DIY Wedding Flower Tips

There is absolutely nothing wrong with a DIY wedding, you get to personalise your big day with special touches, involve your family and friends, use home-made crafts and where possible, save money.

When considering flowers for your wedding, it is important to understand the pros and cons of trying to do it yourself, how much of the work you should take on and when you should seek the help of a professional.

As a bride, you will probably have an idea about the style of flowers you would like to use for your wedding. You may have specific colours in mind, or know the type of arrangements you prefer. Not only will these flowers decorate your venue, but they will be carried with you down the aisle and will feature in the majority of your wedding photos. Flowers are one of the most effective and beautiful ways of styling your special day, so getting the right mix is important and the expertise and knowledge required should not be underestimated. 

Quality vs. quantity
If you do choose to DIY your bridal blooms, keep in mind that you will need to allocate time (often more than you think) and you will need a certain level of knowledge in both selecting the flowers and arranging them.

Using cheaper flowers can actually require more skill; after all, if you are using stunning Grade A David Austin roses in full bloom it is easier to make a lovely posy than with a handful of Grade B pin-head tight roses from a supermarket.

An insider fact – when flowers are sold to suppliers, they are graded on quality, stem length and head size, all important factors in the final look of the arrangements and florists will usually order the best but more expensive ones for wedding work.

Be realistic about your abilities
Why not enrol in a wedding floristry course? Many florists run these courses as a one-day, fun and stress-free workshop, where you get shown how to make a bouquet, a table arrangement, a floral headdress and a buttonhole.

In addition to being taught the technical stuff, like how to wire a flower head and spiral your bouquet, you will also learn which flowers work well together and how to look after your flowers once you have got them home.

Ask for help
Florists are usually a very friendly bunch and don’t mind sharing information if you plan on buying stock from them. However, marching into a flower shop and announcing that you would rather spend money on champagne than their expertise, then proceeding to ask for advice on how to arrange the flowers you have grown at home won’t go down so well!

Insider knowledge
If you decide to do the floral table arrangements yourself, but think that the bouquets and buttonholes might be too much for you, then be honest and tell the florist that. If you are already ordering bouquets, the florist most likely won’t mind ordering some extra loose flowers for you.

Bear in mind, when shopping at wholesale flower markets, flowers are bought in wraps of multiple stems – and wraps can’t be broken up, so you may have to buy 20 or 50 stems of one type of flower. Florists usually buy more stock than they need for a wedding to allow for damaged heads, or flowers just not opening in time.

Timing is everything
Timing and seasonality of flowers is also crucial.  A gerbera or lisianthus doesn’t need time to bloom, but a rose can take three days to reach perfection and a lily up to a week.

Consider doing a trial run a few weeks before to avoid any potential nasty shocks, and then factor in time to make more than one trip over the course of your wedding week to buy stock.

As for cost, buying flowers in season means they are at their best and cheapest. Peonies in June are great, but in April they can be tiny and twice the price!

If in doubt – work with a florist
A florist like http://www.lilyjonesflowers.co.uk not only has buying power with a supplier, but knowledge of what is in season. We have time to dedicate to your big day and work within your budget, providing a full financial breakdown so that you know exactly how much it will cost and where your money is going.

We also bring experience and creativity to the mix. We will visit your venue to get a feel for what would work well and where and can advise you where to spend your money to maximise the ‘wow factor’ on the day. We know how long it takes to set a wedding up, how to pack a van, what needs to be done on site and what may take too long if the venue operate a strict turnaround policy during busy periods.

We are passionate about what we do and have a seemingly never ending list of ideas, not to mention props that can be hired – saving you the need to buy ten matching vases or 50 tea lights! In addition to this, we source beautiful ribbons and candles – all extra bits that you might not think of until you are trying to do it yourself.

If you do make the choice to DIY your bridal blooms, please take these points into consideration and remember to plan a colour scheme, source your props and flowers, allow a timetable, budget, ask for help when you need it and leave plenty of time to relax the night before your big day!

