Category Archives: BUSINESS

Who Buys These?

This is a photo of one of the products I shot for a new client recently. It is of  an old fashioned ‘Cut-Throat’ razor. Apparently once you have a shave with one of these you will never be satisfied with any other blade. My client says he sells a very large number of these on his internet site. He doesn’t know who the persons are who are buying the product or what they will use it for! I just wondered if there should be some kind of check in place. For example one is not allowed to sell any kind of blade, knife in the UK to anyone under the age of 18 (I think) could even be 21. So even if you have a young apprentice chef, he or she would not be allowed to purchase a set of knives for their work if they were under age. Yet anyone of any age can log onto the ‘Razor-Site.Com’ and purchase this lethal instrument.

Imperial Open Razor
Imperial Open Razor for the best shave you will ever get.
Black Handled Replaceable Blade
The actual cutting edge (Blade) can be changed in this model


Wild West Plumb Model
Wild West Plumb Model


Rancid Monkey

Another pic from the Rancid Monkey shoot we did.

It appears that there is a lot of interest in this Chepstow based band. Readers of this blog will be familiar that the band won a National contest, now they have been offered a record deal by Welsh based record company Optimum Records.

The band are in the studio at the time of writing completing their EP and will not make a decisions as to which label they will aim for until all tracks are in the bag.

Smiles all round after winning a £1,000 guitar and 3 days of studio time

Stock Photography in Wales -UK

Lazarou Hair & Beauty Catalogue shotsA small selection of the shots for the new Lazarou Hairstylists website that I have been commissioned to shoot. The site is not live as yet but I am told is nearly there. The site is being built by Website Design Centre Group for Lazarou Hairstylists and Beauty Salon for their salon in Pontypridd, s e Wales.

Business Start-Up Training

I have just completed three days training for Venture Wales, the pan Wales Business Start-Up Agency.
The training took place in Park Place in Cardiff and – I’m pleased to say that I had a really lively bunch attending.
All the delegates are in the process of just starting a business or in the very early days of trading. I had a wide range of businesses there including:

  • Restoration Painting & Decorating
  • Sound Design and Music Production
  • Bag Design & Manufacture
  • Business Psychologist
  • Florist
  • A Hot Sauce Manufacturer
  • A Design Agency
  • A Photographer
  • Interior Design
  • Accountant
To name just a selection. 
We covered all usual subjects like Sales & Marketing, Finance and Costing & Pricing etc and everyone made a valuable contribution to the the three days. I wish them all the very best of luck and I know we will see some stars emerge.

Marketing & Promotions – Musical Instruments

In 1974 I joined CBS/Arbiter Ltd. in their London offices as a Promotions Manager. My main role was to ensure that the ‘name’ musicians of the day (especially drummers) were playing our products.  This would involve me attending the BBC Studios in Shepherds Bush every Wednesday to watch the filming of Top of The Pops and to encourage the acts appearing to consider and or swap over to CBS musical instruments. I also had to visit all my old haunts including theatres and concerts halls for the same reason. For the first 6 months, it felt like I hadn’t stopped playing professionally. I was still in the Smokey recording studios, and the TV studios, and all those grubby back-stage areas.  The only difference was that this time, I didn’t have to play!

Another of my roles at CBS/A (and there were many!) was to demonstrate the product to interested potential customers en masse, usually on behalf of one of our European distributors or retail outlets. The events are known as ‘Drum Clinics’. I did literally dozens of these things a lot on my own and some with ‘Star’ drummers such as Jon Hiseman and Roy Burns.

The picture shown is from a clinic tour I did of Sweden for Brinks Music, the Swedish distributor of the time. The owner of the company, Stig, was a lovely guy and went out of his way to make my stay in his Country a happy one. He also provided a three piece band to travel with me, Guitar, Bass and Keyboards. On the occasion this pic was taken, I had arrived in the Country at about 4.00 pm and by 7.00 pm we had all the demonstration kits set up, I had rehearsed a couple of numbers with the guys in the group and by the time I had changed clothes ready for the set, there were 500 people sitting in the audience!

