Archive for September, 2008

The Ploughing

We’re on the road again this week – attending the National Ploughing Championships in Cuffesgrange, Kilkenny from Tuesday to Thursday. This is our fourth year attending “the Ploughing” and we’ve always loved it. It’s hard work but great craic – meeting and chatting to people especially as we’re mostly stuck behind a computer screen for the remainder of the year. And the PuddleDucks gear is very well suited to country and farming folk. I’m always amazed by the event … If you’ve never seen it – it’s really something to behold – setting up a small city for a few days in a large field in a different location each year.

If you’re planning on attending please call and say “hello”. We’re have a stand in the marquee called “Strawhall” which is in row M.

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The PuddleDucks Facebook Fan Page

We’ve set up a Facebook fan page for PuddleDucks here. I’m not a big Facebook user but having a fan page looks looks like an interesting way of keeping in touch with customers. If a few people add themselves as fans then we can keep them up to date with new products, special offers and other news. Maybe people can join in a discussion, add photos or videos or maybe add reviews. Let’s see how it goes anyway – if you think it’s worthwhile and use Facebook, we’d really appreciate it if you would join as a fan.

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EYE Show – City Hall Cork – 19th/20th September

We will have a stand at the the Early Years Eduction show in the City Hall Cork on Sepetmber 19th and 20th. We’re really looking forward to it. We also had a stand at the EYE Show in the RDS back in April – which was good for us. It had a good atmosphere and was very well organised. We got some great leads from it.

Our waterproofs are very well suited to kids in creches, pre-schools and primary schools. Our Everyday Dungarees and Waterproof Suits allow the children to get out and play no matter what the weather. We sell high visibility vests, bibs and have recently added a new range of great waterproof aprons for pre-school kids.

If you’re going along to the Cork show, we look forward to meeting you there.

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Songs about rain – no 2 in an occasional series !

Eurythmics – Here Comes the Rain Again

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We’re a Lifestyle Business

Lifestyle Business (wikipedia definition): Lifestyle Businesses are businesses that are set up and run by their founders primarily with the aim of sustaining a particular level of income and no more; or to provide a foundation from which to enjoy a particular lifestyle.

We love watching the Dragons Den on BBC2. I could never appear on it myself though – I’d be so nervous that I’d never even make it up those stairs! Anyway, the dragons often refer to businesses as a Lifestyle Business – and as Peter Jones would say – Lifestyle Business – can’t see an investment in it – So I’m out’. PuddleDucks is surely one of those businesses so it got me thinking about what a lifestyle business means to me (at this moment in time anyway..).

Sometimes doing the first few orders in my pyjamas (and occasionally getting dressed in a panic when I see an unexpected customer turn up who doesn’t realise we don’t have a shop
Working three times as many hours and earning a fraction of the pay that I used to
Learning how to do everything in a business from buying the stamps to forecasting the future
Answering the phone and taking an order while cooking the dinner
Not being able to take a holiday at the moment despite imaging a life of carefree summers
Being too busy to even think about our Wedding Anniversary tomorrow let alone celebrate it
Worrying when the sun shines too many days in a row (too quiet)
Worrying when it rains too many days in a row (too busy)
Watching Greys Anatomy at the same time as filing away the days orders (back in my pyjamas again!)

And it also means
Being there to pick up J. from school every day
Both of us being there for J. at Sports Days and for Christmas plays
Sharing the parenting as well as taking it in turns to cook the dinner (hurrah!)
And on a rare sunny afternoon being able to seize the moment and just head off to the beach


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Google Chrome

Google Chrome

Google Chrome

When I heard that Google had launched their own browser called Chrome – my first task was to download and see how the PuddleDucks website and blog looked in it. The download was fast and easy and in a few minutes I was up and running on Chrome. The website and blog looked and worked fine in Chrome. It’s hard to measure it but I think the page load time is faster in Chrome. One feature I especially like is that the Google search is built into the address bar. So type in a search keyword and it will display the normal google search results. Type in a partial web address and it will try to resolve and will display your history for visited sites similar to what you have typed. Overall I like it – although one omission is that there is no support for the Google toolbar. I miss having the Google Page Rank available for all sites visited. It’s only Beta so I’m sure that support for the toolbar will come in time.


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Online sales increasing as retail sales decrease?

These are interesting times to be an online retailer. We are all familiar with the overall retail sales figures over the last few months showing an overall drop in activity. In Ireland, the latest statistics came from the CSO showing that the volume of Irish retail sales fell by 5.2% in the year to June.

In the UK online spending is increasing while at the same time high street sales are going down. High Street sales decreased by 0.9% from June to July which in the same period, online sales increased by 11.3% in July from June – (reported on Vnunet).

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I wonder if this is the same situation in Ireland. I wouldn’t be surprised if it was, although I have been unable to find the statistics to back this up.

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