Friday, February 24, 2017

Online Shopping - Some of My haunts!

Now it makes sense that I would do a fair bit of shopping online when I run an online business. I try and do as much of my 'life' as I can online actually. I pay bills, book hotels, organise 'fun' activities, clothes shop, buy food, look for houses, search for job opportunities. Basically whatever I can do online I will!

Here are a few of my favourite or go to online businesses I've used over the years and, for the most part, still use now!

* Banking - I've online banked for as long as it was possible I think. It's so convenient and so easy. All my business banking I can do online as well as loan repayments and even applying for credit cards (not that I need another credit card to get further into debt!). My main banks are Westpac and ING. There are now also phone apps which are helpful when you're out and about and need to transfer money from one account to another. How easy has I life become!

* Shopping - Not only do I use the internet for personal shopping but also for my business, it's great! I don't need to bother with my car and siri, nor do I have to deal with crowds and feeling invisible in a shop. Do you find yourself feeling like you're wearing an invisibility coat like I often do when in 'real' shops? Online shopping eliminates this :-) I am trying to kerb my clothes shopping, both online and in stores, as I don't 'really' need anything and money is tight but when I am in the mood and actually have a bit of spare cash (what is that??) I usually browse: Cotton On, Supre, Ezibuy - whoever was having the best sale usually ended up with my money. For business most of my suppliers had a website I could order my stock through or I just emailed through my order. Very rarely would I need to call or to visit in person. Groceries where another thing I use to order online and have delivered but now I just wander into town and get what I need. I very rarely do a large shop so can more often than not just carry my groceries home. A bonus of living in town!

* Travel - I am forever searching for the next bargain holiday and this lately has been centred around cruising. We did our first cruise in 2010 and were well and truly bitten by the cruising bug. Love it. My main cruise website is Ozcruising but I also checkout Cruisesalefinder. Hotels are another thing I always book online, generally through Wotif or Booking.com as well as flights or train. For flights I check Webjet but then book directly through the airline, whoever has the cheapest flight generally! Webjet's booking fees are ridiculous especially when you're booking a Tigerair flight for $45 and their fee is $20 must cheaper to book direct with the airline. Webjet just makes it a bit easier to compare the flight :-) If I need to book the train, the dreaded XPT, I book online through NSW Trainlink. Groupon is another website I have used and often check out for ideas on 'fun' activities to do with the family - I've booked Jet Boating (fun) and Abseiling (not so fun) as well as the Brisbane Wheel (I think the wheel was about half price!) and have ear marked a couple of other activities for possibilities in the coming school holidays. I've also booked the Sydney Harbour Bridge climb online and the Sydney Tower Skywalk plus the Auckland Harbour Bridge climb (I also came across a website which had a discount voucher for this so saved $15pp with that, bonus! My mum might have a different view of this though!!). The comparison sites are great, even for travel insurance (there are sooooo many out there) these sites can help narrow down your search.

* Life - All the everyday things in life can more often than not be done online, saving time and sometimes money when they offer a discount to pay online. Car rego and insurance, electricity, internet, phone all the usual suspects can be done online. Most of these have been setup as direct debits, to make things even easier, but I also have the option to pay online.

What on earth do we do with all this time we're saving by doing so much online?? Probably wasting it on Facebook and Instagram or day dreaming of our next cruise.

Jacqui ~ Rainbow Designs boss(y) lady and lover on online shopping :-)

Sydney Tower - Skywalk! (booked online)







Course for fun and Education

I've been thinking about doing a course (or two) just through the local Community College but can't decide what I should do. Obviously I want something I'm interested in so will enjoy going and not dreading but I also want something that might be a bit useful.

There are a few work/business/career related ones like, Office 101 or creating your own website, then there are more involved (and expensive ones) such as Cert 2 in Business etc but I'm thinking more along the lines of hobby/interest as apposed to directly helping with my job.

