Saturday, 28 November 2009

I don't have time to scratch

Well, what an interesting few weeks it's been. So many people have advised setting up on Twitter etc, but who has the time to sit and twit?? I don't have time to scratch most days and hence the delay between blogging posts.

In the last few weeks I've taken a booking from a company for massive number of people on a bespoke walk as a Christmas function. It will be broken down into smaller groups leaving at staggered times. The tour numbers started much lower but once they heard what we were doing, the numbers went up by 50% almost overnight. So the idea of a London walk doing a Mystery Photography Tour is pretty popular and unique. If anyone is stuck for a last minute Christmas function, this is it! Anyway, doing the research, incorporating several pubs along the way, training 4 extra guides for the walk, running market stalls both in London and out in the boonies, holding night tours, and all the general non-stop running around like a Hairy Goat has kept me really flat out.. Oh, and don't forget the radio interview on Westminster University's station with a couple of lovely guys Darby and Ed on .

And I've eliminated a stalker. With a bit of luck and care, there won't be another..

Plus I've taken on my first commission job for taking photos for a lady's bathroom. Do you know how hard it is to find a reasonably priced rubber duck in London, that also doesn't have a brand across it's chest??

The photo of the London bus and taxi in the rain is still selling and I know that one of them is heading over to Australia as part of a present to an English lady who misses England dreadfully. Looking at that picture may help get her over the homesickness. Though it still stops people in their tracks when I display it at Leadenhall market. Everyone loves it.

When I started up Hairy Goat I thought that there would be tours 7 days a week, twice a day.. It hasn't worked out that way yet, but summer will bring an increase in tour numbers and dates again. By then maybe some of the tour guides will feature Hairy Goat, and it will be on the tourist websites . They are an extortionate price to join, but they do provide access to a phenomenal amount of visitors. But meantime, I'm expecting that over Christmas there won't be an abundance of people on tour so the last tour for 2009 will be on Sunday 20th Dec and the first tour for 2010 will be on 2nd January. If there is anyone out there wanting a tour in the middle of that time, the minimum number will be 3 adults and you need to get in conctact with me. Otherwise during that time I'll be making some major changes on the website, catching up on the mountains of paperwork that never seems to go away, and having a couple of sleep-ins! And giving my feet a well earned rest.

Am about to head out on a night tour and thankfully it's not raining. But it's going to be a nippy time.
Catch you later.

Monday, 9 November 2009

Searching for a unique present?

So, cold weather has certainly arrived and Christmas is on it's way. A London walk on a brisk day is great.
In the last few weeks I've sold a few copies of the photo of the London Bus and Taxis in the rain. A shop in Charing Cross has also taken some on to sell. Whenever anyone sees that photo, the standard reaction is "That's London". When I was telling a lady in Cass Art about it and I showed her a small version of the photo, she promptly bought a copy, and so did the lady in the line behind me! Ask me if I was excited?

Over the last few weeks, Gift Vouchers have been selling really well for both birthday and Christmas presents. It's an economical £20 for a day tour and £30 for a night tour, plus there are £5, £10 and £20 for anyone not sure whether to buy a photo or a tour as a present. So, it seems like I'm going to be busy in the New Year, which is great. I had expected numbers to completely drop or almost disappear since the end of summer but it's been a great relief to see that there are keen people out there.
I've started running some bespoke Night Tours and dates as well, so if you have an urge for doing something different in the evening, either come along or call me to arrange a tour. Otherwise the Night tours start mid afternoon on alternate Saturdays so we can still catch some sunset before all the lights come on.

What about a cheap Christmas work function? We still want them but naturally companies don't want to spend as much these days. A tour is a great way of socialising and talking about anything except work! And then you can have a drink or dinner afterwards.. and maybe run a competition on the best/worst/most interesting photo.

The feedback from recent clients has been great and I thank them for taking the time to write in. I'm in the process of registering Hairy Goat on Trip Advisor (sorting out a glitch at the moment) so hopefully that will bring in some extra feedback and clients too.
Thanks to everyone who is telling anyone about the tour. It's really appreciated and I can see that word of mouth is starting to work.

If you know of anyone that has an old brochure distributed in summer or has plans to come on a tour, could you please let them know that tour dates and times have changed (and will continue to do so over winter). Please check the website or call me to confirm times and days. It simply isn't possible to notify everyone of the changes except via the website and new brochures. So it has happened that someone turned up at the old time and wasn't impressed to find me not there.
This first year of operation for Hairy Goat is really turning out quite differently than I anticipated. It's still very much a struggle to get enough clients, access to the tourist market is not as simple as I expected, and maybe I should have researched some more before setting up the company.. But then if I had, I may have just gone travelling around the world instead! But then, I may not have had the intense challenges, met so many interesting and helpful people, (nor the people who seem to have an issue with the Hairy Goat name), or pushed myself so hard and learnt so much!