Thursday, 28 February 2013

PITCH up!

For those of you making inspiring, wonderful things,
wishing for a rainbow....


Have you seen this?


http://www.thedesigntrust.co.uk/pitchup-john-lewis/Pitch up!


It must be worth a shot no??


Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Wordless Wednesday

Nothing says I love you more than an original piece of artwork, gift wrapped & delivered for 
Mother's Day



March 10th. Order by 7th March for guaranteed delivery

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Teacup Tuesday... postage costs


Well we've been umm-ing and ahhh-ing over this for YONKS! What to do? What to do?

We LOVE sending our gifts special delivery... we and the customer can track them and make sure they arrive safely. They're there before 1pm the next day (unless we post on a Friday then they arrive on the Monday) and are always treated with care.

BUT it's expensive and since April last  year it's become VERY expensive. We've tried to protect our lovely customers from the price hike but it's been costing us dearly.

So we're saying goodbye to special delivery for those gifts that are under £50 and not likely to break in the post.

We're rolling out a new price structure that works inline with the post office's first class UK mail prices. We'll be gift wrapping as usual and sending things on their way with all the love and attention to detail our customers know us for.

BUT no more tracking, and no more next day delivery. Unless you contact us to request it. Then of course we'll send it Special Delivery. Anywhere in the world.



Friday, 22 February 2013

Thursday, 21 February 2013

Hop little Bunnies Hop Hop Hop




Meet Three little bunnies.  
Hop Skip and Jump. 
Sitting patiently in a row waiting for delivery of all the Easter eggs. 
They have a very important job. 
They help hide all the Easter eggs in the Garden for your little ones to find at Easter. Make them up to decorate your house and garden with and hide a little chocolate egg inside as an extra treat at Easter.
Hop is a happy chap and likes to tie pretty bows on all the eggs. Skip is a naughty fella and tends to cause mischief hiding the eggs from the other two. Jump is the organised type, always bossing the other two around. 
These sweet bunnies last a lot longer then chocolate eggs.
A treasured little bunny friend.

Make sure you request their help at Easter. 
Being bunnies they are very busy at this time of Year.
Dens to burrow, Straw to chew and Eggs to hide! 

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Tea cup tuesday, Mummy Blues


If you’ve been having a blue few days like me, then your realise it’s the simple things that make you smile.
We’ve had no summer, followed by ever so cold weather, followed by more rain, sleet, & snow. So it doesn’t take much to make you dip.

Slowly slowly I’ve been letting the simple things that please me in day-to-day life lift and inspire me. Whether it be making time to make tea in my lovely tea pot, or sitting and enjoying my children rather then running round like a mad women trying to get things done. Who cares if everything isn’t always done. Nobody actually but me!


I have always been a scribbler & a busy bee. I have never been able to just sit and do nothing. 
So my blip has actually added clarity and cleared some space allowing me to look into what actually pleases me.

So apologies for the shorter than normal blog today...I’m off to scribble! Make sure you free up your mind to allow your artistic side or your whatever side you crave for to shine through!




Monday, 18 February 2013

Friday, 15 February 2013

Thursday, 14 February 2013

A not very Valentines blog....

Sometimes people don't want red roses, smoochy words & other over the top shows of love on Valentines Day.

This blog entry is for you! While we love our traditional gifts for babies & children, sometimes it's just as lovely to give something a little less expected (like today's blog entry not being filled with hearts and flowers).

We have an alternative gift guide over on our Facebook page for those people who are tired of giving the same old gifts or receiving the same old gifts.

Head on over to our Facebook page for more details.



A solid silver nappy pin, a treasured memory back to the days of terry towelling nappies - something a Mum to be would smile at and probably thank the heavens that they don't need!


The Ruby & Ginger "just nipping out" set for those Mummies who don't want to swap their treasured handbag for a big old clunky changing bag!

All these ideas and more over at http://www.facebook.com/unikgifts



Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Teacup Tuesday, My biggest grievance- BAD service


I had a bit of a bad week last week. 
So when I then go onto receive bad service it sends me into a BIG style grump.
It’s my thing. My BIG niggle in life.
I hate BAD service!
For me it doesn’t matter if I am shopping for a Television or a Newspaper, service goes a long way. Especially in a tough economic climate like we are in today. Read my moan from last year here.


I spent a lot of last week either receiving bad service or hearing about other people’s bad experiences. Whether it be a order someone has made on face book  (not a u-ni-k order may I add) where 2 ½ months later they have still received the goods ordered or had a reply to the request, a baby free lunch out in a CafĂ© with my other half whereby the service was cold and grumpy and quite honestly not heart felt or a massive Company giving misguided advice on their website and in an inadequate unclear information on their advice line. 
It was a pretty rotten week!
It leads to a lot of time wasting, a miserable customer and a service & product tainted with a bad reputation.
Everyone looses!

That’s why Sarah and I always edge on the side of caution and communicate as honestly and personally as possible with our clients. Many of our items are made to order so clients need to know how long they may have to wait.  And we need to know how quickly the gift is needed. It’s all about communication.

