Quicksilver

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Renegadenemo
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Re: Quicksilver

Post by Renegadenemo » Thu Mar 02, 2017 11:36 am

There was a brief period when we weren't sure what was going to happen next - just before we sacked the HLF - when we stopped accepting donations but they've been our lifeblood ever since and people don't mind chipping in a tenner here and a fiver there. As we're totally voluntary we can also assure everyone that their contribution goes directly into the boat, though we did have to buy a new vacuum cleaner this week as our old mate Henry is on his last legs.
Our merchandise is good stuff too, sold through a simple online shop and made to order so we're not sitting with fortunes tied up in stock. Our rebuild DVDs trickle out steadily and they are simple enough to make and bring the job and the characters to life. It's all straightforward enough to do and it brings in a steady trickle that keeps the wheels turning.
I'm only a plumber from Cannock...

"As to reward, my profession is its own reward;" Sherlock Holmes

Voltaire's apology when he wrote a long letter: "I didn't have time to make it shorter."

quicksilver-wsr
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Re: Quicksilver

Post by quicksilver-wsr » Thu Mar 02, 2017 11:59 am

Yes, Bill - but our steady trickle would have had to have lasted a good deal longer than your steady trickle! :lol:

That said, our new helper on the website has been nudging me to turn the site into something that generates at least some income. I imagine once the site's in fighting shape, I won't be able to resist the tide of change and will accept the idea.

Nigel

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Renegadenemo
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Re: Quicksilver

Post by Renegadenemo » Thu Mar 02, 2017 4:05 pm

Yes, Bill - but our steady trickle would have had to have lasted a good deal longer than your steady trickle! :lol:
2001 we started!
I'm only a plumber from Cannock...

"As to reward, my profession is its own reward;" Sherlock Holmes

Voltaire's apology when he wrote a long letter: "I didn't have time to make it shorter."

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Re: Quicksilver

Post by quicksilver-wsr » Thu Mar 02, 2017 4:32 pm

Renegadenemo wrote:
Thu Mar 02, 2017 4:05 pm
2001 we started!
Yes, I know - it's scary how time flies when you're having fun! But did you start selling merchandise and asking for donations right from the get-go, 2001?

We 'went public' in March 1999, and although we eschewed donations, we did launch our team-branded clothing range - SilverWear - pretty much immediately. We added team-branded mugs and coasters in 2004. But by that time we were starting to run into quality and supply issues with our clothing supplier. Logos with one colour, or more, missing; winter-wear with not nearly as much insulation in the linings as what was being delivered to us before; product-lines being suddenly discontinued, or subject to delayed delivery, when we'd taken payment by cheque/postal order or credit/debit card from our customers.

I made the necessary reimbursements, at the time, to the few customers who didn't get what they'd ordered, but I'd had enough of the hassle. I've still got a lot of the stuff stored here, as a matter of fact, because most of it is nice stuff - but not what was advertised, and that's the key point.

What we did continue doing was selling clothing, etc at our own premises during supporters'-club days. That went very well, because customers could try the clothing on and see what they were getting before they paid for it. Of the clothing merchandise I've still got here - boxes of it: mainly sweatshirts - one day we'll sell it, but it's low-priority right now as we've got the book and that does well enough.

Nigel

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Mike Bull
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Re: Quicksilver

Post by Mike Bull » Thu Mar 09, 2017 10:52 am

quicksilver-wsr wrote:
Thu Mar 02, 2017 11:59 am
That said, our new helper on the website has been nudging me to turn the site into something that generates at least some income. I imagine once the site's in fighting shape, I won't be able to resist the tide of change and will accept the idea.
You really should, Nigel; our shop set up is very simple- all embroidered clothing is made to order so we've never got any big outlays sat there in the form of stock, though we do tend to buy in the common things- XL polo shirts for example- a few at a time. We keep a stock of our DVDs and the few other non-clothing items, and most orders are turned around well within a month.

With Bill's Rachel being a busy girl these days I've taken on most of the dispatching now to help, with her still doing the clothes ordering. It's all no bother at all, and we have a steady trickle of income from it. Simples! 8-)

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Re: Quicksilver

Post by quicksilver-wsr » Thu Mar 09, 2017 1:20 pm

All good comments there, Mike - and duly noted. I'm a little stubborn, but do take advice on-board.

Back when we did run a mail-order service, I did all the packing and despatch myself. It's a bit of a pain in the neck, but on the other hand it was nice to be sending folks what they'd ordered, and it was flattering that they wanted to buy our team-branded gear and goodies. From memory, we priced things at double what they cost us. I didn't see the point in doing it unless you made money, and that kind of mark-up made it a sensible proposition.

Then when things got on a real roll with the project, I delegated stock-ordering and despatch to one of our team helpers. That was great in theory, but when our supplier started messing us about she fell out with them - understandably so - and refused to talk to them any further. That put me back in the loop at a time when I had better things to do, and before long I really felt I'd had a belly-full and packed it up.

