thank you, thank you!) the ceiling and new lights are fitted and working beautifully, the broken tiles by the front door have been lovingly restored, the desk has been built, the network connected, and today the last of the new flooring went in (ah, flooring... gotta have a flair for it!). If I say so myself, it's all coming together nicely! I even managed to take some pictures...
First, the new flooring being laid...

...and the much nicer ceiling tiles and lights.

And of course, the nerve centre of operations... the tea and biscuits!
Tomorrow I'm going bookcase shopping - the first trip of many... (I'm really looking forward to building up all those flat packs... yeah I am...) and I'm still inputting ISBNs into my mammoth Spreadsheet 'o' Books like there's no tomorrow. (And by the way, if anyone has any suggestions of books they'd like me to stock now is most definitely the time!

So that's been this week. Tomorrow I have a meeting with the people who are hopefully going to make all my signage dreams come true (I'm such a geek). Fingers crossed! And of course last, but certainly not least, the other exciting / frightening events of this coming week is that I finish my full time job on Friday. Eek! As of then, I officially will have no money unless I start selling books, and sharpish! So the pressure is on now to get everything finished and the shop open! I'm taking my inspiration from the guys at the Wood Green Bookshop who on Saturday, somehow managed to open their shop 17 days from when they first got the keys... Time to get an opening date for Inkspot & Silverleaf Booksellers well and truly sorted methinks! Watch this space!

Sunday, 2 March 2008


I have the flu. Sniff.

So all in all, it's not been a great week for shopfitting. However, progress has still been made (albeit at a much slower rate than normal... which isn't exactly break-neck in itself). This week the following happened:

- I sneezed a lot
- my desk arrived
- I think I've made some signage decisions (but I should probably wait till the fever subsides before I actually sign anything)
- I got my phone line and broadband installed
- I got my first wrong number call (5 minutes after plugging in the phone)
- I decided to unplug the phone till we actually need it so I don't have to explain myself to any more telemarketers
- I gave the flu to everyone around
- I put some 'opening soon' signs up in the window
- I realised you can hardly see the signs when the shutters are down
- I got what felt like a million quotes for carrier bags (paper, plastic, cotton, vinyl) and made no decisions on any of them
- I bought some nice new ceiling tiles
- I bought some nice new lights
- I used up a lifetime supply of Kleenex balsam hankies
- I sneezed some more

I also found the time to take a photo of what the only book shelves currently in the place are being used for ... for a bookshop there's still a depressing lack of books. However, in a few weeks (after I've finished my current full-time job), I'll start to have deliveries of lovely, lovely books. Can't wait!

Anyway, as I still have to get up in the morning and do the commute, and as my sniffling doesn't seem to be getting any better tonight, I'm off for a nice cup of tea then it's straight to bed for a very rare early night in the vain hope that I get miraculously better in my sleep. Fingers crossed...