Sunday, 27 September 2015

Beer Gift Hampers

Some people are just naturally difficult to buy for! Each year as their birthday approaches you somehow manage to work yourself up into a sweat trying to decide what they need.

Let our beer hampers come to the rescue...ranging from $60 up to $130 (postage included) these beer hampers will brighten the day of any beer (or cider) loving recipient.

Beer is the most widely consumed alcohol and the third most popular drink after water and tea. It is also one of the oldest prepared beverages - did you know the Egyptians were working a little under the influence as they built the pyramids in Giza? And in Ancient Babylonia if you brewed a bad batch, you would be drowned. Now that's a serious hobby!

Here are a few of our popular gift hampers.

After Work Beers Hamper - $130

This After Work Beers Hampers is the ultimate in gift hampers - a mix of brews for the beer connoisseur to sample and enjoy.

This hamper features 12 different international and Australian beers, Lime Soya Stix, beer nuts and corn chips, all presented in a wonderful hamper for easy gift giving.

If you send this gift, there might even be a beer or two in it for you if they are feeling generous.

The Ultimate Cider Gift Box - $60

If they love cider then this Ultimate Cider Gift Box is for them.

Fun, affordable and full of quality products, their birthday will be a winner with this gift arriving on their doorstep.

This cider gift box includes apple cider, pear cider, roasted peanuts and a quality made cider glass. This gift box is a taste sensation and makes a change from our lager packs.

His Favourite Hamper - $90

Four premium boutique beers, corn chips, salsa, beer nuts, caramel coated peanuts and pretzels. This mix of food and drink items to tempt your taste buds sounds pretty good doesn't it?

It is definitely one of our most popular beer packs and one of my personal favourites.

And what's more, if you have forgotten their birthday, you can also choose express post on any of these hamper options to ensure it arrives as soon as possible.

You might have heard the quote "I've got 99 problems and beer solves them all" - well from your perspective it solves the biggest problem of all, what to buy them for their birthday.

Thursday, 27 August 2015

Father's Day is Sunday 6 September 2015

Father's Day is one of those events that sneaks up on us every year. While we may have dad constantly in our heart, sometimes we struggle to order the gifts on time because... well... life just gets in the way.

At Rainbow Designs, we have a great range of lolly gifts and hampers to please the fussiest of dads and here are some of our favourites.

Big Chocolate Box: $43

A very impressive kilo sized chocolate box presented in a fabulous, reusable keepsake tin.

Lollies include, but are not limited to, M&Ms, freckles, clinkers, chocolate bullets, caramel buds, milk buds, cobbers, fantas, jaffas and smarties.

Yum, yum and yum!

Boutique Beer and Savoury Snacks Gift Hamper: $130

Craft beer is all the rage at the moment and for good reason, we think this beer and savoury snacks hamper will go down very well.

You even get a beer glass and coasters - what more could dad want?

Snacks include pretzels, corn chips, nuts and salsa.

Nuts About Sweets Gift Hamper: $60

This one has it all. Nuts, fudge, chocolate covered macadamia and three noodle boxes filled with lollies.

If you want to share this one with dad, best be there when it arrives because the contents won't last long.

Big Lolly  Box: $43

Equally as popular as our Big Chocolate Box, our Big Lolly Box is a popular choice for dad.

Presented in a reusable tin, lollies include jellybabies, snakes, raspberries, race cars, pineapple, milk bottles, strawberry & creams, chicos, jellybeans, red frogs, bananas, sherbies, redskins, milko chews, minties, gummi bears and licorice allsorts.

And if that's not enough, postage is included in the price of all hampers and lolly gifts, making shopping as simple as possible.

If you do decide to order one of our fantastic hampers (marked TGH - which stands for traditional gift hamper), we do recommend you order using Express Post to guarantee its arrival before Father's Day.

I know from your gift orders that many of you are super organised, and here I am still trying to work out my father's day plans,

What will you be getting up to on Father's Day?

Saturday, 15 August 2015

2 and a half months

Say what! I can't believe Rainbow Designs has been in Murwillumbah for 2 1/2 months already - to say time has flown is an understatement! It only feels like last week that I was unpacking all my boxes and living off M&M's (what's new there though!).

Touch wood - everything has been running smoothly. Toll are just as reliable as they are in Port Macq, the lady at the Post Office is lovely and I've made one trip down to Port Macquarie for a lolly restock (and to catch up with my parents). The only mishap I have had is with a delivery that went to my old address down in Port - thankfully I could organise for it to be collected and redelivered to my new Murbah address.