Who Can Buy From Wholesalers?

Entrepreneurs new to wholesaling often fear approaching their suppliers because they mistakenly believe that wholesalers will only trade with established, fairly large retailers. Happily, this is not the case. You don’t need to have a shop or even be in charge of an office full of staff to buy from a wholesaler like celdron.co.uk. They are as happy to sell to sole traders as they are to large corporations. By their very nature, almost all wholesalers will state they are for ‘trade only’, but if you plan to buy stock and sell it on, you are technically a trader – you don’t need to have a limited company behind you to be eligible. Wholesalers are mostly ‘trade only’ for the benefits accrued from their manufacturers, for tax purposes and, of course, to set them apart from high street stores.

Most wholesalers like celdron.co.uk are happy to sell goods to you without proof of being ‘in the trade’, but some will demand evidence that you don’t plan to use their products for your own personal use. Again, if you are a budding sole trader new to wholesaling, this is nothing to fear. Proof of trading can be easily provided in the form of a business card or a letterhead bearing your trading name. An invoice from another wholesaler or a bank statement from your business account will also be sufficient to kick off your trading relationship. As with many aspects of wholesaling, there is great variation as to what individual wholesalers will require of buyers. If your local wholesaler demands a large minimum order or other unhelpful conditions from you, it makes obvious sense to visit other wholesalers until you find one that best suits your needs. Some wholesalers don’t even insist that you take the whole ‘batch’ (the groupings of goods that wholesalers put together to sell on) so you are able to pick and choose exactly how much of a particular product you need.

So, if you are afraid of approaching your wholesaler, the message is don’t be. The difference between wholesalers and retailers is less than you may think. You may have to jump through a few more hoops for your supplier but, essentially, both want your business – the vital difference being that wholesalers will cost you vastly less money. So have a look around – the wholesaler that could save you a large chunk of your budget could be just around the corner. Trade cards are issued on behalf of wholesalers like celdron.co.uk to reward loyalty from businesses who buy their goods. Working much like standard retail store cards, trade cards also allow you access to a wide range of wholesalers and are a valuable sign that you are an established trader.

The reason that small firms can save money by buying wholesale goods isn’t because they ‘fell off the back of a lorry’ and ended up in a warehouse via the yellow Robin Reliant of a cigar-smoking market trader from Peckham. There are many, wholly legitimate, reasons why wholesale products are so cheap. Firstly, by simple economics, buying in bulk shaves a significant amount off the retail price. Also, as you are dealing with wholesalers keen to offload their goods, not the perfume counter at Harrods, these savings can be increased even further by a spot of persuasion (i.e. haggling – more of that later). The stock may be end-of-the-line products that have been replaced by an updated model or design but still perfectly usable. You will need to do a bit of research to find out what kind of condition these goods are in, but most wholesalers clearly label their stock and what you see is generally what you get. Many wholesalers also stock catalogue or chain store returns. When a customer returns goods to a catalogue company, for whatever reason, the product is automatically sent with other similar items to be sold off by wholesalers. The wholesaler then break these batches up and sell the goods off in smaller quantities at a massively reduced price. Small firms normally make the biggest savings when buying products from wholesalers in this way.

Why Choose Shockwatch For Your Cargo?

You have an item to be delivered. It is a set of drinking glasses you are sending to your niece. They are valuables that are definitely crisp and fragile. You fear for its fragility despite the fact that it has been wrapped to assure you that they would not be damaged in the voyage towards your niece. You trust your carrier or shipping company to deliver the valuables , and yet you have this tingling feeling something could go wrong and your fine glasses may turn to shreds.

Here is where Shockwatch begins. It states green once you st i ck it on. The carrier is made aware that your glasses are in a stable condition because it is on green and if it strikes red it means something has happened to it. Somehow, the glasses arrive at your niece’s doorsteps with merely a scratch. You thank the carrier for a job well done. It is not because you do not trust your carrier, however, it simply has become a habit now of sticking labels that turn red and alarm when something is wrong. A habit that has proved that this device is here to stay.

