A couple of visiting amateur photographers also had liked the photograph of The Sentinels in the monthly magazine, and, along with many of the regular Group members, came to talk to Mel about it – about the equipment she’d used and her settings. This interest resulted in a couple of people trading in their cameras and lenses for models such as Mel had used. It wasn’t a fortune, but it was the first green shoots of further interest. Tony and Jamie were delighted.
Jamie used the photo and details of the article on the shop’s website and that decision brought not only lots of favourable comments but also some further sales.
It was now exactly six months since Mel had started employment there – ‘Only six months!’ was what Jamie had said. Tony and Jamie had been looking over the shop’s trading figures for that April to October period. Turnover and net profits had been rising throughout that time. When they printed-off a year-on-year comparison there was an even more marked improvement. The only difference to the growth in net profit that they could think of was the influence of Mel.
More customers were now asking specifically for Mel’s advice, but she made sure to bring Marcus into such conversations whenever he could be spared from the counter.
Jamie had noticed this a few times and he hoped that neither of them was having their heads “turned”. He was able to work on internet promotions without being asked to assist downstairs, but he’d have liked to have been a “fly on the wall”.
Otherwise, both Tony and Mel were less stressed since her appointment, and it was undeniable that she was amazing at converting enquiries into sales orders. Possibly some of it could be attributed to her looks and some to her personality. The remainder, however, was unquestionably due to her knowledge of photography and equipment – and to her ability to explain that knowledge simply – jargon-free.
Tony was forced to admit that Jamie had been right. It was time to give Mel her head and to develop some in-house photography services ready for launch the following Spring. He also agreed with Jamie’s current suggestion that they increase her wages. Jamie had put it bluntly.
‘Listen, Dad,’ he’d said, ‘she knows so much about the business already, in only six months, that she could be approached by one of our competitors in the city as a manageress. With her dad’s contacts, she could possibly even get funding to start up on her own in competition with us. Anyway, you’ll be able to write most of it off against tax, won’t you?’
Tony put his head in his hands and sighed, before pulling his iPad towards him and opening the accounts copy spreadsheet. He made an extra copy and started punching in some figures to work out the implications of the proposed increased wages bill on net profits. He showed Jamie, but Jamie argued for more on the grounds of the current rate of growth probably continuing to justify it. Tony agreed on the grounds that it was to be put to Mel as a lump-sum productivity bonus rather than as wages increase – and with a review in six months to consider further recognition.
Jamie understood his dad’s point but felt that he’d made his point. A “plus” point for him was that it would put more distance between Mel and Marcus.
That afternoon, Mel and Jamie were downstairs planning an ‘Autumn Colour’ Sunday outing for the Group. They were debating whether to head for the Lake District or the Forest of Bowland. When the shop phone rang, Marcus answered the call and after listening for a moment called to Mel, and said,
‘Tony, for you.’
She went to the counter, picked up the receiver and said, ‘Hello’.
‘Mel,’ he said, ‘Can you spare me a moment and come up to the office for a moment please?’
More of Liverpool. I said that I’d intended to do try my hand at street photography. I did manage to bring back a few shots. Today’s photo is of a street musician at a crossroads in the centre of Liverpool’s shopping area. His drumsticks are blurred through their rapid beat, Two young men talk nearby, as if unaware of the drummer’s efforts. From around the corner, two young women approach – one of them turns her head, laughing with a young man who appears to be trying to attract their attention.
For all the street shots, I used my Pentax KP 24 MP cropped sensor camera twinned with a Pentax 16-85 mm f/3.5-5.6 mm lens at an ISO of 100. The EXIF data for this photo were 1/100 secs @ f/9and 39 mm.