Friday, 27 February 2015

O is for...On Special

It's always hard to know whether to have specials or not? Should I mark my gift prices down? Will this bring in more orders and will I still make money? Will I attract new customers or will it be my regulars who order, who would have ordered any way?

I've never been good at the whole 'add value' and 'don't discount'. I already believe my gifts are value for money plus I also have to take into account delivery charges. If I add something, for nothing, will this bump up the cost of delivery thus making the gift unprofitable. Also, what do I add as a bonus that will entice people into buying the gift more so than when it is just the standard product?

I generally go with a discount if I'm running a special but it can generally only be up to 15% otherwise I'm not making any money at all, in some cases I would be losing money. My margins aren't very high as I want my prices to be as low as I can make them, all the time not just a few times a year.

People still like to complain about prices but they just don't understand how expensive delivery is. My delivery charges vary from $13 to $21 depending on the satchel I use. Sometimes gift ideas I have just won't work as the gift, while in itself doesn't cost very much, ends up being too large for my small or medium satchels and ends up needing to use the large satchel - this is $20 just for postage!

This bear gift ended up being not value for money as it had to go in the $21 satchel!

Confectionery has also just gone up, for the 2nd time in the last 5 months as have all of my packing and gift boxes. I also went from using large noodle boxes to tins which is a huge difference in price but I didn't increase my sell price. Some of it was saved in the delivery charges as I could you use a smaller satchel but not all, it just means my margins are a bit smaller. This all means I just need to work that little bit harder! All fun and games.

Chocolate helps!

When I am discontinuing something I might mark them down to just cover postage as I just want to get rid of the stock I have and sometimes I'll have something on special to try and get a bit more interest and coverage for Rainbow Designs but I can't sustain these specials for too long. I actually prefer to keep my prices the same and have a 'repeat customer' discount so then people who are loyal to me or who have ordered from me before are rewarded for coming back! I think people appreciate this sort of discount too, it makes them feel like their business is worth something to us and not just taken for granted. I 'never' take orders for granted, I know how hard it is to get orders and keep them coming in regularly - it is never a 'given' that you will get orders every day, even after 11 years!

On special or just special - either way I think a business needs to believe in their products and pricing and not devalue themselves!

Thursday, 26 February 2015

Chocolate Gift Hampers, we've got them!

Hi, my names Jacqui and I am a chocoholic - woohoo! Are you or do you know someone who is? You can thank me later but I think I may have just helped you find the perfect gift for them (or you!).

I started my business, Rainbow Designs, with the idea of having some cheap (affordable) chocolate and lolly type gifts because, well, I love chocolate, I love gift giving and I didn't (still don't) have much money!

First gift I ever sold was the Big Sweet Tooth Gift! My website had been 'live' for about six weeks and finally, finally someone ordered - March 23, 2004. The beginning!

Sweet Tooth Gift
Back in the day it came in two 500g noodle boxes now it is currently in our fabulous Ditzy designed reusable keepsake tin (which I love!).

I've kept my gifts pretty much the same over the years with a few newbies added and removed, new gift boxes and hampers and an assortment of weird and wonderful confectionery. Some worked, some didn't! You live and learn and eat a lot of lollies!

Our current list of Chocolate Hampers include not only my range of Chocolate Boxes but also a yummy selection from a fabulous Hamper company I am lucky enough to be working with. They are such a lovely bunch of people and never fail to deliver gorgeous hampers that I am proud to be able to sell to my customers!

First up and one of my all time most popular hampers is the Sweet Selection Hamper - this is has been a staple of Rainbow Designs for so many years now and just keeps on delivering the good(ie)s!

Sweet Selection Hamper

Another super popular and fairly recent addition to our Chocolate Hamper range is our Choco-lot Gift Hamper. It's got chocolate coated pretzels! I adore chocolate coated pretzels, so moreish and so delicious. There's also rocky road (everyone loves rocky road) and choc honeycomb, hot chocolate, choc bullets, fruit & nut chocolate - it's a sure fire winner. Guaranteed to impress any chocoholic - happy birthday indeed!

