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Is there a market for a re-enactment product locater

Poll ended at Sat Apr 29, 2006 7:39 pm

Yes
14
78%
No, what a load of tosh
0
No votes
Maybe but you need to address the problems stated below
4
22%
 
Total votes: 18

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Lord High Everything Esle
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Postby Lord High Everything Esle » Thu Mar 30, 2006 7:39 pm

Quite frequently we get questions like, "who does Viking shoes" or "14th C buckles"?

It would be simple if there were a group of Viking shoe makers who did nothing else. To make a successful business they may have to broaden their scope to other periods and goods (purses, scabards etc)

Is there a market for a re-enactment product locater?

Who would host one - Histrenact?

What would it cost?

It would have to be simple to upload presumably if the products were produced on a spreadsheet they could then be loaded and linked to the originators own web site.

But what about pictures or should that be left to the traders site?


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WhiteWolf
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Postby WhiteWolf » Thu Mar 30, 2006 7:52 pm

How can I put this in a way that will get the messege across real easy like, aahhhhhh thats it




YES


WW 8)



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Postby Andy T » Thu Mar 30, 2006 8:25 pm

Well Duke Henry used to provide all of that in book form (and its still available)- for heavens sake should you develop something speak with him first-just as a courtesy :)


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Lord High Everything Esle
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Postby Lord High Everything Esle » Thu Mar 30, 2006 8:40 pm

I'm not intending to develop anything. I think Call to Arms is absolutely brill and I'm hoping that we will see another edition by 2007. I will certainly be advertising in it. Maybe this is where the glossary should be.

Thanks for your concern.


Will/Dave, the Jolly Box Man and Barber Surgeon



"Physicians of all men are most happy; what good success soever they have, the world proclaimeth, and what faults they commit the earth coverest." Frances Quarles (1592-1644) Nicocles

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Postby frances » Thu Mar 30, 2006 9:31 pm

Any costume enquiries can be answered by browsing through the pages of 'The Garter, the Directory that supports costuming'. there are loads of footwear makers, lots of costume-makers, oodles of fabric dealers and unusual ones like horn sellers, vintage button shops and so on. There is even one lady who has patented a device for stopping your bra strap slipping into view from under your outfit. The one costume area not covered are the armourers - but see Call to Arms for that anyway.

The Garter costs £10 plus £2 p+p (UK) and contains over 400 costuming contacts. Updates with another 70 or so contacts currently, come out 4 or 5 times a year. As soon as I can move house and release some cash to cover the printing costs, a new full edition will come out.



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Postby sally » Fri Mar 31, 2006 6:29 am

Whilst the Garter and CTA are fantastic publications and do their job very well, I think there is a real need for an streamlined online version where a potential client can pop in a keywork and return a list of suppliers to check out further. No more frills than that needed. So many people today go to the net first, and if they are just starting in re-enactment or manybe need just one specific item, they may not consider buying a publication with the listings in. There are already a few websites with lists of traders in, I can envisage this idea being la little like those but keyword search led, returning a simple list of names and websites/contacts. Perhaps for some keywords, like 'costume' one of the returned answers could be 'look in the Garter' or whatever ?



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Postby sally » Fri Mar 31, 2006 6:33 am

frances wrote: As soon as I can move house and release some cash to cover the printing costs, a new full edition will come out.[/color]


Frances, just a thought but have you considered using one of the print on demand publishers? That way you can update the book whenever you want and buyers know they are always getting the newest edition plus you don't have to cough up for printing in advance or store boxes of books. I havent used them myself but I've heard good reports about services like lulu.com, which will also mail out books direct and then send you the profits, saving you a lot of trips to the post office to boot. We were going to try them when we bring out the 'Compleat Gareth-the-Baker' book in due course.



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Postby busy mole » Fri Mar 31, 2006 8:05 am

Could well be a good idea, as traders we often supply a range of items that people may not expect, a listing that is available over the web and could be updated easily would have potential. How this would be run and by who is a different matter though. As to product pictures, personally I would think they should stay on the traders site, if they have one, a simple listing with links would suit me.


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Postby Drachelis » Fri Mar 31, 2006 11:11 am

I agree with Sally - I always go to the net first.

The more media we have listings in the better be it publications or online.


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Postby Neibelungen » Fri Mar 31, 2006 1:18 pm

In theory it should be a good idea.
Actually having a small type of UK specific re-enactment product search engine would be very usefull.

Basically it's just a database of companies, their products and a contact detail for them. A simple SQL query would call up the relevant infomation and output it on a page.

