Welcome to Snazzys blog where we hope to offer you regular inspiration using all the latest products both in store and the new Snazzys Online version. Plus, previews of upcoming workshops, product previews and reviews, mini tutorials and so much more.

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Difficult Decisions

Today's blog post is very wordy so you may feel the need to grab a cuppa before you start...........but we wanted to share some changes we will be making with you.

A great deal has happened in the craft market since we first opened Snazzys. Trends have come and gone, huge amounts of innovative new products have been developed, online shopping has seen huge growth and sadly, too many independent stores both locally and nationally have decided to call it a day. 
We have always tried to stay at the forefront of our market, but we don’t try to be all things to all people – we don’t have the space! We are very much a specialist stamping store (albeit with a small number of scrapbooking ranges each month) and that isn’t going to change but, we do periodically have to review the direction we are following, and most importantly as a tiny business, how effectively we are using our somewhat limited resources.

The very good news is that from mid Summer Don is going to increase his working days from 3-4 to 5 each week which will make a tremendous difference to the day to day running of the store.
More good news is that after not so many ups, and what feels like way too many downs, the online store is almost ready to go. It will be published gradually, a brand at a time over several weeks so we can be certain each module works in the way we expect and any issues can be quickly addressed. We are expecting this to take up a considerable amount of our time, not just to get it launched but also in continuously maintaining the integrity and accuracy of the information held to offer you, the customer, everything you need to make straightforward purchases. 

We have also decided to limit the number of events we will exhibit at from 2103 and will focus on the more specialist stamping events such as Artstamps in Scotland, England & Wales, HSNW at Port Sunlight plus BSSS both at Ally Pally and the new venue at Kettering. This will mean a reduction to nine events but unfortunately still nine weekends the store will be closed – we do understand your frustration with this but as we can’t be in two places at once for now it is just how it has to be.

One of the best decisions we have taken was the launch of Snazzys own Design Team – it’s already almost a year since Gillian agreed to co-ordinate the team, where does the time go - and I’m sure you will all agree that she, along with Paula, Lesley, Astrid and Nicky have very generously created amazing projects to give us our weekly fix of inspiration. If you don’t normally pop by their blog please do, you will be stunned by the quality of their projects, and whilst you are there, or when you are there if you are a regular visitor, please take a moment to leave a little message for them to let them know how much their work is appreciated. 

Later this week we will have BIG news to share on the Design Team, it will come in the guise of a beautifully formed, very talented package and although I am thoroughly overexcited and struggling to keep this to myself, I’m not going to tell you, but will allow Gillian to share the news with you over at http://snazzysdesignteamblog.blogspot.com/ so keep an eye out! 

Now as you’ve probably guessed, all this good news will be balanced by some not so good.  
As you will have seen on the website we have been reviewing the way we use our workshop space and some really tough decisions have had to be taken here. The biggest growth in our business has been seen in scheduled, i.e. timetabled workshops, especially the new Tuesday evening slot and the all day workshops, and in custom, i.e. developed to suit your group, workshops. These will continue with five or six brand new workshops each month from Val each, as always, containing new, original projects developed just for Snazzys customers. We will also be introducing guest workshops as there is a limit to how many new projects Val can develop each month and I’m sure you would welcome some fresh faces too. Val will also continue to work with groups of four or more to develop custom workshops to suit them. We will also continue with the monthly Art Journalling Sundays - otherwise Val will never get her calendar pages finished!! 

Unfortunately what we can no longer resource, are all the other current workshop activities, Make & Take Mondays, Thursday Tabletime, Snazzy Scrapperz, Snazzy Starterz & Stepz. These activities have seen a decline in numbers taking part and, whilst we are especially sorry to see Tabletime go as we developed it over eight years ago, and have run either weekly/ twice weekly sessions ever since, it is time for something fresh. We have tried to explain the situation personally to all the customers who regularly use the workshop for these activities but, if we haven’t caught up with you, please accept our apologies. 

