Posts Tagged ‘shopping’

This Christmas – What Will You Be Buying?

November 8, 2008

I heard on our local radio station yesterday, Hereward FM someone wondering when Christmas songs would start being played, it’s still the beginning of November!!! I think the phrase “Christmas has come early” really is true this year, but not in the usual sense of the phrase. The Telegraph (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/retailandconsumer/3333572/Christmas-shopping-starts-early-as-cost-conscious-consumers-plan-festive-spending.html) suggests that christmas consumers are beginning their Christmas shopping two weeks earlier than normal this year, due to the credit crunch and recessionary pressures.

For example, Christmas shopping sprees have already started, so far this morning I’ve seen a blog about two friends who have been to Birmingham this week for christmas gift buying and it’s only November. I’ve spoken to a couple of friends on the phone who have decided they’re going into town today to see what’s around so they can start budgeting and sales for Christmas gifts on our website have already started coming in… (the first one this year was recorded on 7th September!) It seems like although people are cutting down on buying extravagant things like cars and houses this year during the current economic climate, will they be also cutting down on expensive christmas gifts too?

This years predicted biggest selling christmas toys include; ‘The Baby Born with Magic Potty’ (£25 – £39), ‘Elmo Live’ (£52-59), ‘Star Wars Clone Trooper Voice Changer Helmet’ (£22-£35) and ‘Biscuit My Lovin Pup’ (£129-£159). The prices range from £22-£159, which in terms of budgets can work out as quite expensive. Obviously, advertising and other children will have a huge impact on the toys your children will “expect” this Christmas. Perhaps you can invest in other, thoughtful and lasting gifts for other members of your family and friendship groups in order to save costs on your christmas shopping this year?

I put in christmas gifts into Google and was confronted with 9,090,000 websites related to christmas gifts… that’s a lot. I’m sure many of them are offering the same gifts at different prices and others are offering fabulous, affordable gifts but won’t ever be found by consumers. I have made a list of good places to get wine and chocolates before, but the following links make really interesting thoughtful gifts that you may never have even though of…!

This website offers recycled gifts that you can give as christmas gifts : http://www.bynature.co.uk/erol.html#50517×0&&http%3A%252F%252Fwww.journalism.co.uk%252F66%252Farticles%252F532721.php

How about getting a concert or gig ticket? http://www.ticketmaster.co.uk/ you’re sure to make memories and collect some great photos, you could make a day of it… take a picnic, go window shopping and then go to your concert, show or football match. It makes great gift ideas for him and for her.

http://www.winegifts4u.co.uk offers a selection of gifts for children and adults alike including engraved gifts which can be kept forever; money boxes, photo frames, ales and beer can all be engraved at affordable prices. We also offer a selection of fun drinking games to keep you busy over the festive christmas period with friends and family. As well as a range of experience gifts, wine and champagne christmas gift sets.

I think children will always want the “hot” toys of the times, which often tend to be expensive, this is mainly due to advertising and peers. However, I think people could perhaps begin purchasing more thoughtful, lasting gifts for their friends and other relatives, it’s just a case of thinking about what these gifts could be…, some of the links offered give the christmas shopper another perspective, so they have the option.

According to The Telegraph, ‘Experts, believe a sharp downturn in Christmas spending is unlikely as Britons seek festive cheer and family comfort after months of depressing economic news.’ I agree. What do you think?

Engraved Photo Gifts – Add your photo to an engravable gift for fantastic christmas presents for him and her

November 8, 2008

It was only a few years ago that we took pictures on hand held cameras using camera film, which had to be sent away to be processed. Now, we are living in a world where everything can be viewed and digitally processed in seconds using technology.

At one point, in the fairly recent past after polaroid cameras, there were those cameras with film, which to be honest I had almost forgotten about. You couldn’t see the photos you had taken the same day (and in some cases even in the same week) because the film would have to be sent off to a lab and paid for to be processed, before you could actually have the pictures in front of you. Today, with digital cameras and high quality and resolution phone cameras this process is a distant memory, photos can now be viewed instantaneously, deleted and more can be taken. Processing photos has also become much easier; they can be printed in photo booths found in shops, supermarkets, chemists and online to name but a few.