Choco-lot Gift Hamper
Hot Chocolate is another new gift hamper we've added for our chocoholics out there as well as a very impressive Champagne and Chocolate Hamper - chocolatier chocolates, say no more!

Gift giving at it's most chocolatiest (means: full of chocolate). I hope I've been able to provide you with some yummy gift ideas for your chocolate loving friends and also been able to show you that even the smallest of budgets can afford one of our chocolate filled gifts - just $27 with everything included to make the recipient feel like they are king/queen of the world! Everything means Australia wide delivery, gift tag, glorious chocolate and beautiful packaging. Save time, order online.

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

For the love of Beer!

We've heard the call and we've answered with a bootful of beertastic beer hampers - cheers!

After Work Beers - don't mind if I do! This beer hamper is complimented with beer nuts and corn chips, a man feast if ever there was one!

Boutique Beer and Savoury Snacks - ooh la la, fancy beer for the fancy lad in your life! Combine the 12, I've been everywhere man, beer with corn chips, salsa, spicy peanuts and pretzels and you are guaranteed to be known as THE BEST GIFT GIVER EVER!

His Favourite Hamper - all for him no pressure to share. This is HIS gift and HIS along, perfect for watching his favourite footy team get flogged, I mean kick some goals or maybe help him cheer Lowndsey on at Clipsal. Whatever the reason or sporting event this is HIS HAMPER complete with HIS FAVOURITE things. Beer. Beer. Beer. and a bit more Beer. There's also pretzels, peanuts, salsa and corn chips - we don't want him to starve now do we??

The Ultimate Cider Gift Hamper - Are the more a cider sipper than a lager lover? Broaden their cider horizons with this hamper - it includes apple cider and, wait for it, pear cider! oooooh fancy!

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Flat Battery

In the back of my mind I had a feeling the battery in my car would soon decide it had had enough and wouldn't co-operate. Today was that day! For the last few weeks when I started my car it seemed a little sluggish to fire up and today it did zip. The lights were on but nobody was home. Bugger.

So much for getting an early start! I had planned on getting the dreaded 'big' grocery shop done and drop off the overnight orders in at Toll - not to be. I calmly (yeah right!) closed the car door and went back inside. Took a few (zillion) deep breaths and went and grabbed my NRMA membership card. I couldn't remember if I had paid my membership fee last year so, crossing fingers, I went onto the NRMA website, clicked on the 'request roadside service' button and entered my membership number, again with my fingers tightly crossed. Hooray, I'm still a member - relief washed over me, is an understatement, I was down right on my knees thanking the little baby cheeses, amen. After completing the form and being advise that someone would be out within the hour I went about my daily chores. Well, I hung out the washing someone had thoughtful left in the machine for me and then did a made dash to the toilet - I just knew 'murphy's law' and all, that this would be the exact time the NRMA dude would turn up! Amazingly enough I had time to dry my hands and walk back down the stairs before his little white van pulled up out front. Things were looking up.

I'd planned ahead and had the bonnet already up, I'm so clever (even though I am a girl) and had my car keys in my hot little hands. I could see Mr NRMA man was highly impressed! After explaining the problem and answering a few questions, such as 'how old is the battery', ummm about 3-4 years and 'how often to I use my car' ummmm about once a week, 'short or long trips' ummm short trips - well, there's your problem, the battery just doesn't get time to recharge (oh how I know how it feels!!). So after fixing his battery cables and battery tester doovy to my battery I starter up and brooom brooom baby, she bursts into life! Well done NRMA dude, well done! He also informed me my battery aok and doesn't need replacing, I just need to charge her up a bit. Leave the engine running for about an hour and she'll be sweet as (a Rainbow Designs Big Lolly Box - sorry, couldn't resist!).

I thanked Mr NRMA man profusely and waved him bye bye. With a skip in my step I went back inside to finish hanging someones washing out but had a worried feeling that someone might just jump in my newly mobile car and zoom off. So with that, I jumped in my newly mobile car and spent an hour driving up and down our street! No, not really. I just moved it onto the driveway.

