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 The new gifts weren't selling, I was having to through out out of date stock (or give to the family), I donated a whole heap of Easter Eggs to the Koala Hospital one year and then a stack full of boxes and hampers to Vinnies.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.

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