Friday, 28 October 2011

Have today taken

a HUGE gamble. Well it's huge in the world of Moonstones (with Sarah at the helm), but small in other florists terms. You see when it comes to plants there's not really much point in us buying them because they just never seem to last the week out. Green fingered we're not in here, so we normally avoid buying them. Also the hardware store over the road were already doing a roaring trade in plants when we opened up here and we didn't want to tread on their toes. Plus they sell a lot of theres cheaper than we can buy them, so we've only every really bothered at peak times (xmas, mothers day etc), but today? Well we've taken the plunge and bought some small mixed houseplants. 
There are 3 differing sizes priced from £1.95 to £2.85 so thankfully not a massive financial gamble. We did check across the road to make sure we weren't stepping on the hardware stores toes before purchasing them (thankfully they have no indoor plants so we are fine).  Although not huge (that would be devastating to lose large plants through our non-green fingers) they are exceptionally healthy little plants and we have a great feeling they will do well.  If not we have parents that have slightly greener hands than we do so we may be able to keep them going and give them a new lease of life. Watch this space. 

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Thought I would

share the mini video someone made of the shop as it is ready for halloween for us. Things have changed slightly since this was taken but the basics are still pretty much the same.  Isn't that one of the great things about modern technology? Someone can film something, pop it on to the web and anyone with internet can access, find and view it. Now obviously there are some bad points to this and a lot of stuff that shouldn't be on the net, but from a business point of view it truly is a wonderful thing. Not only does each and every single business have the opportunity to get their name out there, but we also have the chance to share what we do with the world. Yes it takes time to set these things up but from what I am able to see it is so worth it. This blog here.. It's getting something like 15 hits a day. Now that's not a lot of people when you take into consideration what a big world it is out there, but to me that's a massive amount of people. Some of them may be regulars, some of them may be new people. Some may be interested and some not, but the fact they have visited, they may have stopped a while and had a read is a marvellous thing. Sites like Facebook , Google+, Twitter and Picasa are great inventions and wonderful for small businesses to get their name known. I'm sure there are many more places I could be visiting to get more of the shop out there, but the above 4 keep me on my toes as it is. I struggle to keep them and this up together. There's no way I could cope with any of the other sites. Mind you if things keep going the way they are and we keep being as busy then I may be able to employ someone to just keep our web presence up together for us.
Just found this video too.. It's of our Vlad at night

Monday, 24 October 2011

Remembrance Sunday

Whilst it's never too early to prepare for this important day, we do also have to stick to a timetable, so the great news is we have our poppies in the shop ready for you to pop along and pin on. Wear your poppy with pride, as they say, however we can't put them out on display until Wednesday as that is when the official campain begins. 
To add to the normal paper poppies, this year we also have some little pin style ones (they're metal with enamal colouring on them and very sweet). Whereas the paper ones you can put whatever you would like in the pot, these metal pins we do have to charge £2 for but they are lovely and it's for a great cause. Don't think that means you can get away with keeping it and never buying another one in again in future years though. They look so much better when they are pinned into the centre of the paper ones so you can still dig deep and pop your coins in the box for years to come, but rather than use a normal pin to hold them on, you will be able to use your posh metal one.  As you can see by the photo below combining the 2 works well. 
Once halloween is over then we will be giving up the shop window to the Royal British Legion for displaying the poppies and some poppy wreaths for remembrance day and to show our support for such a worthwhile cause. We hope our lovely customers our there will make the effort to not only buy a poppy but wear it with pride. We know how tough times are for people, but It doesn't have to cost you a fortune. Any amount you can spare will help.

Sunday, 16 October 2011

a different

coloured wedding. We do love it when we get to do something different and recently we seem to be getting a lot of brides that want something a bit different, or something that is completely personal. Todays wedding was no exception. Yes we had another Sunday wedding. They are getting a wee bit too popular these days. Now and then it would be nice to have a day off. :o) 
Sadly the hotel were running really behind time so we couldn't take the registrars/top table arrangement photo (pic above) in situ but as you can see the colours were red and purple. Beautiful colourings.  Apparently red is the grooms favourite colour, and purple the brides, so they chose a colour scheme incorporating both or their favourite colours, which I think is lovely as it makes it so very personal to the 2 of them.  As you will see from the photo below the archway was a mix of the 2 whilst being separate at the same time. The bride asked for one side to be purple, the other red but the middle to be a combination of the 2 to symbolise the joining together of the pair of them. I think this is a wonderful idea. 

