If you are reading this, congrats! You've made it through the first two weeks of 2023.
I won't say Happy New Year, I think we're passed that now aren't we?
This year instead of setting myself the stereotypical new year's resolution of joining the gym and eating healthy (bla, bla, bla), I decided to set myself the goal of getting back into blogging! I hope this blogging stint will last a little longer than some of my previous gym memberships!
During that time, when everything was closed, and we were stuck at home with a puppy (there are definitely worst places to be), I decided to start a little 'puppy diaries' style blog, so I could document first-time paw-rent hood and look back on all the highs and lows of raising our cheeky Cocker Spaniel pup, Charlie!
I LOVED it.
I was a blogging machine, bashing blogs out left, right and centre. I did five blog posts in May alone!
The last time I sat down and even attempted to blog was back in July 2021. That blog post was titled Charlie + Co: 6 months in, and it talks exclusively about the e-commerce side of Charlie + Co . The fact that the blog post doesn't make any reference to the thought, let alone the actuality of opening our Charlie + Co store (a store that is now 16 months old, FYI), means it's drastically out of date and in desperate need of an update.
So I thought I'd kick off the first blog post of 2023 with a quick update of what's new since July 2021.
July 2021 We got the keys to our first Charlie + Co store
Spent 12 weeks renovating our store (by ourselves), which was previously a hair salon.
August 2021, we interviewed candidates and hired our first employees!
September 2021, we launched four new harness colourways online
October 2021, Charlie + Co Nantwich opened!
And in very 'Dog cafe' style, our very first customer did an excited wee on the floor! I'll let you decide if that was a dog or a human.
I could write 29 blog posts about that self-renovation process alone but to sum it up in 3 bullet points:
- would not recommend,
It wasn't all doom and gloom, but it was a lot of hard work. I vividly remember having a conflicted feeling when we "finished" the renovation. I say "finished" because do you ever actually finish a renovation?
The answer is no, by the way.
You always, have things that need fixing, painting, replacing, and changing. However, when we "finished" renovating, for a split second, I felt relief that the hard work was over before reality hit me that we then had actually to open. So:
We've spent 16 months grafting away on the shop.
We've gone from a small team of 2 employees to a team of 12!
We've expanded from 2 groomers to 4 groomers!
We've hosted educational events in collaboration with a Trained Animal Behaviourist, Rachel form Nose To Trail
We've hosted fun events like HOWL-oween Patwties, Santa Paws and Breed specific nights
I don't want this to be a self-gratifying highlight reel of just the good because, though there have been so many good moments in the last 12 months, there have also been many mistakes made along the way.
I can look back and laugh at the mistakes now, like the time we completely ran out of our coffee beans because I hadn't got my head around how many to order yet (yes, a coffee shop that doesn't sell coffee. I won't be going on dragons den with that idea anytime soon!)
udder of milk (with an actual tap on the side of it) arrives at your door containing what felt like, the entire milk production of the UK cow population....it's a little bit harder to laugh.
Actual footage of me when the milk arrived
So, that brief catch-up brings us all up-to-date with where Charlie + Co is.
We've got lots of ideas for the next 12 months of Charlie + Co. If you've spent longer than 30 seconds in my company, you'll know
Our main goal for 2023, is products!. I underestimated how much time, money and attention the shop would take, and it's just zapped everything from us for the last 12 months which means this year, there needs to be more focus on our product range. We've got two new designs coming soon, which I'm looking forward to showing! The buzz of seeing your design come to life and then real people buying that design is a great feeling!. However, I've also made no secret of the fact that I'd like to open another store; where, when and if that will happen this year is a conversation for another day.
But for now, I'm going to blog!
I'm still trying to determine what the future blog content will be (I'm open to ideas if anyone wants me to blog about a particular topic) but if nothing else I can hopefully use this as a cathartic(for me) and hopefully amusing (for you), way of documenting the good, the bad and the sometimes funny side of navigating a new business
That's all from me, for now!
Hopefully, I will stick to my new year's resolution and be back shortly with another blog post!