Today I have been mainly embroidering fritillary cushions
I love embroidering this design but it is time consuming not to mention hard on the eyesight with all the little checkered markings. There are times of year when the light levels are so low that it is almost impossible to do more than one at a time . . . and therefore I had discontinued it
However . . . I decided to bring it back as a herb cushion for one week only. It is a time limited edition that I shall be selling for this week only - after that no more!
Yesterday it was a gloriously sunny afternoon so we piled into Dougal
and set off up to Strathyre to walk along the lochside
the real point of the journey though was to head for Balquiddher and the Library Tea Room which is run by the local Mhor brand (Monachyle Mohr, Mohr bread, Mhor fish . . .)
It didn't disappoint, great coffee all served with a mishmash of china cups and saucers
delicious cakes served in generous slices
But the thing that impressed me most was that, as we were leaving and the tea room was closing, a couple of cyclists who had been caught in a freak hailstorm appeared at the door - there was no hesitation, the cakes were unwrapped, the coffee machine put back on, and the cyclists and their rather soggy labradors welcomed into the warmth.
On the way home we saw a rainbow. Its great to see a local business getting it right.
At the beginning of each year I set targets for the business. Some are to do with production, some to do with sales but the most important ones are to do with customer service.
I believe that a big part of what sets Snapdragon apart is that the team here really, really care about each order and in exceeding the expectations of each and every customer.
But its a tough one to measure - so I decided to use the feefo customer feedback statistics on the Not on the High Street site which we sell through. Feefo asks customers to rate their experience as either excellent, good, poor, or bad. My aim was to move from 86.2% excellent (13.4 % good 0.4% poor) to 90% excellent (10% good 0% poor) - we have been tantalisingly close for a couple of weeks and this morning we tipped over that 90%.
In some ways its a daft way of measuring anything - only a small percentage of people reply to the feedback email and you can catch them on a good day or a bad day. But it keeps me on my toes, it keeps me tweaking how we do things, it keeps me thinking about how we can make the whole "buying from Snapdragon" thing just a little bit better each time - for we need people to come back and buy from us again and again and again . . .(all suggestions for how we can improve are always appreciated - firstname.lastname@example.org)
The cat images are because it was a customer's love of our cat mirrors and her "excellent" rating & lovely comments that tipped us over the 90%
Obviously here at Snapdragon we don't have favourite stockists - they are all lovely - but I do admit to having a soft spot for those shops who took a chance on Snapdragon when I attended my first trade show in London back in 2008 and who have supported us ever since.
And chief amongst these is Edwards and Todd opposite The British Museum in London
The shop is absolutely gorgeous - they have a great eye and display everything beautifully
You might be able to spot some Snapdragonny things here.
Though there isn't an online shop they do post things on their Facebook page (gorgeous things - check out the dodo memo board) which can be bought mail order. Lovely people, lovely shop, lovely things . . . what more could you want.
I love doing bespoke work - particularly one off pictures - particularly when they are full of meaning for a particular person.
It is, to be honest, the side of the business that would give the Dragons in the Den a fit as its not scalable.
I fit it in when I have the workroom to myself, but I enjoy it so much, and it pushes my skills so much, that I am always delighted to make one offs.
Last month I was contacted by Helen about an Emerald Wedding Anniversary present for her parents.
She sent me this photo
and we decided that I would try and copy it in fabrics, add in some text and a meadowy setting.
It is such a beautiful photograph - for as you study it you get a real feel for the couple. The way that their figures are overlapped (something you only find out when drawing the various elements of the design), the way that the clasped hands are at the centre (Helen told me that her parents still walk hand in hand)
and I tried to emphasize those elements while keeping it as faithful to the photograph as possible.I enjoyed making it so much - it was a sunny afternoon, the workshop door was open, music on . . .
This is the finished picture - with the text and the meadowy flowers in 2 tones.
I hope that Helen's parents like it and that they had a wonderful celebration.