Another new outlet.
Friday 6th April 2012Last Tuesday was a big day for us.
A couple of weeks ago we did a deal with Wightlink - one of the two big ferry companies that link the Island to the mainland - to have concessions in their terminals at Fishbourne and Portsmouth and on the St Clare, their biggest ferry.
Tuesday was the day we gave them the first load of stock. The plan was to catch the 6pm St Clare from Fishbourne, load up St Clare's shop on the way over, disembark and stock up the Portsmouth shop, then catch the 9pm St Clare back and do our final bits of tweaking on the way home.
In retrospect, it was quite an ambitious plan given that we had a van full to the brim with boxes containing maybe 1000 items in all, and only three of us to get everything sorted.
Our first mistake, we realised on the way to Fishbourne, was to forget to divide the contents of each box into three (one for the ferry, one for Portsmouth and one for Fishbourne which will come into play as soon as Tony has got the branding on the shelves sorted) before we left home.
The fact that we were able to overcome this and remain on schedule was due to the very kind and very strong man in a black T-shirt living in East Cowes and on his way to work in London - if you are reading this you know who you are -who helped us carry everything up from the car deck to the shop. (To watch him skipping in and out of the lifts with the crates was to think they were feather-light but I can promise you they weren't.) Thanks to him by the time we arrived at Portsmouth everything that needed to be in the St Clare shop was in it. But on the floor rather than the shelves.
At Portsmouth we had two and a quarter hours to get everything arranged and, truth to tell this left us, once we'd done, with time enough to sit at a Costa Coffee table and will everybody who came in to buy a coffee or a newspaper to buy something from our shelves too. I was focusing so hard on this that I began to feel like an elderly Hermione Grainger struggling to cast spells.
Then it was time to go home and, briefly, the whole adventure rather went to my head. We reboarded the St Clare in the slipstream of the Sainsbury and Marks and Spencer lorries and, just from a moment, I really felt as though we'd joined the big boys!
Up in the shop we had 40 minutes to get everything properly arranged and to make friends with Brett, the night manager, who had not been warned that we were going to be there and was a bit surprised to find three strangers making free in his shop.
Suffice to say we did it. At 9.40 pm we staggered off the ferry, loaded our remaining stock in to a special locker we have been given there and, tired but pleased with ourselves, headed for home.
So there you are - or rather there Made on the Isle of Wight is. If you are going away for the weekend (or indeed coming here) and you need a present for your host, look no further. Made on the Isle of Wight is on the move.