Remember that our volumes weren't massive, even then. It's not like we were making a mint.

Selling stuff direct at our own supporters'-club events, over the counter, was - as said in a previous post - much more satisfactory. We were basically selling our existing stocks, for the most part, and we rarely reordered. We did have a lot of money tied-up in stock - and of course it takes up space too. It was great to be selling, selling, selling and rarely spending anything on stock.

The only thing I've got against make-to-order is that the margins aren't as favourable. If you buy a big batch of stock, the unit costs drop and your margins are that much better. Here, I'm talking about clothing. I don't know about DVDs. Maybe that's different. I don't know because we've never tried it.

I'm sure we'll be selling something or other online by the end of this year. Don't forget, though, that our project has dragged on a bit and it doesn't have the dynamic your team has managed to achieve. Our merchandise sales are going to be correspondingly modest. Also, I think you tend to underestimate the value of the Bluebird brand. If you can't sell Bluebird-branded merchandise, there's something wrong ;) :D

Nigel

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Renegadenemo
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Re: Quicksilver

Post by Renegadenemo » Fri Mar 10, 2017 1:20 am

Don't forget, though, that our project has dragged on a bit and it doesn't have the dynamic your team has managed to achieve.
Sorry, Nigel, but you are a man of words. A published, established, respected man of words, whereas I am just a big-mouthed, opinionated Geordie b'stard who throws words in a heap and hopes for the best, which is usually a world of controversy that I then have to fix.
What we do have in common, however, is being the voice of a team and an ongoing project.
Yet it's not just the Bluebird brand our lot have made a go of - and that took an awful lot of putting back on the map after we (I) sacked the Hapless Lottery Failure and diss'ed the entire museum fraternity.
We also made a big financial and technological success of the Barra' project until the imbeciles in charge trashed it and consigned themselves to a lifetime of cad' plating nuts and bolts and hoping their followers never ask to see a recovered, torn aluminium skin.
Our project has dragged on endlessly too - to the point of near mutiny at times - but it has never rested and never will until it's done and yours has been there as long as ours. I remember making the 2001 doco with the Beeb and them talking about you back then.
So you too can surely sell the next great adventure and technological advance day by day and make people a genuine part of it just as we do.

Come on, Nige' - you can do better than this!

Bill
I'm only a plumber from Cannock...

"As to reward, my profession is its own reward;" Sherlock Holmes

Voltaire's apology when he wrote a long letter: "I didn't have time to make it shorter."

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Re: Quicksilver

Post by quicksilver-wsr » Fri Mar 10, 2017 10:10 am

This is all fair comment, Bill - and I cannot disagree with a word you have written, either about your own project with K7, the Barra, or Quicksilver.

Turning to the latter, there is no question that I can do better. I had a conversation with my brother about this some months ago. He doesn't hero-worship me ... far from it. He felt I should have given-up the project years ago, and when I headed back to work at our HQ building while our dear old Dad was still warm in the ambulance after his sudden fatal heart-attack, he called me things you should never have to hear. The words, "selfish" and "the boat has always come before your family" was only the start.

But he's mellowed, as I have, and our more recent conversation centred around his genuine bewilderment that the guy who seemed to be accomplishing so much in his career years ago has lost his touch.

There's no doubt it's got a lot tougher in latter years. There are all kinds of reasons for this, but they would all sound like excuses. I am pushing harder than ever to gets things done. I don't intend to pack this up. Everyone who knows me well knows that I am prepared to sell my house if necessary to finish the boat. My pension has long-since gone into it - all of it. I don't intend to go on forever with it. I think it can be finished in a realistic timeframe now, if we stick at it.

If you look at other WWSR projects that have cropped up while I've been around, they almost all fall down. I counted about 20 projects come and gone since I started the Quicksilver project with Ken. The Warbys are in with a definite chance. I don't rate anyone else's chances. It's a lot harder to do than it appears.

Nigel

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Mike Bull
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Re: Quicksilver

Post by Mike Bull » Fri Mar 10, 2017 10:42 am

quicksilver-wsr wrote:
Fri Mar 10, 2017 10:10 am
The Warbys are in with a definite chance. I don't rate anyone else's chances. It's a lot harder to do than it appears.
No doubt about that. Daniel whatsisname is pretty well on though I think? Don't know though, I don't really follow all that stuff.

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Re: Quicksilver

Post by quicksilver-wsr » Fri Mar 10, 2017 11:07 am

Funnily enough, I don't follow the other stuff much either. I'm wrapped-up in my own project and my own life and I don't spend a lot of time second-guessing what might happen elsewhere.

I don't know Daniel, but I do admire his commitment. He has put a huge effort into his boat. It's actually pretty astounding. There's no taking that away from him.

My concern is that the boat looks too small for that powerplant. I can't see how it's going to be stable enough. Maybe I'm wrong. I would be delighted for him if I am.

Nigel

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