New tin design We've just got in!

I've recently ordered in a couple of new tin designs, yet to go up on the website, and I love them (hopefully you will too!). I've only got in a small amount to test the waters and if they look like they're going to be a winner I'll get some more in. The designs are a retro styled cassette player tin and a 'dice' tin. I can't wait to show you! I'm thinking I'll use the retro design for the 'Cravings' gift, it sort of fits the old favourites theme - in my mind anyway ;-)

I'm going to have to start looking at Christmas gifts and get them organised as, scarily, it's just around the corner and with the way time seems to be zooming by it'll be here before I know it!

My toaster decided to stop working the other day and I was really looking forward to a crumpet with vegemite! I really liked my toaster too (apart from the 'defrost button' incident a few weeks ago (cue the smoke alarm!). Now I have to use the grill and there's great potential for disaster and the fire brigade being called! Poor me. I haven't thrown the toaster out yet just in case it decides to come back to life.

Orders have been fairly constant but it would be nice to be busier. I thought I has this google organic search thing licked when I checked to see where Rainbow Designs came up in the rankings and we were at number 2 (for gift hampers) but it hasn't equated to any extra orders - disappointing to say the least!

My family and I spent many a Christmas here when we were growing up

So what have you fine folks been up to in the last few months? Anyone moved? Gone on a cruise? Finished your Christmas shopping??

Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Moving on up

We're moving on up, moving on up......up north. Not north to Alaska but north to Murwillumbah! Hands up who knows where Murwillumbah is? High five to you!

Murwillumbah is on the Far North Coast of NSW (about 20 mins south of the Queensland boarder) and is known for Mt Warning, the Banana Festival and the Austral Cafe! (mmmmmm cheesecake and vanilla milkshake or maybe chips and gravy).

Moving is not fun, do not let anyone tell you otherwise!! Anyone who says it's easy has never moved before or has employed others to do everything. Box everything, unbox everything. Empty the wardrobe, fill the wardrobe. Empty the bookcase, fill the bookcase - good grief, did I live in a library! On a side note: I just went to the local op shop (in search of a dining table) and bought 4 more books! I also found some fabulous chairs, $10 each people!! but someone beat me to them. booo. I digress (but I do love a good op shop outing!).

Ready for the fun to continue! Will it all fit?

Not only did I have to pack up my housey things I also had to pack up Rainbow Designs - lollies, chocolates and boxes galore! Do you know how torturous it is driving your car with a boot load of lollies and not thinking to put some in the front! I organised for a removalist to take the majority of my stuff but didn't trust them with my confectionery goodies (although I didn't really trust myself, I swear those M&M's were calling me on the drive up!) or my precious items, like my gorgeous nan's tea set or my vast array of jugs and salt & pepper shakers. I am a collector NOT a hoarder (do not ask my family to confirm this). ;-)

My house warming gift!

After a few delays I'm finally all bunkered down here in Murbah (it's what us 'locals' call Murwillumbah), Rainbow Designs is all up and running to full capacity and in a fabulous new work room/store room and, as a bonus, the Toll drop off point is just down the road!

I'm still getting use to my new little place and still in need of a dining table and decent bed but other than that I'm all set to conquer the world cook cheese on toast, make my lolly boxes and enjoy the next chapter of mine and Rainbow Designs life.

Head worker bee & chief taste testers desk!

Have you moved recently? Any mishaps? I packed my computer charger in a box the removalists took, yay for smart phone! (not so much 'smart' people)

Friday, 22 May 2015

I'm no chef

I'm not really a fan of cooking, I like food and I like eating just not the cooking. I cook the same things pretty much week in week out which is fine be me. I can eat the same thing 3-4 days in a row, it doesn't bother me, the other people in the household - not so much. They like a different meal every day, thank you very much.

My mum's speciality when cooking a roast (I don't do roasts!) - yorkshire puddings! YUM!

My skills of cooking are stirfrys, slow cookers, beef stroganoff, pasta bolognese, curries (cheating by using a ready made jar or paste!) and I've also discovered pizza - from scratch people, from scratch!

