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PuddleDucks in the Press

We’ve been mentioned in two press articles in the last few days.

1. The Irish Times

This article was about he An Post back shopping directory iloveshopping.ie. Being featured in the directory has been very good for us and we’re happy to report that our traffic has increased by around 10% due to being listed there.

Read the full article here.

2. Irish Independent and Silicon Republic

Interesting article about Irish e-tailing and the need to improve their online business and to  concentrate on expansion into international markets. Many thanks to Joan Mulvihill, CEO of the Irish Internet Association for mentioning PuddleDucks in the article.

Read the full article here.

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Our New Eco Waterproof Set

We’ve just added a brand new Waterproof Set to the PuddleDucks website.

We’re calling it the Eco Set as in Eco for Eco-nomical. It’s available at a nice price of €44.99 and for that you get a fantastic top quality 100% Waterproof Breathable Jacket and Dungarees Set that will keep the nippers fully dry, cosy and protected from whatever the elements throw at them. It comes in a choice of four colours:- Celtic Green, Sailing Yellow, Navy Blue and Red.

Check it out on our website here.

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Win a Wonderful Wrapsie

In our October competition, we’re delighted to partner with new Irish company Wrapsies.ie so you can win one of two wonderful wrapsies for kids. 

A Wrapsies is a towel with a twist!  It a towel that can’t  fall down or come undone.  It’s designed to keep children covered and warm when changing at the pool or the beach. Wrapsies are Irish made and come in a gorgeous selection of brightly coloured designs.

To win a children’s Wrapsie all you need to do is to answer this question:

One of the Wrapsies is named after a sea creature called Ollie. What type of creature is Ollie?

Check out the answer here.

Email your answer to competition@puddleducks.ie. Please also include your name and contact phone number and also let us know if you would like the 2-5 age size or the 5-7 age size.

The closing date for entry is Sunday 31st October and the winners will be announced here and on our Facebook page. Only one entry allowed per person.  The prize is a choice of either a Walter Whale or a Diving Dolphin Wrapsie in 2-5 years or 5-7 years size.

Discount Code: Our friends at Wrapsies have also kindly offered a 10% discount for any purchases from their online store. Just use the code “PUDDLEDUCKS” (all capitals) at checkout to avail of the offer.

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Our chief PuddleDucks model – through the years!

Our son Jake has always been our chief model for showing off the PuddleDucks gear. In fact, he was the inspiration for starting our business. When we started PuddleDucks early in 2005, Jake was nearly 4 – he’s now 9. So here’s a quick look back Jake’s modelling career from the past five years.

Starting with  one of our early photos showing him having fun in Currabinney Woods with his friend, Dougie. Jake is wearing his first pair of Everyday Dungarees.

In 2006, Jake is posing with our lovely dog, Rory in the garden.

In 2007, Jake is in summer mood showing of our Everyday Jacket (in the front garden)

In 2008, Jake is showing off our back to school jackets and bags.

In 2009, Jake is showing off our fleece-lined school coat. (in the back garden)

And finally here he is last week, showing off our new Blue Impact Jacket.

Time flies, doesn’t it!

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The First Step Programme

Anyone out there who is currently unemployed and thinking of setting up their own business might be interested in our next guest post from Joanne Hession of QED Training about the First Step programme. 

With the First Step programme, we are trying to help those who are currently unemployed and are interested in setting up their own business.  The aim is to help those who are seriously interested in getting their business up and running within 90 days.  This  programme is funded through the Labour Market Activation Fund and is a great opportunity for people who wish to set up their own business as it will give them access to finance, mentoring, coaching and ongoing support.  At QEDtraining.ie we are one of the network of providers of this programme for First Step and we are actively looking to recruit participants for the programme so that we can support businesses in launching – ideally in September (we will take another intake in October/November).

20 potential start-ups will be able to access the support of specialist trainers, coaches, mentors and a panel of experts who will work with them to assess their strengths and weaknesses and provide them with practical, tailored and one-to-one assistance to get them up and started in business.

The programme of coaching/mentoring/support will last approximately 15-20 weeks and during this time there will be an entire suite of workshops, networking events and coaching sessions, tailored to each individual participant.  The coaching will be intensive, utterly practical and very hands on.

Importantly, access to start up loans will be provided through First Step –  and there will be a rigorous selection process in place as the programme has limited places.

For further information or to apply for participation on the network contact Joanne on 087 2882688 (joanne@QEDtraining.ie) or Steve on 085 1175452 (steve@QEDtraining.ie)

Participant profile:  The ideal candidate must satisfy 3 criteria.  They must be unemployed for the past 3months (in receipt of unemployment benefit or unemployment assistance), and they must require funding support and have a business idea that they are driven and hungry enough to set up in 2010 (with a business plan started or completed).

