30 September 2014

It's the end of sunny September

September has been a great month at The Ruby Orchard... it's been busy! September sees boxes brimming with stock arriving ready for the festive season. Here's a look back at what we have been up to...

1// Nicola Tweed moved on from The Ruby Orchard team (sad face)... but kinda didn't leave!  She is now a brilliant freelance web designer and has started working on our new website... watch this space... it's going to fab!

2// Millamae 2015 diaries, good old fashioned toys and fresh spring ceramics arrived in store. Check out our facebook page for pics of our new stock.

3// We started our 'Which?' guide series... reviewing and comparing our products on price, prettiness and popularity.  Which biccy tin, Which butter Dish, Which Salad bowl would you choose?

4// We love that spring means flip flops, colour and sunshine!

5// We shared our top 3 people we would like to meet. Inspirational people in our kinda world!

6// Our new soap range was launched!  Andrea designed some great labels, I wrapped all 48 bars and FRESHHH Verbena has almost sold out! Odette from Riverlea is busy making some more!

7// We inspired you with some funky bar stool ideas we are working on.

8// John the Potter came to town!  Check out the range of pottery we have from this talented man!

9// Heritage day was Lekker! Ha Ha... anyone who knows me will know I never use that word as I am 100% pom! We laid up our Braai table in store.

10// Whilst busy planning our October Creative 'In Store' workshop I have been writing a series of business tips for new and small creative business. Check out the first one here.

Some of you have started your Christmas shopping... you crazy organised bunch!!

Cannot wait for October so much planned! See you soon! 

29 September 2014

This weeks Which? Guide - Salad Bowls

This week we look at Salad bowls.

Great big luscious salads filled with loads of fresh veggies, or smaller, daintier salads, with just a few select ingredients - what is your preference?  Whether you are catering for a big family gathering, or a birthday braai, or even a quiet dinner for two - we have something to suit all occasions.

We have a gorgeous selection of salad bowls to choose from - which one will grace your table?

Beautiful, big and bold twisted salad bowl from Pret-a-pot

Price:  R365
Prettiness:  Pretty with an edgy exterior
Usability:   Perfect for a big salad at a braai or family gathering
Our star rating:  5/5 stars

Gorgeous turquoise colours - Urchin Art

Price:  R335
Prettiness:  Very pretty - gorgeous turquoise and white. Great Value. 
Usibility:   The smallest of our bowls, perfect for a small, simple salad
Our star rating: 3/5 stars

 Bold, gorgeous and all the way from Betty's Bay by John the Potter

Price:  R750
Prettiness:  Oh so pretty - the colours are beautiful
Usibility:   Another big, fill to the top type bowl that could cater for a big group
Our star rating: 4/5 stars

26 September 2014

Business tips - Some thoughts for new businesses

The Ruby Orchard has now been running for 18 months.  I can happily put my hands up and say... I've made mistakes, but I can also say I've made some good decisions.  The Ruby Orchard continues to grow and people from all over SA are slowly starting to hear about this little shop in Howick!

Here are a few of my top tips for new businesses...

1//Be organised, make lists and have a plan!  I know what i'm trying to achieve today, tomorrow and next week.  I have planned events, blog posts and stock I want to get in store for the rest of the year. I am already looking at my 2015 calendar!

2// Learn, Learn, Learn... You can always learn a little bit more.  Get yourself a network of similar business owners, follow blogs, book a coffee with a fellow creative. Bouncing ideas off others can be a great way to analyse what you are doing.  We booked a creative consultation with Nadia vd Mescht in 2013 to plan our marketing strategies for 2014 and came away fizzing with things we wanted to try and do!

3// Except your mistakes, get over it and move on.  I've ordered products that have arrived and I've hated them, I have taken on furniture jobs that were far too big for our team and we didn't quite pull it off. You cannot dwell on these mistakes, just learn from them.

4//  Keep a little eye on what your competition are up to, it's healthy to know... but don't get obsessed with them! You need to make your business unique and move forward in your own direction.

5//  Keep things fresh and changing - never stop trying to make things a little bit better.  If something doesn't sell, then it must be cleared and something fresh and exciting put in its place!  If an event is a flop... then analyse why... and make the next one 100% better!

Good Luck!

24 September 2014

Heritage Day celebrations - Braai day

South African's love a braai.  We do!  A braai is one of our favourite past times - braais are held to celebrate birthday's, anniversary's, or just for the sake of it.  We braai all year round - rain or shine, on holiday's, over Christmas, after work, on the weekend, on fishing trips.  It's a deeply ingrained part of our heritage, and to celebrate Heritage day - we have put together a table loaded with lots of lovely things that would be perfect for any table on Braai day.

19 September 2014

That dancing aroma... Here it is!

Our new local, home-made soaps are now in store!  We met Odette from Riverlea soaps when she attended our Creative 'In store' workshop in June.  We worked with Odette to design a range of pretty soaps packaged exclusively for The Ruby Orchard.  They smell and look divine and will add a great extra to a gift.

The super creative Andrea designed brilliantly simple and rustic labels and I've been busy wrapping and tying up these cute little parcels all week.

Four super fresh fragrances are available... How pretty are they?! 

