If at first you don't succeed

A year ago I agreed a partnership deal with Eoghain Maclean on a combined 2013 Pictures and Poems calendar: Eoghain's marvellous wildlife photographs, my own pastel landscapes and the narratives to go with all 24 of them. (one of his and one of mine each month through the year.) In November 2011 I finished the design and we sent the files off to our Edinburgh printers. (Note: not China, India, Beckswanaland or even Holland: I mean to a real life high quality printer right here in Bonny Scotland. Yes, they do still exist.

Thinking to strike whilst the iron was hot, hoping to be the early bird that catches the worm, aiming for the stars when one can only reach the clouds and all those other tritenesses I quickly made my initial approaches to 'The Big Boys'. i.e. W H Smith, The Calendar Club, National Trust for Scotland and VisitScotland. Between them these guys buy and sell hundreds of thousands of calendars yearly.

As a one trick pony up against the big design and print houses with their dozens and dozens of differently themed photographic offerings and their longstanding supplier relaitionships I knew we would struggle to break through. And of course our costs were always going to be, gram for gram of printed material, a whole lot higher than those of our giant competition. But if you have a good enough stone and slingshot you, David, can prevail over all those Goliaths, can't you?

Well, not necessarily. For month after month my approaches got an interested but in the end the old cold or apathetic shoulder. However by March we were selling our 'Unique 3-in-1 Picturebook Calendar' all around the markets, shops and cafes right here in the Highlands so it didn't seem to hurt so much. Furthermore, end customer reaction proved to be very good indeed. Startlingly good, especially in these hard times. In fact sales out of markets and shops were and still are much stronger than for my own, less expensive calendars of previous years. We knew we were in for a re-print run if we were not to be in an out of stock position long before the main 2013 calendar buying season begins in September.

And two days ago we had our initial order - large by our standards - from one of the aforementioned Big Boys. I'm not going to say here which one but I don't mind summarising ...
  • One has awarded us this large initial order
  • One said it was too fussy, not for them
  • One said they would be buying but has not yet and may not
  • One said they already had enough Scottish themed calendars
Here's another triteness ... if at first you don't succeed, try, try again. And if they like it those who buy will buy, buy again.

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