So here are my simple steps to making a client happy.
Please feel free to add your own points that you feel are needed.

-Always be open, be happy. Saying the right thing needs to be said with warmth. Nobody likes a “of course Sir” with a grumpy face.
-Always know about your product. That’s what you are there for.
-Make sure your website, face book page or any reference point for customers is clear & contains accurate information.
-Communicate & acknowledge an order always informing at the beginning of a time frames.
- Acknowledge every email politely and quickly.
-If you cannot for-fill an order because it is out of stock, offer an alternative, or a date that is possible or a refund. Offer an option and normally the client will be happy to wait.
-Always apologise if it is necessary.
-Make contact when the goods have been posted with a tracking number if applicable. That way the client knows to expect it.
-Always wrap what you send in a way you would want to receive it. It makes a big impression. First impressions count!
-Grow & learn from less than 100% feedback. It’s constructive. Make a negative a positive.
-Be happy and like what you do. I shows in your face & your voice!!  Honestly it does. 


Monday, 11 February 2013

Monday maker - Sarah Davies part 3


Sarah – The maker

What are your three most important advices to any upcoming crafter?

1. Always make time to think & if an idea comes to you jot it down!
It's amazing how life comes between you and making things, so a to do list book or an ideas book is very useful. Also gives you something to doodle in while you are thinking.

2. Don't be afraid to do something different
As wonderful as someone else's creations are, don't be afraid to do something a little different. My knitted softies are based upon a readily available pattern but I started out with the squishies – panda's and pigs that came from out of the blue!

3. If it doesn't work abandon it, don't force something that's not right
It's frustrating if things don't work out just right, and usually pushing yourself through to the end leaves you feeling exhausted & disappointed. If it's not working, put it aside and start something else.

Why are your pieces special?
Because they are made for the one child that loves them. Some of my pieces stay with me for a long time until the one child who can't live without it comes along. Steveo the sooty dog was sold to a little boy who corrected me and said he was a Fred. 6 months later at a different craft fair I spotted this little boy and a very much loved in need of a was “Fred” the dog. His Mum told me it was his constant companion & was the “best buy” she'd made all year.

In general what gifts or pieces do you like or dislike?
I like gifts that give, by this I mean a practical gift to the person that has been sold in aid of a good cause or a gift that can be loved by not only by the recipient but perhaps by another generation as well.

I'm not too keen on the cheap branded gift that has been bought as a joke. They usually end straight in my charity box for swift removal to someone who may like a perfume called "Womaniser"

Can you tell us about a gift that you will never forget? 
When I was young I was given a coconut. Doesn't sound special but it came in the post still in it's BIG green outer casing. The address was etched into the side like something from Robinson Crusoe.

Until then I never knew that coconuts were seeds that actually hung from trees inside these big green skins. It took us AGES to peel apart the stringy flesh to revel the coconut and even longer to break it open to drink the milk and eat the flesh.

What do you have planned for the future?  
I'm working on writing the stories that come with my softies, so that they come as a complete gift set. I may even add some illustrations.

Thursday, 7 February 2013

2013 - Chinese Year of the Water Snake


It's Chinese New Year on Sunday, so let's take a look at the animal and element that children born after this date

Year of the Water Snake 

Water Snakes are influential and insightful. They tend to be good for organisations, as they work well managing others. They are quite motivated and intellectual, very determined and resolute about success. They will have what they desire, as they like to be recognised for their efforts & to be rewarded as well. They are affectionate with their families and friends but do not show this side of their personality to colleagues or business partners.


Snake parents & children

Snakes will likely form intimate bonds throughout his lifetime with different partners. With these relationships come children, and it is likely the Snake will have many children and stepchildren throughout his lifetime. Regardless, Snakes are devoted and dedicated parents, willing and able to defend the livelihood and happiness of their children.

Snake children often use humour to deal with their children. In addition, this joy of serenity comes at a price for their children. Snake parents are not known to be the most affectionate or playful parents. They do not like to roll around and get dirty with their children, nor do they enjoy loud situations, and these types of things send a Snake running for a locked bedroom door. Unfortunately for the Snake partner, they are responsible for calming the children back down.

Snake children

Snake children are often loners, enjoying playing by themselves, quietly in their gardens or bedrooms.  When picked on or upset, Snake children tend to pout and hold grudges and when embarrassed or angry, they will lash out at the culprit as quickly as they were made fun of.


Some parents immediately click with their children and others find they will never have a close relationship no matter how hard they try to make it happen. 


With thanks to the US Bridal Guide for the information
http://www.usbridalguide.com/special/chinesehoroscopes/Snake.htm

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Wordless Wednesday...

With nearly 2 years in business we are proud to announce we still have 100% positive customer feedback!

(Everyone here at u-ni-k is happy with that!)

Don't forget you can come & be one of our happy customers this Friday
We'll be at the West Byfleet 
LOVE WHAT WE DO
Cornerstone Centre, from 9am

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Monday Maker... with Sarah Davies!


