Welcome to the new BALANCE website.
This is the first Blog of this new site, so it seems right to start off with saying thank you to some important people.
Firstly, I want to say thank you to the owners/managers and the support office of EasyWebstore. In particular Kacper Nehrebecki who deals with their support issues. He has been nursing us along with the old site for several years and kept it going, when it was well past its ‘sell-by’ date!
Back in 2016, Carol and I had started to look into how we could get a new website built. We knew we would need to set aside enough time and money to do everything we wanted to do and started to plan.
Unfortunately, when Carol’s health started to fail at the start of 2017, many of our plans for BALANCE had to be shelved and, of course, the recovery that we had all hoped and prayed for, didn’t happen and we 'lost' her in the Spring of 2018.
To say that losing Carol was a shock to all of us who knew her, is a massive understatement. It took the wind right out of our sails. However, we had to pick ourselves up and carry on. In fact the commitment we all felt for protecting her legacy is what galvanised us into getting on with things.
Building a new website felt like an affirmation that we were and are committed to keeping the BALANCE flag flying.
It felt like a mammoth task to find the right people to help us to build us a new site. I contacted and considered a few companies, but nothing felt right, until we had reason to contact the same company that made our very original little site (before we sold anything online).
I can still remember Carol and I driving into London to have our first meeting with the owner of forfront.net, back in 1998 to discuss how they could create our original website. It had seemed like a very significant step for BALANCE back then.
forfront.net was a relatively small company too back then, but over the years, they grew into something much bigger and now specialise in sophisticated e-shot marketing, with some very big clients.
After a few years with the original website, it was obvious that we needed something better and also something with a shop to sell our lovely saddle pads and other BALANCE designed equipment. Unfortunately, by this time, forfront had stopped building new websites for smaller companies like us, and didn't want to design and build an updated version of our original site either, which is why we had to find an alternative company .
I can't remember how we found EasyWebstore, but they built us our 2nd Website, which had our first online shop.
However, our connection to forfront continued because they had set up and managed all of our email accounts and do that very well, so we stayed with that arrangement.
In the first half of 2018 I had been trying to identify the best people to build us a new website but not having much luck. So, imagine my delight when, during a conversation with the forfront support about a little issue we were having with one of our mail boxes, it came to light that they might be able to help again with my plan to build a new site.
Enter Sigal Kellerman and her company CM System Designs.
Sigal is related to the owner of forfront.net and actually remembers meeting Carol and I, way back in around 1998 when we were getting our first site built. How amazing is that,? I suddenly felt like we had come full circle. Like it was meant to be that I had found myself back to where Carol and I had started when we undertook the re-launch of BALANCE after Maureen Bartlett stepped back from it, to pursue her passion for rescuing horses.
When we had our first phone conversation, Sigal was brutally honest about how tired and out of date our website was!
Most of what she was telling me, I already knew and could not argue with. What I liked about her, was her obvious passion for doing something well and again it reminded me of the level of passion those of us involved with BALANCE have about our own work.
A meeting then took place and plans were made for CM System Designs to build us a new site and shop.
The project has created a huge amount of work for all of us and it hasn’t been plain sailing! If we had had a huge budget and been able to give Sigal a free rein to built us a bespoke site with all the bells and whistles that it could have, we know it would be awesome. The budget we actually had, meant that CM System Designs had to be clever in their use of a good template and adapted it for us. They have done a great job with it, but we don’t see the site you are on now, as the finished project.
We hope it will be easier for people to find on the internet and easier to navigate around. If it can help us to spread the word about the work we do and the amazing horse friendly products that we have designed and produce, it will start to pay for itself and then we will be able to add more features to the site.
I am very appreciative of the work that Sigal has put into this project and hope we will have a great collaboration for many years.
One of the things that Sigal said early on in the project was that I needed to find a good photographer to take better images of our products. That led me to look for and find a very good local photographer. Laura Laws of www.LC-photography.com, She has done some shots already, and as time goes on, I will get her to take better shots of more of the horse-friendly products we make.
So, that is what has been going on and how you come to find yourself on this new website for balanceinternational.com
Your feedback will be welcome because if there are things that you find difficult, we want to know and of course, if you like it, that would be nice to know too.