30 October 2013

A day with Nadia Van der Mescht

The Ruby Orchard is growing at a rate we never expected. We have expanded the shop, our product range and suppliers. Customers want to buy online and people are making special trips to Howick to visit us. What next? How are we going to take our little shop to new heights and keep exciting, surprising and pleasing the most important people….our shoppers!

We met with Creative Consultant Nadia Van der Mescht last week. For those of you who have not heard of Nadia or do not follow her blog, Nadia is a Creative Consultant specialising in creative business development. Nadia’s blog is one of our faves, it dips in and out of DIY, crafts, fashion, products and very cool, pretty stuff!

Nadia has helped us shape and plan our next steps. We have a bag full of quirky marketing strategies, a stack of ideas to keep you up to date with our products, a humongous list of things to do this week, this month, this year and exciting goals for 2014.  

"The only way to do great work is to love what you do" - Steve Jobs
...We love what we do!

28 October 2013

Stunning window mirrors

I am so in love with our latest window mirrors and it seems that you, our customers, are too! These old rustic wood frame window mirrors make a great frame for either the hallway or bedroom and come in various different sizes. We will be getting many more in store soon so be sure to follow us on facebook to get the first look into our new window mirrors. 

Congratulations to....

Tracy Humphrey for sending in this gorgeous picture of your rustic hook hanger in action. You are the lucky winner of our Ruby Orchard gift bag worth R350!

25 October 2013

Competition entries so far....

Thank you to Tracey, Alison, Lucie, Katie, Lesley and Belinda for your awesome 'products in action' entries. They are all gorgeous!

If you haven't got your entry in yet you still have until the end of today to get it in.
One lucky person will win R350 worth of Ruby Orchard products. 
Email your entry to therubyorchard@hotmail.com. 
The winner will be announced on Monday 28th October.

23 October 2013

From demolition sites to our walls...

One man's junk is another man's treasure.  From demolition sites to the walls of homes all over South Africa.  The men (my husband and brother in law) work behind the scenes at The Ruby Orchard as hunter-gatherers!  Gatherers of timber! 

The Ruby Orchard has an in house team dedicated to creating rustic picture frames and other rustic products for your home.  All our frames are handmade from reclaimed wood.   Doors, windows, ceilings, floors and even garden gates have been transformed into beautiful frames with unique natural coloured finishes.

Sanding, sawing, pinning, rebating, glass cutting, backing boards, hangers - we do it all on site.  We also stock a range of mirrors, coat hooks, photo peg boards, crates, and blackboards made by our team.  We can also make frames to order in any size. Our frames are becoming quite sought after... we are now wholesaling them to other shops - if you own / run a shop and would like to stock our frames - please contact us for more details.

22 October 2013

The Great Ruby Orchard bake off...

These cute new kiddies aprons have arrived in store and are perfect for the lovely British weather we've been having lately!

They are also just in time for local tv chef, Sarah Graham's free baking course, The Art of Baking, which is being held over at the Yuppie Chef. The generous site have created a 6 part series for those looking to improve on their baking skills, including tips, quizzes and troubleshooting guides. So why not give it a try? Before you know it you and your kiddies will be baking cookies, breads and more!!!

18 October 2013

SA rocks because...

I have posted before about my journey to the sunny, rainbow Nation that is South Africa… British Mum(yes it is spelt and pronounced Mum Not Mom!) ended up in Howick! I have been living here for nearly 16 months now so have compiled two lists…

  SA rocks because…

  •  Avocados are always ripe, creamy and yummy.
  • You never have to hoover or clean your bathrooms (You took some getting used to, but Juliet you are a superstar!)
  • You can buy Percy Pigs at Woolies
  • Two people can eat out for a just £10 (R150)
  • STEAK – that’s all.
  • Car dudes pack your shopping into your car and take your trolley back for you.
  • You can buy a yummy bottle of wine for £3 (R45)
  • Lovely, round supermarket assistants pick up your child and spend 5 minutes making them giggle whilst you browse aisle 6.
  • Wifi is actually really good and HUGE bonus… You don’t have to phone the BT call centre to sort it out when it breaks. 
  • Amazing markets… I heart, LitchiWonder, Shongweni… great food, local crafters - a brill way to spend a weekend.
  • The sun shines a lot.
  • Wildlife = amazing. My husband brings snakeshome from work for our 2 year old to play with.
  • So many entrepreneurs and young people starting their own businesses.
  • Only 1 or 2 hours’ time difference with the UK… I can facetime friends and family all day!
  • I live on the beautiful Midlands Meander and I have a lovely shop - The Ruby Orchard - I LOVE my job!

