Sunday, 15 July 2012

Ever evolving… as everything else is.

Still surprised at how our industry is failing to recognise the paradigm shift caused by smart technology and social or information networks.

There is something in the air… and it revolves around social. But careful now! Social does not mean Facebook. We are way passed that. Change is inherent to every single day that passes. Technology is ever evolving and this is the era of the techies. They are the new rock stars! …so… failing to recognise that something is happening and the world IS changing is probably not wise.

We are planning a second website. A presentation site.

Will tell you more.

Friday, 13 April 2012

This is what we did...

It has been a while for us… last year we put all of our efforts into making things work online.. and guess what: they are working. We are busy enough, we are growing and we have customers come directly to us... rather than us chasing them… which is something we are very happy with.  We have started trading on Amazon, will use eBay at some stage soon, we are working on a second online platform... and we are thinking about expanding... abroad. 

It was not easy... we had to put our trust into this mad busy and noisy online world. But it is working. 

These are some of the things we have done to get us where we are:

·         Rebranded, creating a new identity
·         Went online after 15 years of traditional trading
·         We picked a web platform that worked for us and customised it (redesign)
·         We built our new identity based on a business strategy we have developed for the digital  world
·         We acknowledged the shift caused by social media and smart technology and responded to it
·         We went social – we are on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google + and we also use Blogger
·         We communicated evenly across all channels - Integrated Marketing Communications
·         We made use of SEO and SEM
·         We started a newsletter
·         We expanded and started using Amazon, selling in the UK
·         We started developing new relationships with manufactures
·         We stayed open, honest and friendly
·         We had fun... and still are having.
·         We had ideas... and still getting new ones, every day.

What is next?

·         eBay
·         Facebook shop
·         Twitter ecommerce
·         A new specialised website
·         Getting into new markets (abroad)
·         …and still thinking.

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Water over... office things.

We were flooded. Everything in the office was destroyed.

Check out the water level.

These are the things we have learned.

1. Have insurance. Without it... you’re toast.

2. Do your back-ups. Without saved data you are... lost.

3. Know all your account numbers (telephone, internet, software subscriptions and whatever else you need to run your business). Without these you are stuck.

4. Ask for help. Without asking you will be buried under the... to do list.

5. Communicate. Let others know. So you don’t disappoint your business customers. If you need to ask for patience, do it. Better telling, then... the opposite.

6. Keep smiling. Go have a cup of tea and think things out. Without the ability to do this... you are gonna go bonkers.

7. Don’t forget to say thank you. When all is back. And don’t forget the above list. Actually, share it.

8. Nobody hurt? Say thank you to that and move on.

    ‘’And why do we fall? So we can learn to pick ourselves up. :) Some mainstream wisdom for you hehehe. 

Monday, 3 October 2011

Building when it all falls to pieces. Or less dramatically put, how came into place

This is how it all started. For us.

First , there was an idea. No. Recession. Yeah, that came first. Then, an idea. Then, a name for it, a website... and no plan.

We picked Evolution as our ecommerce provider – we found them to be the best (if you read this in 2015 you might want to do more research, but in 2011 – they are the best) and we went online.

After 15 years of B2B we went B2C. We had to: the furniture market – that was so kind to us in the past, was gone, business was slower than ever and... since we are only a small family business, we had no choice but fight for survival. No parent company to hold us safe, nothing like that at all...

So we had this idea of going online and selling to anyone who needed the products that we supply. Nothing new with that paradigm. Except one little detail: It was new, to us.

We had our new website up and running for a month when a friend of ours had a look at it and came back with a report, an online audit of the existing website: SEO, design architecture, back-end and more. Everything was looked at and the result was something like this:

We sort of took it all in and went: ok, let’s do this. We knew that in order to make sense of the online we had to get our things together and focus on what makes the wheels turn in this www. And so it all began.

Our friend became our business strategist and as you know it started to be put together.

We looked at our business and what it was all about for the last 15 years... and what it wanted to become. We sat down and had a long ponder on what we have learned in these 15 years and pulled customer feedback out of our experience, information that we already had... but never used for the purpose of building a business. Or shaping a business.