Some devices invented come and go. But we see now the ubiquity of Shockwatches in almost every package used by business enterprises or even personal packages. It is so useful that every package of businesses can afford to have these labels sticked on to them. It is cost efficient in this way , and its activity is never lost in the many packages that are to be sent. By activity, it means that these things are devices and not just labels. They activate when the product is tilted to a precarious angle therefore alerting handlers , or at the end of the voyage giving the owner a message of how it has been through the trip. For more info: www.shockwatch.co.uk

The convenience of this device is obvious and so it can easily be mass produced in a careful manner so that each item of today c an afford this effective device, and we can go on with our lives without having to worry all the time about the shipment that will come in.

Perhaps it went red along the trip, and the owner gave the key to the handler in case this happens while being shipped. If this is so, then the handler may still be able to save the item before it reaches the destination by doing damage control. It happens. Equip m en t may simply need to be tilted back can be done and save it from total damage, you can check out www.shockwatch.co.uk for further info about their service.

If a device is convenient, effective and so easy to use, it really means that the device is here to stay. The labels describing the object on the package is important and is already dealt with. The tilting of the object to a dangerous degree is also dealt with and you can be worry free for the owner.

Damage to the product can be controlled once the red light goes on and a handler can see to it at the moment of the activation. All these spell it i s a device with a ticket to the future.

The Holly and The Christmas Market!

The season to start decking the halls and serve up homemade gingerbread men and mulled wine is very nearly upon us and to kick off your Christmas shopping you need a winter break to get

Photo for this weeks theme marknad/market for the group Fotosöndag (Photo Sunday).

those special presents sorted. Stalls around Christmas markets are heavy with wine, meat and roasting chestnuts. You’ve just got to get involved! There’s nothing like the festive atmosphere of a Christmas market whether that be at home or abroad. Whether you are travelling abroad or staying nearer to home, we’ve put together our top destinations in a two part guide that will get you right in the festive spirit.

Absolutely dripping in history, there are two main destinations to embrace the festive spirit – the Southbank and Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park, London. Companies such as door2tour.com put together some excellent and exciting Christmas market breaks and promising a wide range of traditional chalets to shop from you are guaranteed to find everything you need on your shopping list. Winter Wonderland which is set in London’s famous Hyde Park and is free to enter. It does get a little busy as expected but full of rides, stalls and Father Christmas, it’s the way to go for a Christmas market break. London itself seems to come alive with magic during the winter, with its exciting Christmas lights along Oxford Street and the Selfridges and Hamleys Christmas displays and smells of roasting chestnuts along the Thames. Booking coach holidays around the UK means that you are choosing an affordable break with a festive fling.

Arguably best in the spring time, Paris is unsurprisingly charming in the cooler months as well. With an array of boutique stalls illuminated with colourful festive lighting the shops are a myriad of Christmas market galore. Not to be missed is the La Defense, the chic and ultra-modern centre of the capital. Straight in the old heart of Paris you will be surrounded by Saint-Germain-des-Pres with over three hundred wooden chalets offering a large variety of Christmas crafts and stunningly delicious cuisine. It’s an exciting time of year every year but for your family, you could book yourselves a stunning break in one of the most romantic cities in the world.

It may be hard to spell but the Christkindlesmarkt Nuremberg is set in the magical Main Market Square with over one hundred and eighty market stalls, with some dating back as far as the late eighteen hundreds. If you love gingerbread – or Lebkuchen as it’s called in German – this is the place to buy as much as you can cram into your suitcase. If you prefer a meatier affair, Nuremberg take their sausage very seriously! Some of the recipes they have date back to the early fourteen hundreds and are definitely not to be missed. A great place for food lovers out there, this charming Christmas market is well worth a visit in the most magical months of the year.

