Posts Tagged ‘www.WineGifts4U.co.uk’

Christmas rush is now over…. I don’t know what to do with myself!

December 24, 2008

Christmas is over, now what?!

After our mad Christmas rush with our web business, I’m not quite sure what to do with myself! Normally, our wholesale business in beers, wines and spirits is booming even right now, in the past I’ve helped pick orders right up until 7.30pm on Christmas Eve…! Unfortunately, this year has been very different. The staff on the wholesale side have finished before 5pm for the last 3 days and I haven’t helped pick one order, which is extremely unusual for this time of year, which is usually our busiest time.  This is a sign of the time, me thinks. Nightclubs and pubs have really decreased their business with the credit crunch and recessionary pressures, meaning that turnover for all parties has decreased dramatically. Thankfully, we’ve had our personalised gift website this year, http://www.WineGifts4U.co.uk which has made up for the sad decline on the wholesale trade. We’ve loved the challenges this e-commerce based business has brought for us. It’s a completely new way of doing business for our company, even though the website has been in play for a couple of years. This is our first “big” Christmas and all hands have been on deck, new processes have been formed and new systems have been applied in order to get gifts through to customers in time for Christmas. I have to say, I have thoroughly enjoyed it… even the late nights and the early starts!

Google’s re-indexing and the issues it has caused

Even after Google re-indexed our site 3 months ago and we lost many of our high ranking phrases, luckily the engraved gifts, personalised wine gifts and champagne gifts pulled us through. We would be interested to know actually, if anyone out there has experienced significant search engine re-indexing that has caused most of their key search phrases in Google to be lost, but maintained in the other search engines…? We have made alternative arrangements to help us get back up there, but we’re not sure what we did (or did not do…) any help or insights would be greatly appreciated!  

Someone’s just reminded me, it’s Valentine’s Day soon. Perhaps I’ve found something to do!

Wishing everyone a Merry Christmas and a very Happy 2009!

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…

Waiter’s Friend – How to use one without looking like a wally!

October 28, 2008

What is a waiter’s friend?

A waiter’s friend is merely a corkscrew, an intrument used for removing stopping corks from wine bottles. Generally, a waiter’s friend consists of a pointed metallic helix, referred to as the “worm”, which is attached to a handle. The user grips the handle and screws the metal point through the centre of the cork, entwining the cork and corkscrew so that moving one moves the other. A waiter’s friend can also be referred to as a sommelier knife as it is shaped in a folding body similar to a pocket knife. An arm extends to brace against the lip of the bottle for leverage when removing the cork, this is known as the fulcrum. Some waiter’s friends have two steps on the lever, and often also a bottle opener. A small hinged knife blade is housed in the handle end for removing the foil surrpounding the neck of many wine bottles.

How do I use it?

(If the wine bottle lacks a hood or foil covering its neck and cork, move on to the next paragraph.)

Firstly, remove the foil with the retractable knife. The safest way to do this is to open the blade and lay the handle on the palm-up hand across the base of the fingers, with the blade tip pointing in the same direction as and the blade edge pointing towards the outstretched thumb. Grip the handle firmly with the fingers, then turn the palm down and place the neck of the bottle between the thumb and the knife edge. The knife should be under the bottle’s drip ridge. Squeeze the bottle neck with enough pressure to cut the foil and use the other hand to rotate the bottle one full turn. Use the point of the blade to separate and discard the cap from the remainder of the foil, which stays on the bottle. Finally, remember to close the blade! Plastic hoods usually require more pressure than tin or aluminum hoods and some wine bottles will have a pull-strip to assist in the hood’s removal, although these don’t always work.

To remove the cork, open the “worm”. Although old wisdom says not to penetrate through the opposite end of the cork in order to avoid getting cork pieces in the wine, nevermind. Size does matter; so does sharpness. A long, sharp wire helix worm will neatly pierce even a dry cork without breaking off pieces and is guaranteed to grip and remove the cork whole.

Put the point of the worm in the centre of the cork. Do not worry too much about aligning the worm parallel to the bottle‘s neck. It is more important to get the worm centered on the cork. As the worm is turned into the cork in a clockwise direction, it will begin to right itself as it goes deeper. You need to stop when there is only one turn of the worm. Bend the handle-lever down to allow opening the fulcrum. Place the fulcrum’s notch on the edge of the bottle and, on the hand gripping the bottle, use the index finger to hold the fulcrum to the bottle, you can use the other hand to lift the handle-lever and raise the cork about one-half inch. Turn the screw that last turn and finish lifting and removing the cork.

