Monday, 16 December 2013

Last Chance To Purchase Your Christmas Gifts

What a fantastic year it has been and I must admit that I will be enjoying a cold one come Tuesday afternoon when we shut up shop until the 6 January. And I must say well deserved it will be too - phew - what a week it has been!

On Thursday last week, we shipped out 220 gifts to destinations all over Australia - our Big Lolly Box high on the popularity list.  And the rest of the week wasn't far behind in terms of popularity.

Have you ordered your gifts yet?  Don't forget we will be closing tomorrow at midday so we recommend ordering your gift now so there are no issues and you don't miss the deadline.  We would hate for your recipients to go without.

Here are a couple of last minute recommendations:

It's Christmas Chocolate Tin
Rudolph Sweet Tooth Gift Box
Nuts About Christmas
Rosey Apple Xmas Gift
Rudolph's Delight Hamper
If you have ordered, or even received a gift, we would be extremely grateful if you would take the time to review our services on WOMO.  Thanks to the reviews already received, Rainbow Designs won a 2103 Service Award for which we are very proud.  We try very hard to offer quality customer service at all times and are extremely proud of our service history.

"Every time I purchase from Rainbow Designs I'm always impressed by how quick my order is sent. The family and friends to receive the gifts are really surprised and delighted by their gift." - Nicole

"Excellent communication - I was kept up to date with the entire order and delivery progress the whole way. Super quick delivery. Faultless! Will definitely use again!" - Christina

To all of our customers - past, present and future - we sincerely hope you have a wonderful Christmas and magical New Year spent with those you love.  We look forward to helping you with your gift giving in 2014.

Monday, 9 December 2013

It's Christmas Carol Time


With only two weeks to go until Christmas, I can say without a doubt that the Christmas carol season has started. Wherever you go at this time of year it is inevitable that some store will have the carols playing. And for most towns, the official caroling season has started with "Carols By Candlelight" being held in the majority of towns around Australia.

I certainly don't mind Christmas carols as it is a great way to really get into the festive season and share in the spirit of Christmas.

What is your favourite Christmas carol? Some like the more traditional carols while others opt for the more up-tempo pop versions. CD sales for Michael Buble, Kelly Clarkson and Susan Boyle soar as people are snapping up the albums to impress friends and family.

December is such an enjoyable month especially with the Christmas parties and gift giving involved. We love being part of Christmas as we get to share in the Christmas spirit when we send our delicious gifts all over Australia. Our large Rudolph Gift Box has been sent to Darwin, Hobart and everywhere in between it seems.

Don't forget that we will be closed from Tuesday 17 December until 6 January 2014 so make sure you get your order in before then.


And while many of our gifts have sold out due to their popularity, we still have quite a variety on offer. Choose from a Christmas Lolly Jar for the kids or a Moet Christmas Hamper for mum and dad. And needless to say the Rocky Road Christmas Tin has been snapped up like there has been no tomorrow - what great taste you all seem to have. Yum - rocky road!!

We hope you are making the most of the silliness and fun that December allows and we wish you a delicious and magical Christmas.

Monday, 2 December 2013

December Traditions


I love December for many reasons, not only because of summer and Christmas (although they are both pretty awesome!) but for the traditions which families recreate year after year.
  • Do you start decorating on the same day each year or put your tree up on a specific day?
  • Do you use specific decorations or have a special way in which you decorate?
  • Do you drive around the neighbourhood to view the Christmas lights and decorations?
  • Does the elf on the shelf appear to monitor your children's behaviour?
  • Do you attend your local "Carols By Candlelight" concert every year?
  • Do you use an advent calendar in your house?
  • Do you have a Christmas CD which makes an appearance every December?
  • Do you leave out milk and cookies for Santa?
  • Do you hang stockings in your house?
  • Do you donate a gift or your time to a particular charity each year?
  • Do you bake traditional Christmas cookies or treats to share with your family?
These are just some of the traditions which families enjoy and experience together each year creating great memories and traditions to pass on to future generations.


And some of you have even added Rainbow Designs into the mix as part of your traditions for which we are very grateful.  We have many customers who order a gift box or two of lollies or chocolates each year as a special way to treat their family and friends.

Do you have any particular traditions which you or your family participate in every December?  Please share as we would love to hear from you.

Monday, 25 November 2013

Don't Forget The Kids

What child doesn't love the anticipation of Christmas? It is full of fun, family, sweet treats and exciting presents and we have a number of gifts at Rainbow Designs which are particularly suitable for our younger fans.

While many of our gifts feature an abundance of candy and chocolate, here are some which include a cuddly toy to accompany the sweets heading their way.

Perfect for Christmas is our Christmas Lolly Jar featuring Santa Claus - once the jar is empty is can be reused for other equally delicious treasures providing fun memories all year round.

Our Reindeer Delivery gift features a cuddly reindeer measuring 30cm as well as a handful of delicious candy canes and chocolate stars. Name him what you will - Dasher, Dancer, Prancer or Vixen!

And let's not forget Santa's Puppy. His spots and soft fur will easily win over any child, as will the scrumptious chocolate Christmas tree and baubles.

Our Rainbow Bear Sweet Tooth Gift is popular all year round making it a great gift for Christmas, a birthday or just for a job well done! Choose the teddy bear of your choice and he will help protect the half kilo of mixed chocolate and lollies. I am talking jelly babies, strawberries and creams, freckles, frogs and snakes to name just a few.