6 Reasons Product Development Is Good For Your Company

What drives established engineering products to spend valuable resources (time, money, human capital, etc.) on new product development. Here are six reasons to invest in new product development.

Competitive Advantage:

Staying ahead of the competition should always be front of mind for existing companies.  New products give you a competitive advantage over your competition.  It might be new sales, more shelf space, consumer impressions or other advantages. If you are the market leader, you want to keep your competitive advantage, if you are not the market leader – you need a competitive advantage. New products allow you to focus on taking a competitive leadership position. There’s leadership position in the nut category is clear and their continued focus on new products keeps them in front.  Their new dessert inspired mixes are definitely look mouth-watering.

Innovation Story:

Speaking of competitive leadership, there is the credibility that comes with being the category innovator.  Innovative companies are thought of as creative and ground-breaking bringing more excitement to their brand and solving consumer problems. Being first is always better than needing to flatter your competition by replicating something they did first and you wish you had thought of earlier. 

Ancillary Sales:

Every brand wants more sales and new products help. New items might not be your number one SKU driving the most sales, but they drive new sales to your brand or category and they provide a continued look at existing products consumers may have forgotten about keeping your brand front of mind. I’m sure watermelon flavored Oreo’s are not their best seller, but each new offering generates loads of consumer media attention and new purchases.

Reason to See Your Buyer & Engage Your Consumer:
Depending on your category you might see your buyer one to four times a year…maybe monthly if you’re lucky. During those meetings you probably discuss general category data including pricing, promotions and performance, but what about products.  Same story different day doesn’t create a lot of reason for the buyer to schedule an extra meeting with you or give you more business.  New products on the other hand generate new discussion and new opportunities.

Test Consumer Trends

Consumers are constantly evolving which means their tastes and preferences change with them. In recent years we’ve see probiotic foods, gluten free, and paleo emerge as just some of the important consumer food trends. Your ability to maintain an active focus on innovation and stay current on trends allows you to be ahead of the curve with emerging consumer trends and test new concepts in early stages of trends and refine them as the trend becomes mainstream. This test and refine concept allows you to see what concepts have potential and which were fleeting while still maintaining a competitive advantage.

Explore Technology

Just like consumer trends drive new products, advances in technology drive new opportunities in various food products as well, typically in the area of food packaging. Food packaging and processing advances have opened up entirely new product opportunities. Your innovation, production and marketing team should constantly be exploring new technology that will aid in new product development.

New product development doesn’t have to be costly, but it must be a priority. Just like we talked about the power of building a marketing-minded culture, it’s equally important to include innovation as part of that ideal to foster continued organizational growth.

Easy Breezy Budget Office Equipment

IT IS EASY to get caught up in the latest and greatest furniture and equipment for your office—you want it to look fabulous and make a statement about your success. But don’t lose sight of your budget. Your cash flow could wind up looking like the national debt.

Don’t despair! It really is a breeze to make good decisions about purchasing equipment, franking machine supplies from nslmailing.co.uk and furniture, have a nice-looking office, and make your business run smoothly and efficiently.

If you have decided that you want to provide your staff with computers, don’t just go out and buy the cheapest models on sale or a mixed batch you find at an auction. Instead, I consider standardizing computers, and find a company that will service them, then make sure they are adequate so that employees can work on them quickly and efficiently.

Looks, appearance, and brand names would not figure high on my list of priorities, nor necessarily would the initial purchase price. Instead, I would think of the total cost of the computers, including service and downtime. How much does it cost if an employee’s computer is down? Ideally, in addition to getting quality computers and a solid service plan, I would have a back-up computer available for use.

Do the Chairs Really Matter?

You are projecting an image with the type of furniture that you choose to outfit your office with. Buying it used can certainly help offset costs, and comes as a recommendation for keeping budgets in check, but make sure that it is in tip-top shape. New or used, your furniture should be professional in appearance. Try for a coordinated look and a simple color scheme carried throughout your office. Good, simple, tasteful design is paramount if you intend to have clients visit your office on a regular basis.