It's not much more complicated that a basic shopping cart without the shopping engine behind it.

Keeping it updated might be the hardest aspect, though no worse than any other website would be. As you say, a simple spreadsheet would be enough to send all the details and text searches are pretty easy to implement. I dare say a few of the people on here have enough web experience to know a few turnkey solutions to peice together to make it work.

I'd say that the biggest problem would be actually hosting it. While webspace is cheap, it's the traffic that costs, and something like this forum would be put under even more strain. I think you'd have to do it as a subscription to have your details entered to cover the costs. Even a small nominal fee should work.

I for one am interested in the idea.



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Postby Neibelungen » Fri Mar 31, 2006 1:34 pm

A few more thoughts...

A basic webhost with Mysql database and 20Gb traffic is about £15.00 a month. That's about £5.00 a year with 40 entries, or £2.50 if you got 80 people together.

So lets say about £5.00 summission fee. Stick on a free banner and say a £5.00 for every additional one. That should cover costs.

MySql database and the shopping engines are free. My website runs a semi-commercial shopping cart which costs about £100 but even the free ones are very good. It's got about 300 items listed with a text and picture for each, and simple search engine already

You should bve able to run it on OSCommerce or Zencart as there's a few mods similar to implement it.

Whether you have a central point for updating or allow individuals to update their data, shouldn't be too difficult to implement. Though security might be a issue. Though a simple login with session cookies isn't particularly difficult to implement and you can run a sql script through php to actually update your entries.

It's possible to do I should think without too much trouble. I'm not exactly a guru with websites, but i'm willing to have a play around at the weekend and see if i can come up with something workable.

Well... if my hobby became my living... I had to find something else to do for fun :oops:



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Postby Skevmeister » Fri Mar 31, 2006 1:42 pm

Hy Guys, I could add this concept to the pre-ordering system that I plan on writing, and hosting it wouldn't be a problem as I have my own server and unlimited bandwidth ( I should blooy hope so too costs me #100 quid a month)

Are you interested, I am more than happy to work together on this with Niebel.

Things lik ethis help to take a way th etedium for doing stuff like this for other people I can let my mind wander to other good ideas.

Skev


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Postby Guest » Fri Mar 31, 2006 3:41 pm

I'm not exactly a guru with websites, but i'm willing to have a play around at the weekend and see if i can come up with something workable



Oy you're finishing mine this weekend :P I know you and distractions :wink:



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Postby sally » Fri Mar 31, 2006 3:45 pm

Adding it to a pre ordering facility would make a lot of sense. So effectively our hypothetical user would go to the site, type in the item they are looking for, and get a list of suppliers, of whom a few might then be flagged up as 'will be at such&such a show, would you like to enquire about preordering this?'. Its entirely up to them whether they then follow up the list of possible suppliers, or consider placing a pre-order. Sounds well worth experimenting with and should allow buyers to get a sense of the number of potential suppliers out there in a way that just running a Google search currently doesnt



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Postby Tuppence » Sat Apr 01, 2006 1:04 pm

Good idea, but how would it work for people like me??

In other words, for those who don't have a 'product range', but do pretty much* anything within a couple of areas (costumes, embroidery, flags etc for me)?

Would it be that they'd have to come up on every search for everything related to the areas covered??

Also what about those who don't carry a specific stock, so can't necessarily do pre-ordering in any sense other than taking a normal order (again like me)?
Or those who can't necessarily take an order less than a good few months before an event?? (eg for me it can be six months, depending on the time of year.)
Or those who can't give a price instantly, because every job is quoted individually?

Would it be that any search would have to be distinct and separate?? (by which I mean on the same site's ok, but that suppliers who aren't in the pre-ordering thing come up on the locater).


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Postby Neibelungen » Sat Apr 01, 2006 1:45 pm

I did some preliminary testing with an open source e-commerce engine and think I've managed to work out a system to make it viable.

If you think of a trader as being the product that's being sold, rather than a specific item, then you can arrange the categories any which way you like, putting that trader (product) into muliple categories. In this way, there's no listing of what the trader indivudually makes ,as such, rather it's them inside the various categories that they represent.

So for example, you could create categories of clothes, shoes, armour, books etc and list the trader (product) within each one.

You could also create categories of 12th Century, 15th C etc and place each trader into that.

With a little playing around you can also merge the two types of categories so 15th century shoes, 12th century armour should all be possible.

This approach will allow each trader to basically have one large page of description about themselves, a picture or two of examples, and a link to their website and e-mail/phone.

