In this world of online shopping the personal touch can be lost. The seller looses the opportunity to meet and get to know their customers and, more importantly, the buyer rarely meets the seller.  I come from a background in customer service where the customer contact was face to face and I know how incredibly important that contact is and how much I loved meeting customers; helping them, fulfilling their needs and solving their problems, even, especially, when those problems were with the company I worked for,  That contact is limited for me these days, I get to meet customers who live locally to me at fairs and events but those living further afield are strangers to me, And I am a stranger to them.

So enter the world of video.  We’re surrounded by video these days, a video can tell us more in a minute than reading a piece of text. I can write descriptions about the colour and drape of my fabrics, explain the sizes of pocket and how fastenings work, show photos of the details and in text and take photos.  A video lets me actually demonstrate them as if you, the customer, were right in front of me. A video lets you get to know me, to see who I am, the person behind the company name, the one who is actually making the products you buy, not a nameless nobody in a factory somewhere overseas but a real live living, breathing human being right here.

But I come from a generation where video was not available to the everyday man and woman. We didn’t have our childhoods documented by the minute, even snapshots of us on holiday were limited.  This was the pre digital age where the cine camera was a luxury few could afford and photos were taken on reels of film that had to be sent off for processing for you to wait for their return with no guarantee that any of them would even come out.  My childhood holiday photos show us all carefully, patiently, posing as my parents composed the scene before pushing the shutter button ensuring no body parts were chopped off and no strangers wandered into shot.  My children’s holiday photos are plentiful and snapped at every opportunity without such worries, if the shot isn’t good we just delete the file. And I have video after video after video of them doing everything and anything, their entire childhood is documented to the nth degree!

Consequently my children are perfectly comfortable when someone points a camera at them whether it’s to take photographs or film.  They talk direct to camera as easily as they talk to a friend, the camera is their friend.  But it’s not mine. I am not in the least bit comfortable with it. It makes me feel awkward, unnatural, self conscious. I loose my words, I find my eyes wandering all over the place, to anywhere that isn’t actually the camera, I pull strange faces and when I do speak it all comes out odd and I get the emphasis on words in all the wrong places! It is so much more than cringeworthy to watch back, it makes me feel physically ill that’s how much I hate it!  This is the digital age and I do want to be able to get to know my customers and to let them get to know me, I want to be able to use video on my site and social media so I have to get over it!

So I joined a group run by the wonderful Nicola Smith of A Handcrafted Business aimed at helping people like me get over our hang ups and learn to embrace video and grow comfortable with seeing and hearing ourselves on film.  This course has forced me miles out of my comfort zone and to the point of terror but it has been worth sticking with because it’s working.  I have gone from sitting in front of the camera pulling faces and mumbling with no idea what I was doing to being able to walk around talking to my phone almost, but still a long way off completely, naturally.  I’ve even worked out how to use my video editing software for something more challenging than just chopping snippets out of videos of the children, I still have a huge amount to learn but I’m realising what it’s capable of and just what I still need to learn.  I’m not going to be in line for any production, direction or presenting awards but I can do this, I will do this, and with more practice I will get better!

So here’s the first piece of video I’ve made that I am ready to share. it’s not brilliant, it won’t win any awards, there’s a heck of a lot wrong with it, but I’m proud of it purely because I managed to do it, me the person who 3 weeks ago would have hid behind the curtain if someone bought a video camera anywhere near me!  Oh sod it, watch it just to laugh at me if you want, I don’t care – that’s how far I’ve come!

I’m not giving up on this, I will keep trying and I will get better.  I’ve actually added another clip on another page on the website but if you want to see that one you’ll have to find it.  And I may just ask the children to act as my co-presenters, they are, and always will be, so much better at it than I am.

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