Friday, 24 April 2015

W is for...Wine Hampers

Whinge and a w(h)ine time is 5pm Friday (and possibly a few other days depending on how the weeks been!) here at Rainbow Designs HQ. It's a time for us to sit down and reflect on the week that's been - good, bad or otherwise.

Our preference (well my preference) is a fruity sav blanc, think Marlborough region in NZ and the Margaret River is WA. Another 'Rainbow Designser' prefers the more drier, less sweet Semillion Sav Blanc or even a mild Chardonnay. A compromise wine is the Amiri Sav Blanc which is fruity but not too fruity - win win and it's quite a cheapy too (around the $6-$7 per bottle).

When it comes to gift giving, especially for a special occasion or event, a Wine Hamper is certainly up there with one of the most popular gifts to send (and receive!). It's a great gift idea for one person, a couple or a group of friends or family. It's easy to share or to savour by yourself or to take with you. We've tried to include a range of wine hampers at Rainbow Designs that will suit all tastes and budgets. We've got 13 hampers that include wine, some are based around food and some are just simply all about the wine! Their prices all include Australia wide delivery and start at $65.

Here are just a couple we thought might be the perfect way to spoil that special someone or wish them a very happy birthday:

The $65 hamper is one for celebrating - a promotion, an anniversary, an engagement, a birthday or even to wish them a bon voyage or christen their new boat! Veuve Ambal Blanc de Blanc - is a vivacious French fizz with a want to celebrate and get the party started!  The Baylies of Strathalbyn Muscat Gourmet Cake is a sumptuous cake crammed full of fruit and nuts that have been steeped in aged Muscat - this cake makes a great end to a magical meal and tops off the celebrations perfectly.

Congratulations Cake and Bubbly
Next up we have a sinfully delightful wine hamper perfect for the red and white wine loving couple who also enjoy a relaxing afternoon with friends and family sharing a platter of wonderful, gourmet goodies. The Rosemary Lavish goes so well with the Maggie Beer Qunice Paste and Maison Theres Beetroot Relish (trust us, we've tried it!) and complements the La Tours Travers Wines perfectly. Not forgetting the sweet tooth, we've also included some delightful Rum Balls by Mother Meg and an assortment of Chocolatier Milk and Dark Chocolate chocolates. For the lover of the finer things in life why not try the Aurelio Plums in Port, a wonderful way to end the afternoon.

Wine and Treats Gift Hamper - $130

So whether you are after something for the individual, couple or whole office we've got a Wine Hamper to suit. All our products where selected with our wonderful customers in mind and have been taste tested to the highest of standards, that means we all spent a weekend over indulging just for you! That's how much we care about our customers :-)

The Afternoon Tea Hamper - $100
All You Can Eat Gift Hamper - $490
Champagne and Chocolate - $130
Congratulations Cake & Bubbly - $65
Executive Gift Hamper - $110
For All To Share Hamper - $200
Four Seasons Luxury Hamper - $299
Gourmet Picnic Hamper - $125
Home Made Pizza Gift Hamper - $90
Maggie Beer Gift Hamper - $110
Perfect Spanish Paella Gift Hamper - $140
The Wine Appreciation Hamper - $170
Wine and Treats Gift Hamper - $130

All of these hampers and EVERY gift on our website INCLUDES delivery, Australia wide. Our gift hampers are sent either by Australia Post eParcel or Fastway Couriers, depending on the area, and have online parcel tracking - so you know when it has left us and when it arrives. We will also update you on your orders progress by email (so make sure you type that in correctly). Apart from our quality products and beautiful presentation we pride ourselves on our customer service and always keeping you in the loop - if you ever have a question, we're just an email away! hello @ and our response times are amazing, try it and see!!

So, here's to many, many people enjoying and celebrating their life with a Rainbow Designs Gift Hamper sent by you!

ps: we also have BEER hampers for the people who, gasp, don't like wine!

His Favourite Hamper - $90

Friday, 17 April 2015

V is for...Vila, Vanuatu

We've been lucky enough, as a family, to go on a couple of cruises over the past 5 years all of which we have LOVED LOVED LOVED.

Four years ago we went on the Pacific Dawn. It was a 12 night cruise which included Port Vila, Vanuatu. We'd seen images on this port from the various web cams attached to some of the cruise ships and had always noticed the markets lining the street right at the dock. We couldn't wait to see it for ourselves!

Vila was everything we imaged and more! The markets were BUSY and you had to keep on your toes or else you'd be skittled by a taxi or mini bus. It was hot hot hot but made it even more enjoyable when we went snorkeling. We were lucky with our mini bus driver who suggested going to a place called Hideaway Island - I think this ended up being our most favourite day of the whole cruise! The snorkeling was amazing and the island was so peaceful - makes a difference from the markets and the 1,800 cruise passengers!

It was something we all enjoyed and we all agreed we deserved! We all work hard (as I am sure you do!) so it was nice to be able to leave all the stress and drama and hard work of every day life behind for a few weeks and just enjoy being together. One of the BEST things of a cruise is that no one has to cook or clean or make beds or go grocery shopping, you unpack once and then do as you please. Which is exactly what we did!

The ocean is so vast and makes for a great place to unwind and destress. Having a cuppa up on the Lido deck first thing in the morning makes for a perfect start to, what more than likely, will be a perfect day. If you're worried about seasickness, like we were, I recommend Avomine. We all took it and some of us suffer terrible motion sickness and, with the exception of one person who decided not to take his avomine, none of us were sick in the slightest. We did have pretty calm seas, so were lucky in that respect, but having seen the affects of not taking a pill each even to taking one I'd say it was money well spent! The tablets were about $13 for a pack of 30.

