Slightly unbelievable offers, Brightpearl and leadership observations


For a while now, I've been wondering what I should do about Babette?

Sometime towards the end of last year, a friend, Mandy, wrote to me saying how much she liked the fact that I'd left the picture of Babette in, at the foot of my weekly emails. At this point I had wondered idly if I should keep it there or not? So, to keep her happy and because I'd not had any constructively alternate thoughts, I've left the picture of her where she was and is!

My reason for talking about it today is that earlier this week a customer, Nisar, wrote to me and in a very carefully and gently worded email asked me what the rationale was behind leaving her image there. In replying to him, I admitted that there was little thought in it, partly because no one else, Mandy apart, had made any comment on it. But, I was curious as to what his take on it was and, indeed, maybe you have wondered "how long is Andrew going to leave his dead wife's picture there, without comment or explanation?” Well I have, as a result of these contrasting thoughts, and a bit of further correspondence with Nisar, now made a change, which I hope will explain her presence and give some context, especially to those who are new the Art of Living family, or have come to receiving my emails more recently. So, I am grateful to both protagonists for their differing thoughts, that have helped lead me to my current position and conclusion.

New lines Prep

Yesterday, Em and I were going through stuff that Jeanne, Em and I had seen at the trade show at Camden Business Centre a few weeks ago. And, in trying to make room for these things, Em observed that there was a particular Le Creuset Special Offer set that was selling like kerb stones (I think this is a "Surrey" saying that means "not at all" Andi) and suggested that we split it up, to get rid of it. As we have over £10,000 worth of just this one line (at cost), I thought she probably had a point.


Beware! Short dig.

Had we been on our old system, where there was proper "Exception Reporting", we would have identified this a long time ago. One of the many disadvantages of “Brightpearl” (our new Stock Control system, powerful though it undoubtedly is), now nick named “Blackpearl”, is that its reporting out of the box is abysmal, shocking, bordering on the non-existent. It doesn’t, for instance, mention margin achieved in a simple Sales by Brand report. That is pretty fundamental and really rather inadequate, some would say woeful, others pathetic. There are many examples like this, and add to that, their ethics, which we've found, at the top of the company, are highly questionable, I would have given them a wide birth, had I known this, and how difficult it would be to extract information out of their system. 

However, with the combined help of my son Jonathan (software engineer), Paul our database whizz, Jim my brother (an Excel whizz) and Chris, a customer who does this sort of thing for a living, we are now getting dangerously close to getting some proper reporting back again, after an almost 2 year gap of running partially blind. Ok, rant over, how is this going to benefit you?

Well, the sets that Em identified have three very good pieces in them, and we have decided to sell these off at not a lot more than half price-ish!


Le Creuset Offers on Offers

These three pieces are part of a special set with an original RRP of £474.00, reduced in the Le Creuset offer to £310 (which we have since reduced to £260, and still they didn’t sell!). They comprise, a 16cm Saucepan (no helper handle), a 24cm Frying pan, with non stick coating and a 24cm Casserole. The individual pricing is as follows.

1. Le Creuset 3 Ply Saucepan RRP£145.00.

  • Our price today is £93.20.
  • Your price this weekend is £79.00

2. Le Creuset 3 Ply Frying pan RRP £140.00.

  • Our Price today is £98.90.
  • Your price this weekend is £79.00

3. Le Creuset 3 Ply Casserole RRP £189.00.

  • Our price today is £137.40.
  • Your price this weekend is £99.00


Please note that

  2. The Saucepan is WITHOUT the helper handle on the leading edge of the pan, that depending on your hand and wrist strength, may or may not be an issue for you on this smallish saucepan
  3. If you want to purchase the complete set you may do so now for £225.00.

So, that is it for this weekend. I’m still struggling to define my "Why" that I’ve been bleating on about for months, and the friend who’s helping me with it is, I think, getting a bit frustrated by our lack of progress,  but I (possibly we) will persevere…

She reads these emails and at this point (if she gets this far down) will probably be having a reaction (not entirely sure what?) at the thought of yet more discussions on values, my life experiences, et al…!


Final thought if you’re interested in people or leadership, skip it if you’re not.

I’ll leave you with one last thought, that comes from a 25 year old. He said that, as a leader, the buck stops here. There is nobody for him to complain to, he’s the end of the line, the absorber, the buffer stop.

He went on further to say, that the way he identifies leaders in his company is that these people absorb the negativity and then produce solutions, they don’t pass it on. Whereas, people that aren’t leaders, will take a negative situation, and when something bad happens, they will then go and communicate that thing to 5 others, which can often beget more negativity, and it can snowball, bringing everyone down with it. A good leader, on the other hand, will absorb everything, a bit like a punching bag for negativity, they will offer solutions to the person concerned and they wont pass that negativity on to anybody else.

I think that this is a really important point he’s making. His name is Steven Bartlett. His podcast can be found here (The relevant passage is about halfway through).

I hope you have a pleasant and peaceful weekend.

Kind regards


Andrew Bluett-Duncan



  • Andrew Bluett-Duncan

    Thank you for your response to Babette’s photo and I’m sorry to hear about your mum and how her death has affected you. And yet at the same time, it’s also lovely for me to hear the story of your mum and Babette talking about “all things culinary”.
    Thank you
    Kind regards

  • Andrew Bluett-Duncan

    Thank you for your thought and comments on Babette’s picture and her influence on the business. She did also have a very positive attitude to life generally, and it doesn’t surprise me to hear that she corresponded with you whilst she was ill, as funnily enough in some ways it wasn’t as tough for her as you might imagine for her much of the time, and I think that was because of the realistic and usually positive attitude that she carried with her throughout her life, until close to the end.
    Kind regards

  • Anna

    Hi, I love that Babette’s photo is still there. She was clearly a huge part of your business and for me it would be very sad not to see her face every week. I contacted her a few times during her illness and was surprised she replied during such a difficult time. Her philosophical attitude to her prognosis was humbling and indicated a thoughtful, caring, gentle person, who deserves to be remembered. I think your addition of the dates very fitting and probably will be beneficial for new customers.

  • Lindsey M Warner

    I also thought it was so lovely you had continued to leave Babette’s photo and like very much what you have added today. I lost my Mum in March and we are still all reeling with her loss (suddendly after a short illness) and she was 80. She loved to visit your shop when she came to stay and would have loved to have conversed with Babette about all things culinary. Thank you again for all the posts last year without knowing it they helped me deal with our loss this year x

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