Greek yoghurt and self raising flour (or any flour really) - mix together to form a soft dough. Roll out to a pizza shape, one that fits your oven tray - makes it easier! Spread with tomato paste or bbq sauce or pesto or whatever the heck sauce you like, add you favourite toppings and cheese and whack it in the oven for 15-20 minutes (I usually have my oven set at 180 degress, for everything I cook!). Delicious, even if I do say so myself!

Another thing I managed to make from scratch were some savoury muffins, I know I am an Australian Nigella! I just mixed in a bowl some self raising flour, eggs, milk, cheese, bacon, left over chicken, a dollop of mustard some salt and pepper. Mix until it's a thick consistency so it just blobs off the spoon into your muffin pan - put in the oven (180 degs) for about 30-40 minutes or until lovely and brown on top. Serve with butter or marg or plain - whatever takes your fancy.

Something else that's super easy is a slice of bread pushed into a muffin pan, crack an egg into bread, sprinkle with some bacon and bung in the oven (180 degs) for about 10 mins, depending on how well done you want your egg. Great breakfast/brunch for the family or group of people - easy peasy. I like easy peasy!
Eggs in bread cooked in the oven - easy & delicious

Quiche is another easy dish to make, so another go to when I'm stuck for something easy to make for dinner or a picnic lunch. Add some salad and you're done.

Cheese on toast or toasted sandwiches are another winner - even the kids can make these, which they quite often do when they don't likes what's for dinner!

If all else fails - go the frozen pizza. We prefer Dr Oetker - Ristorante

I also like making meals that don't make too much mess or use to many pots and pans - less washing up!

I'm a wizz at Indian Curries!

So dear Rainbow Designers, what are your go to meals? Are you a Jamie Oliver or more a Pataks and Maggi kinda cook?

This was one of my nan's 'go to' meals!

Friday, 15 May 2015

Z is for...Zero

Zero motivation to keep my business going. Nada, none, zip. It's going nowhere fast. Zippitydooda zippityaye my oh my what a craptastic day.

This is how I feel sometimes, not all the time but sometimes. It can really get you down and make you feel like you can't get any lower but then, bing, out pops an order and another one and before you know it, the motivation is back baby!

I've started the week guns ablazin' and full steam ahead and just got on with things. Writing blog posts for one and scheduling some facebooks posts for another. I've ordered some more stock and tidied my little store room. (how does it get so messy??)

I've got M&M's on my desk and a huge bottle of water, the house is clean and the pantry is stocked. I've got meals in the freezer and wine in the fridge. There's a shelf full of books to read and plenty of Dr Who DVD's to keep me occupied when the orders are slow. My meager savings account is slowly but surely growing and I'll be on my next cruise before I know it!

Carnival Spirit

So when the going gets you down just stand up, stretch those arms of yours and sing 'it's all about the base, bout the base, no treble' at the top of your lungs, take a swig of your water (or wine if it's after 5pm) and breath! You are amazing and don't you forget it!

Now go and eat some chocolate, pronto!

Friday, 8 May 2015

Y is for...Yum

Yum - this is a word I hear and use a lot, goes with the territory I suppose! Our gifts are full of yummy lollies, yummy chocolate, yummy fudge, yummy wines and even some yummy beer (not so much for me but we've sold enough to know there are a LOT of beer lovers around!).

My most favourite chocolate is Fry's Turkish Delight, Nestle Crunch and Mars M&M's - I can't choose just one (please don't judge me!). In our Cravings - Pick and Mix gift we have well over 40 types of confectionery to choose from and without a doubt M&M's are one of THE most popular chooses. I am not surprised. They are yummy! (although there are a few 'Smartie' fans that would disagree!). Milk chocolate freckles, jellbabies and redskins are other very popular choices. To be honest there aren't too many that aren't popular.

Over the years I've had a few failures in the lolly selection area (sugar free & dairy free to name a couple) but all in all, if it's a lolly and it's yummy people will buy them. (and eat them)


I've also tried a few other hamper style gifts using Cadbury and Nestle chocolate bars but for some reason, which still baffles me, they didn't prove to be too popular. Don't get me wrong we sold quite a few but not like I had hoped or expected so end in the end we had the yummy task of eating the leftover stock. Don't you feel bad for us ;-) This has to be one of the best perks of my business, eating the stock - I mean 'taste testing' and 'quality controlling' the stock - yum.

If you had to pick just one of our YUMMY gifts which one would it be??? Would you go for the all chocolate one or maybe the Tasmanian Fudge Hamper or possibly you're more a savoury person and would pick the Maggie Beer Hamper or you love a bit of everything and would go the whole hog with our absolutely magnificent All You Can Eat Hamper? Decisions, decisions but at least they're yummy decisions!

