Dear Artist, Thank you for your patience and for bearing with us whilst we rebuild the new business. We do hope that, as an artist, you are happy to continue to work with us and be part of the next chapter in our direct selling, greeting card story.
It’s been just 8 weeks since we closed the door on 22 years of Phoenix Trading and since we could turn our undivided attention to Flamingo Paperie. We already feel like we’ve climbed mountains as we have worked round the clock to deliver on our two-fold masterplan. First, to build a new business that we can introduce to the public at the official mid-January launch. And, secondly, to put in place the temporary infrastructure and create the processes to get us through to this point (that’s been the ‘fun’ bit!). The temporary business has been everything you’d expect; enormously frustrating, fast-paced, time consuming and expensive but, above all, exciting. We have had 2000 Phoenix Traders join as Flamingo Paperie Partners and we are still seeing up to 50 new Partners a week signing up. Our job has been to equip them with the resources to keep their customers supplied and their businesses going until January. This has not been without its challenges as our original Flamingo Paperie business model was based on 500 – 800 new Partners joining between 21st September and 31st December. PayPal, our payment service provider, decided we were processing too much money too quickly, and put a hold on us withdrawing funds (not, strangely, on them receiving the Partners’ funds!). Having our working capital held
hostage, by an American company that we couldn't talk to, on a money laundering pretext, is a tad annoying. On the other hand, we have been enormously fortunate in having the most supportive network of Partners and suppliers – balance in all things, grasshopper! As a result, we are in a good position to be able to launch the new permanent website and the new better Reward Programme for the Partners, come the New Year. A lot of time has been spent analysing what went wrong with Phoenix Trading; we are determined to avoid making the same mistakes again. To that end, we are not having staff or premises and are, instead, outsourcing all our support services to third parties. Fortunately for us, those support services are being run by our entrepreneurial former employees who have, with our total support and encouragement, set up distribution, finance and design businesses. (Please see contact names and details at the bottom of this communication). With the infrastructure and operation processes set up, we now need to start focusing on our own individual areas of responsibilities and fleshing the bones with a fabulous new product launch for mid- January. Hopefully, this is where you come in…
Licences – current and expired
When no buyer could be found for Phoenix Trading, the Administrators invited us to bid for the business, which we successfully did. In reality, the only element of the old business that we really wanted, or needed, were the licences for the existing designs. We are hoping to take 300 of the 500 card designs into the new range for the launch in January. The decision about which designs we choose, will be based on one of three criteria: 1. Is it currently in licence or are we hoping to relicense before the end of the year? 2. Is it one of the top sellers of its type? 3. Do we have any stock?
There will be some great designs, in licence for some time to come, that we would love to include in the range, but we may have to keep in abeyance until we can afford to reprint them. With PayPal playing silly beggars, we need to be pretty tight with our finances. I have started going through the 980 licences that are current, or recently, expired to decide which designs we would like to take with us into the new Flamingo business. It is my intention that every design that ends up in the new range will be within licence as of January 2018. This will mean renewing around 30% of the existing licences, over the next six months. I will go through each artist’s body of contracts and send a spreadsheet with the status of each design, as
I believe it to be the case. If you disagree with anything, you will need to let me know so that I can investigate and make the necessary adjustments. I want to get it right for both sides. If we don’t use a design, still in licence, we will be happy to release the contract so that you may offer it for relicensing elsewhere.
New artwork needed We are hoping for your best and most beautiful submissions for the January range. This needs to be very special because it will be our first entirely under the Flamingo Paperie name. I am happy to consider anything you have that you feel might make a great card or gift wrap but, in particular, I am looking for spring/Easter, children’s birthdays, affectionate/sly humour with words (clever puns always welcome!), beautiful coastal sea and harbour scenes and for smart images with interesting typography. We anticipate all origination to be completed before Christmas so that printing can take place
on the first working day of the New Year. Please feel free to drop me a line or call, if you wish to discuss anything.
We went bust whilst trying to offer the best deal to artists, Traders and staff. Consequently, one of our biggest lessons has been the need to be fair but commercial. It was great on the way up, when we could afford to be generous; our fault was to make no adjustments on the way down. We are driven to return this business to a position of strength and to devise a payment programme that will allow artists to receive remuneration for their work commensurate with the value they bring to the business. However, we need to bring our payment schedule more in line with the rest of the industry. To this end, we wish to introduce a new, shorter contract and proportionately reduced payment scheme to help us get through this first critical year. From the new January launch: One year licence £200 Extension to a three-year licence £100 The reasoning behind this is that the benefits would accrue to the artist at the same rate as they accrued to the company and we would not be paying a substantial sum for a piece of artwork that turns out to have no value beyond the first year. It also relates to the fact that we will be printing smaller runs which are considerably more costly per unit than we have been used to in the past. What we are hoping to do is to spread the risk for the company and simultaneously increase the rewards for the artist for a successful piece of work by introducing a Royalty Programme.
