13 February 2015

We have moved!

The Ruby Orchard has gone and got all grown up!  We have moved...

You can find our blog, galleries and soon our online shop at www.therubyorchard.co.za

Bye bye blogger.... 

09 February 2015

A Creative Consultation with Nadia van der Mescht

In 2013 I had my first consultation with Nadia, we planned and shaped marketing strategies to catapult The Ruby Orchard onto the Map.

In 2014, Nadia was guest speaker at our first Creative In store workshop.  She summed up our creative day with such wise words.

At the start of 2015 I was in need of some oomph, some fresh eyes and ears on my plans for 2015 and a good old chat about what was going well and what wasn't!  I booked a session with Nadia and headed to Durbs!  A child free day out of the office… such a treat for me! My music playing in the car instead of the Beatrix potter story CD,  No rushing to collect Jonah from school and a handbag free from juice bottles and little boy pants!

Nadia is always poised, professional and so knowledgeable in her field.   Every question gets answered with depth, thought and comes with a list of sites to visit that illustrate her points and ideas.  I came away with a notebook full of scribbles and have since typed lists and spreadsheets with all my to dos!

I'm not going to share all that we covered, but here are a few things that stuck with me...

1// Use social media with reason. Every post ask yourself ‘What am I trying to achieve by posting this?’ More likes? More clicks? Generate sales? Drive traffic to another form of social media?  Some spontaneity is good, but plan and post with purpose.

2// Be an Instagram ace! Instagram is about pictures, it showcases your business and brand in pictures. So take beautiful pictures, use filters cleverly and Instagram only the best piccies.

3// If you are going to send monthly newsletters, make them stunning and concise or they are likely to be deleted! Look at your stats, if a newsletter is not generating interest, use this time on a more effective marketing tool.

If you are a creative business owner looking for some guidance, support and inspiration then you should definitely give Nadia a call!

06 February 2015

Some Instagram Highlights

We are LOVING Instagram! 

With almost 400 of you following our daily snaps, we love our instargram followers to be first to see our new stock. You can follow us @therubyorchard.

Here are some of our Instagram highlights from the start of 2015...

03 February 2015

Valentines Day: Gift Ideas

February brings gorgeous hot summer days, lazy warm evenings and .....Valentines Day!!  This year, why not do something a little different and treat your beloved to a gift that will last and make their hearts flutter!  Take a look at some of our favourite gift ideas:

Wooden block mini hearts - R15

Wooden heart shape tea light candle holders: Small - R120 // Large - R140

Cards - blank inside for your own message - R28

Love Vouchers - R30

Stacking bowls - R65

Heart drawing mini milk jug - R150

Tiny dipping bowls - R130

Wooden people - R140 (L) // R55 (S)

Hearts on a block - R155

 Heart Platter - R160

Dotted heart mug (turquoise)  - R105

30 January 2015

What a start to 2015 - January review

Well where did the month go?!  January 2015 has come and is almost gone - already!   We hope your January was a very good one - a fresh, happy and positive start to your new year.    Our January has been a productive month, lead by our bucket list, here's what we have been up to...

1// We launched our January sale - lots of lovely bits and pieces marked down and great bargains still to be found, but hurry!

2// We marked down some of our lovely furniture to make room for some great new pieces.

3// We joined Twitter! @therubyorchard.  We are still learning, but will endeavour to tweet what we are up to!

4// We launched our Business Blog posts in earnest - written by Hannah, it's a series of business tips, advice and open honest thoughts gained from experience - a must read!  Being different & Reasons why your business should write a blog were on the blog in January.

5// January has seen tables, servers and cupboards fly out the shop!  New stock is being refurbished weekly... and THE COUNTERS! Vintage shop counters are in store and making our little shop a little bit more WOW!

6// We are getting our shelves re-stocked and full again after a fabulous and busy December. Check out the new stacking mugs on the way from Papertales,

7//  We wrote about the importance of being organised, planning ahead,making 'to do' lists and show cased some of our gorgeous products in store to help you be and do just that.