It won't be long before the children will be nestled all snug in their bed while visions of sugar-plums dance in their head, so make sure you order your gift before our Christmas cut-off date of 17 December 2013.

Many of our Christmas gifts have already sold out due to popular demand so we advise you to order sooner rather than later.

Monday, 18 November 2013

Let The Christmas Baking Begin

I confess I am not much of a baker (hmm that might well be an understatement!) but I do love the look of all the yummy recipes which are appearing on my Facebook feed at the moment.  So much so, I might even attempt one or two of them over the Christmas holidays.

I recently posted this Easy Santa Claus Cupcake recipe on our page and it looks like it would be so much fun to make, and a great one to share with the kids.  M&Ms, chocolate chips, coconut, sprinkles and frosting are required to turn the cupcake into Santa.

I also love the look of these Peanut Butter Reindeer Cookies which will easily make use of the spare chocolate chips and M&Ms you have leftover from the cupcake recipe

These are made using a peanut butter cookie recipe although this can be adapted if necessary.

And for those who may be baking-challenged like me, these dip sticks look very festive, although in reality you can dip anything from pretzel sticks, mini pretzels, Oreos, wafer cookies, sugar cookies, shortbread or biscotti.  A delicious treat with no baking required.

If however baking is not really for you, then I would recommend popping a tin or two of our delicious fudge on the table as an alternative and watch it disappear.

Fudge seems to be a favourite in every household I come across and these beautiful tins can be used over and over again.  And there is something for everyone - vanilla fudge, chocolate fudge and the ever so delicious rum and raisin.

What are you looking forward to baking or making this Christmas?

Monday, 11 November 2013

The Calm Before The Storm

November for me has always been a strange month; it is the calm before the Christmas storm so to speak.

It is however in reality, a great time for me to get organised and mentally prepare for the busy weeks ahead. I am able to plan, restock and deal with the increased number of customer service enquiries which grace my doorstep.

While orders are still coming in, generally November for retailers is nowhere near as hectic as December - in particular the last couple of weeks prior to Christmas.

For me the last week before Christmas is actually extremely pleasant as I am officially on holiday - Rainbow Designs' Christmas cut-off date is the 17 December.  If we left it any later, there would be a lot of unhappy campers amongst us as the orders would not be guaranteed to arrive before Christmas Day.  As it is, the postal workers and courier companies are already working overtime in preparation for the festive holiday.

So today I thought I would share with you two new products which are available for the Christmas season.


The first is our Nuts About Christmas Hamper.  It comes already packed in a gift box and includes Christmas blend coffee, macadamia nut fudge, honey roasted cashews, a brownie bite and a pack of organic licorice.  Delicious, right?


The second gift is our Santa's Puppy Pack.  It features an adorable Joyce & Co puppy dog, Freckleberry chocolate Christmas tree and 20 chocolate baubles.  Imagine the surprise on Christmas morning when they open that one.  Again it comes already packaged in a lovely gift hamper box for ease.

I hope that this time of year is not proving to be too stressful for you.  We aim to take the stress out of Christmas with our delicious range of gifts and hampers, so if we can help you in way, just give us a shout!

Monday, 4 November 2013

7 Weeks Until Christmas


Alright...I said it...don't shoot the messenger!

Christmas is not that far away (sorry!) particularly when you take into account that last orders will be taken 17 December 2013 and even earlier for corporate orders, 11 December 2013 which is essentially only 5 weeks away.

But I would like to add that many of you are already very organised when it comes to your Christmas shopping.  Corporate orders are starting to come in and we have had a number of enquiries from expats abroad asking about sending gifts to their loved ones back in Australia.


Way to go - I am very impressed as I know I am behind in my personal Christmas shopping - so hats off to you!  I also know that my friends and family love receiving gifts from Rainbow Designs so that always makes shopping a little bit easier especially when I often leave things to the last minute.

Are you the same?  Do you tend to be a last minute shopper or are you a person who is very organised and stockpiles gifts throughout the year?  We are all very different when it comes to our shopping habits but one thing we all have in common is that we want to ensure that our gifts reach our loved ones safe and sound and give them as much enjoyment as possible.

Monday, 28 October 2013

Buying Gifts For Men


Apparently buying for men is difficult - we hear this from our customers all the time.  Until they discover our website that is - we hear that a lot from our customers as well.

Shopping for the boys in your life need not be hard particularly if a) they like to drink or b) they like to eat. Think about their likes and dislikes and pretty soon you should be able to narrow down a gift or two to suit.

If he likes beer - then we have 10 - yes 10 beer gift hampers that he may appreciate.  This would include lovers of ale, cider or lager.

If wine is his thing, then we can help here too or coffee for that matter.  See how easy it is!

Moving onto the next course, is he into pizza, Spanish or Moroccan cuisine or prefers tucking into some sushi or pancakes perhaps?

And we can't forget dessert.  Does he like ice cream or is he more of a cheese lover.  Does he have a sweet tooth?  If so he might enjoy one of our lolly, chocolate or fudge gifts or perhaps licorice or ginger is more to his taste.

If you really want to make an impression then consider sending his gift to his workplace - that way his colleagues will be envious of his gift and the thoughtful gift giver behind the gift.