Therefore, we would like to consider additional royalty payments to be paid out, for sales in 2018, for the top selling 50% of designs in their category, based on numbers sold. If this were set at 1p per greeting card sold, an average selling card would attract an extra £50 per annum (or £150 over three years on top of the £300 already paid). The top selling design in the range this year, would already have attracted an extra £300 Royalty Payment. These payments would be offset by the fact that we were not paying out over the top for designs on which we make no money and wouldn’t be relicensing beyond the first year. This is an 'idea-in-progress' only, at this stage, but I would welcome your feedback. What I envisage is that this will lead to us being able to turn around designs far quicker and refresh the range faster and not hang on to designs, that are not selling for us, because we have so much money tied up in a long licence and we need to try and extract some value. With shorter licences and a faster turnaround, I hope that this will create more opportunities for you to place your work with us and this will, in turn, increase your Flamingo earnings. Rather than licencing one design that we would feel compelled to keep in the range for the full 3 years, we would be able to take three designs (worth £600 to you). That’s the principle, but we can see how it goes. I hope that you see where we are trying to go with this and that you will want to support us. In a nutshell, we believe that this could offer a fair opportunity to give you a sporting chance to do really well with a successful design.
Future ideas We are keen to explore every possibility for a successful and sustainable future for Flamingo Paperie and one idea that we have been asked for over the years is canvas wall art. Many of our artists already sell designs for this purpose and we know that we have a huge pool of talent to draw on for launching our own range. It has been suggested that a 7% royalty fee seems to be the norm. However, whilst we do our research, we would be delighted if you would like to share your own ideas and experience. Please do call me or drop me a line. It’s unlikely to happen before the spring but it is definitely something that we would like to have up and running by the 2018 Christmas launch. Practically speaking, I imagine that we would pay royalties monthly when we run the Partners’ commissions, sometime around the 11th of the following month. There’s a lot still to discuss regarding pricing and which designs to include but it is something we have been talking about for some time. Please don’t share this with Partners before we are confident that it will be a commercially viable proposition.
No more paper contracts It is our intention to run a business that is as paperless as is practicable. The thousands of paper contracts will be a thing of the past; nobody has space for the wall of artist’s contract files we had at Phoenix. Also, I hope you will prefer dealing with your contracts on line as it should save you time and space too. I am hoping it will make it easier to keep track of licence dates for discontinuing and renewal purposes.
Christmas samples gone out If you had a design in the Christmas range, you should have received your free five packs of each design. Collectively, they make a beautiful range and we have had very positive feedback and excellent sales from the Partners.
Product surveys We are not going to have giant product surveys as we have done for the past decade. However, we will organise feedback forums for select groups of the top retailing Partners and fun mini Facebook surveys; I feel that interaction and inclusivity are still important elements of this very special business. Since talking to many of you in the past few weeks, it has become clear that artists do not enjoy the process of submitting work for the survey. More to the point, it has become less and less relevant as a guide to what will sell as the distributors vote for designs that seem familiar and comfortable and, as a result, innovation pays the price. Let’s try something different for a while and see how we go. It would be good to have regular conversations with all our artists and briefing notes so that you know the sort of thing we are after at any one time.