That’s all there is to it… the next part’s much easier, pour and enjoy!

Waiter’s friends come in all different forms, you can purchase and find cheap waiter’s friend for a couple of pounds, but it is also possible to obtain more expensive looking, state of the art waiter’s friends, which are fantastic for gift giving. To make waiter’s friends even more special you can get them engraved with a personalised message or a personalised name, this is possible from our site; engraved gifts.

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

The Easy Way To Fold A T Shirt – Explained

September 23, 2008

The easy way to fold a t shirt – explained. The video below is an explanation to our previously posted the easy way to fold a t shirt’. Hopefully, if the other video was too quick, this one will explain what’s happening, so you can fold a t shirt quickly every time!

The Easy Way To Fold a T-Shirt Video

September 23, 2008

Are you one of us whose washing piles up and the folding and ironing seems never ending? Well, we’ve come up with a video to show you how to fold a t shirt within seconds to reduce the time you need to spend slaving over your washed and dried clothes.

We hope you find our easy way “how to fold a t shirt in seconds” video useful, but if it was a bit too quick for you and you need a bit of an explanation please take a look at our “easy way to fold a t shirt  – explained” video!

http://www.winegifts4u.co.uk/design_your_own_tshirt.php?catid=179

http://www.winegifts4u.co.uk/design_your_own_tshirt_detail.php?catid=179#initial

How to wrap a bottle of wine as a christmas gift

September 23, 2008

We at www.WineGifts4U.co.uk are constantly looking at innovative gift ideas to add to our portfolio, but we’d also like to give something back to those buying gifts from us in a fun and interesting way. Our gifts are affordable, but in these difficult economic times making a gift look good can get expensive. We have therefore created a video to show you how to wrap a bottle of personalised wine with wrapping paper, a bow and some foil allowing you to create a beautiful gift on the outside as well as on the inside without breaking the bank.

Please do let us know how you got on using the video to wrap your bottles of personalised wines for your friends and family this christmas.

http://www.winegifts4u.co.uk/christmasgifts.php?catid=97

Christmas presents and gifts; gift ideas, how to avoid the mad rush with a few online gift stores

August 17, 2008

Christmas is still a few months away, but it’s almost September and as soon as the sales end the shops are going to be kitted out with their christmas ranges. Chocolates, cards and plenty of treats will be available for the festive celebrations, which consequently means time to start thinking about what christmas gifts to get for Auntie Sally, the next door neighbour and your third cousin’s children!

Are you fed-up of wasting time buying the same old things; socks, smellies, ties and chocolates? If you feel like having a change for Christmas 2008 and wish to avoid spending hours and hours in queues, pushing past people trying their best to find unique and original gifts, but at the same time trying to get it all over with as soon as possible , why not try buying Christmas presents online?

Purchasing christmas gifts for friends and family needn’t wait until Christmas Eve! You can bypass the queues, put your feet up and even drink cup of tea whilst browsing leisurely the array of online stores offering special, original and personalised christmas gifts from today.

To lead you upto Christmas, you might need some chocolate advent calendars, I’d recommend Sweet Temptations (www.chocolateadventcalendars.co.uk) who have a wide range of fairtrade chocolate advent calendars. Or, for something a little more upmarket, try (www.storkgifts.co.uk/ginatadventcalendar.htm) for a giant felt advent calendar with Christmas decorations and pockets, guaranteed to make any house look festive over the Christmas period.  

A surprise gift often loses all meaning, especially if the recipient has to trek to an out-of-town post office to collect it. Geneiva Chocolates (www.geneivachocolates.co.uk) and its sister company Hotel Chocolat specialise in chocolates by post. Not only do the firms offer an impressive range of boxed chocolates, the special chocolate postal packs have been designed to fit through a standard letterbox.

You can give chocolates for every occasion under the sun, and perhaps you have?! It’s now time to try something different, if this will be you’re first time ordering online, you might as well continue with the theme! Why not try looking at personalised gifts, as really special gift ideas? Find a unique christmas gift for each member of the family and all your friends, at affordable prices, which won’t break the bank!

Flowers: Obviously, you’ve got Interflora, who you know are probably going to do a great job at getting your flower gifts delivered, but other online florists who also deserve a mention include (www.flowersdelivereduk.com), they do some amazing personalised roses! You can choose silk roses or fresh roses to add your personalised message onto and (www.serenataflowers.com), they have a fab range of flowers, often with some good deals.

