E-NEWSLETTER 3 - March 2012
First of all – huge apologies for not sending any Newsletters since last July! The idea had been to send one in October/November. A very long story. Here’s a shortened version!
Back in August, we decided we needed more office furniture, and a few days later, a lovely printer cabinet, new chairs and a bureau were delivered. The bureau makes a great “temporary” workstation without having to have another desk! Looking at our computer system which was 6 years old, we decided it was also time to get a new system in place. Believing this was a good opportunity for the business, reducing the risk of problems, we decided to purchase - how wrong we were!
Our new system was duly delivered, although getting it installed took a month due to a mix-up at the supplier’s end, only resolved when by pure chance, I found the company owner’s personal e-mail address on-line! I e-mailed him, having got nowhere with customer services via numerous e-mails and long, circuitous phone calls. The delays also left us printer-less for 2 weeks (I had forgotten how much hard work it was using an electronic typewriter!) Finally at the end of September, everything was installed and working. Plans were to issue a Newsletter in October, but the Christmas rush started early and as we were still catching up from the printer-less 2 weeks, and getting used to slightly different software, it didn’t happen.
All was going well until early January, when our (then) new 4 month old computer system crashed in spectacular style. The hard drive was so bad, our independent engineer told us that there was no possibility of data recovery and the back-up was also useless. Needless to say, all the original computer supplier would do was send us a new hard drive, but all the data gathered over the last 6 years was completely lost, and they refused to take any responsibility for recommending the useless back-up system in the first place, and now refuse to communicate with us on the subject, saying “tough”. Something tells me that when we replace this system, it will be via a new supplier!
Thankfully, I had kept the old computer system (less printer) and thanks to our wonderful independent engineer, who fitted the new hard drive and external drive to the new machine, reloaded all the operating software and performed a data transfer (again) from the old to the new system, we were up and running again. However, this left us 4 months behind with everything. Although, looking back, it could have been much worse if we had disposed of the old computer system as we would have been left with no information whatsoever. Gradually we re-input all the stock details from September onwards, and then reprocessed all the invoices (about 600 of them!) to get the database back to normal. We also had to do a complete stock-take as all our stock lists were lost. But there are things that we weren’t able to retrieve, for example 4 months of e-mails have gone, our original research for the 2012 insurance guide, over 200 pages of unpublished “reference material” and several folders of new photos are also gone forever.
The first thing we did was sign up for off-site data storage which backs up automatically, as we are completely paranoid now, even with having a flash new external drive in place, which also backs up daily (rather than weekly as recommended)! Once the invoicing was sorted, we got back to work on the insurance guide for 2012, which I am pleased/relieved to say is now available on-line in both pdf and Excel formats. We are now working through the reference material we lost. So, 2 months on finally we are getting there!
Buying the new system was about business continuity as we felt that the old system was definitely on “borrowed” time! The irony is - which one never let us down once?!! So with the offending hard drive and useless back-up removed, we are now back to having a top of the range system – so let’s hope it stays that way, and that the tale of woe is over!
Insurance guide 2012
As mentioned earlier, the insurance guides for 2012 are now available to download (free of charge) from our website. Just go to the “insurance/valuations” tab and click on the link. Items such as souvenir paperweights and other Swarovski commissions not sold directly by Swarovski are not included in the list, neither are jewellery items. We also do not include the various stationery items that Swarovski are now producing, as we consider these to be consumable items. Again, you have the choice of pdf or Excel formats. Excel enables you to add the quantity of each item that you have in your collection and will automatically add up the total for you.
Specialist crystal insurance policy
Also available via the Insurance/Valuations tab is an overview of a bespoke insurance scheme that provides you with the opportunity of insuring your collection, to include accidental breakage with NO excess. This includes a ‘download’ facility of ‘Key Facts’ and an e-quotation request form for you to complete. Your completed form goes direct to the scheme administrator, and not to us at The Crystal Lodge.
New to the Reference section
Revised retirement guides by year have been published to the reference section, along with, by popular demand, “Year of Introduction” guides (these should have gone up in mid-January, but sadly were some of the documents we “lost” during the “crash”).
More new Fact Sheets have been added, and we will be working on even more over the course of the year, and they will be published as and when they become available.
Our web shop was updated in early January and we have many 2011 exclusives available, including the Siku polar bear and cubs, Sunshine Mo, Charming Mo, Royal Wedding Ducks, Dumbo, Christmas ornaments in clear and gold, plus the small size in clear, the set of 3 clear ornaments, Halloween Kris Bear and Christmas Kris Bear 2011. Not forgetting the magnificent Soulmates Panther in Orange Shine crystal, a worldwide limited edition of just 888 pieces, which is absolutely spectacular. Also added are the 2011 retirements, of which there were absolutely loads!
Unfortunately, Swarovski have changed their categories around in their 2012 Spring/Summer price list, so we may have to move some bits and pieces around in the shop at some point, but for now, you will find Kris Bears and Happy Ducks under “Crystal Memories (Other)” rather than Lovlots as per the 2012 Swarovski price list. If in doubt, just use the search facility – and remember less is more when searching!
Another target, or maybe aspiration, for us is to sort out the “Functional” items, namely, splitting them up into smaller sections to make them even easier to locate.
Countries we send crystal to
Since the last Newsletter we have added 2 more countries to our list – they are Armenia and Uruguay. So, word is certainly spreading!
Warner Books 2012
2012 Warner books are now in stock. Slight price reduction from last year via website. We have all 4 books in stock - that is, Silver Crystal and Beyond Silver Crystal volumes in a choice of black and white or colour.
For some time now, we have been considering getting a Facebook page for The Crystal Lodge. I have to admit to a degree of reluctance about this, but then I felt the same about setting up an Ebay shop initially, but that seems to be working ok and is attracting lots of new clients! So, finally, The Crystal Lodge now has a presence on Facebook!!
Please join our Facebook page at: www.facebook.com/thecrystallodge
Next Lodge newsletter
The schedule of our Newsletters are quite random – as you can tell! However, we do intend to produce 3-4 per year, so the next one should be in the summer.
Until then – happy collecting!
With very best wishes,
Alison & The Crystal Lodge Team