(NB: 31 days for anybody who is counting...we are)
- Why are we doing this?
- Why will people want to be involved?
- Why will people want to come and see our shop?
- Why did we have to dream quite so big?!?
Well, here are a few of the answers we have come up with. We would love to hear your feedback and see if you agree with us!
- Because we can! We aren't the sort of ladies who like to let an opportunity pass us by. We first heard about the Winter Garden Pop-up Shop being leased to Common People in early December last year. Sophie and Amanda had a little conflab at a fair they were both selling at and the germ of an idea very quickly sprouted. Siobhan was invited to complete the trio and we knew we had a formidable team.
The other honest reason is because we need to. We are one-woman businesses with finite resources . We knew that by combining our skills, knowledge, experience, networks and time (the most important factor!) we could achieve so much more than by working on our own. None of us would have been able to take advantage of the opportunity to rent the shop space on our own due to business/work/childcare commitments.
As business women, we also are aware of the need to promote, build and develop our businesses and hopefully increase our sales! Honesty again, the truth is we love what we do (if we didn't, we wouldn't do it) but we do need to pay the bills. However, the skills and contacts we have built up since our first meeting on 9th January are also important and we hope these will help us develop new working relationships across a range of business fields in the future.
- We have been totally blessed by the amazing responses we have had from all our helpers in making our mad-cap ideas become reality. If you head over to the Our Helpers page, you will see quite how many of them there are! Some of these are folks who are friends of our businesses, some are people we have only met because of this project. But why have they so generously agreed to help us?
We don't know the exact answer, but we are very grateful! We have always said that this project should be mutually beneficial for everybody involved whether it be in terms of promotion, portfolio building, sales, performance/work experience. The majority of people we are working with are also small, independent or one-person businesses and face the same challenges that we do. However, we aso want everybody to enjoy the aspects of the project they are working with us on.
- So we now have a massive team of people involved in The Hat Stand...but why would any body else want to come an visit us?
We hope that Sheffielders (and beyond!) will come and see us and join in our events because this is such a unique project in so many ways. Who remembers the last time there was a dedicated hat shop in Sheffield? We will be covering the demise of the milliner and the hat shop in Sheffield in a later blog post, but we can say that the last Yellow Pages listing for a milliner in Sheffield was in 1992-93.
- We can assure you, this last question, we do keep asking ourselves this!
We hope that by offering more than just a shop, we can get people interested and talking about wearing hats again...which is fun! We have aimed to make our events as inclusive and interactive as possible. We want people to join in and enjoy their experience and hopefully remember our names the next time they have an occasion in the diary which requires some headwear.
Plus, we decided if we were going to make the most of this opportunity, we had to make sure we created as much of a splash as possible. We aren't just doing this for fun, there is a very serious business side to it too, but who said business can't be pleasure too!