Top 10 Christmas designs 1 XC020 The Crib 2 XC002 Christmas Baubles 3 XC008 Red and White Baubles 4 XC019 Three Wise Men 5 XC014 Snowdrops 6 XC016 Snowman and Robin 7 XC001 Christmas Bus 8 XC004 Snowy Woodland 9 XC015 Frosty Branches 10 XC018 Christmas Pudding
Buying your own designs
New artist information sheets
We have decided to set all artists up as honorary Flamingo Partners so you may purchase your own and other artists’ work with the 30% discount applicable to our Partners. Theoretically, you could then introduce other Partners to the team and qualify for bonuses but we are not really expecting you to start building businesses. However, you might want to get your friends and family to buy your Christmas card designs from Flamingo. The truth is, at present, we have no other mechanism available for you to order and we would have to pay additional programming fees to set you up as a different ‘artist’ category. This may change in time, as the business evolves but, meanwhile, we hope you find this is advantageous. Please do not sell our cards through traditional retail outlets as this would create a conflicting route to market and cause an unseemly row with our Partners! We are still presenting ourselves as a direct selling greeting card business. Social media We will have a new customer-facing website as well as a commercial profile on Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and LinkedIn and we would love to help promote our artists and give as many people as possible the opportunity to interact and follow you on your own social media pages. It would be good to continue to promote your art shows and commercial adventures, and any news and information you would like to send me, will be featured in the newsletters and on our social media pages. If you had an artist’s profile on the old Phoenix website, this would be the perfect opportunity to update it for the new Flamingo site. I am happy to use the profiles we had on the Phoenix site but even happier to receive fresh copy and/or photographs. firstname.lastname@example.org
I will be putting new artists’ info sheets up on the new website in January. In line with our new simplified and efficient business model, we will be asking artists to submit digital copies of their work, rather than original artwork for both consideration and for when a design is selected for the range. The preferred time line is: • For initial consideration, please submit images as jpegs, 300dpi, 2MB maximum. • If selected for the range, we will need professional quality files. If you would previously have submitted original artwork, and you have no way of getting your work scanned, we can recommend: Dave Simpson Opal Print (Bath) Ltd Unit 22, Third Avenue, Westfield Trading Estate Midsomer Norton, Bath BA3 4XD 07704 031812 email@example.com Dave will send us the scanned art file, usually next day, and we will pay him for the service, around £40 depending on size and amount of work to be done to clean up the background ‘noise’ and make colour adjustments. Just to be clear, if we have asked you to submit a professional quality scan of your original design, and you use Dave at Opal, we will cover the cost of the scan. However, it will be your responsibility to organise the sending and return of your artwork. Many of you have been doing this for some years so this is nothing new. We do not want the responsibility for handling and insuring original pieces of artwork. We will, however, in most cases, happily supply you with a copy of the original scan for your own future use. Lost art I have a few pieces of original artwork in a giant portfolio case in my office. If you believe that you are missing anything or you come across an artist who suggests we might have his/her work, please direct them to me so that I can return it. We have tried hard to locate homes for the drawers of original designs and, in most cases, we were successful, but there are approximately 20 pieces unaccounted for.
Official Address Flamingo Paperie Limited 60 High Street, Wimbledon Village SW19 5EE Please note, this is a mail box and probably not suitable for receiving anything really important – or big!. Switchboard: 020 8004 3339 www.flamingopaperie.co.uk firstname.lastname@example.org Directors Sheila Shaw Sheila’s responsibilities will be mainly focused on processes and IT Tel: 020 8004 5101 email@example.com Stuart Millar Stuart was the most successful Trader in the Phoenix business so, as poacher turned gamekeeper, he is perfectly positioned to head up Sales and Partner Communications Tel: 020 8004 5102 firstname.lastname@example.org
distribution centre called Envio, based in Cheam. It’s been an extraordinary start being thrown into the deep end and trying to keep everything going to offer the Partners the level of service they expected at Phoenix. Yonier and Rene have taken on Celina Copete and Kasia Gryger, also from Phoenix, as their first two members of staff. Envio Fullfilment Services Limited
Robin Bradley I am sticking with the creative side and trying to get my head around social media and electronic marketing. Tel: 020 8004 5099 email@example.com In addition, our support team are made up of: for Phoenix, has set up his own accountancy business and we are proud to be his first clients. There is nothing Jude doesn’t know about the finances that support a greeting card business. AJEM Accountancy firstname.lastname@example.org Jude Julius Jude, formerly the Finance Controller
Oldfields Trading Estate, 92 Oldfields Rd, SM1 2NU
Tel: 020 8004 5108 www.envio-fs.co.uk email@example.com
Paula Alberti Paula, with all her expertise and knowledge from working for Phoenix, is perfectly placed to offer her design and artworking services to Flamingo. Many of you will already have been in contact with Paula so, hopefully, you will feel that she offers a safe and
Yonier Delgado and Rene Gauche Yonier and Rene headed up
Distribution and Customer Services, respectively, for Phoenix. With the help and support of the directors, they have started their own
familiar pair of hands. Tel: 07876 735084 firstname.lastname@example.org
It’s a very exciting day today; I have a new computer! This is the result of a 5-month insurance claim that has only just been settled even though, back in June, I was told it was being ‘fast tracked’! The difference this makes to my working life is a sensation. I’d forgotten how much I’d taken for granted the ability to see a whole image on screen instead of mini/ part versions of everything. I am wallowing in the loveliness of my new office space and fabulous new iMac computer. And, as you read this, I am probably unpacking my new telephone – after eight weeks on the kitchen table, with a tablet and a mobile, I won’t know myself!
So from my beautiful office with the giant screen and the powerful whizzy computer, I will say goodbye and thank you again for everything you have done to help to keep us going and for all the supportive messages. We hope to do you proud in the future.
All the very best
Robin Bradley Creative DirectorPage 1 Page 2 Page 3 Page 4 Page 5 Page 6
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