31 October 2014

October is Out - Here's what we have been up to...

October has been hectic to say the least... and my diary for November is looking even more jam packed!  Read on to see what we have been up to this October...

1// October has seen 'All things Wedding' on the blog.  The Ruby Orchard now offer bespoke and personalised Gift Registry's... .and with this we invited guest bloggers and posted a whole host of wedding inspiration...

- Wedding Gift Guide
- Favour Inspiration
- We Introduced you to Mel from Midlands Photobooth & Fuctions
- Table Inspiration
- Wedding Invitation Etiquette by ladies from Ruby & Swallow

2// As the school years draws to an end it is time to Thank you those who inspire and challenge and guide - we gave you some Gift ideas for Teachers.

3// We now stock the beautiful soft toys by Isla Designs.  We Featured Sam the Creative behind these cute creations.

4// Proteas are back in season... and we'll be stocking bunches of 10 for R60 from now untill Christmas!

4// The great storm of 2014 (that's what we're calling it!!).  The shop was flooded and our workshop collapsed... we decided to see the positive... everything got a good clean, all displays got a revamp and we'll have to decorate one of our rooms!

5// On October 19th we held our second Creative 'In Store' Workshop.  Amazing sponsors, great creative energy, networking, yummy food and Che from Indieberries spoke beautifully to delegates.

6// We were featured - Thanks to SA Homeowner for noting us as one of the 'gems' to visit in SA.

8// Stacks of new stock has been arriving ready for Christmas and you have been invited to our Christmas shopping evening. See you on the 28th November (please RSVP so we order in enough vino!!!).

9// Our Facbook page reached 2000 likes. Thank you, Thank you... all of you x

10// We gave you some crafty ideas for pimping your pumkins... Happy Halloween!

See you all for some crimbo shopping in November! 

29 October 2014

The best of Pinterest - Halloween Pins

Boo!  It's time for spooky celebrations as the 31st October is this Friday - yes you guessed it:  Halloween!    How will you be decorating your pumpkin?  Here are some pretty ideas we found on Pinterest to dress up  the drabbest of pumpkins and incorporate them into gorgeous decor.

Get crafty... 





27 October 2014

Wedding month - Invitation etiquette by Ruby & Swallow

Meet Durban based graphic designers Kim & Filipa. They design the most stunning event stationery and write a design and lifestyle blog, which we simply love to follow - Ruby & Swallow.  They love all things wedding and share wedding tips, trends and even venues with their readers.  Their stationery is beautifully hand crafted, designs are unique and have a modern edge.

As part of our Wedding Month and the launch of our Gift Registry service we asked the girls from Ruby & Swallow to write a piece for us about invitation etiquette.  It is so hard to choose appropriate wording with regards to wedding gifts and gift registry's. I knew these girls would have the answers!

Grab a cuppa and have a read...

Putting together your wedding invitations can be the most wonderful - and trying - time of your planning. Not only might you have to deal with choosing a colour palette, style, stationery budget and fonts, but you'll also have to decide on your invitation wording. This may seem easy enough, but after families, parents and fiance's get involved, our experience has taught us that this can be the hardest part of putting together an invitation!

In particular, the gift registry part can be the most difficult to word and many find it quite uncomfortable because couples nowadays aren't always choosing traditional registries. Traditionally, couples lived at home before getting married and this meant they needed everything to set up their new home as a married couple. Today, many couples have either lived together or have moved out of home long before getting hitched, and therefore have everything they need for their homes.

This means that engaged couples are not always going for standard wedding registries, and there are so many more options to choose from nowadays. There are online shops such as Yuppiechef, Gift Tree and Esque, as well as many local stores such as The Ruby Orchard providing wonderful items and ideas for wedding registries. Many couples also prefer to ask for money, as a contribution to their new life together or their honeymoon. 

With all of the above in mind, this makes wording for your gift list rather hard and many brides and grooms are so aware of not wanting to offend their guests. Something that we tell all of our clients is that their guests will always want to buy them a gift, regardless of what it is, and it's always more helpful when they know what kind of gift you would like to receive, be it from a gift list or if you'd prefer money.

 There are so many different views and opinions on gift list wording, but we have listed a few examples below that include to-the-point wording as well as simple and sweet poems. 

