NEWSLETTER 2 - July 2011

Welcome to issue 2 of The Crystal Lodge e-Newsletter. Many thanks for all the great feedback from issue 1. This issue is all about you – our clients!

Where our clients live!

The Crystal Lodge (London) Ltd has many customers all around the world. These are the countries we have sent items to since the beginning of 2010 (as at June 2011):

Not forgetting all 4 countries in the UK including
Highlands & Islands and the Channel Islands!!

As you can imagine this means we get through a lot of packaging material, cardboard boxes, labels, customs forms, franking labels and mail sacks! We are sometimes caught out and have to check who is in and who is out of the EU, who needs customs forms/who doesn’t – so it can be quite educational at times!

To process orders, we have a bespoke database system, which has separate areas for client information, product and stock information – from where we can generate your receipt forms. When a new buying client is added, the database automatically allocates a unique ID number and this genuinely started at ID number 1 (unlike some companies who use a very common trick of the trade, starting at a number higher than 101 or even 1001 to give the impression that they are more busy/better established than they really are!) We don’t allocate an ID number to selling clients as these tend to be one-off transactions. We don’t use the ID for anything, but the database needs it to ensure that client data isn’t duplicated. We are very close to 5500. How amazing is that?!

We started our client receipt numbering system from scratch at the beginning of 2009 and we’re almost ready to issue number 2250.

What our clients collect

The majority of our clients concentrate on collecting rare or retired pieces from the silver crystal range, particularly the animal figurines and annual editions. A few prefer the human figurines, while others concentrate solely on Crystal Memories/Moments pieces. Interestingly, they tend to prefer either the gold or the rhodium finish – no-one (so far) collects both finishes – so far!

More recently, we have seen interest from collectors in the Paradise range, some collectors like all the ranges, while others select just one area, ie birds, bugs or fish to collect, and now that the flowers are retiring, we have a few Paradise flower enthusiasts joining our ranks.

Our clients collect everything from the “vintage” candleholders, paperweights and functional items, through to the newer retired pieces such as Lovlots, Disney and Happy Ducks. Debate continues about which is best – clear or colour crystal!

That’s not the end of the story - we also have another type of collector, those who specialise in a particular theme and collect only those items across the various product ranges. For example, we have a client who only buys crystal cats of all shapes and sizes, including lions, tigers etc. Another client collects Kris Bears.

Then there’s one of our regular clients who exclusively purchases Christmas-related items to display on her huge Christmas tree, including the annual Swarovski Christmas ornaments, the Christmas Memories pieces, Christmas Angels and annual Kris Bears (providing they are the hanging variety and not the more recent free-standing ones). We are hoping for a photo this year, and also thinking that this year this particular client might need to invest in a second tree!

So there you have it - yet another great thing about Swarovski – there really is something for everyone!

Chinese Zodiac animals

By popular demand, we recently added the character traits assigned to each of the Chinese zodiac animals to our shop pages which feature these items. We have had quite a few of the little Zodiac animals ordered specifically as birthday presents.

To help to ensure that people get the correct animal for their birth year, a Crystal Lodge factsheet will shortly be uploaded to our website in our brand new “Reference” section. You will be able to see all the animals, their years and characteristics together in one place. The Chinese New Year is based on lunar cycles so the start of each New Year can vary between January 21 and February 19. People born between those dates, will need to check the exact dates of the start of their particular year in the longer chart (which shows the exact start dates for each year) to determine which animal sign they are covered by.

There is a lot more to add to the Reference section, but this will be done on an as and when basis. The main thing was to get the biggest item up there, which are our Swarovski Crystal Retirement Lists, which are organised by year showing you which piece retired when. There is an alphabetical index which you can use to cross-reference if needed. The crystal retirements lists and our factsheets are available to download – free of charge.

Important Swarovski anniversaries coming soon

Not one, but three important celebrations for Swarovski are upon us:

2011 marks the 10th anniversary of the opening of the Swarovski on-line shop.

2011 also marks the 20th anniversary of the annual Swarovski Christmas ornaments.

2012 is … wait for it … the 25th anniversary of the Swarovski Crystal (formerly Collectors) Society. Happy 25th birthday to the SCS and also The Lovebirds. The Silver anniversary of Silver Crystal!

Happy Ducks – Royal Wedding Prince and Princess Ducks

From anniversaries – to weddings …!!

We mentioned in the last newsletter about the cute little Happy Duck “Hope” with Pink Ribbon which was only sold in certain European countries with donations going to Breast Cancer charities.

Well, now there’s a new set of Limited Edition Happy Ducks to collect to celebrate the recent Royal Wedding. Unusually, these ducks were only available to independent Swarovski retailers, and were not available for sale in Swarovski’s own stores or on their website!

Limited to 3,000 sets in UK, the Royal Wedding Ducks are the same as the Happy Prince and Happy Princess Ducks in the current range of Happy Ducks, which are sold separately. However, the Royal Wedding ducks are packed in one blue box together and come complete with their own special little commemorative carrier bag. The ducks have been specially engraved.

The drake has “29th April 2011” engraved on his back, while the female duck has 2 intertwined wedding rings engraved on her back. The press announcement that Prince William would not be wearing a wedding ring came just as the ducks were released! Oh dear!! But in some ways, this makes them more special!

Crystal Lodge empty boxes – by client request!

A new innovation – by popular demand! Our clients have been asking for a while whether we can find spare Swarovski boxes for their homeless pieces. Unfortunately, these are very hard to get hold of. However, we have commissioned a range of Crystal Lodge boxes in 3 sizes which will keep your crystal pieces safe and sound when being stored or when moving house etc. The boxes are all 80mm in diameter, and are 190mm, 90mm and 60mm tall respectively. Each one comes with 2 end caps, and foam inserts. The two larger sizes of box have wrap around foam in them and the small size has 2 round memory foam discs. The boxes come in selection packs of 6, 12, 18 or 24 boxes.

They are available from our web shop in the miscellaneous section, or you can phone the office to order them. These boxes are not designed to be “fake” Swarovski boxes, not will they increase the value of formerly unboxed pieces. Their sole purpose is to keep your items safe and sound.

That’s about all the news this time round!

Until the next time - happy collecting!

Alison and the Crystal Lodge team

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