Fabulous Tasmanian Fudge Hamper

Sunday, 3 May 2015

A week away - Mother's Day!

Sunday, a day of rest and relaxation (for most!) and NEXT Sunday (May 10) is a day of celebration for mother's across Australia because it's Mother's Day - hooray!

Breakfast in bed is a must! Tea and toast or maybe bacon and eggs, cereal more your mum's things? How about pancakes with lashings of butter, maple syrup and scrambled eggs and some freshly squeezed orange juice (or just from the bottle). Include a hand made card and then top it off with a (wait for it) 'perfect for your mum' gift hamper from Rainbow Designs!

We've got quite a few for you to choose from and we're confident you'll find just what your mum loves. Is it tea and cake for her well deserved morning sit down or maybe it's a box of all her favourite chocolates for when she's watching her favourite shows (Rex in Rome and White Collar!) or possibly her favourite tipple - wine, bubbly or maybe she's a rebel and loves her scotch! What ever you mum's favourite, just for her she deserves it, thing in the whole world is - we're here to help.

Place your order and include a heartfelt message for the gift tag, which we'll neatly hand write for you, and then sit back and wait for the 'oh my goodness, you are the best son/daughter a mother could ever have!'. You've only got a week left so you need to get your order in now.

Here are a few hamper ideas to help you:

This sweet gift hamper is just $50 and is made for the mum with a sweet tooth. It's filled only with sugary goodies, perfect to say 'you are super sweet mum'.

Little Sweetie Gift Hamper

or we have the Cravings - Pick Your Mix gift. So you get to pick your mum's favourite mix of lollies and/or chocolates. Now who's the favourite child?? This yummy gifts is just $40.

Cravings - Pick Your Mum's Mix
I'm tossing up between the Afternoon Tea Hamper and the Executive Gift Hamper for my mum. They both include some wine (or bubbly) and a raft of delectable goodies to satisfy any hardworking mum. Maybe I'll just have to get her both??

Executive Gift Hamper

What are you planning for your mum?

Friday, 1 May 2015

X is for...Xerox

Xerox - a copy, a duplicator

Glad I found a word starting with X that I could use, I was starting to think I'd have to share some of the families x-rays!

I've been copying and copied in business since I began. I didn't invent gift boxes or hampers and never professed to have what I did was get ideas from other businesses and went with it. I lent towards the sweeter side of gifts as I am a very unapologetic CHOCOHOLIC! I had seen on a website relating more to travel than gifts, selling a gift box of lolly bananas and snakes and that's where the spark of an idea started. I 'copied' their idea and turned it into Rainbow Designs :-)

For the first few years all of my gifts were made and sent by me and all were someway lolly or chocolate based. I did try a few alternate gifts which bombed. haha. So they didn't last long! Then after being in business for about 2-3 years I approached a couple of gift hamper business with the proposal of 'drop shipping' their hampers, or some of the hampers. I didn't want to copy their hampers I wanted to use their hampers as I knew they knew what they were doing and didn't think I could improve them anyway. After a few hiccups and misadventures I am now working with one (fantastic) gift hamper business who produce amazing hampers of which my customer have become to order regularly and love. They do differ from my sweet tooth theme I originally started out with but, for the most part, they all have some sort of relationship to confectionery, sweetness, chocolate or lollies.

Nuts About Sweets - $60 delivered

Copying outright with no regard or thought the the originator of an idea or product is just plain wrong and rude! It takes a LOT of time, money and guts to produce something only for it to been stolen and copied by someone else. It's also very heartbreaking when it happens and can be quite damaging to, not only your business but you confidence! If you like someone's business, idea, product, name etc DON'T steal it or copy it, contact them and see if there is maybe a way of working with them or incorporating it into your business. I have found it so rewarding and beneficial working with another hamper company than 'xeroxing' their ideas. For me it was a logical way to expand my products without having to outlay a truck load of money or need a huge storage space plus it stopped any temptations! (something of which my M&M's know only too well!)

The success I have had with working with my drop ship hamper business has been leading me down the path of just focusing on my Hampers and only having my 'sweet tooth' inspired gifts available during Christmas and Easter. This will leave me time to pursue other ideas and job opportunities without having to sell or close Rainbow Designs. Who knows? But it's definitely something worth thinking about.

