The Freddie and Bear Story

I have decided to start a diary (or blog) primarily for myself, to record this journey and if, in the process others are interested, so much the better. If you would like to, then please share these posts with your friends.

Love From

May 2021

This month has been a little slower as other things have had to take priority. However, I have emailed lots of shops and attractions to enquire whether or not they would like some of our products; due to the pandemic many are just staying with the stock they have and with the variants of the virus appearing, are just happy to be open without expanding.

So, Plan B, which I was hoping to avoid is to advertise and promote on the online selling platforms which I am using at the moment to see if that generates more sales. Wish me luck!!

April 2021

This month I have been creating my shop on Facebook and Instagram. I have also been working on Facebook Market Place which is a different place to sell on Facebook. In addition to this, I have been e-mailing lots of other business' around the country to see if they would like to try any of our products in their retail facilities.

We are also sourcing some sweatshirts to add to the collection. We decided to go for those rather than hoodies as we're liking the retro-styling. But who knew neon colours would be so hard to find !!

March 2021

Quite a busy month again. Freddie persuaded me to buy a new phone as the quality of our posts on Instagram, Facebook and our website were not really as good as we wanted them to be.

I finished writing my book and illustrated the first two pages and have sent it off to some Literary Agents and directly to some publishers. I have also written to some magazines to try to increase brand awareness and have had some interest which is great.

I have also brought in another mug as I wasn't totally happy with the plain white mug although love the 170 ml size so we now have a choice of the white and now a gorgeous blue.

Lastly, now that shops are about to open again, before the end of the month I'm going to be emailing as many shops and other outlets as possible to see if they are willing to trial some stock and hoping that the shoppers will be out in droves!

February 2021

Wow February already! We have now had two towels printed, Freddie and Bear and at present have decided to go for a large microfibre beach towel (83x143 cms). The latest towel featuring Bear is just as lovely as the last and they look great together; they just make me smile and feel proud every time I look at them.

For many reasons I have decided to swop two characters names - Sarah and Bear. Bear is now carrying the bucket and spade, she and Freddie are both ready for the beach where as the other character (now Sarah) was wearing the riding kit which didn't look right when they appear together eg. on our mugs.

The newly designed mug has arrived which I'm happy with, showing Freddie and the new Bear!! Just need to decide how large, or small to have them (somewhere between 6-9 fl oz capacity)!

Andy is adding the new products to our website and is also including some photos on our home page to make it look even more fun. Lastly I'm starting to sketch the illustrations for our book - Yay!

January 2021

This has been a busy month, I spent quite a few days designing a range of mugs. I thought it would be quite straightforward but that was not the case. I realised that there needed to be continuity between them and who knew there could be so many different combinations. I have had one printed but was not completely happy and so have just ordered a second attempt. I have also had a beach towel printed with Freddie on the front and I'm super happy with the design - it's a microfibre towel so will dry quickly and is not bulky to pack. I loved it so much that I've designed one for the girls too!

The book that I started in the autumn has improved with thinking time and I'm really happy with it now and it complements the other pieces in the Freddie and Bear range. Lastly I've been e-mailing new outlets, although during lockdown and after the last 12 months I think it will be a little slow to gain traction. It's great fun watching the brands evolution.

December 2020

I have decided to form a partnership with the British Lung Foundation to make contributions to its charity from our prints range. They have a personal significance to our business so it seemed appropriate and they are happy to include us in their marketing strategy for the new year. We are also continuing to reach out to new sales partners and we are now deciding which new lines to add.

November 2020

Well, Halloween has come and gone and Bonfire night was rather quiet, but on the plus side we can light the fire and enjoy a movie night.

I've e-mailed some shops and attractions to see if they would like to take particular lines of stock for the Christmas market with a view to increasing our presence next year. Fingers crossed !!

Andy has very kindly added Meet The Family to the website and I have finished creating the pets to go with the family. They will be joining the website soon.

October 2020

Golly where has this month slipped away to? Amazon continues to be tricky and as we are going into the winter. I'm contemplating trying to sell in Asia where T-shirts are still required! I'm also thinking about having some of my Tees printed into other colours so that there is more choice - and also having some sweatshirts printed too.

