Friday, 25 July 2008

The Tale of the Elephant Comforters

I think that maybe, every Friday, I will review my week at work and pick one thing that has happened to write about.

So... This week I could write about all the baby boy clothes that seem to have been shoplifted, sigh, or about our new Peter Rabbit clothing delivery. But no, I think I'll write The Tale of the Elephant Comforters.

One evening during the week I received an online order for a couple of Moulin Roty elephant comforters from a customer in the US. Along with the order was an email pleading for speedy delivery - her little girl had lost her favourite comforter and simply couldn't sleep without him. I emailed right back and assured her I would send them out by airmail the very next day, but overnight I received another email saying to hang fire and that she would call me at noon the next day to discuss other, faster options.

The next day. Noon arrived and the lady's husband telephoned to say that a FedEx priority collection had been arranged and to expect a courier within an hour. Less than five minutes later - yes, five minutes - and in walked a friendly but brisk FedEx agent, armed with paperwork, packaging and an impressive understanding of the situation. She informed me that the parcel would be on a plane by 5pm and delivered to the little girl the very next day. I signed a few forms, handed over the elephants and off she went with a great sense of urgency. I half expected her to break into a run.

Well, I didn't hear anymore so I am assuming that the elephants made it to their destination on time and that the little girl has been reunited with her favourite toy, but the whole thing has made quite an impression on me. From the parents so keen for a quick delivery that they were quite prepared to spend well over £50 in the process, to the most outstanding delivery service I think I have ever encountered. Less than 24 hours door to door from Pershore, Worcestershire to Savannah, Georgia. Not bad. Especially when compared to the usual experience - vague delivery times, disinterested depot managers, no guarantees and parcels disappearing into the ether for days at a time - and that's just the 30 miles over to Hereford.

So, well done FedEx, thank you to my elephant comforter customers, and a message for mum and dads everywhere - if your little one has a toy that they just cannot live without, get a back up!

Thursday, 24 July 2008

Humphrey checks out the Maileg tin...

As promised here is a pic of Humphrey enjoying a little snack from his new 'biscuit tin', courtesy of Maileg. Humphrey is one of my three bunnies. He is a little lion head - hence the ruff around his neck. He has been a bit poorly for a couple of days so it was great to see him tucking into some tasty salad!

I am starting to think I might make this a bit of a bunny blog along with the shop things. They are both huge passions of mine. Humphrey even comes into work sometimes and hops around the shop. Not normally in the summer months though as I usually have the door open and, as well behaved as he is, I don't think I could trust him not to head out on to the high street. (Probably in the direction of the green grocers down the road!)

Tuesday, 22 July 2008

.. and Maileg for mum too!

Also, in a bit of a departure from Maileg's core range we have a small selection of children's clothes (underwear and PJs) and - very exciting, this - something for mums... It is a set of pretty tin kitchen caddies. Really they are meant for storing sugar, tea and coffee but I'm using mine (yes I've already pilfered a set!) for storing food and treats for my bunnies. If I remember this evening I will take a photo of one of my bunnies checking out their new 'biscuit tins'.

New Maileg goodies for little ones...

I have taken delivery of some lovely new toys from Maileg, including new bunny furniture (wardrobe, bench, changing table, pram) and some new fabric bunnies, giraffes and knitted toys too. It's hard to choose but I think my favourite is this little 'newborn' bunny rattle. She is holding a little knitted jingle ball that makes a really sweet noise when you give her a shake. There are blue and lemon 'newborns' too.

Thursday, 17 July 2008

Emile et Rose is here

I have just taken delivery of six enormous boxes of Emile et Rose baby clothes, it is the first part of their Autumn / Winter collection. Rather alarmingly there is more to come next month. I ordered all this stuff back in January. What was I thinking?! I have snapped the boxes sitting on the shop floor awaiting my attention. The mug resting on the top contains a nice strong cup of coffee - I'm going to need the energy!

Wednesday, 16 July 2008

ps New Maileg just in!

I'll write more on this shortly but I've just taken delivery of a load of gorgeous new Maileg toys. And the Autumn / Winter Emile et Rose collection is due in tomorrow, so there will be a lot of new stock on the website very soon.(And a lot of large boxes on the shop floor in the meantime...)

We have a lovely new fixture

Probably not terribly exciting for anyone else but I am very happy because we have a new display fixture in the shop. It is a lovely white unit from Moulin Roty. I have put it right in the middle of the shop, where I used to have a table, and it makes the shop feel a lot lighter. There is more floor space for customers with prams too - hardly a bad thing in a baby shop!

Wednesday, 9 July 2008

A bit of background...

As a novice 'blogger' I thought I should write a bit of background on Cottontails, and explain quite why I am here, sending diary entries out into the ether...

I opened Cottontails nearly five years ago - it is our fifth birthday on the eighth of August. It is a small but quaint shop on Pershore high street, and we sell a mixture of clothes, toys and gifts for babies and toddlers up to two years old.

The shop has evolved over the years. We used to stock clothes for children up to four years old. Then six years. And now we're down to two years. It's trial and error really. The things we sell are quite lovely and special - oh don't get me wrong, we don't do ludicrously expensive designer brands - but we definitely appeal more to people buying presents and treats for newborns and little ones.

When I say 'we' I mean me and my mum, Mary. We run the shop together, and it actually works quite well. It's my shop so I have some authority. But she's my mum so she has some authority too!

About three years ago we launched the website and this has done quite well, overtaking the shop in terms of sales. The website is a bit different to the shop because rather than the clothes, we focus on our lovely toy brands - Maileg and Moulin Roty in particular. This is something I want to develop in the high street shop too.

So, you can see that things never stand still here, we are always moving in one direction or another, which is, I suppose, why I thought this blog might be a good idea - as a communication channel to our customers as life at Cottontails evolves..!