Category Archives: Ramblings

Great New Trader Offer Launches

It’s that time where I get my newsletter from Head Office and get all excitable! This time is actually even better than usual, as along with the newsletter, there was an update on Phoenix Trading’s charitable support and my copy of the new Christmas supplement.

Christmas newsletter

Oh. My. Word. To say that I’m looking forward to this year’s Christmas season is an understatement! I always enjoy it, I love Christmas and like showing off the range to people, and as you’d imagine, traders tend to do make around 60% of our annual turnover from Sep-Nov, so you’ll see that now’s a busy and popular time for me! It’s not just the gorgeous cards, it’s the advent calendars, roll wrap, bunting, paper-chains, colour-in table cloths and decorations, gift boxes & bags, the list goes on and on…! And, of course, people still buy the everyday range – I do not stop stocking that just because Christmas is coming! At this early stage, I’m not sure which items will be most popular, but I’m fairly confident that these things will go down well..

advent calendar gingerbread housecolour-in thank yousadvent calendar card

It’s all in my shop now at www.jocelynscards.co.uk and I’m available to show it all off at parties, in person, by post or on-line – just get in touch!

Anyway, I digress (easily get carried away with the new stuff!). As well as finding out about the new range, the newsletter brought me news about a new offer that Head Office are running throughout August and September. For anyone joining up as a new trader during this period, along with the £30 business kit, they’ll receive an E-Commerce website absolutely free (normally an optional extra at £25+VAT). A lovely little perk!

If you can see this business being something you’d enjoy, too, find out about how you’d get started here and feel free to read any of my past posts on what I’ve been up to and what it’s all about. I enjoy welcoming new traders to my team, and am happy to help people get going and offer any support needed along the way 🙂 Ask me anything you like, and joining up is easy. You get your kit from Head Office within a few days. And that’s it – you’re in business!

So, I’ve perused my newsletter, admired my brochure, I’m probably best to get on with selling it now..bye!

 

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My Phoenix Anniversary!

Today feels like a momentous day. Why? It’s my Phoenix Anniversary. Three years ago today, I took the plunge and started my own business selling cards, stationery and gift wrap. It feels odd to be thinking back on it, as while I know three years isn’t that long, it feels like a lifetime ago. You see, when I made that decision, I was still employed and about to return to work after 10 months maternity leave. I was sad about having to do so, desperate not to leave my daughter and Phoenix was the only business I’d found that appealed not just to my desire to work for myself, but actually made me feel excited about what I’d be selling and doing. A business I could feel proud of. I did return to work, for 2 days, and then on resigning, my Phoenix journey really began (it had to!).

UK Cover 2012_pack shot

And what a journey it’s been! So with many new friends, new experiences, lovely customers met, fun coffee mornings and memories under my belt, along with the enjoyment of having introduced plenty of other people to this business so that they, too, could be celebrating a three year anniversary soon, I sit here now reflecting on what I’ve built.

With my daughter now three and off to preschool for a couple of days in September, and my son nearly 11 months old, I’m proud that I have built anything at all around looking after them full time! It’s a business that’s allowed me to be at home with them and see every milestone, so my love of the company and it’s products aside, I’m thankful that it’s given me that. Time I can’t get back. But then it’s given me so much more. From being a fully-fledged career woman to stay at home mum is odd, but I kept a little ‘me’ by having my own business to challenge me. It’s given me a ‘Phoenix family’ of traders, both more experienced, and those that I’ve introduced, and then there are the cards. Wow, the cards. The products I get to sell just get better and better every single new release. I really believe that. I get tired of hearing myself say to people ‘oh, you should see the new cards, they’re the best yet..’, but they are!