Lemonee - Citrus Fresh Lemon
Bloomin - Neroli Blossom
Cuppa Tea - Green Tea (my fave) 
Freshhh - Verbena 

17 September 2014

Furniture Inspiration - Bar stools

I love a kitchen where friends can perch and chat while I rustle up snacks and tea time treats.  Our furniture ranges and designs are developing all time as we experiment with different mediums and are designing new products weekly.  My next project on the sketch pad... bar stools!

Industrial? Natural? Funky? Simple? 

Pinterest is a great starting point for me... I LOVE the industrial look mixed with rustic old timbers... Here's my top 5 pins!

15 September 2014

Our 'Which' Guide - Butter Dishes... which one is for you?

Our fortnightly product 'Which Guide' -  this week it's Butter dishes.

Sunday Breakfasts, afternoon tea... butter is always out and about! We stock a range of butter dishes, which would you choose? 

Image - Sea Wave/Shutterstock

Designed and made in SA, the Quirky Butter dish has been a popular choice because of its size!

Price: R180
Prettiness: Quirky rather than pretty,
Usability: This one takes a whole pat of butter. Yes we have tested this!
Number sold in the last month: 1
Our star rating: 4/5 Stars

Classic Glass design that will sit on any table as will go with any table decor! Great value, 

Price: R100
Prettiness: Smooth, clear glass... not a stand out piece.
Usability: Easy to clean. Doesn't take a whole pat of butter.
Number sold in the last month: 1
Our star rating: 3/5 Stars

Made in SA, these pretty Urchin Art ceramics are available all over SA, how cute is the lickle mouse?! 

Price: R170
Prettiness: Very! Available with Grey, Red or Turquoise heart.
Number sold in the last month: 2
Our star rating: 4/5 Stars

11 September 2014

Our top 3 people we would love to meet

Here at the Ruby Orchard we are inspired by lots of different things and people.  We follow blogs and Facebook pages about design, furniture, soft furnishings, decor - all sorts of things!  We love to celebrate people who have taken a leap of faith and followed their passions and are living their dreams because we are doing the very same thing here, and it's lovely.

Here is our list of people we would love to meet:

1.  Heather Moore - Skinny La Minx - a much celebrated self-taught illustrator & designer. Heather started Skinny laMinx as a hobby in 2006, & now sells her range worldwide.  Cushion covers, purses, napkins, tea towels, bags - all sorts of goodies - and we stock them here at the Ruby Orchard..  Follow her on Instagram for regular updates on her gorgeous things.

2.  Lisa Swerling & Ralph Lazar - Harold's Planet - this UK based team draw and design a funny and sweet range of cards and stationery.  I love their fabulous imaginations and their dedication to wine and chocolate!

3.  Cath Kidston - the creator of the brand: Cath Kidston was inspired by her English country childhood.  Her brand covers accessories, fashion, bags, wall paper and stationery.  Her success story is such an inspiration - the Cath Kidston brand is 20 years old this year!

06 September 2014

Our 5 favourite things about spring

Spring is in the air.  It's the most delicious feeling knowing that soon the days will be filled with glorious sunshine, the grass will be emerald green and soft and cool beneath your feet, the skies will be endlessly blue and in the afternoon - the magical summer thunderstorms roll in and clean and refresh everything, ready for the next day.  I can't wait!

But until then, we have the lovely newness of spring to enjoy.  Spring is all about renewal, revival, refreshment - it's when colours are new, light is softer, sun that little bit warmer.  Days are full of promise of what's to come.

Our 5 favourite things about Spring are:

1.  All the new babies!  Calves, lambs, foals, ducklings - too cute for words
2.  The weather - it's warming up, it's brighter - what's not to love about that.
3.  The smell of jasmine and honeysuckle in the air - absolutely delicious
4.  Slops/flip flops - we can wear them again.  Yay.
5.  Colours are back - bright, beautiful bursts of colour announce the arrival of Spring

What are you favourite things about Spring?

04 September 2014

5 Reasons why you NEED to sign up to our newsletter!

Love staying up to date?  The Ruby Orchard Team write a monthly newsletter that lands in our subscribers in-boxes... So why sign up...?

1. You will receive a pretty, friendly hello from The Ruby Orchard EVERY month!

2. You will be first to see new products before they even reach the shop floor!

3. You will receive invites to our events and workshops before anyone else does!

4. We will send you details of our promotions and sales before they start!

5. We will send you vouchers and discount codes to use in store!

There you are... what are you waiting for?  Click HERE to sign up! 

01 September 2014

Our 'Which' Guide - Biccy tins... which one is for you?

Our 'Which' guide is a product comparison post.   We'll choose products from the store that do the same job and compare them by price, prettiness, effectiveness, popularity!  Let us know which one you would choose!

We use a local clever girly to apply the 'Rusks' text making this product only available at The Ruby Orchard. Christmas 2013 saw customers filling these jars with scarves, soaps and notebooks to make a fab pressie. 

Price: R155
Size: 17cmx16cm
Prettiness: Classic design, the ribbon adds a special touch.
Number sold in the last month: 3
Our star rating: 4/5 Stars

Blue Chicken Biscuit Barrel imported form the UK from British Designer Emma Bridegwater.  

Price: R230
Size: 20cmx18cm
Prettiness: Blue and white can look great in a kitchen. I think this design has a vintage feel.
Number sold in the last month: 1
Our star rating: 3/5 Stars 
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