Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Gifts on the Run: Santa Pants & Happy Holidays Wine Bag

Need a quick gift that is sure to make the recipient smile? The Santa Pants gift bag filled with favorite treats will make someone's day. As shown, this gift is $30.95. The pants are also available for local pick up at a mere $5 a piece.

Only nine more shopping days left till the big guy comes to a chimney near you!


Another idea for a gift on the run is our Happy Holidays velvet wine bag. This is a great way to dress up a bottle of vino for the Holidays for a mere $2.95 plus tax.

Speaking of being on the run, time is running out and I must get back to work!

Hope your Holidays are Merry & Bright! Have a Happy, Healthy & Prosperous 2010!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

A Cupful of Attitude

A fresh shipment of Ann Taintor Mugs arrived this week. Among them are my new favorite coffee mug and a fun mug & napkin combo to add to a Hostess Gift!


Some reason I love this mug. Perhaps because I am not a "Happy Camper"! I'm usually pretty chipper. Just not much of a camper. I'd rather be in a nice, clean, warm bed than to sleep outdoors in a tent.

I think I'll save this mug for my weekend morning lattes!



I had to pull a set of these napkins and a mug to include in a hostess gift to take to my sister for Thanksgiving. The perfect sentiment for a Holiday dinner where there are usually too many cooks in the kitchen!

Sticky Situation



I love this time of year. As we gear up for the "Holidays", there is a steady flow of products coming into our warehouse. Many of these items are new to Baskets by Bonnie and we have a lot of taste-testing going on.

I also love to take time to marvel at innovations in packaging.

When I saw this carton of gourmet Potato Chips that was in yesterday's shipment, I remarked that I had never seen a box with cutouts labeled "A Hand Hole". For some reason this had caught my eye. And made me chuckle at the attention to detail this manufacturer displayed.


Importance of Getting the Real Message


A short while later, I saw the opposite side of the cardboard box. The side where I could see the full message. A warning that was not partially obscured by a poorly placed sticker.

Ooops! NOT A HAND HOLE! Whole different message. While I was slightly troubled by my initial interpretation, I used this as a "teaching moment" to my staff.

Detail Orientation
This is why we need to pay attention to detail in ALL steps when processing orders. Every associate should be knowledgeable on procedures and policies so they understand how their function needs to be executed as part of a bigger picture. Cross-training staff members not only leads to higher job-satisfaction but creates a more productive and efficient team.

Fortunately none of our staff was injured. But if someone was, we are always prepared. We at Baskets by Bonnie take safety very seriously.

Just in case, we also have cute Bandages as well!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Portable Picnic Table Saves The Day!


One of the perks of being a "product tester" is getting to try out cool new items for our store. The portable picnic table has been a big hit this summer. It has gotten a real workout at the local pool and other summer events. This table with seating for four, when compact is not much bigger than a briefcase and weighs in at about 22 lbs. Because of its portability and in preparation for a spontaneous picnic, this gem of modern design can usually be found in my car.

This weekend, when visiting family, we found ourselves short on outdoor seating. Suddenly I remembered the table in my vehicle. When I volunteered to go fetch my table, I was met with amused smirks from skeptical family members. Those expressions were changed into slack-jawed gazes of amazement as I quickly assembled what was to become "The Children's Table"!

While I was happy to save the day and impress my in-laws with one of Baskets by Bonnie's finest in gadgetry, I am afraid there is a down-side....

I am now on the hook for a few of these as "family gifts" for the December gift exchanges. Luckily I get an employee discount. Better make sure we're stocked up!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Putting the Fun into Functional

Summer, summer, summertime
Time to sit back and unwind - Will Smith



Just a few more weeks of Summer left. Parties are in full swing. Birthday parties, Wedding parties, Going away parties, Party parties, the list is endless...

Places to go, people to see and gifts to buy on the run. We have some cool items that make great gifts. You might even want to buy them for yourself!