We will also be very sorry not to see Sandra every Thursday as she has looked after the daytime sessions for over four years and, as our children have firmly been brought up to believe, she knows everything – remember this Kait! I’m sure you will join me in thanking Sandra for all her work over the years, so regularly above & beyond and a true support to both us and Snazzys. We don’t expect her to become a stranger though, she above everyone understands the coffee pot is always on.   

In addition to the new online store the existing website will be revamped over the next week or so to reflect these changes which will be effective from 1 June. We will also be altering the opening hours somewhat as customers have told us they would miss the late night shopping that the Thursday Tabletime sessions have afforded them. So, we will take this into account and balance a couple of later openings each week with a couple of shorter days.  
We would like to take this opportunity to thank all our customers for their friendship, support, understanding and incredible patience in the case of the online link lol!

We wouldn’t exist at all without you xx

Monday, 14 May 2012

HSNW Port Sunlight Spring 2012

We spent last weekend up on the Wirral in Port Sunlight Village at the invitation of the lovely ladies from Happy Stampers North West. A very small committee of these ladies run an extraordinary event at the stunning Hulme Hall, twice a year, absolutely geared to addicted stampers - my spiritual home then really lol!

I got the chance to catch up all too briefly with Lesley and Judith but as this was a very busy show, we didn't get an opportunity to take photos during the day although the Headmaster did manage to catch me unawares first thing. It's those fabulous Pan Pastels that got me so absorbed ......

The Studio 490 Art School piece on the left of the demo desk will be shown in more detail on my blog here tomorrow if you want a gander.

Meantime, at most events we are so busy setting up and packing up there is very little time to explore the area we are visiting however, I was so taken with Port Sunlight last Autumn - when the heavens opened as the show closed - we decided we just had to make time to have a closer look around this time. Fortune (and the sun) shined on us....

As a maintained village the landscaping and the gardens are just beautiful, there are lots of places to visit including the museum and Lady Lever Art Gallery.

It is such a calm and peaceful place, even on a sunny Saturday evening in Spring, and I make no apologies for the next series of photographs, probably many more than you need to see, but it was such a striking and poignant memorial we were just blown away.

You can walk around the entire memorial which includes tableaux of each of the services together with representations of civilian suffering during wartime .


We stayed over on Saturday night to teach a workshop for 39 of the HSNW club members at another lovely venue on Sunday- no photos I'm afraid due to the effect of our 'just in time' management skills on our arrival lol - but we had a wonderful day. I just want to take this opportunity to thank everyone, but especially Karen, Liz & Gloria who make this wonderful weekend happen TWICE each year, for their hospitality, their kind comments and all the lovely emails sitting in our inbox when we got in this morning. We are exhausted but it was sooo worth it.

Now, just before I let you escape, we had prepared 40 kits for this event and didn't have to use any of the bits in the 'spare' so we thought if you would like to leave us a comment to let us know you have been by, then we will ask Mr Random number generator to select one of you to win the spare kit which includes the stamps, block, brush, cardstock and cards we used on the day - worth almost £20.

Thanks for stopping by.

Sunday, 6 May 2012

An Extrenely Belated Shepton Mallet

Well, Shepton Mallet was an adventure this time, in fact the first time ever we have exhibited here in such awful weather. High winds, floods, collapsing walls, trees down, road closures we had the lot plus no internet and a laptop that decided it was overworked requiring immediated respite, but here is the Snazzy shot the Headmaster took of our stand when we finally got it finished about 30 seconds after the announcement the show was open!! 

We had lots of lovely Studio 490 and Dylusions....

some Kaisercraft (all the new ones arrived too late to go with us but are all in store now!)

some Chocolate Baroque.....

and Darkroom Door, but sadly the newest designs without the iconic tins everyone loves!

Lots of lovely customers,

many of whom watched the demos

using the fabby Pan Pastels with Studio 490 stamps.

If you want to see more ideas and inspiration with Pan Pastels, pop by the Snazzy Design Team Blog where they are the featured product over the next four weeks. If you leave a comment so they know you have been by you could win three Pan Pastels of your choice too!

Thanks for looking xx

P.S The Meercat followed him home too!