Thursday, 13 October 2011

People trying it on

Sadly this is a common occurance. In fact I have just this minute put the telephone down to another shop who were ranting that we hadn't delivered some flowers to a funeral director. At times like that it's nice to be able to say "yes we did at such and such a time.. They were taken in by so and so and signed for at ???" It's a sad time we live in when people will do but it's amazing how many people will try to get their money back for absolutely no reason. 
I learnt my lesson the hard way a few years back. I had made up a tribute for a funeral where the family didn't get on with each other and sadly were trying to out do each other on everything. One lady came in and kept telling me that she didn't really have the money to pay for the item she was ordering but she "had to show that lot up" (her words). The order was made and off it went to the funeral. 3 days later I get the lady on the phone hurling all kinds of abuse at me for the tribute sent out. Telling me the colours were wrong, it was dead and anything else she could think of. Shocked she had left it so long I asked her if she had any proof (not a nice thing to do but we were talking a lot of money) to which she emailed me a photo of a tribute that would NEVER have been allowed to leave my shop. However I had no proof I had made the item she had asked for and so I ended up having to refund her money. I found out later she had wandered around the cemetary to find a dodgy and old looking tribute. She had then attached her card to it and that's the photo she was showing me.  Ever since that day I have taken a photo of EVERY single item that leaves the shop, whether it be a submarine or just a single rose. The card is ALWAYS attached so it can be seen in the photo and signatures are acquired. When it comes to funerals we make them write a description of the item before signing for the tribute, so that we have backed ourselves up in the event someone was to try a similar thing. The original customer cost me a lot of money, but she did me a massive favour at the same time. I now have thousands of photos of my work, but also something to fall back on in the event someone else would be willing to try it on.

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Oh my

goodness. How long has it taken me to sort out a halloween window? Only 48 hours. And it's still not completely finished. 

I started Monday morning once all the contract customers orders were ready to go, along with the general bits and bobs, birthday flowers, anniversaries etc. It was about 11.30 by the time I actually got round to beginning. First thing was to get the bits out of the loft. The shocker was seeing just how much there was up there. Think I best not buy anything for a while. As you can see from the pictures on the left it wasn't a very tidy day. In fact it's not been a very tidy 3 days.

As I got started with the shop so a customer came in. Followed by another. And another. Add in umpteen phone calls and I'm sure you can imagine how it was. Actually maybe you couldn't because even I couldn't imagine the chaos I was surrounded by. I really need to plan better next time I decide to decorate the whole shop as well. 
The worst thing was I had to empty the window. By doing that I had to find somewhere for the vases to go. When I'd found a home for them  I then had to find somewhere for the baby bits to, and so on and so forth. Before I knew what was happening I had stock piled up here, there and everywhere. Then my wholesaler decided to put in an appearance. At one point there was only just about enough gap for customers to get through the shop door. They couldn't however wander around or into the shop and many were served with us both standing at the door. Thankfully not a single person complained and many were interested in what I was doing, which is always a nice thing. Chatting so long probably did me no favours but I love chatting to the customers. They are after all the reason I am here every day. 

As you can though it is finally finished and I'm really pleased with how it looks. There are bits everywhere though. The window is full and we have chandeliers and ghosts on the ceilings. The woman in between the flower stands is our regular halloween bride named Cordelia. She comes out to play every year in various different outfits and carrying differnent colours. She's not alone this year though. She has been joined by the lovely Vladimir Butlerski. He is attracting more than his fair share of attention. Someone has even set him up a Facebook page which is wildly entertaining. The response he's getting is phenomenal. I'm thinking maybe we should keep him all year round, as people have been told by their friends about him, and when they've come in to have a look they've either bought flowers to take away or placed an order. I'm more than happy for him to stay. I can see him dressed as Santa at Xmas and cupid for Valentines Day. We may even find some shorts, flippers and a snorkel for him during the summer.

Meet Vlad (the lad) Butlerski. The Newest member of the Moonstones Team.

Sunday, 9 October 2011


Weddings.. Not something I would have normally associated with each other, but oh my how well they worked together. Never before been asked to do pumpkins for a wedding, but I really hope in the future I get asked again. I loved making them. The colours in them were absolutely and I just think they looked fab.

I was a bit disappointed the reception didn't have the tables set up ready when we got there. It would have been so lovely to be able to see them actually in Situ, but I think you can get the idea from the photos above.
And the best one of all was the one I made for the top table. Thankfully the wedding was for friends of mine or I would never have had the courage to do this, but as you can see from the photo below I just couldn't resist.  I had spoken to the grooms Mum about it when I picked the pumpkins up from her and we both agreed they all needed carving but obviously I wasn't going to go that far with them. The original plan was to write Congratulations or Boo with the OO's turned into eyes, however have you tried to find a pen that will write on a pumpkin? It just wasn't happening, so in the end I raided the bits and bobs draw and found the eyes and nose. 

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

I've had

a bit of a change around :) No idea why when next week I will be changing it all again for halloween. It might have something to do with the lovely artificial flowers that arrived this morning. As a rule I personally don't like artificial. However these are beautiful and very well made as well as being a great price (even more of a great price when you think they will last forever).
 Wanting to use them to their full advantage and to make the shop look more flowery and brighter I re-arranged the way the fresh flowers are laid out, and now have 2 seperate sections. One in the autumnal shades, and one section in the summery shades.
 Please excuse the lack of stock in both photos. They were taken after todays orders had been made up, and before the 2nd wholesaler arrived with more flowers for us. 
I've placed some vases of artificial in between the 2 fresh display areas and the whole effect is one of flowery loveliness. I've also added some to the shelving display unit.

Last but not least, the bunches of mixed artificial I placed in the vases we have in the window display so the window looks like it belongs to a florist, and not a pot shop. One of the worst things a florist can do is NOT have flowers in their window. We have a slight problem in that ours gets full sunshine from about 11 every morning, untl the sun goes down. As a result we have to have slightly tinted glass so our window is really best viewed at night, but we still fill it up and try to make it look as flowery as we possibly can. It's a pain at times when I would love to add lots of fresh displays to the window arrangements, but they would burn off and dry up in a matter of hours if I was to do so.