After finishing a few more orders I head back to my idling car and, hesitantly, turned the engine off then HOPE and PRAYED that it would start again.........................phew, it did! Yay to Mr NRMA man again!!

So now on my to do list is to go for an hour long drive once a week, whether I need to or not! Maybe I can make this the time I allocate to ME, put on a CD (my cars over 10 years old people, no ipod connectivity here!), cranked it up to 11 and drive, drive, drive. Maybe I should do this daily just to be sure the battery's getting enough charge!

Next blog post: Running out of petrol..............Only kidding :-)

Monday, 23 February 2015

Hampers for the Foodie

There is no denying it, the Rainbow Designs family are FOODIES! We love our food (especially if someone else is cooking!) and with our gorgeous gourmet foodie gift hampers we have been spoiled for choice - what to make (or get someone else to make - hey kids!)?

Pizza - this is my MOST favourite thing to make and eat. It's easy, everyone loves it as you put what YOU want on it, it's a fun activity to do with friends and family and as a bonus you get something yummy at the end of it!

Popcorn - movie night or rainy day activity, popcorn is a must have when the lights go down and the movie titles start. You can make it sweet or savoury, healthy or not so healthy, in a huge bowl or individual tubs or even in zip lock bags ready for school the next day or a bush walking snack. Our favourite is with butter and a sprinkle of salt or for a sweeter alternative we sprinkle it with some icing sugar, yum!

Paella - a great family dish or when friends come over for dinner. Open a bottle of wine and let the fiesta begin. Filled with wonderful flavours and gorgeous fresh seafood, this is a wonderful way to show off your cooking skills without too much sweat and toil! For best results a gas hob is recommended or if your more outdoorsy try the open fire. We love fresh king prawns, scallops, calamari and large pieces for fish fillets (use any of your types of favourite fish). Chorizo adds a wonderful spicy element and for the non seafoodies how about chicken pieces, tasty pork meatballs or even luscious lamb cutlets!

Tapas - another sensational foodie favourite. Small (or large!) dishes of delicious food made for sharing. Meat or vegetarian, spicy or mild Tapas is perfect for all tastebuds or for people that just can't make up their mind what to have! Arancini Balls are my favourite (these are a cheesey rice/risotto fried balls), meatballs with a yummy spicy sauce, spanish olives, calamari with garlic & lemon, chorizo and cheese skewers...the choice is endless (and yummy!)

So if you know a food lover or a budding chef (or you just want to be invited over for a meal!) then send them one of our fabulous foodie inspired gift hampers - they are a sure fire winner (for you and them!).

Sunday, 22 February 2015

Gift Hampers for EVERY taste, EVERY occasion and EVERY budget 

It need not be a chore sending someone you love a gift. Online is definitely the way to go, especially when you live far apart - whether it be another state or another country, online shopping makes the world a very small place! Rainbow Designs is here to help you with your gift giving, making it easy, fun and affordable. We maybe a small business but we take huge pride in the quality of our products and service. You will be NUMBER 1 in your recipients eye after they open their gift hamper you sent them from Rainbow Designs - they are guaranteed to put you in the good books for a VERY long time!

What started out as just a few gifts of lollies and chocolates has grown to include special treats like international beers, bottles of bubbly and wonderful wines from across the globe as well as divine products from Maggie Beer and Simon Johnson. As our blog title says:

Gift hampers for EVERY taste, EVERY occasion and EVERY budget. 

#smallbusiness #rainbowdesignsgifts #australianhampers

Friday, 20 February 2015

N is for...Nan

I know this is a business page but my business would not be here if it wasn't for my family! My family mean everything to me, even if sometimes they can annoy the hell out of me :-)

Nan, my wonderful nan - I love you. I miss you more than words can say, sometimes more than my heart can bare. You were one truly classy lady Nan and always, ALWAYS believed in me. Thank you. You have been a part of my whole life, from when I was chubby checker baby to a 'oh my god I have grey hairs' middle aged girl. I was always 'your girl'. I will always be your girl. Nan, I love you.

