Archive for the ‘Uncategorised’ Category

“Ceramic Past”

Friday, August 6th, 2010

potty..

I will begin with what was a blast from the past, Today Friday 6th August i was busy with my sales and fitting calls. I arrived at Mrs Lang from Hamilton to fit vertical blinds to her living and dining room windows. As i was unpacking the blinds Mrs Lang mentioned seeing my editorial that’s featured in the Life-In magazine. She asked me about my ceramic pottery background. I could  she was keen for me to reveal my interesting past. I was more than happy to have a chin wag as i could tell Mrs Lang admires handcrafted art and was fascinated when i told her i was a time served hand throwing potter. I told Mrs Lang i left school in 1979 and started my trade at Bowling pottery near Dumbarton. It was when talking about the pieces that i used to throw, she opened a cupboard and took out a jug. It was her treasured pot and she was wondering  if it could be repaired as the handle was cracked. I couldn’t believe what i was seeing. I asked to look at the bottom of the jug, and there it was. My personal stamp, i put on in1981. I was holding a jug i personally made nearly thirty years ago. My happy customer was delighted to have history attached to her beloved pot.

Welcome…

I would like to welcome Ann Corrie who started with us at the beginning of the week. Ann has previous experience in the window blinds trade and  is a professional seamstress. Her knowledge of soft furnishings will be valuable to our expanding growth in that area. Ann is keen to learn about the vast amount of products we sell at our shop, and is looking forward to getting to know everyone in our network. Ann is one of our fans on facebook and when the job was advertised she sent her CV to us. Ann is delighted to be part of the Apollo Brand.

Having a short break..

I’m taking a short break next week .Spending sometime with my family, However i will be updating my twitter and my personal facebook. If you are interested in the exploits of an Apollo Blinds Franchisee’ “BFA finalist!”. Your are welcome to join me there.

Hand thrown jug from my own hands back in 1981

Hand thrown jug from my own hands back in 1981

“I- Eye- London”

Saturday, July 31st, 2010

London Eye

I’m off to London.

I travelled down to London, Monday 26th. And arrived 24 hours early for my meeting, with the judges from the Brittish Franchise Association led by  Sir Bernard Ingham and senior managers of HSBC and Express Newspapers.

I’m in London.

I arrived at the London city airport for 11.45am, the hotel was only a mile away so i decided to walk. I don’t know London and didn’t have a map,  it was going to be an adventure. The first landscape i came across was the Thames Barrier Park.  Just as i got close enough to take some pictures it started to rain heavily, i opened my travel bag, got out my waterproof. I started to take some photo’s but the weather was not in my favour, so it was off to the Royal Victoria docks. I had a room booked at the Novotel but could not check in till 2pm. I arrived at the docks for 1pm. By that time the rain had stopped, so the camera came out again. From there i could see the 02 Arena (dome) and the HSBC Building in Canary Wharf . I walked around the docks, climbed over a bridge and also walked around the Excel Exhibition Centre.  As soon as it was 2pm i was at the reception desk to check in, i was eager to explore by foot more of London.

Just me and my camera.

It felt good to off load my bag, just armed with my camera. I left the hotel. I walked in the direction of the Dome crossing a busy road and over a bridge. I was high above the Dome which was on my left side walking towards Canary Wharf, i photographed it from many points and then preceded to head in the direction of the Canary Wharf. Passing a sign for the Isle of Dogs i arrived. “Londons banking district!”… i walked through trying to take in as many sights and pictures as i could. After suffering a sore neck brought on by looking up at all the tall buildings, it was time to find the Thames river. I walked along the Thames passing some of the sights i have only ever seen on television. On reaching Westminster i managed to take pictures of  Tower bridge, Millennium bridge, HMS Belfast, London eye, Westminster palace and of course Big Ben. Over the Westminster bridge,  i strolled to the London Eye where i boarded a river cruiser. I was floating down the Thames back the same way i walked. Taking pictures like a manic tourist, pushing other manic tourist’s for best position, at the rear of the boat, for best photo shots. Got off at Canary Wharf and walked back the same route. Arrived back at the hotel for 7pm had a shower and then met up with Apollo Blinds general manager  Gary Chambers . Had a large dinner and then off to my bed for 9.30pm.

