Me again! I’ve still not tired of writing these babies… I am not promising it is going to last, but here we are on month THREE!
So, to start off, I’ll answer the question that I’m sure has been all you could think about for the past 30 or so days… Did the boyfriend and I actually go out for his birthday meal… Well, we didn’t! I prioritised making up BowDangles for you all… To his - probably justified - dismay. I did cook tea that night, that totally counts, doesn’t it?!? Anyway, I still owe him that meal so the story isn’t over yet!
I have had a way crazier November than expected! I didn’t think it was ever going to be a walk in the park, but it really has surprised me. Partly down to the legend that is Harriet from Spacemasks. Not only did she share our latest BowDangles, she gushed about them over a number of stories. Honestly, it was something else - many tears were shed, and not just because of the impact on Wren & Rye as a business, but Harriet is a small business owner that I really admire, and - honestly - someone that I aspire to be like!
Fancy watching her response? Head over to stories and have a watch! YES I have saved them to highlights - it is truly a moment I never want to forget! It didn’t stop there… Harriet even went as far as sending me a gift in return! I mean… I have no words #businessgoals.
So aside from Harriet becoming my new favourite person in the world and letting down my actual favourite person in the world (honest, I know you’ll read this!), this is how my November went…
Reading... Not a great deal, time is currently not my friend. Christmas is a chaotic time for small businesses 😊 - Reading will have to wait until post Christmas! I do, however, keep dipping in and out of the latest issue of the “Procrastination Paper”… Which we may have been featured in this month… Thank you very much!
Listening... I bet you all think you know the answer to this one… But you will be SHOOK. I did not listen to a Christmas song until about the 29th! And even then it was only because my boyfriend put some on to try and get me in the festive spirit! Maybe when I start on the Buble there will be no going back?!?! Wish me some festive song luck!
Watching... I am still watching endless reruns of Gilmore Girls, as for me they are the perfect all-nighter companion!
Other than that I have finally finished watching the latest seasons of Killing Eve and The Handmaids Tale… and… WOW. I binge-watched the last few episodes of them both whilst making up batches of BowDangles… It was the perfect Sunday morning combination, almost therapeutic - is that wrong?!?! - Answers on a postcard, please!
Making... STOCK, our new Christmas Christmas collection, new Pooch & Pooch Parent Sets… and seemingly a huge mess. Our flat is currently suffering from post-market and post photoshoot mess! I need to get it all blitzed so we can actually get the tree up and trimmed!
Attending... I didn’t think I was actually attending that much this month, nor did I think I actually had attended THAT much (even though my weary body was saying otherwise) until putting pen to paper. But well, I was majorly wrong. Ah, here it goes…
- I kicked off the month at Victoria Baths in Manchester with Wren & Rye’s first festive market of the season, it was the perfect way to start November. The venue is breathtaking and it was a really fun event to do. I wish I could have done both days instead of just the one. Maybe next year!
- I actually took a SATURDAY "off" and caught up with some of the Indie Roller crew (I’m not cool - I no longer know the “hip” terminology for group of amazing people) in Leeds. I mean, I still packed up orders when I came home (even though I promised I wouldn’t!), but taking the time during the day was much needed!
- I then headed off to the world-famous Manchester Christmas Markets for five LONG days with the lovely Christopher Walster (A Manchester based artist) and, you know what, I couldn’t have asked for better company! He made me cry laugh on many an occasion and kept me sane when the cold simply got too much - because it just had to be the week that winter officially came to Manchester. It was COLD, not like, just put a bobble hat on cold, more like wrap a scarf around your face and put your feet inside a hot water bottle cover cold! - Best £4 I ever spent and thank God for the hot water tap in McDonald's bathroom!
- There was no rest for the wicked, no time to get my body used to reasonable temperatures, as the morning after we packed up our Manchester Market “chalet” *cough* shed *cough* (… I’m obviously kidding, they’re beaut), I headed off to Wakefield, to attend the Hepworth Christmas Fair for some market research, a catch up with Emma and a spot of indie Christmas shopping! So I can’t complain at all, it was a great day both socially and in terms of what I learnt.