Family was everything to you and no one could say a bad word about any of your family or they would have to answer to you! You defended us all, even if sometimes maybe we didn't deserve. You saw the best in us.

I think of you every day nan and wear your ring every day with love and with pride and sometimes with sadness - you should be here, wearing it.

The classiest fisherlady there ever was!

I hope you're with poppy and Aunty Doris and having a big old adventure, you probably haven't stop gasbagging since meeting up with Aunty Doris again :-)

Yes Nan, I am still selling lollies in little white boxes. You couldn't quite get your head around the whole internet thing but you still loved to hear when I got a 'big' order - I think you thought it was quite amazing that I could turn my computer on and print out an order for 100 gifts to go to people all over Australia. Isn't that wonderful, you'd say. Indeed it is Nan.

Whenever business is a bit slow or I'm just having a bad day I always thing of you Nan and remember everything you did in your amazing life - the hard times you got through and the wonderful life you created and know that I will be ok.

Thank you Nan - Rainbow Designs and all of it's colour and joy it brings to people is dedicated to you.

Friday, 13 February 2015

M is for...Money

I was going to do M is for M&M's because I could 'almost' live on M&M's but thought I'd try a non confectionery blog post for a change :-)

Money, the root of all evil (and good). It's been a topsy turvy 11 years for Rainbow Designs with money being the constant factor in the topsy turvyness! Good days, bad days but unfortunately it is appearing there are a lot more bad days than good lately - this does not make for a very successful business.

At least I always have a supply of chocolate!!

It's great being your own boss and running your own business but it is also very stressful and, sometimes, even a bit depressing. All that work, all that time, effort and money for.....what? Well, for the satisfaction of having gone from an idea to a real business, from a dodgy website to a professionally made one, from 4 gifts to many, from no customers to many regular customers...

I've loved every (well most) moment of running my business BUT maybe the time is coming for me to move onto something else? Business seems to be slowing down and maybe even getting to the point of not been viable any more. Something I will have to go through with my accountant in the near future.

For now, I will keep running my business, getting up each morning and printing out the orders (sadly sometimes this is singular) and filling my noodle boxes and tins, walking to Toll and emailing suppliers, oh and writing on FB and this blog!

Thanks for being part of my journey with Rainbow Designs, maybe we'll continue together, maybe we'll go our separate ways. Either way - ONWARDS and UPWARDS!

and don't forget to eat LOTS of chocolate,

Jacqui (boss lady)

Friday, 6 February 2015

L is for...Lollies (what else!)

We've had word from our Confectionery supplier that Allen's Confectionery are no longer making:

Green Frogs (what the??!!)
Spearmint Leaves (an old child hood favourite)


Marella Jubes (these are one of my favourite types of lollies - boo)

Are any of these your FAVOURITE?

I have managed to find another maker of Spearmint Leaves - they're fatter than the Allen's ones but just as yummy (maybe even yummier!) but I'm still on the hunt for yummy jubes and green frogs. I have had the multi coloured frogs before, which I may get again if I can't find just green.

Allen's have also made changes to some of their other lollies including a swap to all natural colouring. This happened at the beginning of last year and meant that a BIG favourite went missing - the blue F1 Race Car and Snake, this displeased many. The blue has been replaced with a purply colour and is meant to still taste the same, although I think even the flavour has changed some what. Their Jelly Beans have also changed and are now smaller but I think even YUMMIER and they still have blue. Apparently it is easier to create a natural blue with the harder style lollies than the more gummier ones, like snakes. Who knew??

We love lollies at Rainbow Designs, as if you didn't know and are always on the lookout for new or returning old favourites.......what's your favourite lolly? I use to love musk sticks but now, not so much. I think snakes (red, green & orange only) and raspberries are my favourite lollies but I do have to admit I'm more a 'chocolate' girl!

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

Jacqui (boss lady)