So three years on, I’m here, still happy, more passionate about my business and, most importantly for me, having fun watching my children grow each day 🙂

June Newsletter Time

I posted last time I had a newsletter through, so you already know of my happiness on newsletter days! This time it was actually even better, as there was an invite to the July trader meetings 🙂 Phoenix Trading run 2 rounds of meetings per year, usually January and July, and they’re dotted all over the UK. They’re always free to attend, and entirely optional, and are open to both traders and people who are interested in finding out more about becoming a trader – if that’s you, get in touch if you’d like me to book you a place, too. The agenda looks really good, with us getting to see the new Christmas products (they come out in August, and yes, people buy Christmas cards from August all the way up to Christmas Eve!), we get to see original artwork, an update from our creative director, experienced traders sharing tips and best practices, Q&A’s and plenty of chatting with other traders. Looks fab, so I’ve already booked my place, and I’ll be going with other traders in my team, so it’ll feel like a day trip! It will definitely fill me with loads of ideas and motivation, so watch this space when I’m back from there – expect excitement!!

June Newsletter

June Newsletter

I was also interested to read that there’s going to be a new Getting Started Programme launched, which is a 90 day email training programme, all delivered in bite size chunks at appropriate times. It sounds brilliant for helping you get going, and from my own point of view, a great way to help my new team members, which I can then easily follow up with them. I’ll be signing up to receive that one myself, as a little refresher can never hurt, and then I can best help my newbies, too 🙂

I really liked the ‘trader stories’ and ‘good ideas’ pages and will definitely be trying some of those – love how traders so readily share ideas with each other, very helpful!

It also regularly features last months best sellers, top trader volumes, traders’ tips and artists’ updates. It always gives me ideas, so I have my diary and a notebook to hand to scribble down action points along the way. So notebook full, best get on with some of it…!

If you’re interested in finding out more about being a trader yourself, I’m happy to email over information and the latest newsletter for you to have a good read of and then throw any questions my way!

 

 

Chicken Pox Strikes!

The 3 year old has chicken pox. It was pretty much expected as it’s been going round her nursery so it felt inevitable. As will baby boy getting in soon, too 😦 Oh well, it’ll be out of the way then (though worryingly, we don’t think husband has had it, so he’s not overjoyed by the prospect of having it just in time for his birthday in a couple of weeks..).

It’s at these times when working from home is extremely handy, as I can look after the kids and do bits and bobs of work as and when I can fit them in. This has meant that work over the last few days has consisted of posting out a few free brochures and samples packs to new people (get in touch if you’d like one, too), I’ve been in touch with most of my team in one way or another, I managed to pop and collect a couple of baskets I’d dropped into staff rooms before our holiday, thanks to grandparents being on pox duty for half an hour!, and there were quite a few sales in them so that was a nice end to my day and of course being housebound hasn’t stopped me from taking and responding to orders via phone, email and post. I’m also gearing up ready for tonight’s on-line party, which I’m really looking forward to – if you’d like to pop by to have a nosey and for the chat we’ll be on my Facebook page and Twitter feed from 8pm tonight #cardsparty, and there will be freebies!

Now as you can imagine, being confined for several days, especially post holiday excitement –  the spots literally came out on the journey home – has been challenging aside from work. But we’ve been very creative, so this morning, as I type this, is actually the first time we’ve put a film on to entertain us (introducing the 3 year old to Honey, I Shrunk the Kids, while baby boy naps – she’s transfixed!). We’ve had garden play, chalking outside, water table fun, sensory play with squirty cream (admittedly, baby boy just ate it!), made edible paint together and explored finger painting (admittedly, baby boy just tried to eat the paper..?!), baked and created a zoo from the contents of our recycling box. Now, the latter two are connected to Phoenix, as you’ll see a couple of old sample cards make great animal caves…

Our Recycled Zoo

Our Recycled Zoo

Totally by accident, after we’d made our pink iced fairy cakes, and sprinkled our butterflies on top (not especially artfully but they do taste good!), the 3 year old pointed to the Butterfly Cupcakes sample I had out and showed me they were the same – I hadn’t noticed, but she’s always the more observant of the two of us!

Fairy cakes

After tonight’s party, I then have an evening of tea, cake, chat & cards at an at-home party on Friday, which I’ll go to after the children are tucked up into bed so their dad can just have a rest while I’m out!