These quality digital images can now be transferred and used to create special presents and unique gifts. The market with photo gifts has now exploded both in shops and on the internet as new gift ideas are available on the market place all the time for consumers to purchase. Types of products include photo engraved gifts, photo t shirts, personalised photo mugs, key rings and a whole load of other presents are available to choose from.

Engraved Photo Gifts

The photo or image is taken from a digital source and engraved onto an engravable gift via an engraving machine, in this case a metazza, for example using carbon rods, which etch into the surface of the metal. The detail achieved via the engraving machine is fantastic. The final product looks like news print and the engraved photos and images look absolutely fantastic engraved on the silver engravable gift surfaces. You can engrave text, as well as company logos creating fabulous, affordable yet premium looking gifts, which make super presents for him and for her as christmas presents and birthday gifts.

5 Steps to engraving an engravable clipper lighter for christmas gifts:

Step 1: Choose engravable gift – in this case, we have chosen a silver clipper lighter

Engravable Lighter Gift

Engravable Lighter Gift

Step 2: Select a digital photograph

Step 3: Using the engraving software we open the selected image and place it in the correct position on the template for the engravable image on the computer .

Photo image on computer

Photo image on computer

Step 4: Place the chosen engravable gift in the correct position on the engraving machine and click on print button to begin “etching”.

Engravable Lighter in Machine

Engravable Lighter in Machine

Step 5: Wait until the engraved gift has been engraved, remove it from the clamp to reveal your luxury engraved gift.

Engraved Clipper Lighter with Photo

Engraved Clipper Lighter with Photo

Engraved Gifts – Engraving Machines Development

November 8, 2008

Engraved Gifts

When we began offering engraved gifts, we were limited to the range of gifts we could provide our customers because we used a metazza engraving machine, which limited the size and shapes of the engravable gifts we were able to engrave.

Metazza Engraving Machine

Metazza Engraving Machine

We decided after a year of working with the metazza, it was time to invest in some new equipment to allow us to offer premium engraved gifts to our customers; such as engraved champagne, engraved wine and other luxury engravable presents including photo frames, zippo lighters and tankards.

Obviously, it was a requirement that at least 3 members of staff had sufficient training and practise on the new machine, so a training day was scheduled between the supplier and 3 members of the WineGifts4U.co.uk on Wednesday 3rd September, however due to unforeseeable circumstances the sales rep, Warren who was due to take the training had to postpone the session due to family commitments, this was not a problem other than another date could not be agreed with all four people for one month, because of pre-arranged meetings and appointments. The second date for training was scheduled for 10th October at 9.30am. At 9am on the Friday 10th October, we received a phone call from the new trainer, John, who informed us that his vehicle had been involved in an accident and that he was not hurt and he still hoped to make the session he had to go to hospital first to be checked out. We received another call at 12pm saying that the training lesson would again have to be re-arranged…

By this point we had loaded the new luxury engraved gifts onto the website, because we expected the staff to be trained and the equipment to be up and running on 10th October. However, orders had already begun coming through via word of mouth and search engine optimisation… Finally, the training session happened on Friday 17th October 2008, with Stephen, who had still not fully recovered from the car accident the previous week. Unfortunately, one member of the WineGifts4U team missed out on the training though on this date due to prior commitments.

New Engraving Machin

New Engraving Machine

The machine was installed and the training began, firstly the engraving software was introduced and demonstrated, this was fairly easy to understand as it required working with Photoshop, which the WineGifts4U staff are au fait with. After an hour of software training, we moved onto being shown how the software worked with alongside the machine. Champagnes and wines were gifts we were hoping to engrave for customers and offer on our website, so we practised engraving on some cheap sparkling wines and some empty wine and champagne bottles. The software and machine proved simple to use and the engraved champagne bottles and engraved wine bottles looked very impressive. We also did a few of the orders we had already received on the website, which consisted of a zippo lighter, key rings and dog tags.