By using an e-commerce engine, you can use the gain the advantage of the features built within the systen, email a friend about this product (trader), allow info sheets about the trader to be downloaded, multiple language versions, new traders, update on trader notifications etc.

The big advantage of a e-commerce system is having a built in back end to administer it, and a turnkey solution that doesn't have to be built. And most programs are optimised to some degree to be search engine friendly, so would allow them listing through google. Also the system has it's own search feature within geared to look through the products (trader) and their description.

It also gives those traders without a website of their own a actual web presence and a contact point . Shouldn't be that difficult to actually set them with a single static page either.

Hopefully I should get the trial set-up working online over the weekend for people to examine and see what they think.



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Postby Kate Tiler » Sat Apr 01, 2006 1:57 pm

Thanks N!

Though I have a web presence (which has been extrememely valuable & gotten me a lot of work & commissions) I have no idea at all of that which you speak :)

I shall just have to wait for the picture version to come out :wink:


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Postby Shadowcat » Sat Apr 01, 2006 6:50 pm

Tuppence wrote:Good idea, but how would it work for people like me??

In other words, for those who don't have a 'product range', but do pretty much anything within a couple of areas (costumes, embroidery, flags etc for me)?

Would it be that they'd have to come up on every search for everything related to the areas covered??

Also what about those who don't carry a specific stock, so can't necessarily do pre-ordering in any sense other than taking a normal order (again like me)?
Or those who can't necessarily take an order less than a good few months before an event?? (eg for me it can be six months, depending on the time of year.)
Or those who can't give a price instantly, because every job is quoted individually?

Would it be that any search would have to be distinct and separate?? (by which I mean on the same site's ok, but that suppliers who aren't in the pre-ordering thing come up on the locater).


All that applies to me too. Thanks for asking Deb.

Also what Kate said. I have a tame geek that helps me. I'm afraid Neibelungen speaks with tongues. Let me know when the idiot's guide comes out please.

S.



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Postby frances » Sun Apr 02, 2006 2:43 pm

Dear N., sounds really good to me. Can you build in something that says to every costume-related enquiry something like: 'See The Garter for more costuming sources that are not available on the web, see: www. ........'?



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Postby Neibelungen » Sun Apr 02, 2006 9:35 pm

The Trader's Repository[u]

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I was going to have aplay around and see if I could come up with a working model for a directory.

I've posted the site up as a test to see what you think.

http://www.trader.neibelungen.co.uk

It's just a test for concept, so there's no pretty images or colours or any attempt at formatting.

I put in a random assortment of fictional names (any resemblance is just lack of thinking anything original) and a few categories and hopefully it works.

Actually I'm rather proud of it, but would welcome any veiws and comments and we can see how it goes from there.



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Postby sally » Sun Apr 02, 2006 9:48 pm

I like it, would obviously need more categories (camp gear, food and drink, craft materials etc etc) but as you say its an initial prototype. How easy would it be for potential traders to add their info to such a directory?

Well done! 8)



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Postby Kate Tiler » Sun Apr 02, 2006 10:07 pm

Excellent start! Only comment so far after a brief look is that when there are several traders in a category - in Jewelry for example, it isn't that obvious that there is more than one trader - the 1/3 isn't very big, nor ins the 'next' button - there may be problems if you aren't the first trader to pop up!

But an excellent visual display of what we have been nattering about & I think it would be very popular!


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Postby Neibelungen » Sun Apr 02, 2006 10:29 pm

Allowing traders to enter their details would be possible, though would require some tecnical writing to make it happen. The biggest problem would be limiting who enters data and where. It could just as easily end up with a huge flood of spam and unwanted links as much as valuable info. Hence would really require a webmaster to actually do the input.

Your right about the need to expand the categories. I only put in a very few to see how it worked. I'd have to sit down and work a thorough listing before adding any real entries.

Controlling the listing is always going to be the hardest bit. At the moment it is simply alphabetical, though it can be weighted individually, but then it becomes subjective.

All entries are listed in the All Companies section as their master category, and then are linked to the other relevant categories. Additionally each entry is listed in the Manufacturers list too, as this differentiated a maker from an importer, though it isn't a neccessary distinction.

One of the first parts would be to expand the categories range to work out just how many different areas and dates would be required.


It might well be that the engine i'm using isn't flexible enough to completely manage the task, and may need a lot of rewriting to truely work. At least I think the concept works, though whether it's practical I'm not sure.

From a user point of veiw, I'd imagine it would work along the lines of a online table with all the various categories listed in it. A simple tick in the relevant box to decide where you wanted to be entered would allow submision. A text box for your entry details , description and submisiion of relevant picture etc would complete it.