 1. "Your presence at our wedding is gift enough, but if you do wish to buy us something, a contribution towards our dream honeymoon/home would be appreciated." 

 2. "If you're thinking of giving us a gift, to help us on our way, a gift of cash towards our honeymoon, would really make our day." 

 3. "The most important gift to us is to have you share our day, but should you wish to contribute in some other way, then a contribution to our honeymoon would be very gratefully received." 

 4. "Your presence, not presents is all that we require, but if you would like to gift us something to start our married life together, you will find our registry at Woolworths and Boardmans." 

 5. "Please donʼt feel obliged to buy us a gift, we just want you to come have a good time with us! However, if you prefer to purchase a gift, feel free to surprise us!" 

Don't let the process of choosing wording for your invitation and gift list become too overwhelming! Go with your first instincts and decide on what it is you and your fiancé really want. Of course, professionals such as stationery designers or shop registry organisers can help you out along the way!

Such great suggestions for brides to be, Thank you so much Kim & Filipa.

Now hop on over to their blog for some pretty inspiration, a gallery full of their work and great links to wedding venues and photographers - Ruby & Swallow.

24 October 2014

It's Wedding month - Table Decor ideas

Choosing the perfect table decor can be a task in itself, with so many beautiful things available.   You want to keep it simple but gorgeous, stylish and elegant without being too cluttered and of course to leave enough space at the tables for your guests to sit and eat and drink comfortably.   Sometimes, the simplest things can be the most effective and memorable - which is exactly what you want your big day to be!

There are tons of ideas out there, and thanks to all sorts of  wonderful sites and Pinterest you can find wonderful inspirational boards and ideas.  Here are two of my favourite table decor ideas: rustic crates and lanterns.

Here are a few items available at The Ruby Orchard, that we think will add that little something to your wedding table...

22 October 2014

A Creative 'In Store' Workshop - Sunday 19th October

On Sunday 19th October, we held our second Creative 'In Store' Workshop. Enthusiastic and eager to learn ladies attended a day full of learning.  Teachers, stationery makers, graphic designers, wood crafters, candle and soap makers and creative bods all exploring new business ideas spent the day discussing, working through tasks and listening to top tips. 

The workshop explored:

 - How to select shops, approach them and pitch to owners
 - Producing great catalogues and order forms
 - Pricing your products for wholesale
 - Consignment pros and cons & offering exclusivity
 - Making the shop work for you to grow your brand

Just a few of the many top tips shared on the day...

// Check out the stores Facebook page, Pinterest boards, blog and webpage to get more of an insight and understand the ethos of that shop.

// Check your pricing constantly, Research new ways to improve production time and costs to reduce your costs. You will make more money by being smart.

// Say no to consignment, but have wholesale terms and conditions which are very retailer-friendly and reduce their risk.

// The worst thing to think - ‘If they want more, they’ll get in touch’.

Tables were laid with goodies for every delegate from our amazing sponsors:  MillamaeWashi bugIndieberriesTous les Jours and us of course - A big thank you to you all.

Two lucky ladies received special give-away prizes from Nadia vd Mescht and Nicola Tweed 

Ché from Indieberries spoke about all things social media, she shared top tips, useful apps and how and when to engage with your audience.  Funny, knowledgeable and full of ideas. Thankyou Ché for spending the last day of your holiday with us.

Fern Hill Hotel provided the most delicious tea time treats and lunch. A huge thank you to them. 

Exploring, networking, discussing, debating, questioning, reviewing...

 Nicola Tweed spoke about the ease of getting online and that websites don't need to cost the earth!

Here's what the ladies had to say...

It was the first workshop I had attended and couldn't say a bad word about it! Thought it was brilliant and eye opening.  Kierrin  - Just Dandy.

Thanks for the lovely workshop yesterday. We really enjoyed it and feel so motivated! Gitta - Glee Projects. 

Please get in touch with Hannah at The Ruby Orchard for more details about our workshops or 1-1 consultations - therubyorchard@hotmail.com

17 October 2014

Wedding Month - Meet Mel from Midlands Photobooth & Functions

As part of our wedding month... we have the greatest pleasure in introducing you to Mel.  Mel is a regular shopper at The Ruby Orchard and has a great eye for decor and interiors.  She co-ordinates events and functions adding the prettiest touches and has recently launched a new business.

