I had a "Oh gosh!" moment whilst I sat down to write this little blog post. I wanted to write a little post reviewing the year and to let you know what we're up to, and in the process had a bit of a "huh" moment. Did you know that Copperfox Model Horses isn't even a year old yet? Nope, we're still technically a toddler. I know, crazy right! It feels much older!! Our first models were put onto pre-sale back in late March 2016, with the orders being fulfilled in June 2016. Technically our models have only been out in the big wide world for just over 6 months which is a little mind boggling. 6 months? Woah....
Christmas and the New Year is traditionally the time of the year we take a step back, take stock of where we have been, what we have done, what went right and what didn't- and most importantly we look forward to the future and what the next 365 days can bring. It's that time when the shiny new diary comes out together with the new notebook (the best thing ever!) and you get to play with a fresh pack of post it notes, a pencil case full of pens, pencils and highlighters, and dust off those ideas that have been shelved throughout the year. It's the time of the year to plan and dream, and to say "what if?".
Looking back on 2016 and what it has been like, the only word that sums it up is one word. A big word that is as epic as it sounds and implies. The word is "Rollercoaster". I'm not meaning a little wiggly, couple of humps and bumps type of ride. I mean a full octane, adrenaline, white knuckle type ride, the sort where you slightly scare yourself as to whether you are going to stay in the ride during that triple upside down loop. We've had some amazing highs this year that made us feel like we had conquered Everest, with the initial highlight of selling those first few models and packaging them up to travel to their new owners. This simple act meant that we had actually done it. We had achieved our dreams to create our own British based model horse range. A dream had become a beautiful object that you could feel, touch and hold, and what began as scribbles and wiggles on paper was no longer just that.
Receiving amazing feedback and comments from new Copperfox owners all over the globe most certainly is our other “best feeling ever” highlight. Selling models is one thing. Hearing and seeing that people love them is another. We *LOVE* the images, pictures, videos you send, post, share. We watch, see, view them all! We cheer on your Copperfoxes in the showring, jump for joy when they receive a ribbon and are genuinely like a so proud seeing them out in the world. Your feedback is so gratefully received, more than you will ever know, so a huge, huge thank you to everyone who gets in touch! To quote my favourite author, Matthew Reilly, “To anyone who knows a writer, never underestimate the power of encouragement”. Whilst we are not writers, we are creators and the same quote applies to model horses!
Another highlight has to be going on tour with our Copperfox Tour Stops, visiting England, Wales and Scotland (Ireland, we’re working out a way to get to you next time!!). It was fantastic to get back out onto the road and meet everyone. We visited and travelled through nearly every county in the United Kingdom (we’re didn’t get to 2) and covered over 3,000 miles in our trusty hire vans who we nicknamed Shirley and Trevor (who endured our out of tune singing to the radio without complaint). We held 16 events that each featured a pop-up Copperfox shop and mini live show. As some fun facts for you from our tour: 32 trophy models were won, 2,500 ribbons were awarded to all shapes, sizes and makes of models and we lost count of the numbers of cakes, biscuits and cups of coffee that where consumed! We estimate it’s enough to fill Loch Ness!
My visit to the model horse festival in Lexington, KY in July has to be there as one of the most memorable moments, with Copperfox models literally walking out the door on their own. Next year we promise to bring a truckload of models (and maybe some other surprises too)!
The lows of our year have come in the form of unforeseen production problems at our factory with our learning curve taking on a near vertical line rather than a gentle slope! We've learnt so much in a short space of time even I have to remember where we have come from- (as a bit of trivia for you, this learning curve means there there are two variations of both Bertie and Henrietta. Of both models there are a handful of template painted models, compared to the more crisp masked models. I wonder where they are?) Being a “half glass full” type of person, at least we can say that we have learnt firsthand from experience of how not to do things!
