I may have missed out on my ideal premises, but I am not being idle – just having to think more creatively about how to get this project off the ground.
I have decided to do a few things, to raise both awareness in Kenilworth itself and to raise more funds. I am planning some publicity days, maybe at the Kenilworth Centre or in other venues, where I will simply set out my stall, literally and metaphorically, and try to present what I’m hoping to do. This will include activities such as having a story session for young children, a book discussion session (very general, informal), maybe some competitions or a raffle, as well as some books for sale and definitely some cake!
I’m also hoping to start giving art history talks, which is what I’ve done for a living for numerous years now, but not recently…this is the sort of thing that would happen in the bookshop too, evening and weekend talks on arts, community and environmental topics. These will be ticketed, also as a means of putting some money in the startup pot for The Tree House.
And I will set up a website and start selling online. The plan remains very strongly to have a physical bookshop, as that is the most important aspect of this whole project, but until the right site materialises, there is no reason not to start an online shop (and sell through other online outlets, of course) – and online selling will be part of the business in the longer term in any case. It’s a hard decision, though, because I want all the lovely stock I currently have to fill the shelves when that physical shop does appear!
So a few humble ideas, but I am hoping they will keep some momentum going.
I now have another stamp – a bookplate stamp! I will stamp all the books I sell with it, and have offered that anyone who donates £10 or more to the project will have their names in a number of books as a benefactor, so there is space for that too.
This is the stamp design. It looks better stamped! (There is no outline to the figure, for starters.) And will of course be one colour (need to buy some different coloured ink pads – only have two colours at the moment!) But I don’t have phone or camera to hand.
I love stamping things. So now I will start sorting the books I’ve been given and stamping them…perhaps premature, since the whole thing is still touch and go, depending on where I can find premises…but it’s a sign of faith that it will happen. It will.
Waiting to start my own bookshop is frustrating and stressful; focusing on other successful secondhand bookshops will always be a source of energy. Here is a fabulous photo montage of Shakespeare and Co, the legendary English-language bookshop in Paris that has been the haunt of many great writers of the 20th century as well as a favourite destination for any booklover visiting Paris. There are even beds for people to sleep overnight. Do have a look, it’s an amazing place.
Shakespeare and Co
After the setback of not getting the premises I was hoping for, I am now working on setting up some temporary solution(s) – maybe a day a week in a local venue to get things started, maybe a day a week in each of two or three local venues! Apart from the effort of lugging lots of books around, it could be a great way to connect with people here in Kenilworth and start to get things off the ground while I wait for other premises to become available.
My pledge fund is growing (there’s also a link on the right hand side of this home page) – it would be lovely if people kept spreading the word. I now have £150 pledged towards my target of £1000. You can give anything from £10, with various rewards depending on the amount you pledge.
I’ve had amazing support, in all sorts of ways, and this really does keep me going. Despite often feeling lately that it’s all vaguely impossible, I have never truly wanted to walk away from this project, but it would be much harder to keep the faith without the moral and practical support of other people, both those I know and those I don’t – Twitter has been fantastic, don’t let anyone tell you it’s a waste of time!
I am also continually inspired by other bookshops – do look at some of the links on the homepage to their websites. And I never get tired of watching the Scarthin Books video:
I just need to find the right premises, and for someone (ie a landlord!) to put faith in the project and take a risk on what I and many others believe could be a wonderful asset to the town.
After a lengthy wait, I heard late this afternoon that I have been unsuccessful in acquiring the lease on the shop premises I wanted – a deal is going through as we speak with a business with stronger financial credentials. I need more money!
A bit ironic, after a weekend when I had almost decided to put the whole project on hold anyway, for various reasons. Now things really will have to be put on hold for a while, as there are no other affordable premises currently on the market. I will keep looking, keep trying to bolster my finances, and keep looking for a temporary solution – it would be so good just to get started in some way. If I can just get a foot on the ladder, I am sure I can make the business grow, and then I will be in a stronger position when further permanent premises become available. There are some temporary options beginning to take shape, so am still hopeful that something can be established to get things off the ground.
Further delays, then, but please keep helping me to keep the faith! The support I’ve had so far has been fantastic. Click on the Pledges link on the right hand side of the home page if you feel you can make a contribution, or pass the link onto anyone you think may be interested in investing anything from £10 upwards. I know it’s hard to commit to a project that is still looking for a home, but the greater my fund base, the better it looks to prospective landlords.
And I will try posting more interesting and inspiring things in the meantime!
Further to something I posted yesterday, which I have now removed (so if you didn’t read it, don’t worry about it!), it seems there was a major miscommunication which led me to believe this project was not feasible. That has now been resolved to an extent, and while things with The Tree House are still touch and go, I will press on.
Thank you for the support I’ve received in so many ways over the last few weeks.
To counteract my gloomy Saturday morning disappointment post, I have now activated a fundraising project with crowdfunding site PleaseFund.Us. It’s not great, I have to admit – I need to make a better video – but with limited resources I have done what I can! I need to spread the word, so please do share this with as many people as you can – the more people I reach, the more likely I am to find little bits of funding – and it all adds up. It also helps to make this truly a community venture!
The Tree House Bookshop pledge project via PleaseFund.Us