Wednesday, April 30, 2008

International Gift hamper news! Dubai UAE

We are pleased to confirm that we are looking at the ability to send gifts within the United Arab Emirates based in Dubai! My old town. Watch the web site and blog for any further news.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Part 7 Marketing!

The frenetic first 2 months of my business were an amazing learning curve, but I was up to it. My gifts were starting to create referrals, a recipient would contact me to do their last minute Christmas orders, great! I was adaptable and conscious of their need for personalization and this seemed to be my niche. Plus my penchant for using fine end American and European products, along with a dream to create looks that were a little different than the norm.

Now that Christmas was over, came the time to really start the business. Marketing an internet business! I learnt some new words, ‘blog’, ‘ad-words’, ‘links’ and ‘showcase’, 'google analytics' ( a must and my favorite tool!), and away I went on my next adventure !

To my old adage:-

Life is a journey not a destination, come travel with me!

The Brit who has seen and lived in much of the world, will now discover it through the traditions and customs of their gift giving. ( A taste of Asia shown)

Watch this space!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Part 6 boxes little boxes - shipping my nemeses!

It’s amazing how resilient and adaptive one becomes when a ‘clanger’ threatens to ruin all you have accomplished thus far. Hey, so I will amend my business cards and brochures with wonderful Avery stickers! So my beautiful olive green and gold embossed ‘gift baskets etc.’ ribbon can now be descriptive ribbon as opposed to the name of my business! Ta da! And what a great reason to have to go back to all those gift recipients and supply a brochures and courtesy note regarding your impromptu name change. Hey you have to see the glass half full!

The shipping of gifts was a lesson in itself. They looked magnificent! But alas, did I have the right size boxes to ship them? Could I squeeze them into a slightly smaller box and what about my wonderful pom pom hand made bows? I tried a card collar, it made them look like a pet collar, like the ones they get at the vets office to prevent them licking their wounds! I bent down the plumage ready to be puffed up again on receipt. Hmmmmm. It worked but, the taller the boxes the more expensive the shipping! Over to the United States Postal Service, much cheaper for those bigger boxes. Got to have a secondary form of shipping.

Lesson four Go for lower handled baskets or trays, still look utterly fabulous but easier on the check book…….. plus put your ‘to die for bows’ on the side or make them simpler and still elegant with a simple tied bow. Wire ribbon can still look ‘manifique’ when tied simply and twisted this way and that.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Part 5 changing names part way!

Finally I managed to understand and sort through the many things that were needed to get started and the web went live! Bells and whistles were blowing, e mails flying and I couldn’t be stopped! Then woe is me, a Company was threatening me with injunctions for copyright on names. To make it worse it was 3 weeks before Christmas, and I was sorting out my biggest order.

Lesson two. Thoroughly check out the name you have chosen for your business by web sites, directories and, if you can get the Federal department who allocates you an EIN number to confirm if there are limited companies as well as DBA businesses with that name! The ignorance of the newcomer……. Didn’t see the name exactly on any web pages, and anything similar shouldn’t matter should it? So what if there is only a hyphen difference in the web page domain name?

I had to change name one month in, due to conflict with an opposing Company, but, it actually did me a favor. I have managed to get links with my new name much more easily due to its sound and descriptive tone, plus it has the ‘ABC’ beginning title that gets to the top of lists without realizing that what I had chosen was of benefit to me.

Lesson three. Choose a name within the ABC rankings if you can!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Part 4 Starting a Gift Basket business - Lessons to learn!

Then came, ‘Corporate Gifts Boston’. Well actually that is a fabrication, then came Gift Baskets etc. to be explained soon. My new business that was launched through this love of gift giving and creativity.

After training with a lovely Company in Denver on the business of making baskets professionally, I came back to Boston with gusto and started the process of attaining national vendors, local vendors, commenced the set up of the website with help and patience of my web master. I say with patience as I had no clue as to what was needed from my end to start up a website. Pix re-sizing? What was that? Thumbnails, pixels and bites, hey this is a new language. Me administer the site after? I might delete everything! Not that I was completely computer illiterate but, come on, that was a lot to learn as well as everything else. And then there was shipping costs……… this was the bane of my life. What do you mean put an average shipping price on each basket to cover the cost any where in the country!!! Then add extensions? What did hair pieces have to do with it???? Yes I had a lot to learn……. Throw in a 4 year old and a husband and apartments to up keep and my life was full.

