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
Well, it’s been a tough old week. I still have not heard anything about the shop premises I am hoping to secure, and after two weeks of silence, I can only suppose it won’t be good news when I do hear anything. I know at least one other party is interested in the site, so I am assuming that it has been offered to them and I won’t have a definitive answer until that is resolved – speculation, I know, but I can’t think of any other reason why it would be taking so long to get back to me. I have asked for information, but not received any.
It will be a blow if it falls through, as the site has just the sort of space I need. There are other sites becoming vacant on the main road, but apart from the fact that they are unaffordable for my project, they don’t offer anything like the same potential in terms of the interior space, and I would have to amend what I hope to do at The Tree House.
I am also at the point where I have to start earning money myself – I have two part-time jobs that don’t pay the bills, and my savings are running out – I have put everything I have into The Tree House bar a small amount to try to keep me in my flat, but without extra income that won’t last much longer – three or four months at the most.
So if the bid for these premises does fall through, I will have to shelve my plans for The Tree House temporarily and find some more work, unless some other solution presents itself quickly – and believe me, I’m looking! I have also been ill this week – have not left the house nor seen another person in five days – so that has given me too much time to worry, and it’s good to be starting to feel better this morning!
But I have been concentrating on ideas for fundraising this week, to keep things positive. The bottom line is, though, that without a shop, there is no Tree House.
Yesterday I published a video…today I have made the video slightly better, so I have deleted the old one – please watch the new one! It is for a crowdfunding site called PleaseFund.Us, as I will shortly be launching a campaign there to raise funds for The Tree House. I will give more details when that is launched, but in the meantime here is the slightly improved video – still planning to make one with greater visual content in due course!
Here is a wonderful little film about a secret bookshop in New York – not secret because the owner particularly wants it that way, but because it’s the way he has found to carry on being a bookseller, which is what he loves doing. He says it’s not the big chains that have put independent and secondhand bookshops off the high streets, it’s the price of property – something I can now wholeheartedly endorse! The cost of renting retail premises is very high. He remains utterly inspiring though.
Others have found an equally inspiriting solution – they have opened bookshops in their own homes (again, these are all in America). If I owned my own home, this is definitely what I would do, given the scarcity of affordable retail premises! As a fan of the writing of Henry Miller, I would love to visit the bookshop in his name at Big Sur, but they all look inspiring.
Still no word on the premises for The Tree House, but it’s good to come across these people who have found innovative and imaginative ways of not being beaten by the economic climate and the lack of affordable retail spaces. There is a light, as my theme song goes…
A nailbiting week, and no resolution yet – all with regard to securing a lease on premises for The Tree House Bookshop. It’s touch and go over the premises that I want, but I am hoping it won’t be too much longer before I hear whether I have been successful. If this site falls through, it will be a big blow, as it really is a wonderful site for what I want to do, and there is nothing else affordable that I can find at the moment. However, if I am unsuccessful, I will face that, and see about setting up some kind of temporary solution until another suitable property comes on the market. I swing between an Eeyoreish tendency to fear the worst and a steely determination to be positive – not sure how those two things fit together into one personality, but let’s just say it can be exhausting being me! And knowing me, as some of my friends would testify…
In the meantime, I have started to think about a fundraising day, and ideas are beginning to take shape for that. Finding grants and other sources of funding has been difficult, though I’m probably just not very good at it; I will keep looking, but apart from raising funds, it would be great in any case to have a day to explain to people in Kenilworth what the shop will be and to begin to build on the enthusiastic response I have received so far and draw the community into the venture. More details as and when!
So I am stalwartly singing (rather badly) my theme song, gazing adoringly at my new logo, continuing to meet with people and talk about how to develop things, and whether or not I get these particular premises that I am currently bidding for I know The Tree House Bookshop will happen, even if the when and where is still a little uncertain. I hope to hear this coming week about the premises – you will know about it either way, of course! Fingers still firmly crossed.
Today is officially World Book Day…but really every day should be world book day! Books need to be indispensable to our lives – they are incredible powerhouses of all sorts of ideas, experiences, inspirations, warnings, imaginative explorations, a tool in the development of the potential of every individual and thus of society as a whole. (The manifesto is developing…)
Hope everyone is reading something good today – and when you’ve read it, donate it to The Tree House so that others can read it! I know we’re not actually trading yet, but the more stock we have, the more fabulous it will be when we do open. Still watching the space re premises, but hoping something might be resolved soon one way or the other – may or may not get the premises I am currently negotiating on, but if not, will just have to find something else.
In the meantime – keep reading, and keep checking your shelves for any books you may want to give away for someone else’s benefit. 🙂
Local people – Kenilworth, Coventry, Warwickshire – this is primarily for you! A summary of what The Tree House will be, and how you can get involved if you would like to. I can email you a copy of this flyer if you would like to spread the word – contact victoria @ treehousebookshop . co . uk (without the gaps! The gaps help prevent spam emails).