It was Stig  who was responsible for introducing me to the drummers with ABBA (they had two), Ola Brunkert and Malando Gassama and through that introduction both drummers played our kits throughout their world tour in 1977.
The picture below is from the front page of the London Evening News Monday February 14th 1977.
The article was by John Blake and the picture was taken by David Thorpe.  It was a bit of a coup for me and I felt quite pleased that I had managed to get two drum kits on the front page of a major London paper, and, behind ABBA one of the biggest bands in the world.

Unfortunately, despite all the hard work put in by all the team at CBS/Arbiter Auto-Tune Drums didn’t stay the course and were eventually discontinued.

Business Support in Wales

The beauty of being freelance and having a ‘Portfolio’ of business options means that, if one area of your expertise – in your portfolio – is suffering you can concentrate on another area where that sector is not so depressed. At the moment the photography side of the business is quiet, I am therefore concentrating more on the Management & Training Consultancy side which, fortunately is keeping me busy.

Yesterday, I spent the day with an old friend and colleague Barry Quilter, Barry is Operations Director and second in command at Venture Wales. 

We spent the day at the Metropole Hotel in Llandrindod Wells in mid Wales, with about 75 other like-minded individuals, who all had one objective which was, to investigate methods of improving what we deliver and how we deliver training, for the new business start ups in Wales.

The day was organised by the Welsh Assembly Government (WAG) and more specifically the Department for the Economy & Transport  as part of the many programmes they fund throughout the Principality to assist both new and existing businesses.

The day consisted of firstly discussing the content of the Business Training that is currently delivered by the providers across Wales. The delegates were all pre-arranged into teams based on their knowledge and location, and to ensure an even distribution of skills and talent. Each team also had a number of WAG personnel present who were able to clarify any areas of contract criteria, that may require clarification.

All in all an excellent session where personal experiences and good practices were shared. This session also considered the currency of the training programme and whether it still met the needs of new businesses and if not, what changes needed to be addressed. We discussed the provision for delivering the training courses in the Welsh language, which a considerable number of businesses prefer, especially in north Wales.  Amongst a myriad of other topics discussed were, the Marketing section of the training programme and how this could be improved and updated, especially in the area of internet marketing.

The next stage was concerned with the various methods used by the different providers in their delivery, the times and the days/weeks, content and the skills required by those delivering the training, both now and for the future.

All in all an excellent day, and all thanks to WAG for organising the day and specifically  Jon Linford and Arwel Williams, managers at the DfET who I understand were responsible for the operational and logistics (amongst other things) for the day.

Next stage of this review will be to meet up again to discuss all the many, many ‘written’ comments and suggestions that each team provided.  All this information now needs to be collated and evaluated and conclusions and suggestions prepared for the next session and meeting of the group, sometime within the coming weeks.

Thinking of Self-Employment?

If anyone is considering starting up their own enterprise – whether it’s a one-man photography business or an Incorporated business employing many – and you reside in Wales, you can contact me by leaving a comment on this page with your contact details and, I will then signpost you to the best person to handle your query. Alternatively, you can also contact Venture Wales direct and/or WAG where you will find a considerable amount of information to assist you to.

Obviously, any contact details you leave with me on this blog, will not be sold, shared or given to anyone other than those that I am specifically asked to pass on to.

Marketing with Barclays Bank

As I have mentioned a few times before, I am quite actively involved in Management and Business Development, and, whilst in the process of sorting pics etc to digitise I came across this clip. It was a promotion that I was organising/co-ordinating with Barclays Bank and Venture Wales.  Venture Wales are one of the most successful Enterprise Agencies in Wales and literally start (or help to start) 100’s of businesses each year.

This particular event took place in Newport and was held at the Hilton Hotel. It really was a spectacular evening and Jim McLaughlin, the keynote speaker, really knew how to get his audience going. Lots of good advice and helpful tips were given out and it was nice to see lots of happy smiling people taking it all in.

If anyone is interested in starting their own business and feel they would benefit from some sound advice, get in touch with Venture Wales, who can point you in the right direction, before you start the business.
I should point out that I am not an employee of either Venture Wales or Barclays bank and all the comments I make on my blog are specifically mine.
Although, no longer employed by Venture Wales, I do provide training services for their clients, as an external independent Adviser.