Sarah – The Person

Name: Sarah Davies

Year of Birth: 1976

Current City: Guildford is my closest city!

Company name: u-ni-k gifts llp






How would you describe a typical Sunday?
Kathryn will wake us all up, usually by running in shouting “Morning Time!”. Daddy makes breakfast & the grown ups have a few cups of coffee. If the weather is nice, Kathryn & I will go out on an adventure while Daddy does his thing. If it's raining then we'll play painting or play doh. Sunday curry followed by watching TV in front of the fire is our family time before Kathryn's bath, book and bedtime routine.



And here a quite obvious question: How did you become a talented crafts person / designer? What inspired you to do this?

My Mum taught me how to knit when I was young but by the time I was a teenager I had cast aside my knitting needles for paint brushes and school books.

When I became pregnant with Kathryn I was keen to make her something traditional. So I picked up knitting needles again and started knitting squares. Once I'd completed the blanket, I looked for more challenging things to knit. A brief look around Ravellry brought me to the knitted softies. Not fond of knitting in wool or synthetic materials I started to deviate from the patterns I had to create my own little creatures. Now each one of them is lovingly made by me and has their own story to tell.

Not being the best seamstress in town, their embroidered faces usually gives me the character of the animal and from that their name. Dirty Dorris was so very cheery that she looked made for splashing about making mud pies and generally becoming covered in dirt. So the dream to become an archaeologist was an obvious choice for her story.

Its Fill-in-the-blanks time. So, please fill in the blanks:

I love photography because it allows me to capture moments to cherish forever. 

If I could live anywhere I'd live in New Zealand by the sea. 

If I weren’t a designer / maker , I would be a photographer. 

People who like natural things will like my creations.

Teacup Tuesday... musings of a small business

Nice and settled with your cuppa? OK this week we've been talking money and laundry piles and people who get us down...

Well as you know, Anna & I run u-ni-k while trying to keep up with all the other jobs a Mum has to do. It makes us tired and sometimes irritable, especially when the world seems to be full of people who just want to make our lives harder... but sometimes a small win makes all the difference.

We take our lovely pieces to craft fairs, and usually our gifts that are under £20 sell really well and people take our details if they are interested in some of our more expensive pieces. This is because, until now, there hasn't been a handheld, mobile card reader to allow us to take card payments.

Missing out on these vital sales has been a bugbear of ours for 12months now. We investigated several possibilities - all of which required us to be online on our own network to work! Then along came a Facebook advert for iZettle.

Woop woop, the little device fits neatly on to an iPhone and the app is amazing! I have been busy loading up our products into our account so that I don't have to waste time typing in the item that the person has bought when invoicing them with the device.

So once the products that the person is buying has been totalled up on the application, the customer hands over their card, I process the payment, they sign the app (using a finger or pencil end) and enter their email address. iZettle will email them a receipt with the full details of what they paid for.

We have an initial £20 transaction credit and will be charged a nominal amount per transaction each time we use it. All I need is a 3G signal that allows the iZettle app to communicate with it's hub.

Fingers crossed that we have some trial 'large' purchases at the Love What We Do event this Friday.


Monday, 4 February 2013

Monday maker - inspiration for Sarah Davies


Sarah - Inspiration

Where do you find creative inspiration?

In my Daughter, Kathryn. I love seeing how she plays with her toys and the imaginative world she creates for them. I also love Purl Bee and their amazing array of natural fibres to knit with. I have a Pinterest account that keeps me inspired at all the talented people out there.


Which blogs or magazines do you read regularly and would you count as an inspirational read?

The only magazine I read on a regular basis is the RHS garden magazine, and when I say “regularly” I have 4 unopened ones here looking to be read! I don't have much reading time as a Mum, maker and small business entrepreneur. I of course read the u-ni-k blog on a regular basis!







What makes you different, what inspires you to create unique pieces?

I think I differ from everyone else by thinking of the person who is going to want to play with my creations before I start any! Everyone else looks for a pattern and then probably follows that pattern to the letter. I start by thinking about the textures and feeling that would interest a small child, my squishies are especially designed to have different textures on each arm / leg to that no two are the same. I also think about how dirty play can become (mine has used her's to clean the floor!) but how heartbroken the little one can be in the time it needs to become clean again. So natural fibres like a bamboo / cotton mix is soft on the hand and can be machine washed & tumble dried. I think of all of these design aspects before even picking up my knitting needles!

Many of my designs have come from necessity, something my Daughter wouldn't mind wiping her mouth / dribbles with... the bamboo soft mice - something that could do the job, be easily washed and create a fun activity out of an everyday occurrence. Dribble mice were the obvious answer... squeak squeak... can the mice eat those crumbs?!

My little one had very sensitive skin, so wool was out. I had to look for alternatives, and I went to unravel at the Farnham Maltings, and hey presto... the really soft stuff was bamboo! Who knew?!

I'm currently making a bunny, one of the Bert Bunnies... because here at u-ni-k 





Friday, 1 February 2013

Friday Funny...





My two sillies keeping me entertained & smiling this week!

unikgifts.co.uk