Mel answered a few questions about herself and her business for us, 

Sit back and enjoy the read...


1/ Please introduce yourself...

Hi … my name is Mel and I love all things pretty and girly.  I am a lady at heart and a sucker for romance. Grew up on a wood pile in the midlands as a farmers’ daughter and have done the full 360 to loving the finer things in life. Some call me OCD but I think it’s just attention to detail and not settling for second best. I love getting into the nitty gritty of detail whilst planning parties, hosting events and interacting with people. I studied events co-ordination and public relations and this has helped me create platforms to launch my creative ideas. I’m keen on running, cycling, gym classes and spending time with friends and family. I currently live in Hilton, KZN with my handsome husband, David and I’m excited for what the future holds…

 2/ When you were younger what did you want to be when you grew up?! 

 A Wedding Planner... after watching the movie!!

 3/ What’s your...

Top Song - Angel ~ Jack Johnson
Top Food - A salad from Tasha’s filled with interesting vegetarian goodies
Top Place - The beach – the hotter the better ;-)
Top movie - Definitely Pretty Women ~ just can’t ever get over watching it!

 4/ I never leave home without...  

Lip gloss and my cell phone!

 5/ Introduce your business... where did the idea come from?

I recently launched my own business called Midlands Photobooth and Functions. The business has two elements ~ the photobooth and events co-ordination. A photobooth is the perfect addition to any event. It is a fun, trendy and memorable way to keep guests entertained with photos that will keep them laughing for days! We have different packages available and the cost is based on the number of hours the booth is hired out for. All packages include ~ unlimited photos, double photo strips, an assortment of props, a disc containing all the photos, own personalised logo at the bottom of the photo strip and photos uploaded onto Facebook. I also offer events co-ordination. I believe that the success of any event lies in the detail and executing it well and it is this detail that I am most passionate about. I am a very organised person and I thrive off planning and executing events ranging from baby showers & kiddies parties to weddings! I recently got married (in October last year) and we had a photobooth at our wedding! It was such fun and it was so awesome to have all the funny photos of our friends and family. I made a scrap book prior to my big day and we used it as a guest book whereby our guests stuck their photo strip in and wrote us a message! This was very special. The Midlands is wedding and party central so I saw a gap in the market and decided to take a risk and start my own business! I studied public relations and events management and have experience in the industry so I see this as a fantastic opportunity for me!

 6/ What’s the most valuable lesson you’ve learnt so far in your business journey?

You can be very organised and plan for the best but unfortunately things do very often not go according to plan ~ I have learnt how to remain cool, calm and collected in situations like this and this has helped ensure events are always a success.

 7/ What are your hopes and dreams for midlands photo booth and functions? 

I would like to be a one stop shop for brides and those wanting to host events. Working with clients from the very beginning to pulling off the perfect day is what makes it all worthwhile. The booth is incredibly popular and is a fantastic stepping stone for greater things to come. I am planning to do a graphic design course next year so that I can grow my business and offer additional services such as stationery, invitations etc… Watch this space;-)

 8/ What is the coolest thing you have ever seen at a wedding (apart from your photo booth)?

The coolest thing happened at my own wedding ~ my darling husband serenaded me by playing his guitar and singing to me ~ This was very romantic and right up my alley!!

9/ Do you have any top tips for brides planning their big day?

Just relax and enjoy every single minute building up to your big day! It only happens once in a lifetime so just soak it all up and try not let little, silly things stress you out and get the better of you.

10/ How can people get in touch to book your services or a photo booth for an event / party / wedding?

Phone or email me quick ;-) for a free quote

Website ~ www.midlandsphotobooths.co.za
Email ~ info@midlandsphotobooths.co.za
Facebook Page ~ Midlands Photobooth & Functions
Cell phone ~ 071 441 8086

15 October 2014

Creative 'In Store' Workshop - 5 days to go...

On Sunday 19th October we are hosting our second Creative 'In store' Workshop, run by me... The Ruby Orchard owner Hannah Keppler and IT Wizz Nicola Tweed.  Our workshops are interactive, informative and intimate.

15 creative business owners, entrepreneurs and teachers are looking for to...