See - we aim to please!

Monday, 21 October 2013

Christmas Sneak Peek

As Christmas is only 9 weeks away, we thought we would give you a sneak peek of what we have on our website so you can start creating your wishlist and working on your budget.

We love our reindeer at Rainbow Designs and have three gorgeous gifts featuring a reindeer (or two) in some shape or form.  Our favourite is the Reindeer Delivery pack for $55 which features a cute reindeer plush toy along with candy canes and chocolate stars.

Rocky Road seems to be very popular at any time of year so we know our Rocky Road Christmas Tin adorned with (you guessed it) reindeer is going to be a bestseller at only $50.

And the It's Christmas tin at $45 featuring some very lovable reindeer and a delicious array of malt balls, festive coloured freckles, chocolate coated peanuts and everyone's favourite, the good 'ole Jaffa, will have you wishing you ordered one for yourself.

If you are planning a Christmas party, whether at work or at home, no Christmas table will be complete without the Rosey Apple Xmas Gift featuring 25 (yes 25!) Rosey Apple Lollipops.  And what's even sweeter is that it will only set you back $30.

And of course it's not Christmas without our Penguin Sweet Tooth Gift Box for $41, chock a block full of mixed lollies and chocolates.

The Be Merry gift pack features a very practical over-sized taupe mug, chocolate baubles, a gingerbread star and a fabric star ornament.  At $40, this gift is perfect for those "hard to buy for" work colleagues and family members.

All Christmas gifts are available to order from November 2013 and all of the prices mentioned above include delivery charges.

We hope you enjoyed our sneak peek and we look forward to receiving your Christmas orders.  We anticipate the little elves at Rainbow Designs are going to be very busy this year.

Monday, 14 October 2013

A Trip Down Memory Lane


Isn't it amazing how a box of candy can take us immediately back to our childhood.

A handful of lollies can sum up delicious memories with each bite.

Do you remember walking to the corner store to get your lollies, standing there hesitantly with your two 20 cent coins trying to work out which ones you wanted to buy.  One of those thanks...two of those...and one of those...and another of those...

Do you remember sitting in the cinema with your Maltesers and when the lights dimmed threw one or two on to the unsuspecting heads in the front row?

Do you remember walking home from the swimming pool with your snakes in hand, stretching them out and chewing their heads off before they had a chance to bite you?

Do you remember quizzing your family and friends on the name of the Fantales wrapper and making a game out of it?

Do you remember sucking all the white sugar off the jellybeans and then sucking them down until they were almost non-existent?

Do you remember trying to guess the colour of the clinker before you ate it?

Ahh those were the days!

What lolly conjures up sweet memories for you?

Monday, 7 October 2013

When The Postman Rings

I love the sound of the doorbell ringing alerting me to the fact that a parcel has been delivered.  The anticipation of opening the parcel and seeing the contents inside is very exciting, particularly when I am not expecting anything.

Magnify that feeling by at least 20 and you can understand how I feel when the new stock arrives for Rainbow Designs.  In this case it is not just one small box, but a number of really large boxes full of delicious treats and gorgeous packaging, and that thrill, even after all these years is still there.

As I am opening the boxes, I can imagine packaging the goods up for those that order and seeing the smiles on the faces of those who will receive them.  We take pride in our products and our packaging and do our utmost to ensure that our customers are 100% happy.  Just check out or reviews on WOMO to see what some of our customers have to say. 

I enjoy this time of year as it means that even more parcels are being delivered to our door than usual to cater for the festive season ahead.  Christmas gives us the opportunity to be more creative and elaborate with our packaging – I mean who doesn’t like penguins frolicking in the snow and I know that our three Japanese inspired fudge tins are going to be very popular.

While I do love to receive gifts (I mean who doesn’t!), the pleasure of giving (even as a store owner) definitely beats the satisfaction of receiving a gift – every time!

Monday, 30 September 2013

Corporate Gifts To Suit


As we are head into October, many companies start planning their Christmas corporate gifts in advance, whether they are being sent to clients or to thank their employees for the hard work done throughout the year.

Christmas is always a busy time for organisations as they are trying to finish up all the work before the year end, tie up loose ends and all with reduced staff numbers as people are making use of their holiday leave.

Don't be left wondering what to buy your clients and staff; be prepared so the festive season becomes a breeze to navigate and enjoy.

Our range of corporate and Christmas gifts are designed to suit organisations of any size and style.

We have a number of traditional executive gift hampers to please such as this Christmas Bubbles Gift Hamper (pictured above) which features Moscato, Brandy plum pudding and fruit and nut chocolate.


For those looking to personalise their gift, we can add your logo onto our confectionary noodle boxes (pictured above) at no extra charge (minimum order 20).  These are extremely popular and delicious too!  

Our Bag of Sweets at $4 per bag is perfect for organisations with younger staff members or kids (minimum order 20) and for the ale lovers we can offer The Ultimate Ale Box

These are of course just a sample of the corporate gifts we offer, so make sure you browse Rainbow Designs to see the full range on offer. 

We have worked with organisations all over Australia and look forward to assisting your company with their corporate gifts this year.

For your corporate enquiries, please email Jacqui at hello@rainbowdesigns.com.au and she will get back to you as soon as she can.