  • Not always cool living in SA because…
  • The roads are scary and people undertake you.  I NEVER saw a truck on its side on the motorway in the UK… EVER. I see one every week here.
  • Fruit juice tastes funny and is called fruit blend….unless you buy woollies freshly squeezed that costs more than a bottle of wine.
  • You have to get your fruit and veg weighed in the supermarkets… I still forget and get to the till with bags of unpriced veggies.
  • Invisible speed bumps, massive craters, goats and cows in the roads – it’s like a high speed assault course.
  • Mens fashion consists of flip flops (AKA slops) and shorts.
  • It reaches 42 degrees+ in January – even your legs sweat and you’re not even exercising!
  • It gets dark on average at 6.30pm all year round… I miss long summer days and daylight till 9pm.
  • Billtong… Yuk.
  • No booze aisle in the supermarkets…. You have to go to a separate bottle store (offey to my English buds) – so annoying.
  • Shops have funny names like ‘Honest Geroge’ and ‘Big Johns’… ok, maybe just in Howick.
  • Car dudes direct you out of your parking space… I don’t need help… then you have to tip them!
  • You can only sometimes if you are really lucky find Ambrosia Custard and Heinz salad cream. Must bulk buy next time I see it here.
  • No Oasis, Warehouse, French connection, Crew, Fat Face, Next, Office or Ted Baker to restock my wardrobe.
  • Christmas is just not Christmas without late night shopping, dressed in a warm winter coat on a high street full of twinkly lights, smells of mulled wine and listening to the Pogues  - Fairytale of New York.
  • weird language exists here… Howzit China?!  A Lekker Oak!  Bakkie?! Boet, bru, chommie?! Going for a few dops?! Kiff?! … and every sentence ends in ‘hey?’.
Hope this makes you smile!

16 October 2013

All wrapped up...

in gorgeousness

Feast your eyes on the beautiful gift wrap, tissue paper & gift bags now in store...

14 October 2013

Rules for your family & for life...

Personally I believe that every home needs a few rules in place to both keep the peace and to remind us to simply have fun and what better way to do this than by placing one of these effective signs in your home?!?

The sprinkle of humour in our signs made them a BIG chuckling point at the Garden & Home show and we were delighted that they didn't last very long! We expect the same will happen in store too, so if you think someone special would enjoy a touch of laughter and enlightenment around their home then come in and pick them up a gorgeous sign for Christmas.

The signs are printed on either stretch hessian canvas or tin and vary in price.

09 October 2013

150 hours of pure pleasure

Today we'd like to let you in on the beautiful smell that dances around The Ruby Orchard store... possibly one of the most frequent questions asked by our delightful shoppers. The gorgeous scent comes from these devine Foreva candles, made with only the best quality fully refined wax and with a burning time of between 130 - 150 hours. The candle's wick is custom made to ensure that it doesn't drown in a deep wax pool and they have been doubled poured and iced to create a gorgeous glow that shines through the layers of wax.

Our Foreva candles come in the following scents & make the perfect gift for Christmas!
Freshmint & Pomegranate
Apricot & Buttermilk
Bergamont Cucumber
Brandy Snap

04 October 2013

Nice Jugs!

My name is Hannah and I am a Jug obsessive!

Chunky milk jugs, teeny cream jugs, pretty sauce jugs, huge vase jugs, old looking jugs, new shiny jugs, ceramic jugs, tin jugs, jugs with flowers in, jugs with plants in, jugs with hearts on, jugs with birds on... I could go on...!

Whether I am making a morning pot of tea (yes, I am English and drink at least 4 cups a day), having a dinner party or serving afternoon tea and cake I always have a jug of some sort on a tray.  It doesn't have to match, it can be a statement and can brighten a table instantly. 

I actually don't think I own a vase, just oversized jugs of varying shapes and sizes!

To me a jug is a perfect gift. Here are a few we have in stock at the moment... xx





01 October 2013

Potty about this pottery!

I spent a morning ambling around the Hilton Arts festival.  Now that's a market!  A real variety of stalls, from the quality market regulars Rondavel soaps and Rollin vintage jewellery, too yummy food and beautiful fresh flowers. 

I stumbled across a stand with the cutest little bowls and dishes.  The glaze was just so, so pretty,  the colours amazed me and not one was the same as another.  This was not a regular crafter I had seen around the Midlands.

Who made these?  Where were they from?  More importantly will they supply The Ruby Orchard?!

I scanned the stand and found the artist - John the Potter!  A meeting arranged, The Ruby Orchard would soon be stocking these lovely bowls all the way from Bettys Bay!

When John arrived at the shop with his truck full of beautiful pottery, Nicola (our newest Shop/admin assistant, web designer, blogger, marketing assistant and all round great to have in your business lady) and I spent over an hour choosing the stock for the shop.  We just couldn't stop... each bowl seemed better than the previous and the table soon became packed full! 89 pieces were finally selected.  They are already flying out of the shop, with the smallest ones starting at just R40 you can see why.

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