Oct 30, 2009

Whats it like to do live TV on Create and Craft

I have a great day at Create and Craft on Wednesday, We were launching the new CD Peep Show cards. I have to say it is quite nerve racking and you never know how well you are going to do. I always have to be at the studio 2 hours before the show to set up, sometimes we are on quite early in the morning so it is an early start. First I have to go to the Green Room which is always quite interesting, there always seems to be some good characters in there to talk to. All the models are usually in there and there are a few dressing rooms so you can get changed there aswell. I am usually highly organised when I arrive and am ready to set up which only takes me a few minutes.
I have to make as many samples as possible for the shows and you never know how many you are going to make in one show. I usually have about 4 ready to go, they need to be simple and quick to do. They don't want to see cutting or boring stuff, they need to see the example made in a few minutes. Anything which needs tape is done before hand. I have seen some demonstrators struggle as they apply the double sided tape, The presentor gets bored and moves onto something else quite quickly if the demo is taking too long. I think the viewers like watching the demos but as a selling point of view this slows the process down so they have to have as much impact as possible.
The studio is a very large black room with about 3 or 4 sets, these are made up of large counters with props behind. In the old days we had to bring enough stuff to fill the background aswell but luckily we don't have to do this anymore. All the products which are being sold for the show are laid out on the counter. There isn't much room to spread out to do the demos so you have to get used to working in a very small space. Showing the examples is the same, not much room. While setting up the producer comes to see you to see what is being sold and how they are going to do the demos. The whole process is very adlib and there are no scripts or auto cues. I have to take off my hat to the presenters because they need to talk non-stop for an hour and have a producer speaking down their ears.
After set up I go back to the Green Room and have a cup of coffee and a chat to who ever is in there. There are no make-up artists or hairdressers, it is up to you what you look like. All the presenters including the men have to wear a thick layer or make-up, if you don't you can look very washed out under the lights. There is a telly in The Green room so you can watch the shows as they are happening, this can be a little bit boring so you end up going outside to the mobile cafe for a bacon butty. There is always a collection of interesting people there too. I have to say that everybody is very friendly indeed.
Fifteen minutes before the show starts you are called back to the studio. To get to the studio is like Fort Knocks and there are many locked doors which can only be opened by authorised persons. Quite often another show is being aired and the few minutes between the latest show and my show starting the lights and monitors are all moved around. The Presenter arrives and stands next to you, usally talking to the gallery upstairs through an ear piece. I can get a little nervous at this stage but it all happens so quickly you soon forget that you are in front of the camera. The show starts and The Presenter starts talking and going through the items for sale on the show. It can get quite hot under the lights and you can feel a little dazed by the experience plus you can see what you look like with the monitors infront of you which is very off putting. It is always good when I start making the demos, I am usually quite quick and get through most of them in the show. I have to show how the CD works on the PC and try and make it sound as easy as possible, which of course it is. The hour goes so quickly and it really amazes me how much the presenters can talk. Of course they talk to you but you have to take their instruction and they are being instructed from the gallery upstairs. You can really tell if you are selling well if they emphasis your product more than the other products, this is a very good sign indeed. The presenter will tell the audience how much stock is selling and advises them to ring in to place their order before it all gets sold out. We did have one show where everything was sold out in an hour which was great. The first CD we ever did on Create and Craft was sold out in 10 minutes. Things have changed now and they are much more organised about stock now.
After a quuck hour the shows finishes and we are off air. I never know how well we have done until the orders come into the office. We nearly sold out in one show for the latest CD and they have doubled the order so that is a good sign. The sound man takes off my mike and the floor manager shows me out of the studio and then I head off to my car and then up the A1 home. It is always a nice feeling when you know you have finished, the relief of no nerves is great. Then when you get back home you get the phone call from the buyers asking you to do another show and the whole process starts again!!!

Oct 19, 2009

Peep Show Cards are now on the site

We have just added the Peep Show cards to the Instant download section of the site. There are 20 to choose from, covering Christmas, Easter, Valentines and everyday. We launched them on Friday and they have been very popular. We have created a video to watch which shows how they are made. There are quite a few processes involved when making them but once you have made one the rest is easy. They are great fun to make and these cards will look so great on the mantlepiece this Christmas.

Oct 4, 2009

The difference between an inkjet and laser printer

We sometimes get asked what printer customers should buy. We sell papers for laser and inkjet printers. As you can imagine we have tried out many types of printers and here I will give our view of the pros and cons.

Inkjet printers are much slower at printing but are very easy to use and will give great results. You can print many kinds of paper through them and change the settings. If you have a thick paper then you can change the paper to thicker paper setting. There is always a good range of settings and you can choose what paper size you want to print off. There are many models on the market and you can buy a good one for very little money. If you are a home user and do not want to print of loads of documents then I would stick with an inkjet printer.

Laser printers are so different to inkjet printer; they are quite big and heavy and print off documents very quickly. If you want to print off many documents then buy a laser printer. But they are very very expensive to run! The toners cost a fortune even if you get them re-filled. We once bought an Epson laser printer and we took out the insurance when we bought it. It went wrong and thought our insurance covered it but oh no it only covered the casing and the engine. The rest of the machine was a consumable and we weren't covered. I would suggest you buy a laser printer and when you have to start replacing the drums etc which are all consumables, you buy a new one, it will work out cheaper.

Never get the insurance out for a new laser printer, it is a total waste of money. You pay it for three years and I can guarantee you will replace it within three years. The insurance does not cover the consumables and most of the laser printer is a consumable and needs to be replaced after a certain amount of pages printed. They are all different and some laser paper works with some and not for others. Depending which company you buy from they will always say you have to use their paper for the printer to work properly. I sometimes think this is a bit of a sales ploy. You can print off any type of uncoated paper in a laser printer. You could use the same paper in an inkjet printer too. Some papers we sell will not work in an inkjet printer only a laser, the ink will not dry if it is put through an inkjet printer.

Laser printer settings are very limited and hard to adjust. They also have different paper feeds and these can be very complicated. They are not as easy to use as an inkjet printer, great if you have an office and you want a printer/photocopier. They are basically a photocopier attached to a computer; the quality isn't always as good as an inkjet printer. We use laser printers in the office for printing off instructions and orders and we really need them because of the volume but when they go wrong it can take a whole morning to get them going again. We now use a company who turns up and looks after them and re-fills the toners. The toners are so expensive and they never seem to be empty when they say they are empty but you have to replace them or the machine will not print. You don't just have one colour or a black and white cartridge; you have four colours and one colour always seem to run out more then others, very frustrating.

To recap, if you don't need to print off many documents then use an inkjet printer if you have a great deal of documents to print off then get a laser printer.

In the office we use HP inkjet printers and we also have an Epsom to test the papers on too. We have been through quite a few laser printers from Epsom to Cannon. The best laser printer we have used for the longest amount of time is an OKI printer.

Oct 2, 2009

Card Kits now ready to download from the site

Hi we have just added all the new card kits to the site. They are all £0.50 and all really easy to make. We have a selection of cards which cover occassions like Christmas, Birthday and Easter. Click the link to have a look.
Have a great Weekend