8// Sandi listed 10 uses for Skinny La minx soft buckets... these are not just handy, but oh so pretty!

9//  We are getting ready for the month of  Love - yep Valentine's stock ordered and almost ready to go out - yay!

10// The Ruby Orchards website revamp is well under way thanks to Nicola Tweed.  We've been busy styling and shooting our products too, Lets hope we are ready for the launch next month!

27 January 2015

10 Uses for the Skinny La Minx soft buckets

Here at The Ruby Orchard, we love our Skinny La Minx products!  We have cushions and purses and stash bags and tea towels and .... soft buckets!   What is a soft bucket you ask?  Well, a soft bucket is exactly  that - a soft, fabric bucket!  It has so many different uses, we decided to put together our top ten for you, so read on and be inspired:

1.  To put your pot plants in // 2.  A pretty loo roll holder// 3.  A desk tidy// 5.  A Bread 'basket'//              


6.  A place to keep all your craft materials // 7.  A place to store kiddie's small toys  //8.  A tidy for your sewing or knitting

9.  A tidy for all your phone chargers // 10. The perfect hiding place for your secret chocolate stash!  :)

22 January 2015

Reasons why your business should write a blog!

Writing 1-3 posts every week.... about what...??  Planning and scheduling posts months in advance... finding and taking pictures for each post..... Why you ask???  Why would a little shop go to all that bother?? Well... this is why we write a blog!

Our blog is our stage for connecting with and sharing relevant information with our customers. It not only creates a place for us to talk about our products but lets our personality sparkle and shows people what we’re all about!

Our blog tells our story and offers an insight into our business, our team, our ideas and things that inspire us.

Our blog gives us food for Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and our newsletters. Our social media overflows with what we are up to!

Our blog creates a conversation with you, our customers. It encourages interaction, comments and feedback. 

Our blog means our webpage is being updated every few days, which means search engines love us!

Blogs are free! Free marketing.... yes please!

Blogging keeps us ahead of the game. It helps us be a leader, not a follower of trends and our competitors.

Blogging is hard work, don’t get me wrong. But it is inspiring! It makes me think about our customers, our readers and followers. It keeps me focused on our marketing strategies. I find it stimulating and I often look forward to writing a new post! Why not give it a go!

20 January 2015

Being Organised: Planners, diaries and lists

If you ask any successful person what they think is the key to being efficient, on the ball and on top of things - I bet they would say "Planning!"   Planning is the key to being in control, to being aware of what's going on, to keep track of what you have accomplished and what you still need to do - nothing worse than suddenly remembering your boss is due in a meeting five minutes ago because you forgot to write it down or put in the diary - *scream*.

Now Hannah is partial to a to-do list and I must say I love them to - mostly the part where I get to *tick* off a task!

We have some lovely things to help you keep up to date and a step ahead, take a look at our range of desk pads, diaries, pads and notebooks:

Weekly Planner - R80

Mini notepads - R30

Lined hard cover notebooks by Millamae - R85

Mr Fox magnetic note pad - R58 // Stuff To Do note pad - R30

Wooden Block desk calendar - R420

World Map block Vintage desk calendar - R220

15 January 2015

Being different

It is critical to make your business different.  Following trends and staying up to date is important, but being a little bit different and carving your own piece of your industry is essential.

To continue our business tips series into 2015 I've made a list of the things we are doing that our competitors are not... just a few ways we are trying to be different.

1) We blog about what we do.  Many independent stores use social media to promote products and events, but few use the creativity of a blog to share products, ideas and even our suppliers.

2) Most businesses are now using facebook as a medium to advertise themselves. We use Facebook consistently, consistency keeps followers interested.  By updating our followers at least three times every week we try our utmost to be consistently interesting!

3) Searching for new products is part of my every day.  I cannot stop searching and I cannot be content with the products we have in store. I cannot for new products to come to me!