We looked at the online world and picked what we thought we need in order to be relevant and useful. We wanted to go social but we wanted to do it right.

We looked at competitors, both the big league and the small family business, like ours. We looked abroad, across the oceans, pretty much everywhere... inside and outside of the industry. We started reading Mashable religiously and we became a bit geeky. But it was all good, all constructive and positive... even if it was overwhelming.   

If we are to bullet point it all, it would look like this: branding / business strategy / information architecture / design architecture / product files/ marketing strategy / social media strategy / permission marketing... and some other stuff. Lots more actually.

Other stuff like... design. We knew what we wanted. We knew the colours, the design architecture was done, we picked all the photos that you see on the website now (except 2 or 3 that defaulted onto it and we agreed to keep them), we put together the new menu and the call to actions were decided already, everything was pretty much put together before the actual design came into shape.

We worked closely with the developers, slashing and dashing stuff... for 6 months.  Some changes had to be made to the initial mock-up in order to suit the Evolution platform and the developers were great at coding our strategy into life.

Looking back at it all, the way we changed things, adapted things, had the designers work our vision into an actual website we can only say this: stick with how you see things, how you want them to be. If you have to change things 10 times because something doesn’t feel or look right, do it.

It is what we did. It is called art direction. And if you realise that creating a new website = shaping or creating a brand... then you must be involved, things must be built with your input, every single step of the way.

We worked a good bit on and everybody involved in the process had a lot to learn. We learned so many things that listing them would now qualify as corporate treason, hehe.

But we don’t mind sharing.

From this

To this

And this

And a lot more scribbles and changes and mock-ups... to this:

Results so far?

The attention we have been getting is impressive. Our brand identity is getting stronger and we try our best to do our best for our customers. Image without substance will never last.
And we are not done yet. We are working on a few exciting things... and we will soon have a few launches.

Yes, we are selling more, yes we have very valuable new customers and yes... we are perceived better. An yes, we are liked. And we are grateful for all that. We truly are.

And there is more... but we can’t share it all... Some of the most exciting news is... unshareable.

For now.

P.S.: We will come back and look at the website a bit more in detail. And at our business strategy. We are happy to share some of our thinking patterns. We don’t mind if others learn from us. We have seen it happen already.

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Little secret

There comes a time in everyone’s life when you start asking questions. From yourself. What am I doing, how did I get here, where am I going and why? The questions may very well vary with age, priorities or... you know, conditioned by all sort of things that are part of our lives, like: Is my house hurricane proof? Is my trip to NY going to be ruined because of the weather? *smiles a bit*

Early this year, we asked ourselves some difficult questions: What are we doing, how did we get here... where are we going and... how? The ‘’why’’ was clear from the beginning.

Never give up, never surrender! *laughs* That’s a line from 300, you know... that film with all the naked Spartans. Mhm.

We knew that although the economic situation was the way it was (still is) we had to keep moving forward. Build on top of what we have built for 15 years, but be innovative, daring and smart.

So.. Commercial Business Products scratched its head and came into being: a vision of not only survival, but rebirth. Sounds a bit corny but hey, it kinda is like that.

We want to be great. For you. We want to be the best we can... for you. Because you see, we know one little secret: rewards will follow for us as well, as long as we keep putting our hearts and souls into this boring little business of office things. *giggles a bit*

It’s just how it is. You live to learn, be better, grow, give and love. We can’t say we love all our paper pallets and office chairs and little notebooks and copiers and faxes (anyone still uses them?) but hey... we do love being the answer to people’s problems. We love to try harder and be better. We are not saving the world, our inks and toners are not holding together families and feeding hungry children. :) But we are doing our little bit and we are trying to do it well.

So thank you for reading, wipe away that tear and order something. Heheh *just messing*

With love,

The Team of eejits

Thursday, 28 July 2011

Irish Business Network - A frustrated but constructive idea of ours

We have just created: Irish Business Network – a Facebook page dedicated to B2B interaction and to individuals who support local businesses, buy local, recommend local (or Irish) and thus help Irish businesses grow.