27th July 8am.. D-day

My mobile alarm clock told me it was 8am. I didn’t sleep well but felt ok. I rose from my bed and went for breakfast. Then it was time to get ready… Shower,  suit and bags packed, somehow we arrive an hour early at the HSBC building. After passing through the security and shown where to sit, it reminded me of an airport. I could have smoked a hundred cigarettes but it was to much hassle to get in and out of the building. Any ways it passed, “the time just flew in” I was summoned to go up to the 15th floor and be judged. On leaving the lift i was handcuffed and taken to a holding room. Gary was escorted away with two stunning models “smiling”..where the other two finalists are enjoying coffee and cake. No sooner was i seated when i was ushered into another room put in a seat and tied. Before me was Sir Bernard Ingham and senior managers of HSBC. “I did not feel intimidated!”. I told them of my plan the “modus operadi plan!”… I’m sure sir Bernard was snoring after 5 mins. But something special happened in the room, A lovely lady named Cathrine released my ties and handcuffs. I was freed, taken to another room and photographed and then gave a filmed confession. Gary and i where back on the streets, we headed for a tube train. Gary got off a couple of stops before me. I had 5 hours to kill.

I belong to Glasgow.

I had 5 hours before i could board a plane back to Glasgow. So i got off the tube at Green street, dressed in a three piece suit, shirt and tie, carrying what now was feeling like a bag of bricks. Sunshine burning into my neck and face, i went on a walking, sight seeing tour of London. Somehow managed to get to the Buckingham Palace gates. Then the skies let go and soaked me, it was time for drastic action. I climbed the steps of a monument across from the Palace, opened my bag and got changed. Jeans and tee shirt i was revived. I then Ended up in Hyde park, i bought a hot dog, chocolate muffin and a coffee. Sat on a bench and had a squirrel for company… “Taxi to London City Airport!” Home!!!

September 30th

I will attend the gala ball in Birmingham on the 30th sept to find out if i have won. Maybe i will tell you my “modus operandi plan!”…. on my Facebook or even my twitter sites and hey its free.

Inside the HSBC Building

Inside the HSBC Building

A big tent

A big tent

Royal Victoria docks

Royal Victoria docks

“LOVE TO GET MY HANDS ON A BFA!”

Friday, July 23rd, 2010

congratulations

Dear George

On behalf of the bfa, HSBC and express newspapers I am delighted that your entry for the Franchise of the year has been successfully been shortlisted for the Awards to be held on the 30th September NEC in Birmingham.

These awards highlight the outstanding business acumen, passion and achievement of franchise businesses across the UK.

These awards highlight the outstanding business acumen, passion and achievement of franchise businesses across the UK.

franchisee_finalists

Delighted…

I received this news last Saturday…

I entered my business because i think i have formulated an effective modus operandi involving networking sites the main two being Facebook and Twitter. Putting a face to the business using these sites was the first step and then the rest grew from that. We regularly visit the sites and update them with jobs recently done using pictures  and words from the customers. This is helpful for two reasons, new customers can visit the sites and hopefully be inspired by what they see and also have faith in what we do.

has that not been done before?

This is how we use it.. Customer calls or visits our shop we make an appointment we mention our sites and how to find them.. on our arrival we find that the customers who have looked at our active updated networking sites, find it much easier to make the choice of blind that will suit them. Also the customer has trust in the products and service we provide.

Why can’t they do that looking at our website!!

I feel as good as our website is.. there is nothing to beat an active and regularly updated networking site. Its the only place where you can put your passion and personality about  your business over to potential customers. the amount of people who join our facebook and twitter site are usually recommended to us and the feedback tells us that.

Example.

customers words

Mr and Mrs Dawes of Lesmahagow are delighted with there new blinds. Mrs Dawes said “we are excited about these blinds our neighbors and friends will be too!”

description of their product with pictures.

INTU is also available as a Pleated blind with over 90 colours to choose from, many of which have ASC coating to give extra protection from the glare and heat of the sun. The range contains not just the single pleat fabrics but also 11 cellular fabrics that offer additional insulation properties for increased energy saving, and in addition give a sleek, modern look to the blind…

resulting in…

Mr Parker who joined our facebook site read this and looked at the pictures  of the finished job…  “I call them six of the best!”  most of the featured jobs, i upload six pictures. He emailed our store straight from the facebook site and an order for the same blinds was taken.

finale..

We have managed to double our business in the last two quarters with this simple Modus Operandi. And its on this basis that we have became finalists in this years BFA awards.

We can be found on… facebook … and on… twitter

will you be wishing me good luck?