4) We are designing and making our own bespoke products and have full time carpenters to bring my brain farts to life.  When I was at school (in the UK) we had to study two technology based subjects. 99% of the girls chose textiles and food technology.  I however chose woodwork and graphic design... boy am I glad I did!

5) We run workshops, consultations and evening events. These are incredibly hard work, but oh so worth it.  They demonstrate that The Ruby Orchard is so much more than a shop!

6) We say NO to consignment. This means we own every single product in the shop – it makes us ensure they are all quality products and forces us to work hard at selling them. They do not get forgotten in corner and left to gather dust. (More on the pros and cons of consignment later in this series).

7) We work with suppliers to design products exclusively for us.  I don't want the same products as every other shop... that's why I ask creative's to make ranges exclusively available to us.

8) We are connecting with, working with and becoming great friends with other local businesses – Millamae, The Farmers Daughter, Fern Hill Hotel, Valley Bakery are just a few of the local business we connect with.  I hope these relationships grow in 2015.

Think outside the box... How can your business be that little bit different? 

12 January 2015

Bucket list 2015

2015 is going to be a huge year for The Ruby Orchard.  We have plans drawn up for some exciting new projects and cannot wait to get this year started!

Our homely, natural and refreshing store aims to continue to excite and inspire you.  I love a list!  So I have made a bucket list to kick start my year!

1// Join Twitter and get involved!! In 2014 we mastered Instagram... we are now tweeting and will be giving you regular updates on our twitter feed.

2// Write a business tips series on the blog.  I wrote some tips for creative businesses in 2014 and you seemed to love them!  In 2015 I'll be writing a whole series - starting with 'Being different'.

3// Revamp our blog into an awesome, user friendly website. We'll be enlisting the skills of the talented Nicola Tweed for this.

4// Build Howick Mirror & Glass a new home.  Our other family business currently runs from the same premises as The Ruby Orchard, in 2015 they will be relocating making more space for prettiness and our exciting new development!

5// Grow our furniture range - The workshop is already filling up with new projects for Zak and Ray to get stuck into.  We will also be designing, developing and manufacturing the coolest bar stools in SA!

6// We will be working with Nadia vd Mescht again in 2015 to get some twitter and social media tips, map our marketing strategies for 2015 and start work on the branding for the new development.

7// Photo focus.  Sandi and I are budding photographers, in 2015 we'll be polishing up our photography skills to give you brilliant and regular photo updates of all our products.

8// 2014 saw us run workshops for creative individuals looking to wholesale their products into stores. In 2015 we will be offering 1-1 consultations for creative's who want a personal and honest appraisal and want to learn how to approach retailers to get their products onto shelves!

9// Extend our opening hours.  With our big plans for 2015, opening for longer on Saturdays and opening on Sundays is inevitable.

10// We love hosting an event, party, evening with drinks... in 2015 we have plans for a number of new events... afternoon teas, guest speakers, crafty sessions... watch this space!

11// Lastly,  Positivity is my mantra for 2015.  I vow to stay positive, use positive thoughts, always look and plan forward and see the good in difficult situations.  When S*!t happens turn it into fertiliser!!!

Have a great year!

09 January 2015


We are making some room for new stock we have been working on! 

So we have slashed the prices of some of our furniture... Yay!

Some pieces have up to 50% off - Grab a bargain!!! 

 Hairpin Table & Two Benches WAS R6800 NOW R3995

 Whitewashed workbench - would make an awesome bar area with stools WAS R4995 NOW R2495!

 Transkei Table WAS R2400 NOW R1800!

 Oregon Workbench WAS R4500 NOW R2995

 Vintage Pine coffee Table on Castors WAS R3500 NOW R2500

 Rustic whitewashed Table WAS R2995 NOW R1995

 Large Oregon Cupboard WAS R4995 NOW R3500

White washed Trestle Table WAS R2999 NOW R1800

Small side cupboard WAS R1700 NOW R995

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