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Honesty

It's so quiet today I'm not sure why I got out of bed! Swings and Roundabouts lately. The last few weeks, come to think of it it's been the last few months, it's been refreshingly busy - I've sprung out of bed (well maybe not 'sprung'!) at 6.30am excited for what the day would bring. There's been lots of fabulous orders, customer enquiries, corporate Christmas quote requests and it just felt like the upward momentum had finally hit Rainbow Designs this year - hooray!

Queue today and zilch - the momentum appears to have stopped, dead. WHY?????

I'm getting close to just giving up, then only problem is Port Macq doesn't have many job opportunities for me. Although, it would probably be cheaper to close Rainbow Designs than to keep it going at the moment - my latest tax return tells me that. woo to the hoo.

I'm trying to stay positive, really I am, but sometimes...........................it it hard. (and my stupid computer does not help things!)

I've ordered some, hopefully fabulous, new packing and really looking forward to its arrival! There's a few Christmas themed gift boxes (well tins actually) as well as a couple of 'everyday' gift packaging and a 'love' themed tin (it's heart shaped and looks fabbo!) and I found my Easter 'russian egg' tins that I use to have and that were so popular but then the supplier stopped stocking - they're back baby!! I'm not getting ahead of myself though and won't order them just yet, let's see what Christmas brings first!

Today was meant to be sunny and 28degrees but I think it's taken a leaf out of my book and is grey and miserable looking :-) Doesn't do much for my mood that's for sure. BUT chin up, onwards and upwards.

I've cranked the music and am forcing (!) myself to stay positive and (sort of) focused.

Time for some lollies (have you had your quota today??)

What doesn't kill you makes you strong,

Jacqui

(wishing she was here)


 



ps: have you written a review about Rainbow Designs yet? You can do it here or here!

Monday, 16 September 2013

Feedback and WOM

We want to ensure we are doing a GREAT job and that you, our fabulous customers, are always happy when you order from us. The feedback that you provide us, whether that's online at WOMOon our Facebook page or by an email direct to us, is read and taken notice of (good and bad).

Rainbow Designs may only be a small business but we want to be a FABULOUS small business and we want you to LOVE shopping with us and to SHOUT IT from the roof tops BUT if we do something you're not happy with PLEASE let us know.

We don't mean to disappoint or let you down BUT if we do please tell us AND if you think we've done a GREAT job you can tell us that too!

Thursday, 12 September 2013

Relying on Others

We all have to rely on others whether it be the bus driver to get the kids to school, the phone company to connect your phone and internet, couriers to deliver your parcels, the bank to process your pay......it's part of life. What we have to make sure we don't do is to rely on a single person or business without any backup plan if they let us down. Unfortunately I haven't done it with my business and am now racing around madly trying to find an alternative company to help me. Frustrating and inconvenient to say the least BUT I should have had a backup plan!

With Christmas fast approaching this is the last thing I need to have to worry about - finding a new supplier. It means that I'll have to rush in and possibly use a company I haven't before and not really know if they're reliable or if their products are of great quality. This week will be all about finding a replacement as I don't think my current supplier is worth the hassles of dealing with, as disappointing as that is because I loved the products I was getting from them (when they ever had stock - which is the WHOLE issue of needing to change).

So, a bit of advice, DO NOT RELY ON SOMEONE without having alternatives to go to. Follow up on enquiries often with your current suppliers etc and don't just assume they're doing 'their thing' because if you leave it and then find out they haven't done what you thought they were doing it can leave you in a bit of a bind!

Time for a coffee and maybe an M&M or two!

Have a great day and remember to eat some lollies!

Jacqui
Rainbow Designs - you CAN rely on us :-)

Monday, 9 September 2013

How to choose the drinks to be served for your wedding

What’s a wedding celebration without a touch of some bubbly and alcoholic drink? For one, there is always celebratory toast to cheer the newly-weds and wish them years of continuous love, dedication and a wonderful family. So what are the options for serving drinks for your wedding?

There are three options to choose from:

Offering specialty drinks

The choice of specialty drinks is best suited for weddings with limited budget on food and drinks, thus, the couple about to get married will be the one to choose the kind of drink to be served for all the guests. Also, offering specialty drinks are the usual choice of those who doesn’t want to splurge much on alcoholic drinks. Season drinks and/or sodas are the usual option of non-alcoholic drinks. Serving alcoholic drinks can be done but on a limited basis and choices, such as champagne and one or two mixed drinks with just a pinch of alcohol.

However, if alcohol is to be served, you have to consider the time of the day of your reception to suit the kind of drink you offer. Example of mixed drinks, usually served during early and summer weddings are bloody mary and mimosa or margarita and pina colada. For winter and/or evening weddings, robust merlots and Bordeaux will be the best choice.

Also, try to consider the type of menu you have chosen. If there will be red meat, you should of course choose to offer red wine, for white meat and/or fish, it should be paired with white wine.

The advantage of offering specialty drinks is that the level of alcohol drinking can be limited and/or controlled. Also, this will allow you to get some savings that you can use for other aspect of your wedding.

Limited bar availability

The bar can be opened but with limited drinks available such as beer and wine or champagne which is necessary for the toast, and of course during cocktails.  For the choices of beer, you can be a little creative by offering a variety of microbrews or craft beers.

An advantage of offering a limited bar is that the guests can choose what kind of drink or mix of drinks they would want to have (basing on what’s being offered). This goes without saying that the newlywed will not have to worry if the wine will complement the menu or if it is a good time of the day or of the season to offer such kind of drink.