Hopefully that’ll be the end of our confinement period and I’ll get out and do a bit more work before baby boy’s chicken pox arrives……

 

Our Family Holiday

With my work, I can pick it up and put it down whenever I need to, so I pretty much got to ‘put it down’ last week, as we went away, though I did promote my guest post on direct selling over on Joanne Dewberry’s blog (whenever I could – 3G and wi-fi permitting!), composed a new blog post and planned for next Wednesday’s on-line cards party – it’ll be on my Facebook page and Twitter feed, so don’t miss that. It’s a chance to take a nosey around Phoenix, with friendly chatter, quizzing and freebies 🙂 Anyway, I though it’d be nice to share with you my week’s holiday, with my cards supporting the events, having discovered we have cards for pretty much everything!

We had a great week in Poole, and I’m happy to say, we all loved it! We stayed in a caravan (it had a deck, a fridge freezer and very good heating – those of you who caravan will know how great a prize this is!), at a great park just outside Poole.

Caravan Family A095

Caravan Family A095

 

There were several playgrounds, an indoor and outdoor pool (we didn’t see anyone braving the outdoor pool!), so the 3 year old was delighted and baby boy got to have his first swim (he deemed it acceptable) and his first go on a swing (loved that!) And all of these adventures without even leaving the park…

little swimmers

Little Swimmers L267

Dorset’s actually an area that neither myself or my husband have explored before. I spent many a caravan holiday in my childhood down in Devon, Cornwall, Somerset and Wales (we’re Midlanders so these are pretty much the easiest places to get to), but not Dorset, so I was really looking forward to discovering it’s delights. Before going, I put a little question out on twitter asking for recommendations, and I was really pleased to have lots of suggestions from people, particularly from @ChelseaMamma (Kara’s website’s here) who emailed over a document full of ideas, categorised by ‘free’, ‘National Trust’, ‘for kids’, ‘if it’s wet’ and ‘for the adults’ – how fab is that?! And the verdict is that we loved Dorset, and crammed in as much as we could, including a stop on the way at Bicester Village (had to be done?) and on the way back we took in Salisbury Cathedral.

While there we went to Marwell Zoo..

Do Not Feed WS237

Do Not Feed WS237

Bournemouth beach, including a meal on the seafront at Harry Ramsden’s 🙂

Seaside Fun JY60

Seaside Fun JY60

A walk round Poole and the quay (thanks @SurfersChick)

Quayside A033

Quayside A033

Trips to several pretty towns, Swanage, Sandbanks, Wimborne..

Tea and Cake Shops L260

Tea and Cake Shops L260

We wanted to do Moors Valley Park as @KateFairgrieve had mentioned a Gruffalo Trail there, but the weather stopped being kind to us, so we didn’t fit that one in. We’d also have done another few sights, such as Corfe Castle (we did see it from the car!) and a cliff top walk around Lulworth Cove, but thanks to @ChelseaMamma, we knew these weren’t buggy friendly so we gave them a miss. We went to the New Forest last year, and visited Peppa Pig World, so though visiting that area again would have been lovely, but no time! So we will be back, Dorset, oh yes…! 

Cards pictured are all £1.50 each or £1.20 each when you buy any 10 or more available at www.jocelynscards.co.uk

A moment of doubt..

When I set out to write this blog, I promised I’d be honest, and so here I am…

I’m always positive about being a Phoenix trader. I genuinely believe the products are Spring Range picsgorgeous (just look at them!), and that the company is a great one to be a part of – ethical, honest, efficient, supportive, friendly – I have no complaints. As you’ll know if you’ve seen my opening post, being a trader is about having something for me whilst the children are so young, and the extra income it brings in helps us to just about manage each month with my staying at home with them. We get by, and we have time together, which is all I want at this stage. The plan when they’re both at school will be to increase the time I spend on Phoenix, and so I’ll see my business grow and challenge me more, and in turn, my income will go up.

