Prem2Pram Under New Ownership

My name is Rachel and I have a four year old son. My son was born prematurely and was diagnosed at two days old with a congenital heart defect, he had a very rocky neonatal period and we spent many weeks between the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) and a cardiac paediatric intensive care unit (PICU)  we spent his first Christmas on the NICU before finally bring him home.  He is my only child and the light of my life he amazes me every day.

My experience on the NICU inspired me to create Starting life in NICU which is a baby journal designed specifically for premature and sick babies and in 2010 I launched tinylittlebaby

Owner of Prem2Pram

Its through tinylittlebaby that I met a wonderful lady who’s help and advise was invaluable through those early days, that lady was Sue the founder and previous owner of Prem2Pram.  I am honoured to take over Prem2Pram and will continue to run the business with the passion that we both share.

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Success be careful what you wish for

Before my on line store was even a twinkle in cyberspace I use to spend hours in my craft room designing and creating premature baby clothes.  I enjoyed the peace and tranquillity of embroidering a cute design on a finished garment.  I use to spend an enormous amount of money on frivolous craft supplies.

Anyone whose hobby includes a craft will tell you that they enjoy what they do; it brings relief from the everyday grind.   There are those including myself who have taken things to the next level and turned their hobby into a commercial venture.

However the reality of becoming a successful business means that I no longer spend as much time as I would like to in my craft room.  My time is now often occupied by maintaining my presence on the web, which involves writing articles, posting on my blog, building and maintaining contacts via a social media network. Then there is the time spent processing orders and the numerous trips to the post office.

Once I use to spend the majority of my spare money on craft supplies, now my money goes on graphic designs, domain name registration, web hosting, SEO, advertising and packaging the list goes on and on.

The moral of this story is be careful what you wish for

Money isn’t everything

Preemie baby gifts

Recently out of the blue I had an offer to purchase my on line premature baby clothes business and as you can imagine I was delighted that someone thought so highly of my business that they were willing to buy me out.

As I never intended to run a business I saw this as an ideal opportunity to sell up and get back to my original intentions, which was to make, bespoke premature baby clothes for family and friends in order to and raise money for local neonatal units.

After coming back down to earth and seeking advice from business friends, several questions were raised.

Why are they interested?

Is it because they see a potential growth market or do they consider you a competitor and want to close you down?

Would I be happy relinquishing control of your creation?

Would the quality of the clothing diminish under new ownership?

How would I feel if the reputation of the business suffered ?

With so many questions racing around in my head I needed answers, so after several emails and numerous telephone conversations a price was agreed, however the terms and conditions of the sale would prevent me from ever setting up another baby related business.

Also I would be required to relinquish all my patterns and this would mean I wouldn’t be able to use the patterns myself.

And the final nail in the coffin was I would have to agree not to make any baby clothes for anyone else, meaning I would no longer be able to make premature baby clothes for my local NICU.

I tried to explain that I enjoyed making bespoke baby clothing and that I would want to continue to do so; all be it on a smaller scale for friends, family and my local neonatal baby unit.

After in depth discussions regarding the terms and conditions of the sale I felt their expectations were unreasonable and as they were unwilling to compromise I felt I had no alternative but to decline their offer.

Taking everything into consideration I feel I made the right decision and  I am happy in the knowledge that my business was considered worthy of such an offer.

Moving hosting can be fraught with dangers

Many of our existing customers will have noticed that the Prem2Pram website has had a make over.  Unlike the show “60 minute make over” our new look took a little bit longer.

At the same time we also moved hosting company, which proved to be very stressful as the new hosting company encountered numerous problems when importing our database and as a result the checkout side of the shop was closed for several days while the issues were being resolved.

Our banner and logo has been revamped; we kept the cute little baby wearing the St Georges flag on his nappy, as we are proud of our English heritage.

New banner for Prem2Pram

The colour of the website has also changed from lilac to blue and all the text in the categories and information boxes have been centred making them easier to read.

The centre box now has a wider margin where as previously the narrow margins meant the text was squashed up against the sides.

Just beneath the new banner there is a bright new image that clearly illustrates the type of baby products available.

We feel the above changes have given our website a more aesthetically pleasing appearance.

Premature baby products

Our premature baby store makeover is down to Sarah’s creativity and attention to detail.
The functionality of our store is attributed to Jack’s extensive osCommerce knowledge.

Warning:- if your existing website is an e-commerce site and you intend to move to a new hosting company then I can not stress the importance of checking that your new hosting company has in-depth knowledge of the script language used to produce your e-commerce site i.e. PHP, ASP… etc.

Caution: – when moving a php based e-commerce site from one hosting to another it is important to find out which php version was used to set up your e-commerce site.  Your new hosting company may be using a different version of php that might not be compatible with certain contributions / add ons.

Conclusion: moving your e-commerce site to a hosting company that does not have the required knowledge could seriously damage not only your websites functionality but could also cause a drop in your Google visibility / ranking.

Recommendations:
For osCommerce shop problems I strongly urge you to contact Jack of osCommerce Solution.
For graphic and logo design I highly recommend you contact Sarah of Web Wizards.

Uninformed Kills Craft Genius

Ok so you’re a craft genius, you’ve designed and made some unique products that are adored by everyone who sees them.  You take what you believe are the next logical steps, you start promoting and selling your wonderful hand crafted products on line and via craft fairs, you have:

  • Registered a domain name
  • Created a website
  • Search engine optimised your website
  • Informed the Inland Revenue of your new business venture
  • Created brand awareness
  • Created a Blog
  • Registered for a Facebook fan page
  • Book several craft fairs
  • Tweeted
  • Blogged
  • Stumbled
  • Plurked
  • Facebooked

You sit back with a smile on your face, as you look forward to your first sale / craft fair,  but hold on haven’t you forgotten something?

Don't Gamble Make Sure You Are Covered

If you make and sell products either on line or via craft fairs then you really should have public and product liability.

Scenario One
While attending a craft fair a member of the public trips over one of your displays and breaks their arm, chances are they are going to sue you.

Scenario Two
A customers purchases one of your hand made oven gloves, unfortunately while using the oven glove they are stabbed in the hand by a pin which you inadvertently left in the material and as a result they drop a casserole dish full of hot food all over their feet, resulting in sever burns and require hospital treatment, this results in the customer suing you for damages.

I’m sure every crafter takes the necessary precautions to ensure their products are safe and free of hazards, however no matter how diligent you are there is always the possibility that someone may be injured as a result of your product.

Example
McDonald’s coffee case – a jury awarded $2.86 million to a woman who burned herself with hot coffee she purchased from fast food restaurant McDonald’s.

The lack of public and product liability has left many a craft genius dead in the water, don’t gamble with your dreams make sure you are fully covered.  If in doubt check your policy details and if you are still unsure seek legal advise.  Ian W Wallace offer an insurance scheme designed specifically for individual craftsmen, artists, artisans and craft groups and clubs including public liability in the UK and Republic of Ireland.

© Sue Edmondson (Prem2Pram) 2010

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