Don't Xerox.
Collaborate, Innovate,  Inspire, Enjoy, Share.

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!

Friday, 27 March 2015

S is for...Smile and Sara Lee Icecream

Sara Lee Ultra Chocolate Icecream is my hero. She picks me up when I fall down, she makes me smile when I frown, she brings laughter to the day and helps finish a meal with hip hip hooray! Yes, yes I do love Sara Lee Ultra Chocolate icecream and I'm not afraid to admit it! Sadly it's been a bit of a rarity around these parts and only makes it's way into my freezer when there's big old special on - half price, you got me!

Now I admit I'm pushing the boundaries a bit with this 'S is for' but it's true, SEND EASTER EGGS - Easter is NEXT week! We don't want anyone to miss out on Easter eggs! Good Friday is April 3 so you really need to get yourself organised if you are planning on sending Easter gifts this year.

Friday, 20 March 2015

R is for...Rainbow Designs

How did the name Rainbow Designs come about?

Well, it actually started with my sister thinking about starting a small business selling games, activities, toys for kids! She registered the name then we did a market selling paint your own wood critters and decided we didn't like doing markets. The enthusiasm waned.... about 6 or so months later I decided to start my business (which is Rainbow Designs) but being short of cash and not that confident in myself I asked my sister if I could use her business name and the rest is history :-)

When you read up on the best names to use for your business they recommend putting what you sell in the name and starting you business with an early letter in the alphabet. These are both meant to help you rank better in the organic search terms and to show up higher in business listings. ooops. I could have added Gifts to Rainbow Designs thus becoming Rainbow Designs Gifts but never bothered, I really don't think it would make any difference anyway. My business has been online long enough now that I think if I changed the name I would do more harm than good. I did name this blog rainbowdesignsgifts though :-)

2004 was when I first started Rainbow Designs and it took almost 4 weeks before I received my very first order. I can still remember the huge smile on my face when it came through! I didn't have any stock then and was just planning on buying on a need to basis so off I toddle to the local 5 Star Supermarket to get my lollies - thank goodness things have changed and I get my confectionery delivered to me by the kilo loads! Generally a delivery will be about 150kg of various lollies and chocolates - quite a few trolley loads :-)

In essence Rainbow Designs hasn't changed much over the years I've just improved on things, like packaging and display. It's only been the last couple of years that I have been gift wrapping each gift but I think it makes such a big difference. So much more exciting receiving an actual 'present' than just a cardboard box, even though the gift inside is still the same. Small things people, small things.

I don't know how long Rainbow Designs will continue to be around but while it is I will continue to do the very best I can and make sure my customers and their recipients enjoy the Rainbow Designs experience.

Monday, 16 March 2015

Eating Eggs at Easter

I have to confess that Easter is one of my favourite celebrations of the year as I can eat even more chocolate than I normally do without feeling like little miss piggy because everyone else is doing the same thing! Hooray for chocolate Easter eggs!

If you're unable to spend Easter with your family or friends but still want them to know you're thinking of them (and you know they just LOVE chocolate) we can help you send them a chocolate gift they'll be talking about for years to come! Whether you want to send traditional Easter Eggs or a Gift Hamper filled with wicked delights we've got something that will certainly please even the biggest of chocoholics!

There's our all year 'round favourite 'just chocolates' for $27 or our Easter Egg Overload for $35 or you can up it a notch and send them the Easter Feaster for $55 (that's a KILO of Easter Eggs!). How about a hamper filled with chocolate goodies in our very popular ChocoLot Gift Hamper or the Fabulous Tasmanian Fudge Hamper - this fudge is amazing. Another wonderful gift idea is the divine Gourmet Hot Chocolate Hamper - this is one of our newer hampers and just perfect for the cooler months that we're heading into.

All of our prices include delivery Australia wide as well as a gift tag with your Easter message.

Now, I'm not a great cook (I'm not a bad cook just not a great cook) so I thought I'd share a few simple Easter recipe ideas for the budding master chefs or enthusiastic home cooks to wow your friends and family with this Easter! You're welcome to invite me over.

Hot Cross Buns - Choc Caramel Hot Cross Buns!

Recipe at from Super Food Ideas magazine.

Now this is an easy recipe the kids could do, even I could manage this one! Easter Egg Biscuits. It's just Arrowroot Biscuits iced and decorated! A great activity for the kids. I found this on the Kidspot website.

