Coming down after a spectacularly busy weekend at Kelso Racecourse, ITV racing bought the sunshine with them and some fantastic racing. A joy to be a part of and a busy, busy day. Light at the end of the tunnel then the man from the garage rang...
Those who have been following our blog over the last week or two, will already know the sad tale of Vandas broken engine. Well its gone from bad to worse and now I am going to have to travel in a car and two a small trailer for at least a month. not ideal with so many places to be.
While things have been rather tough, I have been taking great comfort from knowing I am not alone. I joined the Equestrian Business Network and have found many new like minded equestrian business folk. The catalyst for this fantastic community is the lovely Jenni Bush who is very open very honest and just so passionate about what she does. I wanted to thank her for keeping me going so I sent her a little pair of my earrings .Then next was she posted this on Facebook:-
Her lovely video reduced me to tears. She hit the nail on the head!
What am I doing?
I work long hours. I drive all over the country. I get up before dawn and go home in the dark. I spend days cleaning stock. I clean and Iron the cloths on the stand. I do all the paperwork, advertising media and website. I design and create the stock. I turn your ideas in to reality. I build the stand and layout the stock. I am nice to people all day long... even when they ask for discount.
Why am I doing it?
To earn a living yes I need to eat. But it is so much more than that ...I help people make memories and gifts that mean something. That is what makes me go out and do what I do.
Tarrag Naegel is about you!
Come and meet me in the Craft Tent at Belton International Horse Trails this weekend!
Last week was some what of a challenge. The lovely Vanda is still on the engine transplant list, do we buy a recon engine? Do we buy another van and transplant? Do I give up the dream go to work in Tesco and make my life easier? Life is never simple and all options were considered believe me. The cost of a recon engine is enough to turn a soul grey, well grayer if that's even a word. Then someone said "Have faith it will all look very different next week."
such wise words.
Faith is something which is very personal and to be honest not something which crosses my mind often, I myself am of the humanist persuasion. However when I was asked to make the first Tarrag Naegel Cross for a very lovely lady owner's big birthday, the penny dropped. Nails and crosses what a great connection, part of me always admires those with a faith regardless of which denomination they choose to follow.
The very first cross was in 9 ct yellow gold and Peridot, a stunning piece and I love that it is worn often. Made for a significant birthday, that first purchase has turned that particular lady into a customer but also a friend. Later an old school friend asked if I could make something similar in Silver with Black Jet. Similar to the one now in our range but this one is Black Onyx. He may have regretted showing his lovely wife. Very quickly we had to make another one for his good lady. At which point it became part of our classic range.
At last years Festival of Eventing I was joined on he stand by my sister which was great fun and gave us a chance to catch up. Living at either end of the country makes it tricky to keep in touch. Imagine our surprise when our brother turned up, with his wife and daughter! They has come to see us, but also the stand. My sister in Law has great faith and asked if I could make her a cross to celebrate their anniversary. The challenge was to get a sapphire to match her robes. I like a good challenge, but realised a sapphire was just not going to work. The perfect colour match was a Tanzanite. I knew the cross was of great importance to them both, however when the cross was ready I was not aware that the timing was perfect. Making the job all the more special for all their family. I was not aware my sister in laws much loved aunt had passed away. Asked to lead the service a great honor but also a huge of a responsibility. I was very touched that, my sister in law felt the cross was a real token of love
for her on that very emotional day.
Well off to pack for Belton Horse Trails, hopefully Vanda will be back on the road soon
Life on the road as a mobile company does not always run smoothly!
A couple of weeks ago on route to Corbridge point to point "Vanda" decided to throw her toys out of her cot, on a very steep hill not far from Otterburn. It was also cold foggy and not the best place to be. Stuck a blind summit directing horseboxes and trailers into on coming traffic for some two hours!
For those wondering who the heck Vanda is? She is my cross gender transit van (she started life as a workman's mess van) A good joiner, some sticky back plastic and a few fairy lights later.. "Vanda"was born. As I wait for her engine transplant, I have had time to do a bit of catching up on the social media and website stuff. Which does not come naturally to a woman of my advancing years.
I have also started to follow the Equine Business Assistant, the lovely Jenni Bush. Also the lovely Laura Mc Douall from the copy writing project. these lovely ladies have made me realise that it is ok, to be your self on your website and on your social media. They may have created a monster!
With this in mind I been working non stop to improve my offer on line. Please visit my website pages and give me some feed back. I would be very grateful.
