Sunday, October 31, 2004

Harvest Beauty by Alphonse Mucha in stained glass, one of the latest Glassmasters designs Posted by Hello

Hidden Gems

This week I discovered that there are some items in the Glassmasters inventory which I had thought to have been long sold out.

Amongst these are some exceptional reproductions of stained glass works by John La Farge as well as one by Edward Burne-Jones.

I have uploaded 5 of these magnificent works onto a special page which I have titled "Hidden Gems" and would urge anyone who is interested to make your purchase soon because in a couple of instances there are less than 20 in stock and these are unlikely to be manufactured again.

Reproductions of stained glass by John La Farge and Edward Burne-Jones

Saturday, October 30, 2004

What's going on? What on EARTH is this??

Well, it's a long and complicated story which (a) I don't wish to bore anyone with and (b) contains many technicalities which are well beyond my grasp, the explaining of which would get me out of my depth in no time.

Trying to simplify the explanation, there has grown up a whole technology around what is called "blogging" which is short for "web log".

Blogs have been in existence for years, decades even, and they are basically diaries or journals updated and published by individuals or groups and until the last couple of years were a kind of fringe activity.

What has happened more recently is that they have begun to have a greater influence on search engine results and this has resulted in them coming more into the mainstream.

My own interest stems from recent evidence that the contents of blogs can be reflected in Yahoo search results within a very short time-frame. I initially tried to set up the "New" page as a blog or RSS feed a couple of months ago but was unsuccessful due to problems with the interface between and my web-host's server. This week, however, I decided to give it another try in an attempt to drive up traffic and hopefully sales of Glassmasters items and cards in the run-up to Christmas. To my incredible surprise this time it worked.

As far as I am aware blogs or RSS feeds have little or no influence on Google search results but that could change at any time and in any event Yahoo is a good source of commercial traffic.

My level of competence in getting the page "right" in terms of colours and text etc is sadly lacking and until that changes I'm afraid that visitors are stuck with the bright orange banner and text of varying colours.

The good news is that now that it is set up it really is a breeze to add updates and even images. I don't need to edit the page in my own system and upload it via FTP. All I have to do is log on to, create a post, add links and upload in a couple of clicks.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

October 17th

The new items have been added to the various sections to which they belong. A few details have still to be posted but we did not wish to delay adding the items with the Holidays getting closer each day.

A couple of pieces of news to report. Firstly one of our images is to be published in the December edition of 'Good Housekeeping'. This is the US (not UK) magazine which I understand has a circulation of over 5 million. This is far from being the lucrative proposition that most would expect for this kind of usage but hopefully the mention of the website will result in some more visitors and perhaps some of them may stop to buy things. The image which they will be using is a picture of an angel and I believe that it is to accompany an article about true-life experiences involving angels.

The second thing to mention is still evolving and it concerns the free use of some of our images by at least one branch of the US military (USAF) to enhance Christmas Eve services on remote bases where worship has to be conducted in surroundings which have been described to me as being 'spartan'. The particular base which has made this initial request is Manas Air Base, in Kyrgyzstan which I have yet to look for on a map. However, it is my hope that whatever we produce for use there can also be utilised by other bases in other parts of the world to brighten up the Christmas services for soldiers, sailors, marines as well as members of the air force.

October 10th

There is probably more news than I have time to type but I will at least try. Firstly there are a lot of imminent changes in the Glassmasters line-up. The company has recently launched over 20 new products which I will get posted on the site shortly but this is also being accompanied by the retirement of some of the older products, a situation which is tricky to manage.

Basically what happens is that pending retirements are announced but the items are available as long as existing stocks last - this can range from weeks or more in the case of less popular items to as short as a few days with others. Rather than delete items when the retirement is announced we prefer to continue to offer them until stocks are more or less totally exhausted but we do run the risk that we might not be able to fulfill an order as happened on at least one occasion recently.

Of course when this happens we always offer either a full refund or a substitution according to the wish of the customer but there is still the potential for disappointment when someone was hoping to get a particular item.

The best advice we can offer is not to delay any purchase which you plan to make. This is all the more true with the Holidays looming ever-larger on the horizon. Glassmasters (and Stonemasters) have warned us that they expect to have a very busy season this year and every year there are some items which sell out by December, by which it is too late to plan additional production. So if you are thinking about buying any items for the holidays please place your orders as soon as possible. Right now most current items are available but this will almost certainly not be the case as we get nearer to Thanksgiving and Christmas.

You will notice a link at the top of the page inviting you to send a free e-card - please follow it and send at least one card. We are participating in a competition which is being run by CrossDaily and the first referring website to send 100,000 visitors to them via the card link will receive $1,000 which we plan to donate to the Save the Children Fund. I plan to circulate links to this page as far and as fast as I can. Technically we have until December to hit the magical 100,000 visitors but I believe that with some energy and creativity we could hit the number within a lot shorter time, perhaps even less than a week, such is the nature of the internet. There is really no cost to it, just a small investment of time, and the recipient of the card(s) you send will be most appreciative.

August 11th

I need to add something otherwise the "New" will be a misnomer! It is not that things have not been happening but I have not been disciplined in recording and publicising what has been going on. The real purpose of this particular update is to highlight the fact that today, for some selected items in the Glassmasters range, we have begun to offer *FREE* shipping on domestic orders.

It was apparent that some of our visitors were coming to check out our Glassmasters offerings but were not buying from us and when I surveyed the market it was clear that some of our competitors are offering free shipping on orders above a certain threshold. Not to be outdone, we have initiated a trial period of free shipping for selected items and we will see how it goes. Whether we continue it or not will depend on the number of orders we get, it only really makes sense if it means extra volume.

Earlier today we did receive a trial order from a company in Japan for quite a range of our cards and I feel confident that it will lead to larger orders in the future.

If you have been tracking the 'Buildings' section you will have noted the folders containing the recent work from the 4 churches in Jersey City.