Wednesday, 25 January 2017


It's all about keeping things simple. All of the processes I have for running Rainbow Designs have basically stayed the same since I began back in 2004. The website's had a few updates and tweaks over this time but generally has stayed pretty much the same in terms of receiving orders. I do remember though, when I first started, that I would be notified of new orders by a little asterix appearing next to the 'order' word - oh how exciting that was. It still makes me smile when I think how excited I was whenever I saw a little red asterix!

For the most part everything is done online but I am a bit old school with the order tracking side of things. I still write each order number and postcode down followed by the tracking number and the date it was sent. I then check the tracking online and update my book once it has any updates or been delivered. In doing this I generally find I can keep a good check on what's happening with all the orders we have processed and sent. I do update these online through the website but just find it easier to have it written down in my trusty exercise book.

Tracking of parcels is still pretty much the same except that the couriers are now all online, where as earlier on when I started I had to phone them to track parcels. This took a lot of time and waiting on hold, much easier now. The following up of deliveries unfortunately isn't any better.

Ordering stock has stayed pretty much the same with either emailing or ordering online. When I do have to drop parcels off this is also still the same as when I first started. I head down to the post office or the courier and drop them off, the only courier that regularly picks up is Fastways. The only time I would drop parcels with them is if I had a very last minute order that had to go out and the driver had already been by to collect the parcels. At times when I was dropping parcels off at the post office I would get permission to drive into the warehouse and drop them all there. I had a lot and it just made it easier and stopped me from holding up everyone inside the shop :-)

I still use a diary just never got the hang of using my phone. I need to write it down and then just flick a page to see what's coming up. Probably showing my age :-)

Many things have stayed the same over the years but many things have also changed. The gifts change, some come and go and some stay on. I've worked with other small businesses and, like the gifts, some stay some go. I changed things last year in the way orders were physically pack in the sense that I currently don't do this. This may change in the future. I'm always monitoring my business and trying to ensure it's running as best as it can. The emails are still the same, I get them all and reply to them all. Some good, some bad and some just weird.

I think 2017 is a year for a bit of change. I'm not sure how much or what sort of change yet but I definitely need to make a change or two! I'll keep you posted if and when these happened.

Thanks everyone who has supported Rainbow Designs and continues to do so - I wouldn't be still doing this if it wasn't for you.

Jacqui ~ bossy(y) lady and chocolate eater.

Tuesday, 24 January 2017

It's all about us!

We've been around forever, well for 13 years anyway and this is a little bit about me and Rainbow Designs. You can also read it on our website :-)

Rainbow Designs (ABN: 99131478119) — Gifts for the sweet Tooth.

Rainbow Designs is an online sweet tooth themed gift hamper business based on the wonderful Far North Coast of NSW, Australia in the lovely country town of Murwillumbah (home of the Banana Festival, Mt Warning and the Austral Cafe!) - it is owned and operated by me, Jacqui Halls. As a child of the 80's I sadly have photographic images of big hair, fluro scrunchies and leg warmers!
I confess to having a rather BIG sweet tooth and am a complete chocoholic so it's not hard to workout where the idea of Rainbow Designs came from! So what better way to spend my working hours than by filling (and maybe eating the odd dropped choccie or two) fabulous gift boxes full of yummy lollies and chocolates! Dream job???*

Just to reassure you on the quality of the confectionery we use, I have personally taste-tested EVERY ONE of the delicious lollies and chocolates in each gift, (it is a tough job but someone has to do it!) and we (not the Royal WE but the Halls family WE) believe they are the PERFECT remedy to ensure good books all around Australia will have your name in them!

Rainbow Designs is a (happy) family run business. At times there are 3 generations of our family working hard to get your orders packed and sent, lucky we get on so well (MOST of the time!). It does help that there's plenty of chocolate around - you can't stay mad at someone when you're eating chocolate (and they can't stay mad at you!). There's a tip: if you're in someone's bad books - send them a Big Chocolate Box. They'll forget why they were mad at you as soon as they receive it!

Our yummy lolly & chocolate filled gift boxes have been satisfying sweet tooths and sending people into fits of sugar induced happiness since March 2004! Time sure does fly when you're having fun! I'd hate to think how many M&M's and Allens Snakes I've eaten in that time - probably best not to! Although I do have to brag that I still fit into the ear rings I use to wear at school! ;-)
Placing an order is easy, safe and fun using our 128-bit SSL secure online shop, or contact us if you have any questions or feedback.

* This is currently being done by some fabulous people in Victoria - we love you! 

