If you had the misfortune to get my attention over the last couple of weeks, which hasn’t been easy seeing as we largely stopped answering the telephone, you will know I have been a bit grumpy. However if you had the extreme misfortune to bump into me over that same period you will know that in fact I have been EXTREMELY grumpy. In fact I have not been so stressed out since I ended up in hospital with life threatening pneumonia bought on by extreme stress and three years of not sleeping more than a couple of hours a night. I think most folk in my situation would be very happy, to say business is booming is a very significant understatement. However with that comes a lot of stress simply because being in business in Britain today is being made so difficulty by all and sundry. I shan’t go into all the details here because unless you are directly involved it’s just plain dull and little incomprehensible. Suffice to say this year I have only had about 12 hours not working since we returned from our Christmas shut down. In my case all work and no play makes for a very grumpy boy.
Last week was one of the most stressful I have had in decades and so the thought of preparing for a weekend bonsai show just added insult to injury. The last thing I wanted to do was load up a ton of stuff in the pouring rain saturday and then drag my ass out of bed at 4am Sunday morning. However, having ‘manned up’ we arrived nice and early and got our pitch set up in good time. Bonsai shows are an impossible imponderable as far as business goes, you can lose your shirt, cover your costs or do well, it’s just a crap shoot on the day.
Today I am much happier, not because we had a good show or because we came home to a pile of new orders but because of the amazing good will we received from everyone at the show. Trading online leaves one open to the world and sadly there are a lot of folk out there that are very mean and many that are plain nasty. We try VERY hard but are not perfect, it’s becoming an increasing problem to meet peoples expectations and when we fail the abuse we get is often quite breath taking and there have been some tears. Because this goes on it’s very easy to have ones view of the world skewed by bitter and twisted folk. 99.9% of orders go without a hitch and we never hear from customers but those orders where things are not ‘just so’ cause a barrage of hatred to be thrown at us which drowns out everything else. It was so refreshing to be at the show and everybody was so complimentary and pleased to see us I had my faith in folk at least partly restored. So, to everyone that came and said hello, showered us with thanks and made their appreciation of what we do known, Catherine and I would like to offer our sincere and heart felt thanks. You make all the hard work worthwhile and we have now shelved plans to give up for a while. Thank you 🙂
If on the other hand you have been bitching and moaning you can go …….. yourself and …….. off! 🙂
The Coventry show has been a fixture of the British Bonsai scene for as long as anyone can remember and it was very refreshing to see the show increase this year. The sun was shining, business was good, we were surrounded by spring time bonsai trees and nice people and only did a 15 hour day. A perfect Sunday in the Potter household.
Here are a few pictures of trees I liked that were part of the displays assembled by local bonsai clubs. Sorry I don’t know who was responsible for what, just some nice (if questionable quality) pictures I snapped and in no particular order.
G & C.
I’m not on Facebook, Twitter or any other social media, I’ve never posted anything anyway or been on a forum. Graham’s story of recent events and the way they’ve felt lately has struck a chord and I felt I have something to say. Having been in business myself I can appreciate where he is at, more often than not it’s simply a matter of perception and people a quick to slam you and have a whinge rather than be reasonable. Graham and co do an amazing job of running a business, selling stock, providing thousands of people with instruction and advice and tooling to achieve amazing bonsai. Keep up the good work guys and don’t let the minority ruin all the good that you do. If only Australia had a bonsai nursery like yours to buy from…….
I am sorry to hear that it was all getting a bit much and stressful, I fully understand the massive pressure you have on you and those around you.
It’s great to hear that you are feeling a little better. I simply can’t imagine Bonsai without you. You are an inspiration to thousands of people throughout the world via your videos. It is always great to see you at shows and the innovation and new products you bring to the market, I know each of these are the product of blood, sweat and tears.
I hope that the coming months give you a bit more time to relax and create some more stunning motorbikes.
Please keep the faith — Bonsai needs you 😉
Glad to hear things are settling down a bit in the ( giving it all up part) what would the bonsai enthusiasts do without you. My motto on life is ….nil carborundum desperandum……..or don’t let the B…….S grind you down… keep smiling regards a novice in bonsai X
Hi Graham … just wanted to let you and all who read this know..I have used your business for the best part of 15 years, even take a trip to sunny Norfolk to see you.. on every order or occasion I have dealt with either you or Kaizen I have had nothing but total satisfaction, the service & knowledge you have given me has been totally complete. As a foot note some other similar business’s don’t come close. Thank you very much Graham. shame I missed Coventry 🙁
Stop, I’m blushing 😉
Graham, Catherine and Ramon are probably the hardest working people in the bonsai business, I recon that’s why there so successful and it’s a hard bar to keep reaching. Best web site, best tutorials,best blogs and best trees I have come across.
The work put in to sourcing and producing the hundreds of products available speaks volumes to the dedication to bonsai.
After a workshop at Graham’s you are left inspired and reinvigorated.
Keep up the good work.
We all gets the grumps but dont let it beat you down,all I can say after dealing with you for a few years now, your trees products are the highest quality around. And information care after have been brilliant when I needed it, so keep up the good work you and your team are the far best around.
Peter from Wales.
Sorry to hear you have been ill. Hope things are improving with the lovely spring sunshine.
Regards to all the family
Hello Graham and Catherine.
I and my little boy when along to the Coventry trade and bonsai show and after reading Graham’s Blog I felt compelled to write some thing! firstly it was one of my first shows the venue the people and the Bonsai were all first class. Walking around i’v noticed a man I have seen and watched many times on the web, A little star struck I when to say hello to Graham, stopping and having a chat with me was no problem for Graham and I proceeded to bore him with pictures of my trees and how much I have learnt from his videos! I do feel fortunate to have met you and taking time out to talk.
Keep up the good work and hopefully more videos to come!
Hi Christian. Meeting folk like yourself is always a pleasure. If you are ever out on the east coast give me a call.
It sounds like you all need a holiday. i know that you have often said that it seems almost impossible with the daily care of your trees an business. Ever thought of engaging a couple of Bonsai apprentices into your fold? The Japanese Masters are masters at this. With your wealth of knowledge and material on hand there must be some young Bonsai fanatics who would welcome your daily guidance. Food for thought. Once satisfied with their ability to keep everything alive, come over to Malta for a week. As far as ungrateful nerds, whatever you do they remain a fact of life. As we all know, caring for Bonsai trees is in itself a full time job (if one wants to strive for perfection) let alone running your own business. You are welcome to come and stay with us.
Thanks Joe. 24 years since I had a vacation.