We are talking about small to medium size businesses that do not have the resources a large company has and thus need the support that a social network can give.
But this is the story of why we created this page... and why we will do our best to grow it.


We were in our Twitter account, looking at the number of people/companies we follow and the number following back. Using some online tools we established who is not following us and thought ‘’why not just delete them, what’s the point’’. Well... there is a point, being on their followers list is still something, even if they are not following back. Why? 1. Because once you follow them they get an email with your name on it... and they get to hear of you. So it’s good for brand awareness. 2. You are on the list, they could add you later on, if they care about their Twitter account, or social media strategy, they will browse through their followers and you might get lucky. 3. Others will look through their followers and might find you relevant. < --- That’s some free know-how for you :).

So anyway... we weren’t all at a loss. We were following about 500 people or companies, so our name was out there. But we thought.... ‘’How rude of them, not to follow back. We sell office stuff, we don’t spam them with quick rich schemes’’.

Because this is how we are: we re-tweet stuff that we find relevant, we follow back pretty much all the time (except spam accounts), we mention businesses that we find relevant, we simply do our bit to help others and ourselves.

So we were a bit sad... seeing this lack of solidarity. So we thought... let’s do something. Print some flyers and go out in the streets and hand them to people and encourage them to support Irish businesses. We would get our name out there but we would also do something to help the online B2B realm grow. ''Let's not delete them, let's encourage them''.

A Facebook page comes free. What we are doing with it? It’s up there, for anyone to use. Post whatever they want about their business, about their products and services. If anyone needs help with anything, we will give advice if we can and as the community will grow, we are sure that ideas will float around and flourish.

We can look into the future and see B2B meetings or other things like that too. Or... we will just leave the page to exist and grow and aid businesses. We want accountants to find new clients on this page, solicitors to post their services, cake makers to upload photos of yummy cakes, restaurants to tell us their menus or makes us hungry with their dishes.. and so on and on and on. And on. :)

You know, we sell office things. It’s in our name. We are But we are also customers. Potential customers. Or we are looking for more customers of our own. There is nothing out of ordinary with this endeavour of ours. But... if nobody does anything... then nothing happens.

So Like companies on Facebook if you think they are doing a good job. We are not saying like everything and follow everyone. But find quality and share it with friends. Find that good intent and share it, because it’s very valuable, in people or in companies.
We are on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook. For now. And obviously this Blog.

Thank you for reading. Support Irish businesses! Do your little bit and help the country grow. It needs to happen from bottom to top and not the other way around.

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Questions, ponderings and nothings about... office things

The pros and cons of writing a business blog. Or... an office furniture blog. What are they? Who will read your blog about office crap? And why? Is humour the answer? Blogging about nothing. Nothing with a twist of office stuff. You know... like Seinfeld was a sitcom about nothing.

These are and are not rhetorical questions by the way. Feel free to give your input.

Office stuff is not that interesting. Unless you maybe put pictures of cool office spaces like these ones here:

Or maybe some photos of some silliness at work, office pranks or pranks in general are always fun.

Do you then somehow cleverly squeeze in some of your own office things and say ‘’Hey, look at us, we are what you need... and more. You have been waiting all your life for someone as seriously awesome as we are’’ or do you just show your products, your services, your offers but don’t inflate your self image and shove it down peoples throats?

Nobody likes an obnoxious character. So you mustn’t become one. That’s key. You mustn’t take yourself too seriously but at the same time, you need credibility.

And then... you must not be boring... because you will lose people’s attention just like... that.

So anyway? Where were we?

Ah yeah.

Go to We are awesome. (< ---- This sentence just gave us another blogging idea. But there’s time, see you later).

P.S.: Serious self endorsement: If you can find another Irish online company offering a lower price on a product of the same brand and model, we will give you a credit for 100% of the difference. Not only that, but we will always work in matching our competitors prices or, in most cases, we will offer you a better price. You might have your reasons to look elsewhere, but you have all the reasons to come back and buy from us: we listen to your needs and adapt to meet them. Always.