With Copperfox I like to be honest and open with everyone of what’s happening as after all we wouldn’t be where we are without you. At the end of the day we’re in this together working towards the same goal. It’s not the traditional relationship between a business and customers but as know by now, we don’t follow a rule book! I would be telling a porky pie (or a lie to those not fluent in cockney rhyming slang!) if I said that everything has been rosey and gone to plan 100% of the time. I’ve had a couple of “what am I doing?” and “was it the right decision?” moments, walking the fine line that could easily wander into the realm of dwelling and wallowing in the low points so much that you forget the high ones. We’ve also had some “what just happened?” and “we didn’t see that coming” moments too. I can safely say, we’ve seen and experienced it all! At the end of the day we can (now) luckily laugh and smile about the low moments and close the book on 2016 and look forward to 2017.
So, what is on the cards for next year? Well, to answer a very popular question first, there will new moulds in our range… eventually! Earlier this year we commissioned 2 new sculptures and to give you a sneaky clue, one is a horse and another is a pony. Both are breeds of the British Isles. As to when they will be released, is all dependent on how quickly we can re-home our remaining stock of current models (lesson number one learnt, less colours in one go! 11 colour ways is too many!!). The funds required to pay for new tooling is tied up in models so until we sell these, we can’t move forward as fast as we would like. As you all know, funding production of models involves figures that look more like telephone numbers than amounts of money, which is slightly scary!!
This is why we have decided to hold a little January sale which goes live on the 30th December and will run until the 3rd February 2017 (eek!). Selected models will be available with up to 25% off (or more if you use that little voucher that was in our Christmas cards, hint hint). D’Abernon Tiger Woods (aka Bailey), Marble and Trifle will be £44.95 ($54), Celtic Warrior, Lakeview Knight, Cadno and Henrietta £48.95 ($58). Loughnatousa Fabio will be £58.95 ($70). Percival won’t be included in the sale as he has just joined the herd, but he is still available in both versions at the regular price of £59.95 ($72). Our January Sale is the perfect opportunity to complete your Copperfox collection and add that model to your herd that your missing. Plus, in doing so, you are helping us to move us to being able to put our new mould into production and release new colours which is the very exciting bit.
As to other things to look forward to in 2017, we would like to ask for your help on this one. We have ideas, well, lots of them to be precise, but would like more! As the saying goes, more heads are better than one. We're also conscious of ensuring that it’s the right idea and it’s always good to get feedback, both good and bad, to ensure we’re on the right lines and traveling in the right direction. Our idea might not be the right idea. So our question to you is what would you like to see Copperfox do? Would you like more events- online and offline? What colour ways or combinations in particular are on your wishlist for the future? Put your thinking caps on and please let us know!
We've put together a little survey to help collate our ideas. There are 26 questions and it only takes around 10-15 minutes to answer. Questions range from how many Copperfoxes you have to what you would like to see at future Copperfox Events. Not scary questions at all! Everyone who completes the questionnaire is automatically entered into a competition to WIN a Copperfox Model of their choice. One lucky winner will be chosen at random once the survey closes (on the 25 January 2017). All feedback and comments from the survey are completely confidential and for our eyes only.
Please click on the image below to be taken to the survey or alternatively use this link.
So, as you might be able to tell, it's been a busy year, with the models keeping us guessing as to whats coming next! They've certainly broadened our horizons, taking us to various locations all over the world, from traveling the length and breath of the UK, to the USA and to China and Hong Kong. My poor little passport is a little worn out and is asking for a rest!!
Talking of a rest, the human part of the Copperfox team are taking a little break over the New Year to recharge and refresh before we launch into 2017. There is never a good time to take a break but with the New Year and numerous bank holidays, its the best chance with the least disruption for everyone. All this means is that any orders placed over the New Year and in Early January will not be despatched until the 9th January 2017 and I'll also be a little late in replying to emails but thanks to technology and clever websites, everything else will be running as usual.
I wanted to finish this little post by once again saying a gigantic thank you to all Copperfox Fans, Followers and most importantly our Founding Foxes for your support and encouragement throughout the year. A humongous thank you, many times over.
Happy New Year Everyone. I think 2017 is going to be A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!
- Becky, Sharon and the Copperfox Models :-)