A cash bar is also an option wherein you are allowing your guests to buy and pay for their own drinks if and when the complimentary drink is not enough for them.

Open bar for everyone.

Having an open, unlimited bar will highlight your generosity and unlimited budget over food and drinks, and needless to say, your guests will definitely love it! A word of advice though, make sure that there will be plenty of both alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks available so that everyone will be covered. And make sure that you or there will be people to help you manage if some of your guests get really drunk.

If you want to have an open bar but you have a limited budget, you can offer open bar but during the cocktail only. This way, you are giving your guests all options for the kind of drink they want but only on a limited time.


Friday, 23 August 2013

Payment Options

Our most popular form of payment by our customers is by credit card, generally Visa or Mastercard (Visa just pips Mastercard), we do also accept Amex and Diners but find these are mainly used by businesses. I don't mind people not using Amex or Diners as the bank fees for these are a lot higher than regular credit cards (2 almost 3 times higher!)

Paypal is the next favourite way to pay with some days outdoing Visa/Mastercard, most payments with Paypal are by people who have a Paypal account so are using their balance - very rare but on occasion we do receive eCheque payment through Paypal. These work similar to normal bank cheques in the fact that we have to wait for them to clear first before processing the order.

We occasionally receive orders using direct deposit as payment but these are becoming fewer and fewer - a good thing about direct deposit is that we don't have to pay any fees (like we do for credit cards and paypal payments) but a downside is that we can get 'scammers' trying to get their order set before we have received payment into our bank account! Sadly I have fallen for this before BUT not any more - no orders are sent until we have received payment, no matter how urgent it is. We do recommend using another form of payment for urgent orders as we want to be able to help but not at the expense of losing money!

Money orders and cheques are also a payment option but these are used very little - which makes sense really. You're ordering online to save having to go to the shops but then if you pay by cheque or money order you have to either go to the bank or post office and then post it off and wait, wait, wait for us to receive it plus if it's a cheque there's even more time waiting for it to clear. Not very 21st century!

Until next time, use your mastercard and send someone some lollies!

Jacqui

Thursday, 22 August 2013

Reasons people send gifts

During the last 9 years we've sent out a lot of gifts for birthdays, probably one of the most common reasons for people sending a gift actually! I think that it's great that we can help people with their gift giving needs and love the fact that with the internet it makes it so much easier and faster! Quite a few of our gifts are 'oh no I forgot such and suchs birthday' I need it delivered FAST, please please please. We do everything we can but there are times when it is just impossible for us to deliver on the date requested, especially when it is needed the same day but it's going to Perth - just can't do it. In these instances we let our customer know that we are unable to deliver on their requested and do suggest that if they require same day delivery to look for a business that is on the same area or even to try a florist. Florists are generally all linked by larger companies (such as Interflora) so use local businesses to do the order requests. Wouldn't it be great if Rainbow Designs had little shops scattered all over Australia!!

Another popular reason for people sending a gift is to say 'sorry' - whether it be for saying something not very nice, for forgetting a special day or for not ringing more often. A little box of chocolates is a great way to say sorry and I'm pretty sure you'll be forgive for whatever it is you did!
 

Anniversaries have been celebrated a lot with a big box of lollies - from 3 month anniversaries right up to golden and everything in between. It could also be the anniversary of buying a house or getting a job - so many special dates to remember and celebrate!

Main events such as Easter, Mother's Day, Father's Day and Christmas can always guarantee a flurry of orders - generally last minute! It can have me worried at times thinking what terrible sales we've had but them low and behold in they all come, with only moments to spare. Sometimes I do wish people were a bit more organised :-)
 
 

So, who's birthday have you forgotten??

Until next time, share a box of chocolates with someone you love

Jacqui

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Father's Day is fast approaching!

Another year is flying by, don't they all?? I can't quite believe that Father's Day is only 2 weeks away - I'm sure we just finished Easter!! Sometimes I can't keep up with the speed of the weeks and other times I wish the days would go faster (weekend anyone??)!

We've got a fabulous variety of gifts this year at Rainbow Designs with 'dad' in mind - think licorice, beer, big box of chocolates (all for him!), more beer and even lager and cider if he is that way inclined!
 

Our yummy range of gifts from Port Macquarie can be ordered up until Wednesday 28 August to ensure delivery is made before Sunday, 1 September and our gorgeous gift hampers from Brisbane and Melbourne need to be ordered by Monday 26 August - the earlier the better really!
 

Remember, deliveries are not made on the weekend so all orders will be delivered the week leading up to Father's Day - it's up to your dad whether he has the will power or not to not open it until Sunday!
 

Gifts start at $19...............so there is NO reason to not send your dad something! He deserves it! Just quietly, I think my dear old dad will be getting boring old socks (he can have all the chocolates he wants just about anytime he wants with me close by!) but don't do that to your poor old dad!!! :-)

Take care and don't forget to eat some lollies,

Jacqui

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Cheap Gift Giving but Also Very Yummy

I started Rainbow Designs (way back in 2004) with the idea of having cheaper gift hampers/boxes so more people were able to send something - whether it be for a birthday, house warming or just to cheer someone up. This is still so very true today! I've even lowered a LOT of prices which means I may have to work much, much harder and sell a LOT more gifts to make a living but that's just fine with me! I want people to be able to feel comfortable and happy to order form Rainbow Designs and to be able to do it without blowing their budget. Lower prices definitely doesn't mean lower customer service or poor quality products! NO WAY! I work so hard at delivering service that people expect, want and deserve - they're spending their hard earnt money with me so they deserve the very best I can give.