There's enough work in that idea to keep me busy for weeks.. half of it i'll have to learn how to do as I'm going along.



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Postby Drachelis » Sun Apr 02, 2006 11:09 pm

Nice one N - I like it - all I have to do now is get Mng to finish my web site and I wil be up and running.

Coud I just point out that you have !% century and state that is 1500 -onwards not 1400 onwards.


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Postby Gandi » Mon Apr 03, 2006 12:13 am

as a 'mug punter' i think it's a good idea, especially if you don't have access to a hard copy of CTA or the Garter.

Neibelungen, had a look at your first draft so to speak, looks like it'll be a really good ide, keep it up.


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Postby Gyrthofhwicce » Mon Apr 03, 2006 11:23 am

As a new trader, i think this would be a brilliant idea, it's a way of new and old traders gaining more of a precense, and hopefully getting extra work.
I'd definatley sign up for it.


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Postby PaulMurphy » Mon Apr 03, 2006 11:50 am

Looks good as a start!

Couple of suggestions - in terms of categories, it might be good to have two distinct ways of navigating - by period, and by product. For example, if I was looking for C14th pottery, and there's a pottery section, that would seem a good match, but when you open it up and find that there are 150 suppliers and you have to visually check whether they do C14th stuff, that would be a real pain. If I could choose C14th first, and then choose pottery, it is so much easier...

For registration of goods and services by traders, what you would need to provide is a table of checkboxes, where the columns are the dates, and the rows are the goods or services offered, e.g.

Code: Select all

+--------------------+-----+-----+-----+-----+-----+-----+-----+-----+
| Goods/Service      |C10th|C11th|C12th|C13th|C14th|C15th|C16th|C17th|
+--------------------+-----+-----+-----+-----+-----+-----+-----+-----+
| Pottery            |  Y  |  Y  |  Y  |  Y  |  Y  |  Y  |  Y  |  Y  |
+--------------------+-----+-----+-----+-----+-----+-----+-----+-----+
| Clothing           |     |     |     |  Y  |  Y  |  Y  |     |     |
+--------------------+-----+-----+-----+-----+-----+-----+-----+-----+
| Leatherwork        |     |     |     |     |     |     |     |  Y  |
+--------------------+-----+-----+-----+-----+-----+-----+-----+-----+
| Armour             |     |     |     |     |     |     |     |     |
+--------------------+-----+-----+-----+-----+-----+-----+-----+-----+

etc.

Depending on the code and the database you were using, it would be possible to write a forms processing script which turned this form into a series of SQL insert or update statements to be run on the database if you approved the change.

Paul.


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Postby Neibelungen » Mon Apr 03, 2006 1:12 pm

Thanks for the feedback so far everyone. It's encouraging to see that it is a good idea.

I think i'm sort of on the right track for making this idea work, though how it might cope with a full set of date remains to be seen.

Paul, I think your idea of a dual navigation (ie. by date and by time) is good, as that's exactly what people are looking for.
I had thought of that approach, as well as factors like costume people are off the peg or to order as well, as that's important for them.

I think I'll drop the manufacturer idea as it's a little redundant and just adds another layer that's already duplicated.

I'd thought about a spreadsheet approach for data as there are a number of mods for that engine that work with spreadsheets, and it would simplify it quite a lot.

I'll expand the way it's organized this week and work on expanding the categories and see how it goes from there.



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Postby Neibelungen » Mon Apr 03, 2006 4:02 pm

Ok,

Started thinking about all the categories to list. The basic idea would be:
Roman (0-500AD)
Dark Ages (500-999) (hate the term but it works)
10th Century
11th Century
etc
18th Century
Napoleonic
19th Century
Modern
Fantasy/LARP
Bridal

And within each period the following:
Costume
Armour/Swords/Sheilds
Bows
Shoes/Boots
Pottery
Jewellery
Leatherwork
Woodwork
Buckles/Metalwork
Fabric/Haberdashery
Food/Drink
Firearms

The reverse would also be emplyed were applicable, so could have Costume by date period.

I'm trying to keep the list as encompassing as possible, but also keep it within a manageable range. As it is it's something like 140 options and two sides of listing, so there's potentially 280 fields already.
Can't see a use for bridal armour... or then again ?

Any suggestions for missing fields, bad names (costume or clothing ? )[/list]



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Postby agesofelegance » Mon Apr 03, 2006 4:36 pm

Looking good :D

You probably also should have
swords
tents
hats (as you have shoes separate)
flags/banners

Dawn


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