For Hands-Free Picnicking, How About A Picnic Backpack?
Picnic in comfort and style with this deluxe picnic backpack for two. With a unique combination of polyester canvas and simulated suede, this attractive hands-free carrier comes fully equipped with all the accoutrements.


Our Favorite New Summer Find: The Portable Picnic Table

Perfect for a spontaneous picnic, this portable picnic table can be stored in a trunk or back seat and pulled out when ready to use.

Just give us a call..... "To hit you and get you equipped for the summer time"

Win This Backpack: For Contest rules visit:
http://www.facebook.com/skyepr

Monday, August 3, 2009

Going Green in the Garden

One of my favorite Summer hobbies is gardening. As part of our ongoing product testing, we like to try out the seeds left over from our Spring Gardening Basket. (pictured above)

This year we grew lettuce, peas, basil and squash in our vegetable garden and Zinnias in our flower beds.



The book, "Slug Bread & Beheaded Thistles" by Ellen Sandbeck (which you can purchase at Baskets by Bonnie @ $10.95 plus tax) is a wonderful resource of non-toxic remedies for both garden pests and for housekeeping. I have found the book full of useful tips to help rid my plants of aphids, slugs and Japanese beetles without having to use harmful pesticides.



















Not only are you being kind to our environment and creating a healthier garden, the bees will love you for it!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Be Careful What You Tweet For

Yesterday was a happy day at Baskets by Bonnie. A shipment of cookies and treats arrived with three new items for the staff to sample. Once again we sacrificed our diets to insure the products were up to our high standards. We were not disappointed. They were all yummy!

When I "Tweeted" the above TwitPic photo on Twitter, (try saying that 10x fast) Barb from Honey Grove Botanicals tweeted back:

@basketsbybonnie re: http://twitpic.com/ao4b8 *swoon* Need a drool guard on my keyboard. Yah, probably my monitor too.@basketsbybonnie, anything new and interesting on your wine list? Need a tester. I have the glasses. Don't forget the cookies.

We couldn't resist indulging Barb and brought a variety of cookies for her to sample. We even brought her a pot of freshly-made coffee ( Coffee Masters Caramel Creme) instead of wine due to potential liability issues. ( drinking alcoholic beverages while working with hot wax at her shop would probably not be approved by OSHA)


After much deliberation, a winner was chosen. Elsa's Story Raspberry Filled Strudel. They were our favorite, too. In addition to being irresistable, these cookies from Israel are also Kosher!


What's
your favorite cookie?

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Good News for Coffee Lovers


Ann Tainter Coffee Mug - $7.50 (click here for more styles)

Dateline: Monday, July 6th 2009. 2:47 PM from the Daily News Health Desk:
Coffee may help treat memory loss... http://tinyurl.com/me9yqm


The entire staff at Baskets by Bonnie are fans of our daily cup(s) of "Joe". As a matter of fact, the first thing we do upon entering our HQ (secret lair) each morning is to make a fresh pot of what we consider to be our "Black Gold". This is one of the "perks" to working here.

It looks like our good friend, Coffee, is well on its way to be considered a health drink. Our next project is the re-classification of Chocolate! (as a vegetable perhaps??? Hey cocoa is derived from a bean! ;p)


Send someone special a Coffee Break gift basket from Baskets by Bonnie. This is a great "pick-me-up" gift that will surely brighten their day.

Well, gotta go. Cup's empty. Time for a memory boost (refill)!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Confidence is Contagious

con·fi·dence \kän-fə-dən(t)s, -ˌden(t)s\ noun
1 a: a feeling or consciousness of one's powers or of reliance on one's circumstances
b: faith or belief that one will act in a right, proper, or effective way

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/confidence

Consumer Confidence is based on feelings and faith, rather than factual data ( i.e., it's all in our heads). We all have the power to turn the economy around, one small act of faith at a time.

There are three paths one can follow:
Path one: Cut back, trim budgets, tighten up, react and prepare for the worst.
Path two: Do nothing. Sit back and hope things change.
Path three: Do something. Take positive action. Be pro-active.