Marketing is the next area that needs a major push so I will be reading up on some strategies which could help. I'm also going to contact some companies, to see if we can build a partnership. Rainbows Hospice for Children and Young People in Loughborough continue to be an excellent partner and they are keen to include our brand within their marketing strategy.

September 2020

Ok so we have had some lovely reaction to our Facebook posts and Instagram although we really need to increase the amount of Friends and Followers we have - we have just started to post on Twitter too. We have decided to post regularly but only on Monday's, Wednesday's and Friday's so that hopefully people will remain interested but not be too bored! We want to try to keep it fresh and original and not to keep recycling old posts. I have started to write little character studies of the characters to engage people with the Brand and from this has come the idea for a book, which is still at the planning stage. During this month we have also decided to write a monthly blog to remind ourselves how far we have come, especially when things don't go according to plan!!! So at the moment I'm having a retrospective look back at the summer.

The tasks for this month include:

  • Increasing our followers on all social media platforms.
  • Continue to create high quality posts.
  • Decide where to post our Blogs
  • Update the website with an introduction to Team Freddie and Bear
  • Translate and upload our Inventory to 5 European Countries.
  • To start to create additional material to our idea of "Meet The Family."
  • To continue with ideas and illustrations for our first book - "If You Could."

And after all that I still need to look after my children and mum, do the school run, cook, clean, exercise, walk the dog, tidy the garden and not totally ignore my friends!!

August 2020

At this point and with the children heading back to school I decided to re-group and contemplate the way forward. We had now managed to get back on to our Facebook account and add one for Freddie and Bear. My idea here was to gain as many "Friends" as possible to boost interest and to generate sales by not only showing people what we are doing but also by directing them to our website. I am confident about the quality and uniqueness of our products but the most tricky part is getting traction, letting people know and generating more sales. There is only so much money you should throw at something and it needs to have the ability to grow organically. Passion and determination are however, not in short supply.

July 2020

So by now we were celebrating the fact that we were "Active" in the UK and supposedly in 5 other European countries too. We were feeling super confident that we had finally after 2 months reached the point that I thought might take half-a-day at the most to conquer. However when we checked the European webpages we realised that only the print had been translated for sale in those countries and not the Tee's. We either had to translate them ourselves or pay Amazon to do it for us! We were already selling on Ebay and Etsy although sales were a bit slow so a different form of attack was needed. I had also managed to lock myself out of Facebook in June which was infuriating as social media is ignored at your peril these days. This was also the month that our lovely friend Andy overhauled the website and apart from a few tweaks it will take us forward for a little while now.

June 2020

I decided in my ignorance that Amazon would be an easy way forward. What could be simpler than to upload a few photos of my beautiful goodies and wait for the orders and money to roll in.

Oh my goodness how wrong can you be. Having done a post-graduate course at Cambridge University I consider myself to be reasonably intelligent but golly, trying to navigate around this platform was a nightmare. I worked with one of my team almost without a break most evenings and many days during this month to create and generate the information needed. We kept hitting problems which we felt we had corrected only to find that we had hit another crisis. On the the plus side we were mostly able to contact seller support who could often talk us through these problems but wow I feel drained just thinking about it!!

May 2020

With the lockdown well under way I decided to reinstate a business plan that I had started several years earlier but had to mothball due to having young children and working full-time. Now I finally had the time to devote to my passion and it was definitely a case of "now or never"

The original idea was to produce T-shirts and Prints using fun characters which I had in my mind - they all wear boots, probably because I wear my wellingtons at every opportunity and I guess if I could only ever have one pair of shoes for the rest of my life, wellingtons would be it!!

The Tee's and Prints were ready to go, they had been printed some time ago which was a massive help. I also introduced the idea of pet-shells which have googly eyes as an ideal pet which don't need too much looking after! So I just needed to formulate a plan. I had tried to sell at County Shows but having two young children with me, who wanted to look around the show and spend all my profits, I soon realised that this was not an ideal situation.

So plan B had to be developed.

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