The quality of the lollies and chocolates we use are a major part of our gifts so I always ensure we get the best we can, not gourmet, but well made and, well, yummy! Allens are a definite favourite as is Mars (think M&M's - I LOVE M&M's!!) and Cadbury and Nestle and Trolli (gummi bears are SO popular - they are almost always included in the cravings gift!) We're lucky that we have a great local distributor here in Port Macquarie that stocks most of the yummy confectionery we use plus we also worked with some fantastic businesses who help us with our gorgeous hamper gifts (we've got one in Victoria and one in Queensland).
 

Delivery has been helped ENORMOUSLY since we started using Toll Express! They have been amazing in their service and delivery times. They surprise me quite often with how fast they can deliver especially to places like Darwin, Perth and Alice Springs - the NEXT day! I think that is pretty special! Their tracking is also great, I can keep an eye on all the parcels we send out and generally be able to update customers when their gift has been delivered. I think this is a nice touch as more often than not they are in another state, sometimes even another country, so it's great that they can feel part of the whole gift giving experience! (and then they can see how long it takes their recipient to say thanks!!).
 


It's hard work running Rainbow Designs and I have to admit that at times I've had doubts about the success of it and can sometimes get caught up in the day to day BUT in saying that I love working for myself and hearing from happy people and knowing that I was a small help in their lives for just a moment.

And don't forget to eat some chocolate,

Jacqui

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Gifts for someone who has everything?

I have noticed over the last few weeks quite a few people who found Rainbow Designs by using the search term 'gift ideas for someone/couple/friend who has everything'. Lucky them! I guess it is hard to buy a gift for someone who appears to not actually need anything - I think our gift boxes are just the thing. Everyone likes lollies and chocolates, well almost everyone!

It's A Wrap - $60 includes delivery!


This was part of the reason why I started my online gift business around the theme of sweet tooth. It's a gift that can be given to almost everyone for almost all occasions and they're not expensive plus it's so easy to order online - win, win, win!

I love that people love being able to buy something a little different but still mean something to the recipient. I get emails saying how excited the recipient was when they opened their gift and found LOLLIES! Also so many people have said how they love they can send something other than flowers and cheaper than flowers (and yummier!). It is a great feeling knowing that my little business has been used and enjoyed by so many people around Australia and the world - I've had orders from NZ, UK, Japan, Canada, Singapore, USA.... exciting. I love picturing them sitting half way around the world looking at my business online, drooling at all of the yummy gifts and relieved that they haven't missed 'little Johnny's' birthday! Yay for the internet!

So, if you need a gift for someone who has everything - we can help and quite often do! Love it!

Sweet Celebration Hamper - $99 including delivery

Friday, 17 May 2013

Chocolate Gift Hamper

Another NEW gift hamper has been added to our yummy collection and it has Chocolate Coated Lollies!! Includes chocolate coated raspberries, pineapples, strawberry & creams, chicos, raspberry bullets plus milk chocolate freckles and chocolate caramel popcorn. All made in Australia using delicious Belgium chocolate. I am hoping it is going to be a winner as I want to be able to keep ordering these delicious lolly chocolates (so I can taste test them ensuring the quality is just right!).

Chocolate, Chocolate and More Chocolate - $65 delivered

I love being able to order from small producers and suppliers within Australia who try and use Aussie ingredients not everything is Australian made but everything is of wonderful quality and taste. If something isn't up to standard we will look for another item to takes it's place. In general I've been pretty lucky with my suppliers I think the main thing I've had problems with has been with the boxes. Noodle boxes, in particular the large noodle boxes, are becoming harder and harder to find. The design was changed a couple of years ago and not as many companies stock them. I have also found that sometimes the quality isn't quite right - the sides of the boxes aren't stuck very well so when I receive a carton I invariably have to get rid of 10-15. What a waste of money! I'm now having issues with the supplier of my patterned boxes (eg cravings, spotty box etc). They are the only ones in Australia who carry these boxes and they carry VERY little quantities and at the moment a lot of the designs I carry they don't have ANY of! Very disappointing and frustrating as they are not going to place an order for them until later in the year - not too helpful to me now though! I have been lokking around for another supplier plus have also contacted the USA company that make them, will wait and see what they have to say!

Mother's Day is over for another year, which I have to say is flying by, and going by the first few months of 2013 it wasn't too bad. Not great but not bad. The next main occasion coming up is Father's Day and then, scarey as it is to think about, it's Christmas!

Until next time,

eat some M&M's!