We think the best path to pursue is being pro-active. Reach out and touch someone. It’s never too early to say thank you, don't wait until the traditional end of the year to send gifts and cards. Another great idea is to acknowledge life events such as birthdays, new babies, or accomplishments such as a promotion or new home. Random acts of gifting are also a great morale booster. Not only are you doing something to help turn the economy around, you’re setting yourself apart from the pack.

In what ways are you showing your confidence? The first three confident answers will receive a gift-prize from Baskets by Bonnie.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Every Basket Tells a Story



One of the many local organizations that we are involved in is the Columbus Chapter of NAWBO (National Organization of Women Business Owners). If you are a woman business owner, this is a great group "... representing the interests of all women entrepreneurs in all industries."

Because of our creative talents, Baskets by Bonnie has been recruited to help package goods and services that are donated as a gift to new members. These baskets are a great way to highlight the various talents within our organization.

Every basket should set a scene. The following article that was submitted for publication on the NAWBO-Columbus website illustrates this idea.

Soup’s On! - June 5, 2009
by Bonnie Segel, Baskets by Bonnie

Our best-ever round of new member baskets just went out this week. Best Courier hand delivered to our local new members for April. Mary McPhail, was so delighted that she even Tweeted about it, Just got my NAWBO new membership basket! So many women-as-resources to reach out to. Thanks!”

I would agree with Mary. This gift, valued over $1,500, actually made me consider dropping my membership and rejoining so that I can get one!

If I was a new member who received this gift, I know exactly what I would do.


Refreshment Time

First, I would start with Kaira Rouda’s book The Real You Incorporated while sipping coffee out of my NAWBO mug and munching on delightful cookies (coffee & cookies from Baskets by Bonnie). As I uncover “the real me” I would sign up for Kaira’s free weekly inspirational news blast. Then I would call Meredith Liepelt at Rich Life Marketing for my client attraction strategy session and Amanda Sage at Gong Gong Communications for my free marketing evaluation.


At this point I would take my inspiration to Dee Hodgkiss at Creative Interiors to help me with a new room design that would incorporate wall graphics from Mary McPhail at Wonderful Graffiti. Next would be a wardrobe audit and makeup consultation from Donna Musilli with CAbi, and Shelly Menduni with Arbonne,. And, finally, to ensure that I have all of my ducks in a row legally and financially I would use my hour of free legal service with Caroline Worley / Anthony Law and my Living Balance sheet compliments of Andrea Nameche and Maureen Kominar.of Columbus Financial Group.

What a great way to welcome our new NAWBO sisters! Thanks to everyone who contributed.



Wednesday, May 27, 2009

For The Special Dad

“Any man can be a Father...but it takes a special person to be called Dad.” –Author unknown

The first Father’s Day was celebrated on June 19, 1910. This holiday was inspired by a father, William Jackson Smart, who raised his children after the death of his wife.

http://www.history.com/content/fathersday


We, at Baskets by Bonnie, draw our inspiration from our favorite fathers.

For a dad who tries to be hip and relevant, but sometimes needs a little help:
For A Cool Dad


For a dad who likes to golf and to help make up for all the times you’ve teed him off:

Tee Time Golf Bucket

For a dad who enjoys a good snack, a bribe for putting up with you all of these years:

Number One Dad



These are just a few of the many ideas we have. For additional gift baskets, visit our Seasonal page on our website. Anything can be customized to fit your specific needs. Please make sure you’re allowing enough time for delivery. It’s never too early to get an order in.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Customer Service - Do the Right Thing


Never Underestimate the Value of Good Customer Service

At Baskets by Bonnie, we make customer service our Golden Rule. We feel it is important to do the right thing, even when we may lose some money. If you treat people the way you would want to be treated in their situation, you will gain customer loyalty. Sometimes you get much more in return. Such is the case in a recent transaction with Tina W. in Castro Valley, California.