Maybe learn a new language, or train to be a barista, play the guitar, there's even painting and origami. I'm leaning more towards learning a new language. I could do French as I did that way back when I was at school so have a teeny tiny bit of knowledge.

Cut off for enrolling is this week so I better decide fast!

Have you done any short courses? What did you do? Any tips for me?

Jacqui ~ Rainbow Designs boss(y) lady who drinks too much tea

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Motivation

Motivation comes and goes with me. I can get hit with it and then an hour later it's gone, like a puff of smoke. Or I'll be in the shower and think ok when I get out I'm going to do this, then this and then this but when I get out of the shower and by the time I'm dressed and ready to begin I can't be bothered!

Short attention span maybe?? I always have grand plans when lying in bed or the shower or driving possibly because they are plans but then when I can actually implement these amazing plans and ideas I realise how much work that really is! Laziness maybe??

When motivation hits I try and grab on for as long as I can and make the most of it. I'll get some blog posts written (case in point!), clean the house, do the grocery shopping, cook, make phones calls I keep putting off, research and implement ideas for Rainbow Designs, write newsletters and facebook updates etc.

Sometimes it's just so overwhelming and I don't know where to start, this is when I make a cuppa and look on Ozcruising for a bargain cruise :-) I love planning and planning a holiday is on the top of that list! Sometimes I think I enjoy that stage of it more than the actual holiday, not really but close! I'm trying to use that love of planning for Rainbow Designs and make it more fun and interesting. It's been a hard slog these last few years and it's starting to really show. Not just within myself but also with the actual business and its feasibility. Is it still a 'business'? Am I actually making money? What's changed? Why have things stagnated and even started to go backwards? It's like I've just open the doors of a new business and starting from scratch. I've got ideas I just need to write them down and work out what the next step is. One of the things I am going to do is go through all of my old ideas books and see if that helps. I'm still a bit old school as I actually have a 'book' that I 'write' things in and not just a computer! I know, showing my age!

So 2017 is (fingers crossed) going to be the year where motivation hangs around and I make the most of it! I've already wasted a month and a half, well not wasted but not used it to its full potential, so there is no time like the present! Onwards and upwards.

How do you motivate yourself? Any tips on getting the grand plans from my head out into reality?

Jacqui ~ Rainbow Designs boss(y) lady who's misplaced her mojo but it searching high and low for it!

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Hampers over $150 but so worth it!

I started off Rainbow Designs with a very limited range at very low price points and have gradually added and improved what we sell. For the most part I have tried to keep our gifts under $100 and still include the delivery in the price but there are some hampers that are just worth spending a bit more for (and some people!).

These hampers following are priced from $160 all the way up to $490 (which is an absolute show stopper!!) and I believe they are all worth their price tags, I wouldn't sell them if I wouldn't buy them. I've always only stocked gifts that I would personally either want for myself or would be very happy to send a loved one and know that they would be thrilled when they opened it (and possibly share with me!).

So to start off I would like to introduce you to:

All You Can Eat - it is priced at $490, our most expensive gift hamper but it is what it says, all you can eat (and drink) and then some! It's great for family gatherings, such as a family reunion or a milestone birthday plus it also works great for staff and business functions - a great show piece. It has 7 different types of alcohol, numerous snacks and nibbles and an endless array of gourmet delights and sweet treats. Something for everyone that is for certain.

All You Can Eat - go on we dare you!
Now this next hamper is a change from what we call 'Traditional' hampers but still with that classy gift hamper feel about it and did we say 'impressive'?? Our Soft Serve Ice Cream hamper has been a Christmas time gift winner since the day we released it on Rainbow Designs. An unexpected gift but a very welcome gift especially with these hot hot summers we've been having. We love the fun and frivolity of this gift hamper and going by the feedback we've received so do our lovely customers. It's an investment gift I guess being at the higher price of our gift hampers ($299) but if you're gifting it to a family or group it works out very reasonable plus they'll certainly get your moneys worth with all the icecream they'll be whipping up - a great idea for a dessert bar at parties too!