Jacqui



Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Affordable Gifts was why I started Rainbow Designs

One of the main reasons for starting my business was to try and provide an online store that offered something a bit different to the traditional gift hampers and bunches of flowers BUT for less and in the theme of YUM. I wanted somewhere that was easy to navigate, easy to read, easy to order from and easy on the wallet. I wanted to have my prices cheap, well affordable, and to include everything - the gift, the gift tag, the packaging and the delivery. So when people came onto my site they could see WHAT the gift was, HOW much the gift was and WHEN it would be delivered. The hardest part is the DELIVERY. This is by far the hardest thing to control. Delivery is always (well almost always as I do deliver some myself when it is local) done by a third party, a business that is NOT part of Rainbow Designs. I basically hire them to deliver MY gifts, sometimes easier said than done! I'm currently using Toll Express and have been for about a year now and they have been much easier to regulate the delivery times with. Basically they deliver within 1-2 business days of the parcel being sent. The majority are next business day - great news for me and my customers! Of course there are the inevitable delays which generally come from incorrect/insufficient address details or sometimes the courier is just swamped and has had to hold back some items until the following day BUT in general I can rely on Toll to deliver efficiently.

Now having this type of delivery means the delivery charge I pay to Toll is, in the whole scheme of my gifts and business, quite expensive BUT I do think the reliability and speed far outways the cost. The prices I charge for my gifts include everything and this means the gift box/bag, contents, gift tag, delivery and customer service. It's a tough balancing act - offering affordable quality gifts with fast delivery and making some sort of profit.

I think I am managing to still have great priced gifts and with the use of Toll much better control of delivery times and also great quality lollies and chocolates and even fancier gift boxes! Something that doesn't help is when the BIG supermarkets sell their confectionery and gift items so cheap - I can't compete with them on pricing, never will be able to, their buying power is MASSIVE compared to mine! What I can compete with is quality and customer service - I think I can beat them quite easily most of the time!

Not everything should come down to price but it does form a pretty significant part of any business and also customers, as we all have to be mindful of where, when and how much we spend - money doesn't grow on trees!

$22 - no more to pay! Under $30 - we can do that!

Until next time,

eat some jellybeans!

Jacqui

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

It's not about the money, money, money

Running your own small business is definitely not about the money, I can certainly vouch for that!! It's more about doing what you enjoy, love even, and maybe even working when you want. Having said that, it doesn't mean you can decide to only work Mondays but more being able to fit personal life into your business life better. You are the boss afterall but this also means, the buck stops with you! You ARE the business so sometimes it might seem that all you do is WORK WORK WORK but hopefully it is something you're enjoying so it's not quite so bad!

I've been running my business for about 9 years now, it started off as part-time while also working (at the ATO of all places!) and then once things picked up a bit I was able to leave the ATO and focus solely on Rainbow Designs. The main problem I am facing at the moment is Rainbow Designs burn out. I have only even worked in the same company for as long as running Rainbow Designs once and that was my very first job, a LONG LONG time ago!! I'm trying to way up my options. Should I sell, close down, work part time somewhere else, hire staff....?? I've actually set myself a deadline and if things haven't changed (in a good way) things WILL change, good or bad! I think you can get stuck in the same old same old and even though you're not 'really' enjoying it, it just seems like too much hard work to do something different - this is where I think things can really go down hill. Just in the last few months I have seen over 5 small businesses, who have been running for about as long as mine, close up doors. Why I wonder?

I think times are tough at the moment in the retail sector (particularly small online businesses) but not tough enough that you can't make a living from it - I think you just need to work smarter and give yourself permission to have some time out. Maybe working part time somewhere else could help, even if it is just to feel like you can contribute to another business other than your own. It may even help with getting a fresh look on your own business. Volunteering is also another way to go - it need only be a few hours a week but something that can not only help others but help yourself feel 'worth it' - which is something running your own business can drag down. If you hit a rough patch it can make you feel like YOUR not good enough - it is your business afterall so it does feel very personal when things aren't all rosey.

One thing I do know, if I wanted to be assured that all the bills were going to get paid each month I wouldn't run my own small business - being employed is the way to go if you're just in it for the money I'm afraid!

When all things are said and done and business is getting me down, there's always chocolate:
Until next time,

eat some chocolate!!

Jacqui

Monday, 6 May 2013

It's not all Lollies and Chocolates here!

January 2013 - another busy Christmas period was over, Christmas pressies and turkey were a distant memory and the start of another year was at hand and so was an almighty thump! January always brings with it a big old sigh and a bit of a 'fall in a heap' feeling - every year! So this year I decided I'd had enough and need to 'get away' from work, full stop.

A week after making this decisions someone smiled down upon me because I came across the bargain of all bargains and booked myself a cruise, leaving in 5 days time! I could not wait and thankfully I didn't have to wait too long, all hands on deck and away we went.

10 nights, which actually turned into 11 nights, at sea with NOTHING to worry about except for 'buffet' or 'dining room'? It was just what I needed to really relax and not think about my business AT ALL.


Pacific Jewel - Vila

January is typically very quiet so I didn't mind shutting up shop for a few weeks, orders still came in but they were all processed when I returned (and the customers were aware of this delay). The only thing I did wrong was not allowing myself a day back on land to aclimatise to 'work' again - lesson learnt!

2013 is proving to be one of my most difficult years in business and I have been finding days when I just don't want to go to work - my love for it just isn't here at the moment. I am sure (fingers crossed) that it will pass and my enthusiasm will return but at the moment I spend more time dreaming of another cruise than I do working on Rainbow Designs! This is one reason why I have started getting into blogging again. Last year I had a few issues with my blog so, frustratingly, had to remove it. I did manage to keep some of my older posts and put them onto this blog but most were gone. I am hoping I can get back into the swing of blogging more regularly, things like behind the scenes, generally small business issues, products, reviews (maybe of other small business and maybe even from customers??), feedback, ideas, babbling etc anything really that forms part of my life, business and personal, that I feel like sharing.