Apollo Blinds was a smart move

Friday, June 11th, 2010

Moving to apollo Blinds for me was the smartest and bravest thing i have done in my life considering what i moved from. I was a sales agent with Hillary’s blinds for nearly 17 years working from my home, as Hillary’s have no high street presence (shops) my customers had to choose from a bag of samples and had nothing to compare with the competition. The quality was never a match for Apollo Blinds who at that time as now where offering a two years garantee on all there products, I often felt let down on customer service issues and quality, but always managed to keep my customers or should i say Hillary’s customers with a lot of work happy.
So three years ago i made the move i bought the hamilton franchise now i have the quality, excellent customer service, fabulous massive range of products and most importantly a shop for customers to see,touch the range before they buy. And they are my customers so they are more special to me.
I’m very proud to be an Apollo franchise and i will be doing this until retirement I work Apollo, Live Apollo, Love Apollo. Does anyone else feel that way about there business or work if so leave your comments here would love to read them.

Conservatory Roof Blinds

Friday, June 4th, 2010

Now the hot season has started conservatories will need cooling and the only way to do that is by having Solar Pleated Roof Blinds fitted. http://www.apollo-blinds.co.uk/conservatory-blinds.html ..Proper solar reflective fabrics are the only choice. Not only do they keep your conservatory cool in the summer they will keep it warm in the winter saving you a fortune in heating costs..
If your candles are melting, furnishings fading and you are sweating this summer, and I mean inside your conservatory, we have the products and expertise to make any conservatory a pleasant comfortable place to enjoy and relax
Apollo Blinds have a fantastic offer running to the end of June buy roof blinds and we will cover the sides free http://www.apollo-blinds.co.uk/offers.html

.Our promise to you…

.We can consult with you in the comfort of your own home.
.We offer expert advice to help you create the perfect look.
.We offer a measuring and fitting service.
.We can provide FREE no obligation quotations.
.All our blinds are made-to-measure to fit your windows perfectly.
.We offer a 2 years guarantee on all Apollo Blinds.

Apollo Blinds Hamilton almost won

Saturday, May 29th, 2010

Apollo Blinds Hamilton where runners up in business of the week (UK) just beaten by Apollo Blinds Chatham. I was determined to get a first place before June 14th 2010 as that marks the end of my first three years with Apollo blinds.
But still i see this as a fantastic result and i have put Apollo Blinds Hamilton in a strong position.
As a specialist in Conservatory roof Blinds, Plantation Shutters and Awnings which has help my business grow i can only see a bright and prosperous future and getting that top slot is only a matter of time.

By George,it’s a blindin’ 20th year celebration

Saturday, May 22nd, 2010

A Hamilton businessman who is celebrating a 20-year landmark has been named one of the leading lights in Glasgow’s window blinds industry.
George Stewart from Apollo Blinds in Hamilton is celebrating 20 years working in the window blinds industry and has come full circle as he is now running the business that originally inspired a change of career two decades ago.
In 1990 the former ceramic potter was faced with redundancy and a chance appointment with an Apollo Blinds salesperson at his home to measure up for window blinds suddenly shined a light on a new career path for George.
Within a week, George had become a self-employed agent working for a window blinds company selling and fitting blinds across the city.
But George dreamed of running his own business and two years ago he bought the franchise for Apollo Blinds in Hamilton.
“When I was looking at my options 20 years ago I hadn’t even thought about a career in window blinds but a chance introduction to Apollo Blinds helped take my life in a new direction – which I’m still grateful for 20 years on,” said George.
“I watched the salesperson and got excited because I could see myself doing it.

“It was obvious then, and still holds true now, that I have been a success because I’m very good at offering honest impartial advice to help homeowners make their homes beautiful.
“And as the years have passed there’s nothing I now haven’t seen before so I can offer customers exactly the right blind for any window in any home.”
Apollo Blinds was always George’s fiercest competitor so when he was in a position to acquire his own business he contacted Apollo straight away.
There has been an Apollo store in the town for nearly 35 years but George doesn’t want the business to rest on its laurels and has gone about developing it.
“There’s no doubt that we have the best collections of window blinds, awnings and shutters in the area at very affordable prices and I’ve been on a mission to make Apollo Blinds the only destination for people looking for blinds,” said George.
It’s a view that is music to the ears of the man in charge of the Apollo Blinds franchise network which has more than 65 stores across the UK.
Gary Chambers, general manager of Apollo Blinds, said that George’s experience and knowledge made him one of the leading lights of the industry.
“George’s Cadzow Street business is one of the busiest in the UK and a lot of that is down to his ability to inspire customers in Hamilton with gorgeous blinds which he backs up with good customer service and very high standards of fitting,” said Mr. Chambers.