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Firstly my logo.  After the trials and tribulations of crowd sourcing and fiverr I eventually landed on the best option of all – a freebie from my wonderfully talented nephew.  Given he lives in Oz and I am in London this wasn’t without its challenges (basically him having to interpret what was in my head via the medium of facebook chats) but I am pleased to say I have a logo that I love (all credit to him for the design – all I could get to was ‘I would like an elephant who is cheeky without being tacky’!).  So after numerous re-works and some (no doubt very annoying) edits from me such as ‘could his trunk be a little bit longer?’ ‘can I have a thicker tail’!!! I am pleased to say we are there.  All in all the whole experience was incredibly painless and I am pretty chuffed with the end result which is below for you all to see………..

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Next set of news………………… I am very excited to announce that I am officially in a new relationship!  As you regular readers know I have been toying with how I take the soft toys to market for a while now.  I haven’t ruled out having my own site (in fact I am still very keen) but even if I do this I need to find ways to drive traffic to it (as all of my books keep telling me a lovely site is only a minuscule piece of the problem – it is all about getting found by people).  For those not in the know, the real key to on-line success is how you appear on the search engines (or for most of us Google) lists.  If someone looking to buy a soft toy plugs  ‘where do I buy soft toys?’ into a search engine you want your site to be on the first page (unless you have mega bucks like amazon the chances of it appearing anywhere near the top of the first page are slim to none!).  the professional term for this is Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and it requires a huge amount of time and money if you really want to get it right.  Based on that my best bet (especially with something which is starting small like cheeky elephant) is to team with someone else. 

There are several option out there to do this.  I have looked at quite a few.  There is the very basic (but cheap) route of using a site like ‘etsy’ www.etsy.com who have almost no barriers to entry at all and allow you to set up a shop and start selling basically overnight.  The problem is that because of that the volumes of products available is frankly huge so as a buyer you are literally overwhelmed by options.  Again this isn’t a route I have categorically turned down but for now it doesn’t seem to offer the promotion I believe I need to get started. 

The other (albeit more expensive route) is to use the services of an on-line marketplace.  There are a number of them out there the most well known of which is notonthehighstreet NOTHS (a favourite of mine although a fairly saturated little market place in itself with thousands of products).  On my search I found a more boutique version on NOTHS who specialise in the kiddy market.  For those who haven’t heard of them they are called Dorothy & Theodore http://www.dorothyandtheodore.com/.  Similar to NOTHS they are responsible for selecting unique suppliers to work with and they only allow people to join if their products fit with their high end / unique / stylish portfolio.  Based on this I sent them a few pics of cheeky elephants wares and the great news is they loved them.  So subject to signing lots of paperwork going forward they will be the first place to stock cheeky elephant toys. 

I have to confess I am pretty excited – I feel I am starting to make a huge jump now from someone looking for an opportunity to someone who is really perusing one.  I know this is a temporary high as I am about to hit a lull of waiting for my next order to arrive and going through some of the important though tedious work around legalities and CE markings but for now I am going to enjoy the top of the rollercoaster!

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