I have also realised we need more stock photographs. An area which has always terrified me but its amazing what you can do with your phone and a few props. See above our new spur of the moment pendant! Not to shabby for an old lady.
I think what I am trying to say is when you see me at events, you see a mere fraction of the work that goes into what we make sell. There is only me and my colleague who casts and polishes my designs the rest is all down to me. So if the tent is squint or I look windswept and interesting. I have usually been up since 5am and will probably been there until at least three hours after you have all gone home. The night before I might have been playing with sticky back plastic till all hours, to make the van live able too!
Despite the difficulties that get thrown at me because of the nature of what I do. I would not change it, for love nor money. I love meeting every one of you, Tarrag Naegel is not about how much it costs, it about the people who wear it and what it means to them. In the last three years we have made individual pieces for brides, new mum's, old mum's, birthdays, anniversaries, memorials and " just because". That's why I do, what I do. Every piece and every person has a story and that's how the range has developed. To the people who wear it its a gift bought by a loved one, a memory, a life event, something to hang on to when things go wrong. What you see is what you get I tend to be fairly direct,if i don't think you have made the right choice. I will offer honest advice.
So if the website is not perfect and the photos are a bit fuzzy, please bare with me. Your jewellery will be! It will be what you have asked for, at a fair price. If the person who wears it loves it then I have achieved my goal:-
To make a range of British jewellery at a fair price, hand finished, as individual as you are.
It makes life on the road a wonderful place to be. My fellow traders people I meet at events and race meetings become customers and friends. I am the keeper of secrets, as we plan surprises and special gifts. I'm one of many familiar friendly faces for the regular race goers but most of all I am myself.
This week we will be at Frairs Haugh Kelso for the Point to Point
Ps a reminder the Sale on our bronzes finishes on the 15th!!!
Tarrag Naegel had originally been designed to be a brand with my existing business
however launched in July 2015 by Christmas, it was a making up a third of the shops sales.
I though maybe I should promote the brand and decided to take it racing at Perth Racecourse and to do a few local shows. By May it was obvious with the current climate on the high street and the pressure of trying to do two things the time had come to take a huge leap of faith and form a new company. On the first of June 2016 Tarrag Naegel Limited was born.
Having grown up in Perthshire, I met people I had known in my youth ex school or ex pony club people and word began to spread. At this time we had Classic Tarrag Naegel and a large quantity of Cold Cast Bronze Horse and Dogs. Our very first Blue and white gazebo and it was all a very steep learning curve. Putting up at gazebo single handed is a skill that takes a while to master I will always be grateful to my fellow traders who were kind enough to point out the easy way to do things and had so many handy tips learned through experience. I clearly remember arriving at Forgandenny Horse trails in a frock straight from the shop. As I stepped deftly into my wellies to put up the stand I heard the familiar tones of Mr Jamie Innes a well know face from the Borders shouting "where the **** have you been" clearly after five years away from the borders I realised I might have been missed. Winter 2016 I came back to the borders to bring Tarrag Naegel to Kelso Races.
The October meeting at Kelso has always been very special for me as it always falls the week of my birthday. For many years the children would bring me to Kelso Racecourse as my birthday treat. One of the down sides of being self employed is that you have to make sacrifices. For me the biggest one of all was my much loved thoroughbred Shannon. Although he was getting on in 2007 he needed to work everyday and I had a shop and a family. With my brave pants on I gave him to Dickie Jeffries at Kimmerston, on condition he gave him the life he needed. Come October 2016 I knew I was to be at Kelso, for the Border principles race for which Kimmerston supplied the horses. Little did I expect to have the pure joy of watching my lovely, brave, bold slightly bonkers old man lead the young horses up the straight. Well he lead until the last thirty yards, when the younger bigger horses over took him for him to finish fifth of fourteen. Not bad for 29 and he had been cubbing the day before. I make no excuses for the fact I watched with tears streaming down my face. I had often wondered if I had done the right thing giving him up. Now I had my answer, yes! Thank you to Kelso Racecourse who made sure I had a copy of the race on film.
On the back of being at Kelso and Perth I started being invited to other events, Ingliston Country Club, Floors Castle, Ian Stark's. The list began to grow and life began to transform
from a few days out to a new way of doing business. It is important to say at this stage although I no longer have a shop, I have kept the policy of value for money, service and honesty, trading with integrity is a large part of the companies success.
Better still come and see for yourself this weekend we will be at College Valley Point to Point at Alnwick.
a snapshot of some of my lines.