Cheesecake, chocolate cheesecake. Need I say more?? Favouritest dessert ever! (although the Warm Chocolate Melting Cake* is right up there also!!) This recipe was found on non other the Cadbury website - of course!

Wishing you all an amazing and happy Easter and thank you so much for keeping Rainbow Designs alive an kicking for another Easter - we didn't know if we would be!

* my family and I discovered this delicious dessert on our wonderful holiday on the Carnival Spirit - if you ever are lucky enough to go on this ship you MUST have this dessert at least once (although I dare you to stop at just one!)

Friday, 13 March 2015

Q is for...Quality

Taste testing is one of THE most important jobs I have at Rainbow Designs and my favourite job! The quality of the lollies and chocolates I sell as well as the quality of the tins and boxes I use to package the gifts in have to be spot on. I've had a few dodgy products over the years which I have had to either return or let the kids and/or parents eat on very rare occasions I have thrown things out but this is 'very' rare!

Our 'quality' lollies all taste tested by me!

I now have a set selection of lollies and chocolates that I use in my gifts are, at the moment, don't plan on adding any more. As previously mentioned, I've had a few disasters over the years and some wasted money spent on non sellers - stick to what I know people like, is now my motto!

Allens Confectionery has always been my main source for my lollies as just about everyone chooses Allens over all other brands. I did try The Natural Confectionery Co lollies a few years back but, surprisingly to me, they weren't a hit - people prefer Allens.

Quality doesn't just cover our products it also includes our website. I started off with a pretty (pretty ugly) website way back in 2004-2005 and gradually saved up enough money to be able to afford a professional looking website that had the function to back up the prettiness. It hasn't changed much over the last few years and I plan on keeping it as it is for the seeable future - if it ain't broke don't fix it.

Quality Streets - I got a tin of these for Christmas! Just thought I'd share that with you :-)

Little Sweetie Gift Hamper

I also outsource the traditional gift hampers I sell on my website. I have been working with this company for quite a number of years now and know their quality control is just as strong as mine. I have never had a complaint about their hampers or the quality of the products, ever. I did have a few mishaps with a couple of other businesses I started to work with which could have had terrible consequences for my business so I cut ties with some and spoke to the others about the issues I was having. If businesses don't know something is wrong or a customer was disappointed we can't fix the problem. So, please let us know, the good, the bad and the ugly. Just do it in a nice way please, no need to be rude.

I schedule in some quality control every day (wink wink) I've got to be certain that the M&M's from yesterday are still just as yummy today - it is a hard life and I'm glad I get to do it!

Friday, 6 March 2015

P is for...Pinterest

Do you use Pinterest? Does it inspire you or make you feel a bit inadequate? Good gracious some people are just so talented aren't they?? I don't think I would ever be game or brave enough to put a photo up of any the cakes I've attempted to make or canvases I've *cough cough* painted!

I do have a Pinterest account for Rainbow Designs which I showoff our yummy gifts plus I have other boards of things I find interesting or drool worthy! Travel, food, furniture, books & movies and other small businesses are my main interests, especially on Pinterest.

Pinterest is one of those things that can make time disappear if you let it - so easy to get lost in all of the amazingness on there. I'm not very frequent on my pinning and can go through stages where I pin, pin, pin madly and then nothing for a few months. What about you?

It is a great place to get inspiration and ideas from and to be able to drop a few hints too ;-) Make a comment on one of our yummy gifts or a gorgeous piece of jewellery, just before your birthday - no harm in trying!

Has Pinterest helped you with any decorating dilemmas or given you some party ideas, how about holiday destinations or how to cut a watermelon without chopping your fingers off, maybe you've got some great recipes or found a meme that made you laugh out loud?? Share..please.