At this stage, John told us that after all his years of experience in engraving, he still sometimes got things wrong. He told us a story about trophies. One time when he demonstrated how to use an engraving machine, not dissimilar to the machine we had purchased he was asked to engrave a small plate on a trophy that had lots of other small plates which had been engraved with dates and names of winners over fifty or sixty years. The data was inputted to be engraved onto the empty small plate, unfortunately the orientation setting for the was inputted as portrait, when it should have been landscape, so the cutter tool path went across the plates that had already been engraved! I am sure we’ve all had issues like this at one point or another!

The engraving machine has a function to test the tool path, so if in doubt you could use this.

We spent about 4.5 hours training and when John left, we had a pretty good idea how to engrave gifts. A member of staff loaded the first job, a bottle of champagne to test by himself, he went throught the procedure as had been demonstrated, but he could not get the cutter to move to the correct position to begin engraving. He tried and re-tried, but could not get the job to work. After an hour, he got so frustrated that he called John to see if he could help. John suggested lifting the head on which the champagne was mounted, which immediately solved the problem!

Since then our skill levels have improved tremendously. More and more complex engraving is being done. A beautiful watch was given by a family member to give as a gift to a friend, who wanted the watch engraving. So, we set the job up on the jig, used the laser to test the tool path, which worked perfectly, then pressed the button to finish the job and crossed our fingers! The tool came down and cut the name in the correct place perfectly. The family member who wanted th gift engraving was delighted, but the member of staff who completed the job got a huge amount of job satisfaction, but more importantly this job brought in extra money for the company in these difficult economic times.

The sales representative of the engraving machine supplier has rung to see how we were getting on with the machine and to ask if we required anymore help. He is coming down in a couple of weeks to give us some more advanced training.

The engraving maching has proved extremely successful for our gift product range. During economic times such as these it is always difficult to find money, time and resources. However, in our case the machine has helped to improve profits and sales. We are getting regular orders, even in such a short space of time since loading the gifts onto the website for champagne, wine, ales and photo frames just to name a few. Engraving all of these engravable gifts is giving every member of staff who completes a job, job satisfaction, because the systems and processes we have created within the organisation from the stages of ordering the gifts online to dispatching the gifts are working really well.

I am sure other people have encountered similar experiences, and if you’d like to share your thoughts or experiences please feel free…

www.WineGifts4U.co.uk using technology to survive the downturn in the economy

October 28, 2008

Watching the news, listening to the radio and reading newspapers in recent times can make you feel quite depressed, especially with the constant reference to the downturn in economy, recession and the credit crunch. Vin De Terre Ltd was established eleven years ago and began trading as a wholesaler in beers, wines and spirits supplying pubs, nightclubs and restaurants within a fifty mile radius of Spalding, Lincolnshire. One of the products we supplied to our restaurant customers was personalised labelled wine. The restaurants could select particular wines from our range to add to their wine lists. We would then personalised the labels on these wines for the restaurant ourselves by adding the company’s logo, an image and a personalised message promoting their firm based on the restaurants requirements. Personalised labelled wine was a great way for restaurants to boost their business by establishing a corporate image, thus impressing their clientele. In order to produce these personalised wines for restaurants who were usually on a budget, we developed a manufacturing process where customers could order the amount of wines required at a competitive price as opposed to having to purchase the personalised wines in bulk, giving them an added benefit.