Look for furniture that is comfortable and suitable for at least eight hours a day. Make sure your desks and chairs are ergonomically designed to minimize physical stress. Having heavy computer users develop wrist and hand problems is a risk I would work to avoid.

So yes, choosing comfortable and physically healthy chairs for your employees does make a difference!

Should We Have Our Own Email System?

Even many very tiny businesses have their own proprietary email system—their computer consultant assures them it will be extremely reliable. Well, I have been in too many situations when our proprietary email system has crashed and it has taken a full day or longer to get it back up again. You don’t need to bother with your own email system. I suggest you just find a name that is the same as your business at one of the big, free commercial email hubs. If your business name isn’t available, just find something that sounds professional.

No, don’t get your own email system!

Helping Children Through Grief

Children grieve just as adults do. Any child old enough to form a relationship will experience some form of grief when a relationship is severed. Adults may not view a child behaviour as grief as it is often demonstrated in behavioural patterns which we misunderstand and do not appear to us to be grief such as “moody,” “cranky,” or “withdrawn.”

When a death occurs children need to be surrounded by feelings of warmth, acceptance and understanding. This may be a tall order to expect of the adults who are experiencing their own grief and upset. Caring adults can guide children through this time when the child is experiencing feelings for which they have no words and thus can not identify. In a very real way, this time can be a growth experience for the child, teaching about love and relationships. They can also be involved in the planning of flowers for a funeral with victoriafunerals.com.au.

The first task is to create an atmosphere in which the child’s thoughts, fears and wishes are recognised. This means that they should be allowed to participate in any of the arrangements, ceremonies and gatherings which are comfortable for them. First, explain what will be happening and why it is happening at a level the child can understand. A child may not be able to speak at a grandparent’s funeral but would benefit greatly from the opportunity to draw a picture to be placed in the casket or displayed at the service. Be aware that children will probably have short attention spans and may need to leave a service or gathering before the adults are ready. Many families provide a non-family attendant to care for the children in this event.

The key is to allow the participation, not to force it. Forced participation can be harmful. Children instinctively have a good sense of how involved they wish to be. They should be listened to carefully. Parents who openly talk about their grief, cry, and express frustration, send a message to their children that it is okay for them to do so. Because children cannot carry the burden of all your pain, try to maintain times for play and talk without conversation about the dead person. Balance, as best you can, the sharing of sad feelings, with the sharing of more pleasant activities and times shared together. This lets your surviving children know how much they are valued.

If your child has had an experience with death, (perhaps a pet, or a grandparent), it may be easier to explain the death. Here are some questions which many children wonder about and some suggested answers:

Is death like sleeping? Death is different from sleeping. When you go to sleep your body still works. You still breathe and your heart beats and you dream. When a person is dead, his or her body doesn’t work anymore. Remember that children who are told that death is like sleeping may develop fears about falling asleep.

Why did they die? If the death was from an illness, explain that the person’s body couldn’t fight the sickness any more. It stopped working. Make sure your children know that if they get the flu or a cold, or if mom or dad get sick, their bodies can fight the illness and get better. Their bodies still work. Explain that people do not usually die when they get sick. Most people get better. If the death was from an accident, explain that the person was hurt so badly that his or her body stoppingworking. Explain that when most people get hurt they can get better and live a long, long time.

Will you die? Will I die? Children are looking for reassurance. Let your child know that most people live for a very long time. Children also need to know who will take care of them if a parent or guardian dies. Let them know who to go to for help if there is a family emergency.

Did I do or think something bad to cause the death? Maybe your child had a fight with the person who died. Maybe your child wished this person wasn’t around to get so much attention from other family members. Maybe your child said, “I wish you’d go away from me,” or even “I wish you were dead.” Reassure your children that saying and wishing things do not cause a death to happen.