Today is my first day back to work after the holidays. Though I love my job, I must admit I'm not feeling very inspired at the moment... My son is still at home, enjoying his last day off school, and all I want to do is play with him! So it will only be a half-day for me in the office..
2008 was a fantastic year for us here at SilverClay. We seriously expanded our range, and now offer a huge selection of metal clay and jewellery making tools and equipment - we're one of the largest online metal clay shops in the UK. This really notices in the office and stock rooms. We have stock stacked up to the ceiling, and are spilling out into every free space there is, the office is starting to feel like a little metal clay grotto! I think the floor has a green carpet but I'm not sure anymore.
In September Lisa and I organised the first Art Clay World EU Conference at West Dean. This was the largest metal clay event to take place in Europe. We had visiting international teachers like Gordon Uyehara, Robert Dancik, Toshihide Uyehara, and Katie Baum, and of course also many of our local tutors, making it a truly international and inspiring event. I was thrilled with how well it all went.
We were also busier than ever with the mail order side of the business. I'm pleased to say that we're still managing to get 95% of orders sent by the next working day after they are placed. We were taken by surprise a couple of times though, what we had planned would last us for one month was gone in less than two weeks, so I'm sorry if some of you had to wait for your clay a little longer than usual. This was extra surprising as it happened just as the financial crisis really "took off" in the UK.
We now go into a slightly worrying year. I just heard on the news that they estimate that 1 in 10 risk losing their job in the near future. Just before Christmas one of the larger beadshops in the UK closed after many years of trading, due to the sterling losing strength against the dollar and the euro. I feel for them, I know how hard we've been hit with the same problem. Most of what we buy is being purchased in US dollars or Euro - the last few months have been pretty bad, and it doesn't seem like it is getting any better.
We're definitely facing changes in this country, lets hope it turns for the better soon.
However, all is definitely not gloom. There are some very exciting things going on here at SilverClay. 2009 is going to see some changes to how we work, new experiences, and more new products. I promise I will share them all with you. Soon. As soon as my inspiration comes back.