Well, that was the plan in my head, anyway, and I was pretty happy with it (I wouldn’t go as far as to say ‘smug’, but verging on it, as I thought I’d formed an excellent plan!). However, I had a moment of doubt the other day, when chatting to a friend. I was asked what I would do when the children are older and both at school. ‘Phoenix’ came my reply – ‘more and more’. Obvious to me, as this is the business I’ve been growing and thoroughly enjoying for nearly three years now. Apparently, not so obvious to my friend, who looked a little confused and asked me ‘wouldn’t I want to go back to work?’ Well, yes. With my Phoenix business. Am I missing something? I loved my old work, but that’s just not for me any more. I want flexibility to do school runs, have school holidays at home, and above all, to spend my working time surrounded by pretty Phoenix things  – superficial I know, but it’s true! If I’m working, surely being surrounded by lovely things, and knowing I’m working for myself, on my terms, with only my own determination and hard work holding me back, it is the way to go? I’d always thought so, but someone else questioning this idea, got me thinking it over again for the remainder of that day.

And just as I was going to sleep, I shared some of these thoughts running through my head with my husband. Something along the lines of, ‘but there are loads of people out there trying to achieve this balance, and so many don’t do it, so what if I can’t make it work? Am I being ridiculous? Can this be done, as others do give up?’ His response, ‘but you’re better than that, you can do it’, and went to sleep. No over thinking it, discussing it, worrying about it (and believe me, my husband is no optimist!), just that. Matter put to rest – thank you, my lovely husband.

A little tea-break reading

My newsletter is here! Most months, Phoenix Trading send us all a newsletter filling us in on the latest news, best-sellers  top teams and inspiring us with other trader’s stories and tips – I love it! I know I’m not alone, as on our Facebook groups, traders talk about eagerly looking for that ‘pink envelope’ in their post (our post from Phoenix always arrives in hot pink envelopes!) so there’s plenty of us equally as sad!

So, baby boy went down for his nap and The Gruffalo went on the TV for the 3 year old, and I settled in for a 20 minute break with a cuppa and my newsletter.

photo (14)

The big news this month, was telling us all about this year’s Butterfly Tea Party. There are loads of fundraising initiatives all year round, including charity Christmas cards, the organised fundraiser offer packs and the work that we, as individual traders do. This one’s a biggie, though, and Phoenix often design a particular product to be sold to raise money for the chosen charity, Together for Short Lives (formerly known as Children’s Hospices UK). You’ll be able to see said product in my photo, on the front cover on the newsletter – it’s totally gorgeous and I’m certain I’ll be selling loads of them, meaning lots of happy customers, card receivers and money raised – winning all round. The aim to raise £50,000 from traders and their customers all over the UK, so I’ll fill you in on how we get on. If you’d like to get involved yourself by hosting a party, real or virtual, just get in touch with me and we’ll book it in.

Butterfly CupcakesIn other news, the best-selling card for March was LS20, Butterfly Cupcakes. This is the best selling card for us, pretty much every month!! I believe it’s a best-selling card in the UK, and was originally designed for a Butterfly Tea Party a few years back. It’s remained a firm favourite within the range since then, and I sell lots of them. The wings on the butterflies pop up, and it’s a little glittery, too, so absolutely lovely! I’ve sold them to people to use for Mother’s Day, anniversaries, get wells, and of course, birthdays! All Phoenix Trading cards are blank inside, which makes them very versatile like this. It’s £1.50, or as always, if you buy 10 or more, cards are just £1.20 each.

Then, a little reading on growing and supporting your teams, the new mini fabbags (you can get your hands on one by doing this!), some successes from traders who have tried tips from the last round of free training meetings – there are 2 rounds of meetings each year that we can attend, all over the UK, and they’re free and friendly :-), and a spotlight on a new artist from the USA.

And that’s me done! Read it, drank my tea, feeling motivated and happy, and then baby wakes up….OK, priorities have shifted back to mum now, but when I get a quiet moment this evening (I like to say ‘when’ and not ‘if’ as it sounds much more positive and certain!) I’ll pop some activities in my diary that the newsletter’s prompted me to want to do, and then I can get something done each day, even if just in the 5 minutes I have spare some days!

Like the idea of being a trader yourself? Join me and I’ll help you on your merry way! Or follow my blog and Facebook page for more updates….