Will you be, or have you been invited to someone’s house over the festive season or a you looking for a wonderful looking group gift? Hampers are a wonderful gift idea, they can contain an assortment of food, condiments and treats, and the container itself is often highly desirable. Good quality hampers needn’t cost the earth, either. Harrods (www.harrods.co.uk), for example, have hampers from as little as £30. Thorntons www.thorntons.co.uk, also offer a Corporate Christmas Party Box which is filled with party poppers, indoor sparklers, balloons and wine as well as delicious snacks, such as chocolate, turkish delight, toffee, fudge, truffles and even a model chocolate santa and Rudolph. It’s a beautifully-designed gift idea!

Alcoholic gifts are well received at any time, especially Christmas and most suppliers have a price range which is flexible enough to suit any budget. Specialist firms despatch everything from a single bottle of wine to cases of top Champagne costing many thousands of pounds. (www.sparklingdirect.co.uk) have a brilliant range of champagne, cristal champagne and champagne gift packs.

(www.WineGifts4U.co.uk/christmasgifts.php?catid=97) also do a great range of personalised gifts including personalised wine gifts, personalised champagne, engraved gift ideas, personalised ale, teddy bears, design your own mugs and design your own t shirts for him, her and all members of the family. Perhaps this could be a one-stop shop to get everyone’s Christmas presents from this year?

Looking for something slightly more adventurous? Try (www.intotheblue.co.uk) who offer a superb range of exhilaration day gifts, day’s out and experience days. 

Christmas gifts are an annual “problem”, it can get tiring and expensive, gifts of specialist foods and wines are a great idea, particularly at a time of year when people celebrate with family and friends. The websites and gift ideas offered here, will hopefully make it easier for you to find something extra special for your loved ones this year, taking away unnecessary hassle and tension during a time that’s supposed to be full of happiness and good will.  

 

Recessionary pressures in the UK and how small-medium sized businesses can succeed

August 5, 2008
I rarely listen to the radio (unless I am forced to listen to Radio 2 at work), I never read the papers, and watching the news on television bores me. However, given my lack of interest in current affairs, with no mortgage to pay and limited responsibilities, up until now I wasn’t bothered about world news or national issues. Lately though, I can’t help but notice the recent dramatic changes in the UK’s economic climate.
 
I work for a company, Vin De Terre Ltd, which established itself eleven years ago as a wholesaler in beers, wines and spirits, supplying shops within a fifty-mile radius of Spalding. This strategy worked fine until 1999, when supermarkets began selling alcohol at cut prices making it very difficult to compete in the market place. Vin De Terre Ltd, therefore diversified into a slightly different market segment, providing a similar service to pubs, clubs and restaurants, which had a very positive influence on profit margins. Since 2005, even this sector has also shown an enormous decline and with the smoking ban in public places taking effect from July 2007, as well as the widespread reduction in disposible incomes the whole pub sector has taken a very big hit.
 

Being an innovative company, the wholesale business in 2006 decided to find another opportunity of selling goods available from exisiting suppliers, and has since developed and established an online e-commerce website, www.WineGifts4U.co.uk selling personalised wine gifts, wine gifts, which were originally sold in bulk to exisiting restaurant customers within a 50-mile radius of Spalding, Lincolnshire but are now available to individual customers thoughout the UK.
 
The idea to sell personalised wine online came from a conference, which was attended in 2005 by our Managing Director, Asgar Dungarwalla. A presentation was given by Viking Direct, the stationary supplier, who make a point of personalising all of their customer mailshots in order to create a rapport with their customers by offering a unique selling point, making stationary seem a little more interesting.  So, it seems the key to stay in business through these tough time is to be innovative, continuously looking for new ideas to excel within the market place.

 
Even without taking notice of the media and the situation at work, it is obvious to me that the country’s economic situation is fairly delicate at the moment, with recessionary pressures hitting small, medium and large companies as well as the general public; the ever increasing fuel prices are a primary factor. Petrol is now at £1.15 per litre at my local supermarket, and I remember it costing 70 pence per litre not so long ago. Also, over a similar time frame, the cost of a weekly shop has gone from £100 to £150, meaning living costs have been rising sensationally, but my salary hasn’t gone up as spectacularly (or at all infact!), leading to a fairly low disposible income left over at the end of the month. Some food producers have seen the cost of key ingredients rise by as much as 300% over the past year, and earnings for major food companies like Kellogg (K) and Kraft (KFT) have taken a hit. Ernest and Young describe the current economic climate as a “horror movie” at risk of turning into a “disaster movie” and Simon Rubinsohn, the RICS’s chief economist suggested, “There are no positives out there right now”. This is all rather worrying and with the credit cruch too…
 

What is a “credit crunch” ?