Soft Serve Icecream Gift Hamper
Another fun gift hamper in this range is our Popcorn Hamper and at $160 it'll make movie night worth staying in for! What you save on going to the movies you can use to splurge on this great hamper. Everything is included in this gift to make movie night or any night really, a night to remember! A superb quality popcorn maker (and it's easy to clean), an absolute truck load of popping corn and some yummy toppings to make your popcorn extra special. We've found this gift to be popular for younger crowd, such as 18th birthday, moving into their first home and as a family gift at Christmas or Easter time. Another wonderful gift idea that can be shared so makes the price very reasonable plus it is something that will be used and kept for years and years and maybe passed down the family or kept at nanny's for the when she's on baby sitting duty!

Popcorn Hamper
For an occasion that calls for something that little bit special and something that can be kept and used again and also brings with it joy, love and happiness I've picked our Something Very Special Champagne Gift, $200. It's a relative new comer to our range and it was selected with 'love' in mind. Naaaaw. The quality is superb both in the Champagne itself and the accompaniments. The stunning stainless steel ice bucket will be something to cherish as will the gorgeous Laurent-Perrier champagne flutes. It's a timeless and elegant gift with a touch of romance. Engagement, wedding and the purchase of a first home have been celebrated with this gift and for every anniversary after they will be able to relive and enjoy that moment. It can make an any day into a special day, no ring needed.

Something Very Special Champagne Hamper
There are four other gift hampers in our over $150 range all offering something different and something special. There are two more gorgeous gourmet hampers along with a Christmas hamper and a gift for the wine lover, something different but impressive and will definitely show the recipient how much they are appreciated.

So next time you are in the need of a gift with a touch of style, elegance and a bit of wow please have a look at these hampers as I just know they will not disappoint.

Jacqui ~ Rainbow Designs boss(y) lady and romantic at heart.







Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Summer colds suck

I hate having a cold at any time but when it's summer and it's 30+ degrees day in day it, it's the absolute pits. My head feels like it's going to explode, now that wouldn't be pretty, although I'm not sure there's much in there! Running your own business is generally fun but when you are not feeling 100% this is when you really miss having work mates. There's no one else to do the work so it doesn't matter how bad you feel you've still got to get up and get the job done.

Thankfully my head cold isn't too bad, it's not the man flu or anything and popping a few advil every now and then helps. I've also been having my yummy fruit smoothies which I make with my blender my sister gave me for my birthday. Vitamin C to get rid of the germies.

It's been awhile since I've had a cold so I guess I shouldn't complain too much plus complaining get you no where! Business has also been really quiet so I don't have that much work to get done, good when I'm not feel well but bad when I have bills to pay! I've really got to find ways to improve Rainbow Designs or it may not be around for much longer. A very sad thought indeed.

Blogging and facebooking plus updating the website and sending newsletters is currently where I'm at but I'm going to have to think outside the box if I won't to stay in business. If you've got any inexpensive (or free) ideas on what I can do I'd love to hear from you!

For now I'm just going to keep on doing what I'm doing, this includes eating the odd chocolate or three, dreaming of busier times and thinking of ways to get my business back on track.

I hope you are feeling on top of the world and that 2017 has been treating you well - here's to clear heads, many orders and happy days.

Jacqui ~ head boss(y) lady with a head cold and ice cream at the ready

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Basics

It's all about keeping things simple. All of the processes I have for running Rainbow Designs have basically stayed the same since I began back in 2004. The website's had a few updates and tweaks over this time but generally has stayed pretty much the same in terms of receiving orders. I do remember though, when I first started, that I would be notified of new orders by a little asterix appearing next to the 'order' word - oh how exciting that was. It still makes me smile when I think how excited I was whenever I saw a little red asterix!