Don't forget to eat some lollies while pinning,

Jacqui (boss lady)

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Ideas for Your Gift Tag Message

So you want to send them a gift and you've found the perfect one at Rainbow Designs ;-) but now you're stuck on what to write on the gift tag! Here a few ideas that may help you with that:

  • Happy New Year - we look forward to working with you in 2015
  • Happy New Year - I wish you an awesome, prosperous and fulfilling year and lots of positive blessings.
  • Congratulations on your engagement, we are so excited for you both!
  • Congratulations on securing the roll as ..... I hope it works out really well for you. All the best
  • Happy Birthday! We hope you have an amazing day.
  • Wishing you a speedy recovery. Sending you big squishy hugs.
  • Happy Birthday! I wish I was there to celebrate with you. Enjoy your day!
  • Sweeties for my sweetie. If you have to be at work on your birthday you might as well enjoy it!
  • Happy Birthday, we hope you have a fantastic day! Lot of love..... PS better late than never
  • If I could, I would write across the sky for the entire world to see, just how much I love you.
  • Happy birthday my beautiful friend, love you lots and here's lots of lollies to prove it. Think of me when you eat each one!
  • Have a blast on your special day!
  • Just a little something to say thank you for your wonderful hospitality.
  • For your first week back! I love you so much!
  • We love you very much and hope you have a wonderful birthday
  • Happy Happy birthday! We hope you have an amazing birthday week!
  • Just because you are my sister and I love you.
  • A sweet treat for my beautiful sister because I love you.
  • Thinking of you all and hoping this little package will put a smile on your face.
  • Many thank for all of your assistance. You have gone above and beyond to help us. It is most appreciated
  • Wishing you a year full of happiness, love, joy and laughter.
  • To a hilariously awesome friend. A little sugar to get you through the day. ps remember to share, don't be greedy, okay, be greedy, I won't judge!
  • Thinking of you. Wish I was there to help you eat them!
  • Thanks so much for all of your valuable assistance
  • We hope you have a fantastically awesome birthday!
  • Hope you have an amazing day. Miss you like crazy.
  • Congratulations on your wedding! We wish you a wonderful, amazing life together. We hope you enjoy your special day and wish we could of been there.
  • Thank you for your assistance with....., you were a lifesaver.
  • Sometimes you just need a little chocolate pick me up. 
  • Thanks for all your help and support since I started working at... I have learnt so much from you and couldn't have got through without you. Best wished for you new job, I'm sure you will be a star.
  • Hope these sweeten you day and put a smile on your face.
  • Thanks for being in my life and making me happy. I love you.
  • Lifes biggest challenges can be cured with love, prayer and chocolate.
  • I love you to the moon and back
  • You are a gem
  • A personal thank you for the assistance you have given us. It is greatly appreciated.
  • Hope this makes the recovery easier!
  • Happy birthday to the most amazing sister I could ever ask for!
  • Happy deserve to be spoiled
  • You're already sweet enough for me but I thought a few more lollies couldn't hurt! Happy valentine's day
  • Roses are red, violets are blue, sugar is sweet and so are you!
  • Just a little thank you for all of the effort you went to. You did an amazing job.
  • Just a small token to let you know how much we appreciate all of you assistance with..... You're extra care and attention was fantastic!
  • Hope to see you back on your feet soon.
  • To make your day a little bit sweeter
Hopefully these will give you inspiration for you gift tag message and help you express how you feel - if in doubt just say 'you're awesome' and send them chocolate!

Sunday, 1 March 2015

It's Sunday

Yep, it's Sunday, a day of rest, a day of housework, a day of sunshine and beach walks, picnics and reading but what am I doing? Sitting at my desk in front of my computer writing. Writing blog post, writing Facebook posts, writing to do list for the coming week. I've printed out orders that have come in and written the tags, I've packed and wrapped and satchels these orders.

Every Friday I promise myself I won't turn my computer on until Monday morning and every. single. time. I turn my computer on before Monday dawns. Saturday I can usually get away with just using my phone without needing to turn my computer on but Sunday's, Sunday's for some reason are different. I don't know why but I feel like I'm wasting precious 'work' time if I'm sitting reading or watching the tv or even walking by the beach. Why is this?

Do you feel you should be working all the time? Is it a business owner mine set? Is it the thought that 'if I don't do it no one else is going to', 'if I don't do it I won't have time later on', maybe it's just the feeling of working will some how, magically make more orders come in. If my computer's on then everyone else's must be too! It's like I can project my want, my need for orders through my computer screen just by staring at it or facebook some random, 'silly' post that'll suddenly make people - ooooh I MUST buy something from Rainbow Designs NOW!!!

I still have this ridiculous notion that as soon as I send a newsletter or publish a blog post I'll be inundated with orders and enquiries - it is yet to happen (11 years and counting!). I'm what you call an 'idiot' - doing the same thing and expecting a different outcome. ha.

Maybe one day I'll learn, one day. In the mean time, I best get back to Facebook and like a post or three and get busy on another blog post!

How's your Sunday??

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!