It is difficult sometimes to explain just what we do at Raven, since the business is part of our normal home and working life too. Graham and I do everything to do with the business from ordering, making and packing goods to the accounts, dealing with suppliers, creating catalogues and mail outs - including hand drawing all the pictures of everything for sale - wrapping and taking stuff to the post office - we actually had one customer who refused to believe that there were only two of us here as she said there was far two much for only two people to do! So here is a piece from an old Newsletter which will give you an idea of the sort of things which go into our normal day:
This is what the Raven operation looks like from the 'outside' by one poor devil who got roped in to help -
Firstly up at 6.30am - not a problem. Graham goes for a jog (!), Chris relaxes in the bath (much more sensible), then breakfast, walk Lupin the dog, then time to get ready.
Approximately 8.30 Graham collects the post and Chrissy sits at her desk with her stock sheets, ready and waiting. Graham opens the letters and Chris checks items off her sheets, files letter and makes notes of items which might need printing or making.
Then up to ‘the Gods’. This is the attic of the Raven home - no big warehouse, no small warehouse, not even a garage! - to pick up part of the orders. I do the difficult job of reading out loud while Graham dances, dives and swoops among the hundreds of boxes. After this part is complete, we descend one flight to the office. Here we collect Fact Sheets, Course Booklets, Wiccan tapes, books and assorted paperwork.
Then, thankfully, we have a much needed tea-break. Incidentally while Graham and I were upstairs collecting order together, Chrissy had the even harder job of making phone calls, paying bills and chasing up suppliers.
Back to work: Chris reads off each order form as Graham checks each item for each order. Any which are complete are put on one side. Now the checking is done Graham once more returns to the office with the completed orders to wrap, stick, address and in all other ways make ready to post.
Here with me, Chris goes through the orders that ask for oils, tinctures and incense mixes and begins to hand blend each mixture.
I am shocked. I know that it says made by hand in the catalogue, these are really hand made!!
Eventually, by work day ending (which was a lot later than I thought) the orders received in the morning have been sorted, packed and wrapped ready for posting. This has taken over eight hours for only seven orders. I say only because this was a small order day. When fliers are sent out, or at certain times of the year the numbers of orders received in a single day can be staggering.
Believe me, Raven know EXACTLY what ‘snowed-under’ means!
The following day the new orders are really easy apart from some Crystal Talismans. I have the great pleasure in watching Chrissy make a dozen or so of these up. Silver wire and beads, crystal chips and reference to the Talisman booklet that is sent with every order make a very special piece of jewellery. I also see Chrissy making up some Rainbow Generators which are so much more beautiful than could ever be described.
I arrive home and am happy to draw breath. I know that at Raven work goes on. I decide to check through my catalogue to see if I can find all the things made on the premises. Are you ready? Then I’ll begin:
All the Crystal Talismans, Fact Sheets, written printed and stapled, the Wicca Course, Wicca Tapes, Incenses, Oils, Powder, Pocket Pendulums, Pouches, Rainbow Generators, tinctures, and much more. All the Raven Newsletters, Flyers and Catalogues are done at Raven, by Raven
I learn two major things from my visit. The staff at Raven, Chris Sempers and Graham Raven, work a lot harder than most who ‘go out to work’ for a lot less monetary reason. Also the goods being sold by Raven are all First Class merchandise and a lot more beautiful up close.
So if you do happen across a house crammed floor to ceiling full of herbs, powders, bottles, boxes and bags, with two pale creatures who look desperately in need of sunlight, wish them well - but DON’T stop them. They could be working on my order, and I’ve got soooo much to buy!