I've been using Facebook as a promotional tool for Rainbow Designs but it's just not working - I haven't find the right way to use it yet. Will keep trying or will just delete the dam thing!

Anyway, almost time to head down to the couriers - I generally walk or drive each day and only get the courier to pickup when I have a lot of parcels, as they charge $8, this is generally in the busy time like Easter and Christmas. I've got one parcel that I need to drop at the Post Office as it's for a PO Box so need to leave a bit earlier. I don't mind doing this as it's a great way to get out of the office, get some fresh air and enjoy some 'away from the compuer' time.

Till next time,

eat some lollies!

Jacqui

Friday, 3 May 2013

Lolly Hampers

It's a Lolly kind of day today it seems! So many of the searches included the word 'Lolly' and it is something we have a LOT of here at Rainbow Designs! I think I might be missing something though? There are so many of these types of searches that don't end in an order, why? Maybe they are after more 'traditional' style Hampers? Maybe we don't have the types of lollies they want? Maybe they need it faster than we can delivery? (even though we do have Next Day delivery) I'm starting to think I need to include some different types of Lolly Gifts but what? I've tried Sugar Free, Dairy Free, Gluten Free, Peppermint, Licorice, Freddo Frogs, Kids styles BUT none of them did very well. What am I doing wrong?

I'm going to try another style of Lolly Gift soon, still using the gift box that a lot of my Lolly and Chocolate gifts come in but in a different style/colour. These new lollies are chocolate coated lollies and are made in Australia. They will be individually packed in 150g bags/boxes making it just over the kilo - pricing will be about $65 and this will include the delivery charge, as all my gifts do. I am hoping this style of gift will be more suited to the people who search for 'Lolly Hamper' and end up at Rainbow Designs. I guess I'll find out in a few weeks! (fingers crossed)

I've also been deciding on whether to have a Cadbury Gift box?? Made up of a variety of different Cadbury Bars and Blocks - "Cadbury Cravings" maybe??

A couple of weeks ago I added an option to many of my Lolly/Chocolate Boxes to add a Bear to their gift - I don't know why I didn't do this sooner! It has proven quite popular and I have realised that the Pink bear is a big favourite! I sold out too quickly - I feel sorry for the other colours. Luckily the company I get my bears from are pretty speedy with their deliveries so generally bears aren't out of stock for long. One of the hardest things is updating the website to reflect this - it is very fiddly and time consuming and more often than not an order will come in before I have had a chance to put something out of stock! Typical!

A few months ago I added a gift called 'Cravings' where you can select exactly what you want to go inside the box - popular! I've just added a larger Cravings gift called 'Cravings Overdrive' for the BIG sweet tooth.

I try and use lollies and chocolates that are known ie Allens, Mars, Nestles, Trolli etc so people know what the quality is like and can be happy ordering something for a far away friend or relative. The new gift I plan on adding soon is from a small business called Freckleberry so is a sort of unknown to most people but I hope over time my customers will realise that the quality is great and is just something a little bit different but still yummy and priced well.

If I can get small quantities of some new products I might look at trialling the special diets gifts again and include sugar, dairy, nut free products - it all depends on what I can find and the prices as I still want these gifts to be affordable and value for money, like all my other gifts.



 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Pinch and a Punch

Happy 1st of May! It's been a busy morning this morning, hip hooray! We've had a run on Buddy Boxes - this is one of my favourite gifts, I love freckles and choc buds!! I've had a bit of a tidy up in the warehouse and am also in the process of organising a new gift, which I hope to have available in the next few weeks. It will be in a new gift box and will contain an assortment of chocolate coated lollies - Australian made too. Cannot wait to show you!

I've just had to complete my first quarter BAS - well, I say I had to but all I had to do was send off all my statements and my fabulous bookkeeper does the rest. Love it. My 2012 tax was also finalised a couple of weeks ago and happily I received a small refund. Love it. It didn't go far and has already been spent but I'll take a refund any day!

Leading up to Christmas last year I had HUGE dramas with Fastway Couriers and a corporate order that they were meant to deliver. They are couriers afterall. Anyway, things did not go to plan so I had to put in a claim. May 2013 and I am still waiting for it to be approved. Very bad customer service Fastways and unfortunately my lovely franchise in Port Macquarie are the ones to lose out as I do not plan on using Fastways again. In one of the emails from Fastways regarding my claim they said 'We are unable to process the full amount blah blah blah' which I found quite amusing and told them. I said 'you're not unable you are just unwilling' - I am over it, which is probably what they want. Make it too difficult and they'll go away. Go away I will, no more business from Rainbow Designs.

Onto happy things, Mother's Day is just around the corner as is my Nan's 91st birthday! Unfortunately I won't be able to make it to her party but I did get to see her a few weeks ago, which was lovely. Have you ordered a gift for your mum yet? If you are ordering something online don't forget to take into account delivery time. We can deliver next day to most areas in Australia but it is always better to order a bit earlier to ensure it arrives in time. Deliveries will be made the week commencing Monday 6 May - and remember we do not have weekend deliveries.

Something new:


Afternoon Tea Hamper - $115 delivered