Being inspired
Being guided
New angles and ideas
Examples of professional catalogues and order forms
Discussing the pros and cons of consignment
Networking with like minded business owners
 Social media tips and advice
Meeting Ché from Indieberries
Post workshop resources
A sponsored goodie bag filled with pretty stuff!
Yummy lunch and snacks by Fern Hill Hotel
Special give-aways from Nadia vd Mescht and Nicola Tweed 

Our main spoinsor Ché Dyer from Indieberries will be sharing her top tips on using social media to grow a brand and business. Ché Dyer is the designer behind our quirky love vouchers, cards and doodle books.  South African born Ché currently lives in London but will be our special guest for the day and will dive into using Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest etc to promote businesses. The fun side of running your business!

Fern Hill Hotel will be providing us with the most divine lunch, I've just received the menu from the chef.  How delicious does this lot sound?!

Savoury choux buns filled with chives, smoked salmon, horseradish and fennel ** Mini roti with chicken, coriander and spiced satay ** Mini lamb and mint pies ** Pulled pork, beetroot chutney, wholegrain mustard mayonnaise in phyllo baskets ** Toasted coconut and macaroons ** Layered strawberry cheesecake ** Hazelnut biscuit with chocolate mousse quenelle and poppy seed tuille

We are busy putting together the goodie bags for the delegates from our amazing sponsors:  Millamae, Washi bug, Indieberries, Tous les Jours and us of course - A big thank you to you all.

Keep your eyes out for our post and pictures from Sundays workshop next week.

With special thanks to our sponsors... 

13 October 2014

Thank you teachers :-)

It's almost *that* time of year again.  No, not Christmas just yet, although that is close - but rather the time of year when the school year is nearing the end.  Holidays are just around the corner, which means saying goodbye to those amazing teachers who have spent the year tirelessly planting seeds of knowledge.  They have held hands, wiped tears, nurtured, listened to, shown patience, cared for, made lessons exciting and engaging and enthused our little ones to become bigger, braver, independent learners.

Stuck for what to buy?  Pop into The Ruby Orchard and come and browse our wonderful goodies, you are sure to find something perfect to say goodbye and thank you.

Here are a few of our favourites that we think would make wonderful teachers gifts:

1. Heart mugs  2. Cookie or Sweetie jars 3. 2015 Diary  4.  Storage jar with Bunny lid  5.  Rustic wooden frames  6.  Pottery bowls  7.  Owl coasters (set of 4)

10 October 2014

It's Wedding month - Table Favour inspiration

Little boxes of vintage style sweeties, home made shortbread, personalised candles, mini photo frames... a favour is a little thank you from the bride and groom and dates back centuries.  European aristocrats gave tiny trinket boxes filled with sugar cubes as gratitude and symbolised their wealth.

I've seen wedding favours in all shapes and sizes, some quirky and fun, some tastefully simple. With the world wide web showering us with ideas there is no shortage of favour inspiration at your finger tips.  I found these two gorgeous favour ideas with a few clicks.  LOVE this miniature jar of honey and the potted succulents would freshen any table decor.

Keep reading for some favour ideas from The Ruby Orchard... 

Here are some products available at The Ruby Orchard that would make fab wedding favours. Need 200... we'll sort it, get in touch! 

Handmade soaps, Coasters, teeny tiny ceramic bowls, hand carved wooden bowls. 

08 October 2014

Feature on Creative - Sam from Isla Designs

We first met Sam and saw her funky, quirky and cute products at I heart Market in Durban.  I purchased a very handsome monkey from her stand - Isla Designs.  My little boy absolutely loves him, he was creatively named 'monkey' and we always get asked where he came from!  Sam joined us at our June Creative 'In store' workshop to help grow the wholesale side of her business.

Our order was hand delivered by Sam on Monday and is literally flying out!  We'll be placing another order and expanding our range this week to ensure we have plenty of stock for Christmas!

We asked Sam some Questions about herself and her business... she's a G&T girl... so she must be ok!!  Grab a cuppa and have a read...

1// How did your business begin? When / where / how did it all start? 

I had a semi-creative office job, but I felt my creativity wasn’t being expressed enough. I quit my job and in February 2010 I started making soft toys to sell at a few local Durban markets. I’ve always been a little bit creative but when I was in school going off to become an artist wasn’t the done thing! Eventually though art won over in the end – go where your talents lie and you’ll be happy!