- As Wren & Rye is back in Paperchase as a part of Curated Makers, I leant my retail experience and expertise (😂) to the opening day. Despite being a little under the weather (almost certainly because of being out in the cold for 10 hours a day the previous week), I had a great time with Katie, Myro and Megan - the mastermind behind Curated Makers.
- Another day was spent out at Knit and Stitch in Harrogate with Beks and, because I don’t like things to be easy, I also attended the She Can She Did event in Manchester in the same day! Why would I do something nice and fun, then just go home and relax, when I can rush off somewhere else?! It was TOTALLY worth it, it was the best She Can She Did yet! I mean, they are always great, but this one had the sprinkles! The panel were fantastic and I even managed to have my first mince pie of the season! I can’t wait for the next one (event AND mince pie)!
- Finally, I rounded off the month at Crafty Vintage in Clitheroe (it was actually on the 1st December, but who's counting?). It’s an event we’ve done before and I love it, it’s really close to where I grew up and I’ve spent a lot of time in Clitheroe, so it feels kind of like going home. And it means a lot when we have a good day of sales there. Once an East Lancashire girl, always an East Lancashire girl… Although I did have to stay at a friends house on the evening because all the trains were cancelled, which will be shocking to ABSOLUTELY NOBODY from this part of the world - we are from a one bus every two hours kind of place.
Loving... This month you and I are loving our Candy Stripe & Festive BowDangles… So much so we have had SELL-OUTS. You guys are just the best! I have been loving packing up all your orders - it's such an amazing fuzzy feeling. Especially the when it’s from repeat customers, we appreciate everyone and every sale of course, but when you can see that someone has liked their purchases so much that they want to buy again, that fuzzy feeling is intensified even further!
Low Lights... Panicking too much about markets. For those of you that know me, you’ll be aware that I like nothing more than a good panic, and what better to panic about that the layout of a market stall! I think that’s my big red panic button (😂).
Disastrous decals, this is still a sore topic as it brought so much stress haha, but long story short, after an awful experience with my decal supplier (who I won’t mention, because I know they’re trying their best and certainly didn’t mean to mess me around!), an amazing small local business came to the rescue! I asked for help on one of the groups that I am a part of online, and within an hour I had an offer of help from Maren, 24 hours later I had what I needed in my possession and I simply can’t thank her enough! One of those moments that restores your faith in the people! So I’m not sure that this really belongs in my lowlights given the overwhelmingly positive outcome, but as the stress was REAL for a week and a half (and not just because I don’t want to edit what I’ve already written, honest 🙈) I’ll leave it here.
I am not 100% if this is actually a low light either, but falling over in the middle of Piccadilly Gardens - leaving me with a bruised bum and a bruised ego haha! I say fall, it was more of… I want to say drop and roll… But that makes it sound classier than it was… Maybe thud followed by awkward roll on to my back with the inability to get up?! Kind of like a tortoise. They’re cute though right?
Top Things this November...
1. SPACE MASKS - Harriet you legend
2. Selling out of our now first round of Festive BowDangles in record time!!!
3. Being featured in the one and the only Procrastination Paper by Zabby Allen
4. Some of our AMAZING instagram followers/customers taking the time to visit us in person at the Manchester Christmas Markets! It means so much and it was really lovely to meet you!
5. The help with my decal issue from Maren. I could never thank her enough.
Wren & Rye Trick, Toy or Treat of the month... Wren is still working on perfecting her “both paws” and we don’t have a video of it just yet. it’s not her lack of trying (far from it, she’s taken to doing it any time a carrot comes out of the fridge!) but rather because of our (mine and the boyfriend’s) lack of training! We will be back on it soon when we take some time off over Christmas. Maybe it can be a little Christmas gift from us in the next Monthly Round up?
Next Month... Well, it’s Christmas! So the making should all be done and there are only a couple of markets left, leaving more time for us! The boyfriend’s birthday meal WILL be happening (and only one month late!). We’re also heading over to France for a few days to see the in-laws for our traditional pre-Christmas. Then of course there is Christmas itself and all the festivities that come along with it… Writing that has made me feel a little festivey... Where can I get some mulled wine!