Cruising is great value for money and a great way to see a bit more of the world without the trouble of airports and lost luggage. We've decided at Rainbow Designs that we're going to go cruising as often as we can, when time and money allows, to ensure we don't burn out or get too bogged down in the day to day running of a business. On this particular holiday, seeing as we were all away, I enlisted the help of a Virtual Assistant (VA) to look after Rainbow Designs. While this meant the business could remain open and making (a little bit of) money it meant that the gifts I make (lolly & chocolate boxes etc) were temporarily out of stock. This didn't prove too much of a drama as I still had my gorgeous Gift Hampers available but I did have a couple of customers not read the updated delivery schedule and we disappointed there was a delay with their order. I knew it wouldn't be smooth sailing (excuse the pun!) while I was away but all things considered it went ok and gave me a better idea on how to do things when/if we're all away again. I also realised that it is so important to have a plan in place for when I am unavailable, whether through holidays or illness, to ensure the continued, smooth, running of Rainbow Designs happens.

We've also decided that Vila is our most favourite port so far (with Wala a close second) so hope to be able to do another cruise in the not too distant future (fingers & toes crossed) with Vila on the itinerary.

We booked our cruise online through OzCruising who also provided us with lanyards (you hang your cruise card on this - it's your money & cabin door key so VERY important!) - we would recommend them and will definitely be using them again for our next cruise(s).

What's your favourite holiday destination? Have you ever been on a cruise?

Friday, 10 April 2015

U is for...Unsure

Rainbow Designs has been going for 11 years now, something I am very proud but, and it's a big but (I blame the M&M's!) I am unsure if I'm going to continue either altogether or in the same vein as I am now. I'm unsure if I will just close the virtual doors, sell or maybe just focus on the outsource hampers so I can either start another business (not likely) or get a 'job'.

Uncertainty with my business has lead me to go in various directions over the last few years, some worked, so not so much. I started outsourcing hampers, as I don't do 'traditional hampers' and had a few requests for more standard type hampers. This worked to an extent but it also had it's problems - the main thing being that I was taken away from my main focus of 'affordable sweet tooth gifts' this, I think, confused some of my customers and drove some away. I didn't completely remove my base products but at one stage I had only a few of these and the rest larger, more expensive gift hampers - so I was advertising to the lower end of the market but then selling higher end gifts. No wonder my customers were confused - I was confused! I think it started with me being a bit bored and stuck in a rut, so to speak, with Rainbow Designs. Doing the same thing, day in day out - it became very monotonous and my enthusiasm was, lets just say, low. I think this showed within my business and people could feel that which ended up turning people away. I never stopped giving great service and still taking pride in my gifts but it wasn't as easy and natural as it was when I first started.

The honeymoon period was over and now it was 'just another boring job' that didn't pay very well! Funds were very tight, stress levels were very high - I needed to do something. I ended up getting rid of some of the outsource hampers (not that there was anything wrong with them, they were amazing, they just fit with my business) and expanding my gift range. I added new packaging and new confectionery, I also started gift wrapping all of the gifts and had my labels redone and professionally printed, got all new photos done. I was on a high, for awhile, but then I fell in a heap. The new gifts weren't selling, I was having to through out out of date stock (or give to the family), I donated a whole heap of Easter Eggs to the Koala Hospital one year and then a stack full of boxes and hampers to Vinnies. Things were grim, lots of money spent with nothing to show for it except a huge credit card bill!

I'm now back to where I started in a sense. I have the outsource hampers I've had for over 5 years now (maybe even more, I lose track of time) and I've paired back my gifts to the ones that have always been sellers. I still have a couple of gifts that more than likely when they run out I won't reorder any more - I'll just see how things go.

Easter has been and gone, I have learnt from past years to not over order as once Easter is over they don't sell and I'm left with a stack of Easter Eggs (not that the family mind) and a big whole in my purse. Been there done that too many times.

So for now, Rainbow Designs is still going and I'm still working in and on it. What the future holds I am unsure of but will definitely let you know when I know.

Friday, 3 April 2015

T is for...Tupy

Michelle Tupy.

Michelle has been working with me for a few years, off and on, helping with the 'writing' side of things. So things like this blog, Facebook posts and our Newsletter. With Rainbow Designs being rather quiet and the money side of things becoming tighter and tighter as the months have gone on I had to make the decision to pause Michelle's writing and start doing it myself again. I was disappointed in myself that I was unable to continue to use Michelle's services and give her a regular, if not small, pay each month - maybe things will pick up again or I head in another direction and I will be able to use her incredible writing skills again! Fingers crossed.

Michelle not only ghost writes blogs, newsletters etc but she has also written a book (Love Alters), is in the processing of writing another one (An Unexpected Kindness) and also has her own travel story and Facebook page - she is one busy and very talented lady.

Michelle and her gorgeous son Matthew

I am so grateful to have had Michelle come into my life, we met online many years ago when we both were members of an online business forum (which has since disappeared) and we were both running online gift businesses. Michelle sold her business and moved, to China! Obviously I've still got my business but in all honesty don't think I would if it wasn't for Michelle. Michelle has been a springboard for me to bounce ideas off, vent, complain, worry to and she takes it all in her stride!

Michelle's currently living in Cusco, Peru but is set for an AMAZING adventure with her husband and two kids - traveling from Cusco all the way to Canada in a Combie! Way to go Michelle.

And Off We Went is her blog about her adventures, from home schooling to running a hostel and every weird and wonderful thing in between. Nothing fazes Michelle, not even a missing tooth!

If you ever are in need of a writer or someone to help you publish your book, Michelle is the girl to contact!