Wednesday, 16 November 2011


Just a quick blog post, as I'm getting slightly annoyed about commenting on the Bird's Yard blog and saying the same thing over and over.

As you all know, we've been slogging away at this shop. It's an uphill struggled some days, because we're in a position which is slightly out of the way - it's not a street which people walk down. We have feedback from customers saying that now they've found us, they'll be back - and they come back, again and again. Some people don't - maybe there just isn't anything for them,, maybe they don't like the staff, whatever.

Anyway, so we had a meeting the other week between all the shop owners. The shop's owner told us she'd had permission from the landlord to put banners up on the boardings at the end of the street. From our shop, we can look up the road and see the main town centre - we talked about how if people just knew where we were, they might come and see us, and some of those people might like us.

We got a few quotes, and found one which was affordable. We talked about the risks - we'd had a banner up there before which had been drawn on, but it had been up there for a while before this happened. We knew they'd probably get drawn on, or ripped down, but we thought the potential advertising before this happened would be worth the £25, and if they weren't damaged or lost, then we could use them again.

A friend helped us design the banners after we sent him advertising images, and they were all sent off to print. I went to Bradford in rush hour traffic on Friday evening to pick them up. On Saturday morning, Michelle and Craig hammered them all up on the boardings, and we admired them. On Sunday morning, when 3 were missing, I felt like I'd been punched in the stomach. All that work, and they never even lasted a day.

So for anyone who thinks we were naive, or we should have expected it - we did expect it, we just didn't expect it that quickly.

Then when 4 more went missing, I became angry. We all know people do stupid things, but why does that mean we should put up with it! It's theft, pure and simple. I rang the police, and they didn't think we were petty. They agreed to look at the CCTV footage for us. We wrote the blog for us yesterday because we thought that someone, somewhere, knows something about this, and we were hoping we could get some help tracking them down. They're probably in a student kitchen, I agree, so maybe someone will see the post and get in touch.

This comment was the one I read this morning at 6am, and why I deleted my other comments. I'd like to reply to each point in turn here.

People have things stolen every day.

That doesn't make it right

You pointed out that your shop has been open a year and due to the loss of these posters your dont think you will last another year?

The loss of these banners will not be what kills the business. But unless we start getting new customers in, then yes, we might have to close. The same customers returning again and again is how we've managed to stay open for 15 months. To continue, we need more regulars.

Surely that means that you shouldnt be in business because after a year, and winning the awards you mentioned you should surely be making a profit and be in a good place

Show me a company in profit after a year of trading. Any business expert will tell you it takes at least 3 years to actually be turning a profit.

Also,if you have won so many awards then why arent lots of people in your shop all the time? Surely this would set off an alarm in your head and show that when people visit your shop they dont like it so they arent returning or bringing friends? Which is why your struggling?

Not everyone who comes in the shop will like it, but a lot of them do, and they bring their friends in. We're doing something right. Every retail business is struggling. We've tried all sorts of things to get new people, like holding events, giveaways, flyering in the town centre (which we have a flyer pass for), and this steadily increases our numbers.

Making a big song and dance about the loss of some posters is not productive. Maybe spend the time cleaning the shop and looking at ways of been positive and bringing people in instead of going for the sympathy vote

I disagree with this, but only because I know the truth. One person wrote a blogpost, and we've all shared it. It took no time at all out of our day. Life in the shop went on as usual, and that means making the shop appealling, comfortable and doing some promotional work.

I can tell you yesterday what everyone in the shop was doing - if you have any suggestions about what else we should have done, I'd like to hear it.
- On the ground floor, they were changing the window display, redressing the mannequins, and cleaning and tidying the shop.
- I was polishing and tidying my shop, and sending out online orders. I was also putting together goody bags for the Twitter winners, and making a gift voucher to be used as a giveaway at a school fete. I also painted my window frames.
- Mighty Baby owner Michaela was putting out new stock, as well as flyering in the town centre. She also cleaned the staff toilet
- Upstairs, Lisa was putting out her winter collection, whilst Aisha was cleaning the carpet and stock-taking.
- Inbetween day long appointments, Rohey the hairdresser was flyering over at the wig shop. She also cleaned the customer toilet
- Finally, Anna was putting up the Christmas decorations, as well as trying to organise a card machine so customers don't have to keep going to the cash machine, and picking up lunch for everyone.

No one in that building sits around doing nothing - even if we look like we are when you come in, you've probably caught us inbetween jobs. If you come in and the shop is untidy, it's probably because we're in the middle of getting ready for a photo shoot, fashion show or craft fair to raise awareness of the shop. There's no excuse if it's dirty, obviously, but we all do our best.

Anyway, I'm rambling, and it probably seems like I'm going for that sympathy vote again. I think the point I'm trying to make is that the post about the banners being stolen wasn't written as a sympathy vote - it was written for information.

If there are any more questions, I'll gladly answer - I'm not the official spokeperson, but I care about the shop, and I'm online a lot.


  1. Well said Chloe.. I wouldnt let this person keep you up and thinking at 2:22am though.. They are a competitor or a jealous person, both of whom are not commenting constructively.. and you know what, they are playing right into our hands.. they have fuelled an anger in people (and not just shop people), so hopefully when we do speak with the media, they may come forward to put to the masses their argument FOR the acceptable (in their opinion) behaviour of thieves... and not hide behind Annonymous. They are obviously somebody that follows the shop as they commemted as soon as it was put up... so they are very interested in what we are doing... I felt actual sick this morning goimg back to the blog post.. but I am not going to lower myself or let myself be consumed with their negativity any more.. I am having some pretty window boxes built today as I cannot stand the rubbish placed on them every morning. YES I expect at some points that the plants in them will be strewn across the street when I come in but its a risk I will take for the people that look at the shop and see something nice like that rather than water bottles, chewing gum, beer cans, fast food wrappers andthe like that we are faced with every morning!

  2. ps can I add that I had two meetings with new tenants, secured a pop up shop for Xmas, chased the replacement modem, showed somebody around the shop that is running a charity event that wants to include Birds Yard clothes, met with somebody to run the pop up shop, met with a local journalist (not about banners), called to order another flyer pass, 50% of tenant invoices, all before collecting my son from school.. after which I spent endless hours on the internet sorting pics and background on the new tennants so that I can update the website accordingly, and WAY to much time on the negative blog comments!!

  3. Chhoe does a great job anyone who thinks otherwise is fool end of story