Friday, 20 January 2017


It's no secret that it has been a tad warm lately and by a tad I mean, wholly sweet baby cheeses it's HOT! My fridge is struggling, poor dear thing. It is only about 20 years old, they just don't make things like they use to ;-) My hair is struggling, it's never gone well with heat and humidity. By the end of the day I'm like Guy Sebastian when he was on Idol, go the fro! It's usually up in a messy bun most days but I swear the bun grows as the day and humidity goes on (and on and on).

I love the warmer weather over winter but sometimes a cooler day in amongst the heatwaves would be lovely. 26 degrees at midnight makes it very difficult to get to sleep and there's no aircon at my place, Just a teeny tiny fan on the bedside table. Cold showers are frequent here :-)

Gourmet Picnic Hamper - $125. Perfect for an indoor (airconditioned!) picnic.
Being that a lot of our gifts are meltable (can melt) we sometimes have to make the executive decision of holding off on sending orders. This is generally when it is extremely hot, like over 35 degrees hot. Most courier vans aren't refrigerated and the airconditioning generally doesn't make it to the back of the van. With this in mind and the length of time a parcel can be inside a delivery van we do sometimes delay despatch. This generally only holds up a gift for 24 hours and it's always much preferred to receive a perfect gift, possibly a little later than expected, than a melted mess.

We very rarely have any issues with heat and it affecting our hampers as we do try and pack them in a way that best protects the contents both from squashyness and the weather. 99% arrive as they left us but we do have the odd 1% that have come to grief along the way - this is always rectified as soon as it is brought to our attention.

What do you do when the weather is ridiculously hot? Hang out in the freezer section of the supermarket? (me - sometimes it's a big decision on what icecream or frozen fruit to get so I must linger a bit!) Join a gym just so you can use their airconditioning? (my neighbour has done this!) Become a personal shopper so you can spend your days in airconditioned shopping centres?

I hope everyone is coping. Please make sure you drink plenty of water - I'm always on at my dad when I see him to drink more water! Freeze some drink bottles or those icebricks and use those to help cool you down. This is something I've been doing a lot this week. Like a hot water bottle but reverse!

If all else fails, eat chocolate. It might not cool you down but it'll taste good, you might as well be hot and eating something yummy than just hot!

Jacqui ~ Rainbow Designs boss and currently hanging out in the frozen peas section of my local supermarket ;-)

TIP: Coles have Bulla frozen yogurt pops half price at the moment. $3.99 for 14. I've only had one, mango, and it was really yummy and refreshing. They're only small but a good size for hot weather and meltingness, any bigger and they'd just melt all over your fingers!

Thursday, 19 January 2017

Sweet tooth, me???

You should by now know that I am a true definition of 'chocoholic' but just to prove it once and for all - this is what I had for lunch the other day:

Chocolate pancake, chocolate icecream, chocolate sauce with chocolate chips!
And it was YUM!!! Pancake Diner at The Strand in Coolangatta.

Then a couple of days later I had this:

Chocolate icecream, chocolate coated, pretzels and cruched tim tams!
 Another winner from Cowch at Pacific Fair, their delicious Naked Pop (although mine's not very naked any more!).

Now I do want you to know that I do actually eat 'proper' food. This is what I had for lunch before visiting Cowch:

Prawn salad with sesame dressing
This delight was from Motto Motto, also at Pacific Fair.

Jacqui ~ boss at Rainbow Designs, sweet tooth, not paleo. (ha ha or maybe the prawn salad is!)

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

You need water to make tea

It's been awhile since we introduced what I like to term as 'traditional gift hampers' to Rainbow Designs and this became from, what I felt, a need to increase our product line but without having to increase our products. So I began working with another gift hamper business. I had always seen Rainbow Designs from a lolly point of view, alternatives to flowers and hampers but still affordable and happy inducing but realised that I needed to also appeal to people who may not have had such as sweet tooth as me. (I think there may be a few people!)

Afternoon Tea Hamper

The hampers I have available are what I would want to receive or want to give to family or friends. They're filled with produce that I see as something that would be used and enjoyed as apposed to products that are there just to fill the gift box.

Ha, while writing this I was waiting for my tea to brew. Always nice to sip on a cuppa while working but just as a note, you do need to pour the boiling water from the kettle into your cup for this to happen!

All You Can Eat Hamper

Anyway, where was I? Right, our fabulous hampers and making sure they live up to expectations. I've always listed our gifts on our website with as clear details and information as I can and try and make any amendments if this change or we've updated products. This doesn't always work but for the most part what is on the website is what we send. I've made account for products that may need to be substituted or replaced when we can either no longer get a particular brand or item or when our deliveries are later than expected so need to use something else. We also, always, ensure that the hamper is still just as fabulous and value packed when this happens.