For the most part everything is done online but I am a bit old school with the order tracking side of things. I still write each order number and postcode down followed by the tracking number and the date it was sent. I then check the tracking online and update my book once it has any updates or been delivered. In doing this I generally find I can keep a good check on what's happening with all the orders we have processed and sent. I do update these online through the website but just find it easier to have it written down in my trusty exercise book.

Tracking of parcels is still pretty much the same except that the couriers are now all online, where as earlier on when I started I had to phone them to track parcels. This took a lot of time and waiting on hold, much easier now. The following up of deliveries unfortunately isn't any better.

Ordering stock has stayed pretty much the same with either emailing or ordering online. When I do have to drop parcels off this is also still the same as when I first started. I head down to the post office or the courier and drop them off, the only courier that regularly picks up is Fastways. The only time I would drop parcels with them is if I had a very last minute order that had to go out and the driver had already been by to collect the parcels. At times when I was dropping parcels off at the post office I would get permission to drive into the warehouse and drop them all there. I had a lot and it just made it easier and stopped me from holding up everyone inside the shop :-)

I still use a diary just never got the hang of using my phone. I need to write it down and then just flick a page to see what's coming up. Probably showing my age :-)

Many things have stayed the same over the years but many things have also changed. The gifts change, some come and go and some stay on. I've worked with other small businesses and, like the gifts, some stay some go. I changed things last year in the way orders were physically pack in the sense that I currently don't do this. This may change in the future. I'm always monitoring my business and trying to ensure it's running as best as it can. The emails are still the same, I get them all and reply to them all. Some good, some bad and some just weird.

I think 2017 is a year for a bit of change. I'm not sure how much or what sort of change yet but I definitely need to make a change or two! I'll keep you posted if and when these happened.

Thanks everyone who has supported Rainbow Designs and continues to do so - I wouldn't be still doing this if it wasn't for you.

Jacqui ~ bossy(y) lady and chocolate eater.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

It's all about us!

We've been around forever, well for 13 years anyway and this is a little bit about me and Rainbow Designs. You can also read it on our website :-)

Rainbow Designs (ABN: 99131478119) — Gifts for the sweet Tooth.

Rainbow Designs is an online sweet tooth themed gift hamper business based on the wonderful Far North Coast of NSW, Australia in the lovely country town of Murwillumbah (home of the Banana Festival, Mt Warning and the Austral Cafe!) - it is owned and operated by me, Jacqui Halls. As a child of the 80's I sadly have photographic images of big hair, fluro scrunchies and leg warmers!
I confess to having a rather BIG sweet tooth and am a complete chocoholic so it's not hard to workout where the idea of Rainbow Designs came from! So what better way to spend my working hours than by filling (and maybe eating the odd dropped choccie or two) fabulous gift boxes full of yummy lollies and chocolates! Dream job???*


Just to reassure you on the quality of the confectionery we use, I have personally taste-tested EVERY ONE of the delicious lollies and chocolates in each gift, (it is a tough job but someone has to do it!) and we (not the Royal WE but the Halls family WE) believe they are the PERFECT remedy to ensure good books all around Australia will have your name in them!


Rainbow Designs is a (happy) family run business. At times there are 3 generations of our family working hard to get your orders packed and sent, lucky we get on so well (MOST of the time!). It does help that there's plenty of chocolate around - you can't stay mad at someone when you're eating chocolate (and they can't stay mad at you!). There's a tip: if you're in someone's bad books - send them a Big Chocolate Box. They'll forget why they were mad at you as soon as they receive it!

Our yummy lolly & chocolate filled gift boxes have been satisfying sweet tooths and sending people into fits of sugar induced happiness since March 2004! Time sure does fly when you're having fun! I'd hate to think how many M&M's and Allens Snakes I've eaten in that time - probably best not to! Although I do have to brag that I still fit into the ear rings I use to wear at school! ;-)
Placing an order is easy, safe and fun using our 128-bit SSL secure online shop, or contact us if you have any questions or feedback.

* This is currently being done by some fabulous people in Victoria - we love you!