First Step: First-Step was set up in 1991 as a not for profit organisation by Norma Smurfit and a group of like minded individuals. The objective of First-Step is to provide microfinance loans (i.e. loans less than €25,000) to start up or expanding small and medium enterprises for job creation or protection.  Loans are targeted at people who have difficulty securing finance from traditional banking sources. To date First-Step has assisted 1,500 projects. It is estimated these projects have created in excess of 3,000 employment opportunities.

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New Wetsuits for Smaller Kids

Our children’s wetsuits have proved to be very popular since we launched them back in May. This might be someting to do with the lovely summer weather we’ve had so far this year. Long may it continue!

We’ve now added some new short wetsuits for the younger kids. They come in 2 striking colours, red and yellow and in two sizes – age 2-3 years and age 4-5 years. Manufactured by kids wetsuit specialists Konfidence, the new wetsuit is  priced at €24.99. Get more details here.

Kids Wetsuit

Kids Wetsuit

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New Sun and Beach Video

We recently put together this new video showing some of our new Sun and Beach gear. This video was constructed from our photos using Animoto – which is a great site for making attractive videos from your photos.

Our Sun and Beach range includes children’s wetsuits, UV tops, UV suits, UV hats and beach shoes. Check them all out here.

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St. Patricks Day Festival Links

The big day isn’t until Wednesday but there’s loads of family events going on over the weekend. Here are some links we found that might be of interest. If you are planning on attending any other fun events around the country please let us know.

Local events on MyKidsTime: www.mykidstime.ie

Dublin & Limerick Skyfest: http://www.stpatricksfestival.ie/cms/events.html
Limerick: http://www.limerickcoordination.ie/projects/limerick-st-patricks-festival-2010
Cork: http://www.corkstpatricksfestival.ie/
Galway: http://www.stpatricksgalway.com/
Bray: http://www.stpatricksfestivalbray.ie/

Irish Times: http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/features/2010/0312/1224266101925.html

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Big in Russia

Although we primarily focus our online selling efforts on Ireland, the power of the Internet means that we can be found by customers from many different countries. In the last few months we have sold to the UK, France, the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Denmark, the USA and Canada. We have also received a number of orders from a few different customers in Russia (all in Moscow). We seem to have a big fan in Russia who posts about us on a Russian shopping forum. and we regularly get traffic from the forum posts back to our website.

Here’s a screen shot of the forum (translated)

I have to rely on the Google toolbar translation service to see what they are saying about us. Accepting that a lot of the meaning gets “lost in translation”,  here are a few of the quotes about PuddleDucks on the forum.

  •  liked the surprise was the sweater (ordered as a gift to the village district.) had a button with a picture of a tractor and he growls and pants in all keys))) Fleece myagchyayshy, my child is fussy (he agrees to wear clothes selectively) got no calls.
  • And this sweater bought as a gift, so bright! Its main chip-rychalka and gudelka, clicking sound типо tractor rides, the most interesting that there are no restrictions on the label does not wash, can be washed in the machine
  • Vasche I love this story, it is warm, lightweight, easy to wash, dries quickly, presentation for a long time to lose. In blue sweaters lightning in green. sweater wide neck, his head is not stuck.

I know it does not all make complete sense but I think we can safely say that the Russian customers like their PuddleDucks gear.  And we’re delighted that we are reaching satisfied customers – not just in Ireland but all over the World too.

There’s a link to the Russian shopping forum here.

A message to our visitors from Russia (apologies for any mistakes in language):

Привет. Мы очень счастливы иметь клиентов из России. Пожалуйста пошлите по электронной почте нам в info@puddleducks, если Вы имеете какие-нибудь вопросы.

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Looking back at 2009

I’ve been meaning to do a bit of a look back at last year for some time but haven’t found the time until now. So before it’s too late here goes …

2009 was another good year for PuddleDucks. We are surviving the recession, we won an award, added reviews to the site and much more. Rather than write a long wordy post about all the good things that happened in 2009, here’s some photos and images of our high points of last year.

1. Irish Internet Association Best Online Trader Award

Winning the IIA Award was such a big deal for us. It added credibility and trustworthyness to the site which helped in increasing sales. It was especially sweet because the award was voted on by the public

2. Adding LouderVoice Reviews to the site

Adding customer reviews - powered by LouderVoice - to the website was a major step forward for our business. It built on our word of mouth referrals and allowed customers to share their feedback in a user friendly and easily accessable way.

3. Suzanne’s interview on The Business on RTE Radio

Suzanne's interview with John Murray on The Business on RTE Radio 1 on November 14th brought loads of visibility, increased interest in our products and sales. It demonstrated the great value to a small business of a high profile media appearance

4. Our Facebook Fan page

Of all the social media platforms we are involved in, the most impotant to us is now the Facebook Fan Page. During 2009 it went from a small beginning to now having over 500 fans. It is a great platform to engage with our community of customers and "fans".

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