Boutique Beers and Snacks Hamper

I am finding it a little harder with the lolly and chocolate gifts. These are the gifts that I use to personally pack and send but for the past year these have been done by my lovely worker bees in Victoria. They do an amazing job, don't get me wrong, but the gifts are slightly different to how I did them. The packaging is different as are the types of confectionery used. We have been working harder at getting similar, if not the same, sweets as well as a larger variety. It's just taking time to work all of this out. The lolly gifts are still amazing just a bit different to what you may have previously received in the past. (if you've been lucky enough to have been gifted one!) I hope this doesn't discourage anyone from using Rainbow Designs and if anything I hope people are even more excited and more inclined to use us. We are working our little tails off to get all our gifts as perfect as we can and try and improve a little bit every week.

Medium Sweet Tooth Gift
I'm finding that the most popular hampers are our ones that are priced under the $100 range and our $29 confectionery gifts. It's so hard to produce gifts under $30 with the inclusion of delivery but I know how many of my repeat customers (and new ones) rely on these. That was one of my main reasons for starting Rainbow Designs back in 2004, to provide an affordable way of buying and sending gifts and I don't want this to change. Seeing that it's been 13 years since I started Rainbow Designs I am happy and proud that I have managed to keep some gifts under $30. It's hard and there isn't much money to be made with these gifts but it is why I started my business so really want to try and keep them around for as long as I can! I don't think people realise how expensive just the delivery is. It's not cheap people :-)

Just Smarties Gift

Staying focused and enthusiastic about my business is my main goal this year. I let it waiver a bit last year and this showed in the poor sales. My belief in my business and myself lacked a lot in 2016 and it pushed me to my limits, almost passed them, and left me hanging on for dear life. I haven't let go (yet!) and I'm slowly, slowly getting my motivation back and my sh!t together. Baby steps are better than no steps. So lets get this year started. 2017, don't disappoint me or my customers.

Let 2017 be the sweetest year yet!

Just add water!
Jacqui ~ boss of Rainbow Designs, lover of chocolate and owner of many, many books

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

2017? Why yes it is!

After a pretty hectic end to 2016 we are well and truly back into the 'everyday' swing of things at Rainbow Designs. We hope you all had some down time over the festive season and enjoyed a lovely Christmas with family and friends. For those of you who find this time of year a little tough, we were thinking of you and wishing you only the very best.

We had a few little issues and hiccups over the last month or so which I am working very hard on sorting out. It is generally the way when things are ramped up a bit and emotions are running high - the Christmas spirit can often be lacking but in the main we had a wonderful end to 2016 and were honoured to be able to provide help and gifts to so many people, near and far!

As you all know (or not) I have been working with some fabulous people down Victoria way in the running of my little business. We've been working together for over 10 years now (wow!!) and I can only say that they are such a delight to work with and so very professional. They've always got my back and help me out whenever a drama or issue arises. Thanks guys! 2017 is going to be no different or maybe different in the sense that it's going to be even bigger and better than 2016 - woo. I'm very excited for what 2017 has planned for me and my business and am super excited to share with you some of the new gifts we'll have for you in the near future.

As ever I am always striving to provide the best service and gifts I can so welcome all feedback (good or bad) to ensure I am still on the right track. Some things may not always go to plan but as long as we can work together and fix any mishaps I think that's the best thing we can do. We hope you do as well.

I'm planning on having a couple of weeks off at the end of January beginning of February, totally unplugged. No internet. No facebook. No instagram. I just want to enjoy myself and relax and be in the moment before it's full on, head down, bum up. I'm really looking forward to it and hope that I come back refreshed and ready to tackle anything! (fingers crossed) Don't worry, we will still be open and sending out gifts. :-)

Thank you to everyone who has ever purchased from Rainbow Designs, who has ever helped out anyway shape or form and for those that continue to support and promote and just generally cheer me on - I know I would have given up long ago if it wasn't for you all. It's been tough (still is) and I have definitely had moments where I've seriously thought of just packing it in but then a lovely email will come in or a whole batch of orders will arrive and I'll think 'this is why I keep doing what I'm doing'! I think I just over think things sometimes and really let it get to me so I am going to 'try' and take things less personal while still making my business have that personal tough and to be thankful for what I have and who I have in my life. 'Try' being the appropriate word as I know I am still going to have crappy days and days where I just want to give up but as long as they are few and far between I will be happy.

So thank you again and I hope I can be of help to you in 2017 with any (or all) or your gift giving needs and from what I hear in the pipeline we are going to be getting some amazing new gifts in the not too distant future - very exciting indeed!

Enjoy yourself, take care of yourself and talk to someone if you're feeling low or unsure of yourself - you are everything and deserve the best.

Work hard, play (or relax) hard and eat chocolate! ~ Jacqui (Rainbow Designs owner)