Sharing the love for The Engineer

Here at ShareAGift HQ in Primrose Hill we’re lucky enough to be surrounded by some of the nicest shops, restaurants and pubs in London.  The real beauty about this part of town is that most of the local businesses are one of a kind – really great, high quality operations run by passionate owners and families and not by big corporate businesses just trying to make a quick buck.

So it was that we were devastated last week to learn about one of our favourite local pubs, The Engineer, being muscled out by its landlords to make way for another identikit chain instead.  The Engineer, being much beloved by locals and newcomers alike, thankfully has decided not to go down without a fight.  They’ve launched a campaign to save the pub, with a bunch of local celebrity endorsements including Harry Enfield, Lisa Snowdon, Christoper Higgins, Alexander Armstrong and X-Factor host, Dermot O’leary.

Yesterday they held a rally of sorts for everyone wanting to show their support and get behind the campaign.  The ShareAGift team all headed down to join in – treated along the way by delicious cappuccino’s and bacon sarnie’s courtesy of The Engineer’s manager, Ed Francis.  It was a fantastic turn-out from regulars, families, friends, children, dogs and even a famous face or two thrown in.  We were thrilled to be a part of it and to show our support for such a great team and such a legendary pub.

The Engineer Team with Christopher Biggins and Lisa Snowdon

If you’d like to support The Engineer please sign the petition at http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/theengineer/ and hopefully we’ll catch you down there for a pint or two for many more years to come.

 

Shareagift User Testing

At last, the moment of truth… ShareAGift Senior Graphic Designer, Jose, with his heart in his mouth, moderated our first user-test at the end of last week, the first time the site’s been tested in front of a brand new user.

Our massive thanks go out to Chris, who very kindly stepped up as our first official guinea pig.  The testing all went smoothly – no dramatic intakes of breath from our team (Jon and Jose could visibly relax!).  We used some great usability testing software – Silverback (http://silverbackapp.com/) – which recorded all of Chris’s screen activity as well as visual and sound recording, great stuff – and we sent it round the whole team afterwards so Justine could even watch it back from Monaco.

We made some really interesting discoveries – in the immortal words of a journalist mentor of mine, it needs to be ‘quicker, slicker, shorter’ – the ShareAGift homepage is about to go on a crash diet!

Once he got into the system it worked beautifully.  And with this first round of feedback we can set about making the UX even better.  Some tweaks for our dev team before the next round of testing and a couple of key elements still to integrate but all in all we were delighted and can’t wait to get our next willing guinea pig in tomorrow for another slice of insight.

Shareagift Storyboarding

So last week we started storyboarding the Shareagift Take the Tour video.  Exciting stuff!  A first for me, but fortunately we had our extra shiny shizzle dizzle designer Jose on hand to lead the way.

We wanted to make sure we explained how Shareagift works, help people to understand what they could use it for and what the advantages are, while keeping it brief enough so as not to bore the polka-dotted pants off you… Hope we get it right.

A happy Jose storyboarding Take the Tour

A Right Royal Gifting

Unless you’ve been hiding under a pile of freshly printed Union Jacks for the last month, you may have noticed that wedding fever has positively gripped the nation.  You absolutely cannot move in Central London these days without being offered such a dizzying array of Royal wedding memorabilia as to make your Oxford Street snow dome look reservedly chic.

Brand Will & Kate has reached its zenith and I for one am enraptured by it.  What other nation in the world would produce such a hilarious assortment of Royal goodies – that beaming image of the happy couple adorning everything you could possibly imagine (and some you couldn’t).  The light gifting opportunities here are endless (and I gather Prince William has already been jokingly gifted a few himself by his RAF buddies).

For those of you still snoozing under those flags – and for our American friends across the pond – let me fill you in on one or two of the more choice items.  So you’ve got your standard selection of mugs, plates and flags; beach towels, aprons, key-rings and the like.  But beyond that, joy of joys, you can stray into some really weird and wonderful territory…

The King of Condoms
The King of Condoms

For your delectation and delight we’ve got Royal Wedding sick bags, Will & Kate Pez dispensers, Royal Romance massage oil, Royal Wedding marmalade, happy couple masks, life-size cut-outs, full size fridge-freezer, ‘Kiss me Kate’ cider, even Will & Kate pizza.  And to top it all off – the regal icing on the cake, the must-have item of 2011, that penthouse of wedding titbits – the ‘Crown Jewels’ commemorative box set of souvenir condoms.  Sheer delight.

So now is the time to gift my friends.  Go forth and spread a bit of Royal love, celebrate with sovereignty, share a gift for the happy couple and that Will & Kate fridge-freezer could be coming soon to a home near you.

Hello from Shareagift

So this is officially (or oeufficially, if you’re hungry for breakfast and feeling French) ShareAGift’s first ever blog post!  And it comes to you from a sunny Monday morning in Primrose Hill, London.  One of those rare starts to the week where the sun shines, the bus arrives on time, the guy in the corner shop let’s you off that 10p piece you’ve been scrabbling about for, and all is right with the world.

For the ShareAGift team we’ve got some exciting stuff on the horizon, but first – how rude of me – allow me to make the introductions:

In the Red Corner, weighing in at (some very flattering weight – she is the boss you know) we have Justine – our CEO, founder, sassy entrepreneur, chocolate-loving, Jimmy Choo-wearing, utterly spoiling and known to brings us all to tears laughing in the office – all round blonde bombshell of a boss.

In the Green Corner, weighting in at probably quite a bit since he’s got more techie equipment in his office than IBM, we have Jon – CTO, dev genius and social media guru neatly disguised as a motorbike-riding, trendy-dressing, Soho-House hanging super-cool Daddy to two of the most gorgeous little girls you ever saw.

In the Orange Corner, just cycled through the front door on his sturdy Decathlon (that’s trendy bike to you and me), we have José – our award-winning graphic designer, branding king, coffee connoisseur, perfect Portuguese slice of sunshine and able to re-create the exact mating call of the reclusive ‘Avis Rarus’ bird (which will shock the living daylights out of you on a Monday am I can tell you).

In the Purple Corner, representing the flagship store of the British commonwealth (ok, yes Australia, we do know your country is EPIC but we still love a dig), we have Becs – skilled business analyst, expert negotiator, organiser extraordinaire, the most sensational cook this side of Alice Springs, F1 fanatic and all round good-time girl.

And finally, assuming the Blue Corner, it’s yours truly, Tessa, or Tess if you’d rather – Marketing maiden and Biz Dev damsel (90% without distress), professional light-gifter,  delishybaguette and world expert in the art of ‘Keeping it civ’ (feel free to unravel that bit of bio at your leisure, answers on a postcard please, points* awarded for showing your workings).

*Points mean prizes

So that’s us, give us a bell, if you fancy a chat – we’d love to hear from you.  For now though the coffee’s up, the sun’s shining we’ve got exciting stuff ahead so on that note I’ll toddle off. Until next time then, this is me signing off.  Have an extraordinary day.