Lesson One. Make sure you have a checklist of needs from your Web designer before you embark on this journey, then there will be no surprises!

The easy part, after a few false attempts was the precious logo that I found and adapted, the epicurean style Olive branch taken in memory of my daughter, Olivia. The old French word meaning Olive tree. One has to have some personal memories included, don’t you think?

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Part 3 - children and Politically correct

The childrens baskets………. I was in my element picking colorful items that I knew the little one’s would long to un wrap, mixing books, plates, candies and useful items that even Mum would approve of. Art supplies, colored paper scrolls wrapped in ribbon, stamp and ink pads, special pens and coloring implements, it was such fun to mix all these with little animals and flower picks to give the kids, reminiscent of the joy that my friend had so long ago that first time. My little girl’s friends were the recipients for each season. Such fun and giggles in a basket or gift bag.

It really does make sense to personalize your gifts according to custom, event or personality. Especially in this world of carbon cut merchandise, take it or leave it with little hope of customer service. For example a politically correct gift in business can go a long way in showing respect and appreciation for your client, colleague or potential business associate, without being over the top, too gauche and in some areas of the world offensive. Watch for the upcoming gift giving around the world that may help if differing nationalities are involved. Plus, it’s fascinating even if you don’t need the politically correct gift!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Administrative professionals Week and Day

Administrative Professionals week and Day April 27th 2011

Does anyone know when this started and who it is meant to target?

Well believe it or not, it’s beginnings took place during World War II in the US, when there was a call up for office clerk and secretarial staff to man the home front and office front taking the place of the men who generally held these posts and were taken away to serve their country in another way. In 1942 the association was first set up as the National Secretaries Association.
In 1952 National Secretaries week was sponsored by the then National Secretaries Association. This body has since become the International Association of Administrative Professionals (IAAP) in 2000.
It was intended to reward secretaries for their loyalty, efficiency and skills, which were so heavily relied upon to make the mechanics of government and business run smoothly. The association started in Kansas City, soon moving to more chapters in different States and eventually to chapters outside the US. Certified examinations were set up in 1952 to join the association.
It is observed the last full week in April with Wednesday set aside as Administrative Professionals Day.
IAAP continues to provide education and training and set standards of excellence recognized by the business community on a global perspective. Our present and future vision is "to inspire and equip all administrative professionals to attain excellence."
Today, managers and CEO’s reward their staff in a number of ways. Whether in the form of a gift or training reward. What better way that to provide gesture of appreciation than a little gourmet gift.

Check for other suitable ideas on our pages.

Part 2 How it began

Grandma was a must for the Irish teas, and European cookies lead by her hailing from the land of the Shamrock, along with fine bone china tea cup and saucer, surrounded by chocolates and wrapped candles plus of course the Holly and the Ivy and good quality English lavender soaps.

The Health conscious friend who appreciated the array of nuts, dried fruit, wholegrain pastas, cheeses and crackers plus some body empowering health bars.

Then that one who had to have everything fattening and ‘naughty’ and generously covered in chocolate, decadence in a basket! What a way to go she would say, not forgetting the bottle of Merlot placed jauntily at the back for stability and cheekily peering over the feast with a personalized wine glass by it’s side.

Yes, I was starting to enjoy this gift giving mularky, it was actually fun. The more I did it, the more inventive I got and the better the gifts turned out. And as for the bows and ribbons, well, they became more and more frivolous and better turned out as I experimented with shades and types of wired ribbons as opposed to Satins and weaves.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Part 1 The art of gift giving - My story

Here is the beginning of my tale, how it started and where my business is today. Read with interest and watch for futher info's on gift giving around the world with Corporate Gifts Boston!

That time of year has arrived again, and oh the dread of what do I buy them?? Whether a birthday, an anniversary or Hannukah or Christmas. They have everything! Either they are elderly and would have no interest in the frivolous items that the shops market constantly or they have reached that place in their life where they just have it all or they are too darn fussy for anyone to know what they would like or hate!

This was my dilemma many years ago with a dear friend who had it all. So, I decided to buy my best friend a bamboo trinket box with drawers and fill each drawer with various small fancies of things that she, like a child, would love to un-wrap and chortle over with glee. I was right, she loved it! I mixed candies with soaps shaped like cherubs and lace doilies and cookies and notepaper etc.etc. Such a pot-pourri but it had the desired effect of being a surprise within a surprise and this made me continue with my ‘different’ gift giving each season for not just her, but all my friends and family.