 2// Why do you do what you do? 

Every day I wake up and look forward to work. I have never had that doing any other job, so I know I’m doing what I’m meant to be doing!

 3// When you were younger what did you want to be when you grew up?! 

I really wanted to be a game ranger! I love the bush and my best friend and I dreamed of moving to the bush and becoming game rangers. It nearly happened too, but I just so happened to spend a little time in the ranger accommodation at a game lodge and sharing my space with about 20 HUGE spiders put paid to the ranger idea! I am petrified of spiders and that phobia doesn’t gel well with the whole bush life!

 4// What inspires you when designing new products?

 I look to nature for inspiration and then add a little bit of my warped interpretation to it! I love simple things – Scandinavian design and style is me to a ‘T’.

 5// What are your hopes and dreams for your products?

That each person who buys or gets one of my pieces sees the love and attention that went into it, and loves it as much as I loved creating it.

 6// What’s the most valuable lesson you’ve learnt so far in your business journey? 

It took a long time to build up my confidence that I was doing the right thing and creating something people wanted to own, but I have finally reached the point where I know that the product I make can not only compete with, but grace the same places and shops as other extremely talented local designers. Knowing that what you are doing is the right thing for you and your life, is in my opinion the greatest thing you can learn.

 7// Why should our customers buy your products?

They are fun, quirky and unique. I take pride in my making my pieces to be of the finest quality they can be, so they can be assured that they are getting excellent quality. Oh, and they will definitely bring a smile to their faces and what could be better than that?

 8// What’s your favourite product from your line?

Can I say all of them?! I would have to say my giraffe toy…I was always referred to as a bit of a giraffe at school because of my height, so I guess I can relate to them!

 9// About you? What's your - Top Song? Top Food? Top beverage? Top Place? Top movie?

I have extremely varied taste in music…my work playlist includes Maroon 5, Eminem, One Republic, Katy Perry, Linkin Park amongst others.

Favourite food is definitely Thai especially Thai curries. Throw a bit of chocolate in and I’m a happy girl! 

Drink of choice is an ice cold G+T with lemon. Although coffee comes in a very close second!

In my early twenties I spent quite a bit of time living in Edinburgh and consider it my second home, so after good ol’ Durbs that would be my favourite place! The Royal Mile is still definitely my top place to visit – history and architecture all in one!

Fave movie is based on of my fave books –‘ Into the Wild’. I always envy the main character and his bravery to leave his comfortable life behind go in search of a simpler more meaningful life for himself.

 10// And lastly imagine you are heading out for dinner with a bunch of creative geniuses - who would be sitting around the table with you? 

 How big is the table?! My design icon is Heather Moore at Skinny LaMinx so she’ll definitely be there. Scandinavian designer Lotta Jansdotter for sure! Liz Stanley who is the creator of the blog ‘Say Yes’ http://sayyes.com/ - her style is awesome. I always love to pick local genius Nadia van der Mescht’s brain for advice and inspiration. Another clever lady at the table would be Denise Kiggan from Freshly Found (http://www.freshlyfound.com/) who has THE most creative mind I’ve come across. And last but not least I’ll throw in Quentin Tarantino…he’s a creative genius and his warped mind appeals to me!

06 October 2014

Wedding Gift Guide

We have all had that moment - trying to find THE perfect wedding gift.   What do you get the couple who have everything?  Or the couple who have very specific tastes?  Or even the couple who are just starting out and have nothing yet?  It can be tricky - you want to choose something beautiful and classy but also useful and treasured.

The Ruby Orchard to the rescue!  We have beautiful, classy, stylish, elegant and even fun gifts that will tick all the right boxes and stand out from the crowd.   From beautiful hand made pottery bowls platters and vases, to gorgeous chunky wooden boards and serving platters.  From stunning bespoke mirrors to rustic photo frames in different sizes.  Wine racks from recycled wine barrels,  cushions, salad servers, platters, bowls, mugs, vases, tea towels,   Glass storage jars, heavenly scented candles, made to order wedding prints, wooden crates, canvas prints and signs and so much more.

These are a few of our favourite wedding gift ideas:

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