About two years ago, we took our wine labelling process and developed a website, www.WineGifts4U.co.uk to offer personalised labelled wine gifts to individuals throughout the UK looking for original gift ideas online for christmas presents and birthday gifts. The unique thing about our site is that customers can see exactly what their personalised wine gift will look like before they place their order. The customer can use the design your own wine label tool to add a message, an image or picture to a wine label and then select single or multiple wines to attach their personalised labels onto, alternatively customers can select one of our wine label designs created for every special occasion, including birthdays, wedding anniversaries and christmas and then add a message to this chosen label. Since launching the personalised wine gift website, we have added a multitude of other personalisable products, for example, design your own t shirts, design your own mugs, engraved gifts and personalised champagne, just to mention a few gift ideas, which make fabulous birthday gifts and christmas presents. Our growth has been aided by grants and support from Business Link and the constant development we make to the site has equally contributed to the website’s success. In the past year, the wholesale business has suffered incredibly with turnover down by 25% on last year thanks to decreasing disposible wages and the smoking ban. However, fortunately the website business has compensated for the loss in turnover and profits from the wholesale side of the business.

Vin De Terre Ltd has invested in web and information technology and continues to grow by finding new products and new routes to market through http://www.WineGifts4U.co.uk . The work the company has done recently was recognised by winning the Lincolnshire Free Press Business “Best Use of Technology” Award earlier this month for the second year running. Our business is flourishing daily with orders coming in from the length and breadth of the UK, as well as from as far away as Fiji and New Zealand. Our success and continued development in new markets shows that small businesses out there can also succeed despite the current negative economic climate.Visit the website to find affordable christmas gifts over Christmas 2008-09.

Christmas Gifts and Shopping For All The Family

September 24, 2008

Christmas 2008 is coming fast, get your gifts in one place for all your family and friends.

For Christmas Gifts and Christmas presents this christmas, visit: http://www.WineGifts4U.co.uk/christmasgifts.php?catid=97

For Christmas Gifts for Him Visit: http://www.winegifts4u.co.uk/christmasgifts.php?catid=92

For Christmas Gifts For Her Visit: http://www.winegifts4u.co.uk/christmasgifts.php?catid=96

For Christmas Gifts For Mum Visit: http://www.winegifts4u.co.uk/christmasgifts.php?catid=99

For Christmas Gifts For Dad Visit: http://www.winegifts4u.co.uk/christmasgifts.php?catid=101

For Christmas Gifts For Children Visit: http://www.winegifts4u.co.uk/christmasgifts.php?catid=246

For Christmas Gifts For Grandma Visit: http://www.winegifts4u.co.uk/christmasgifts.php?catid=245

For Christmas Gifts For Granddad Visit: http://www.winegifts4u.co.uk/christmasgifts.php?catid=103

For Stocking Fillers Visit: http://www.winegifts4u.co.uk/christmasgifts.php?catid=267

Gift giving – Why do we give gifts?

September 20, 2008
It seems like gift giving is an expected ritual, the act of going out and purchasing a gift has therefore become second nature to the majority of individuals. For example, you know it is so and so’s birthday on this date and therefore you need to ensure you have purchased (whether that be spending time browsing online stores or physically walking around shops) and wrapped a gift to give them. There are so many special occasions, the list is endless; birthdays, wedding anniversarys, anniversaries, valentine’s day, christmas, new year, weddings, christenings, graduations, passing a driving test, passing exams, having a baby, beginning university, house warmings and you probably realised that all these occasions usually require a gift to be given. My special occasions list, which is by no means exhaustive we can see that any event, big or small may require a gift to be purchase, wrapped and then given. 
 
Gifts are given as a way of showing the recipient that they deserve something in acknowledgement for the day or event that is causing some celebration. Gifts are given as a way of making the recipient feel special, loved, happy and in some ways also valued. Giving a gift symbolises that the gift giver knows and understands the recipient, as hopefully the gift will be relevent and of value to the person it is given to. Traditionally, flowers, chocolates, money and wines are given as gifts, but in today’s society where technnologies and ideas are constantly developing, it is possible to use your imagination and find gifts that are bound to make the recipient truly happy and grateful for the time and effort you have spent on finding the perfect gift for them.
 
Giving gifts should be a choice to see the happiness they bring to a loved one’s face in acknowledgement of a special occasion or event, gift giving should not be seen as an obligation, even though tradition and society may have made it so.