Tina had ordered two Tiki Drummers for her boys. One of the drummers was not working properly. Common sense told us that :

a. Tina was being truthful and
b.
It would cost as much as the value of the drummer to have her ship it back to us.
We did the Right Thing and sent her a replacement, "no questions asked". Case closed.
Or was it?
We were totally unprepared for the Over-The-Top customer review she gave us on Yelp. You can't put a dollar value on this kind of endorsement! This really made our day.

By the way Tina, if you are reading this, make our flavor Triple Chocolate Delight!!!

Yelp review from Tina W., Castro Valley California
http://www.yelp.com/biz/baskets-by-bonnie-columbus

If I ever make it to Ohio, Baskets by Bonnie is the first place that I will stop at to buy some presents for my friends and fam. The customer service is unbelievably good and undeniably one of the best I have ever encountered. My phone order which was placed after hours was returned immediately, taken down with detail, filled with love and wonderfully packaged - as well as shipped out instantaneously. I was notified by email of the tracking number and ship date. The box included a cute HAND WRITTEN note and the sales receipt. I was ecstatic and did a little happy dance.
When I realized a couple of days later that part of the order was malfunctioning (mind you, NOT the fault of Baskets by Bonnie) I called the store and inquired about any possible return or exchange policy. I was immediately shipped another item, no questions asked and was told to just keep the damaged one. I didn't even have to pack a box and send the broken one back.
This is truly as good as it gets. In a time where consumerism and Walmarts crush customer service, stores like this leave people with a huge smile on their faces. Baskets by Bonnie deserves a new ice cream flavor named after them if you'd ask me.


Monday, May 18, 2009

Ode to a Discontinued Friend - The Beloved Tiki Drummer

Last week I called my supplier to reorder this Tiki collector must have. Much to my dismay, I found the Tiki Drummer had been discontinued. Currently, at the time of this post, we have one left. I could not let our dear Tiki friend disappear without a final concert. Without further ado, I give you Tiki Live, the Farewell Concert.

video

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Wine Emergency Uncovers a Great Find - Sterling Vintner's Collection Meritage

At Baskets by Bonnie, we like to under promise and over deliver. Many times we go beyond the call of duty. We are sometimes questioned "Why?" I believe in Karma, and that there are paybacks for exceptional service. Last week was a good example of this.

We had a client who needed a quick turnaround and had a tight, moderate budget. We needed to find a wine to go in baskets for executives with high-end taste buds. Our mission was to find a red wine that retailed for under $15.

Thankfully we have exceptional partners. I was able to reach my Glazer's wine representative, Jackie who came up with this brilliant recommendation: Sterling Vintner's Collection Meritage.

Within the hour, we were able to pick up a case from Glazer's warehouse. The baskets were quickly made and delivered on time. I had to buy a bottle to try later that night.

The verdict: Both Jackie and Sterling Vineyards totally rock! Had we not gone the extra mile, we might not have discovered this great find.


This is by far the one of the best wine values I have come across in a long time. Everyone who sampled this delightful blend was impressed. I rate this wine 2 Stems Up!

For a more technical review, see below:

Sterling Vineyards Wine Makers Notes:

Meritage (rhymes with “heritage”) describes a unique blend of classic Bordeaux varietals. Handcrafted by our winemakers, Sterling Vintner’s Collection® Meritage is a distinct blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec and Petit Verdot. Each grape varietal contributes layers of flavors and aromas that live together in perfect harmony. This richly textured wine has hints of cherry, chocolate, black raspberry, and vanilla, which leads to a full, lingering finish. Enjoy!

The Meritage Association: http://www.meritagewine.org//

In 1988, a group of American vintners formed The Meritage Association to identify handcrafted wines blended from the traditional "noble" Bordeaux varietals. Meritage was coined to identify wines that represent the highest form of the winemaker's art, blending, and distinguishing these wines from the more generic moniker "red table wine."

Sterling Vintner’s Collection® Meritage is 52% Cabernet Sauvignon, 44% Merlot, 3% Malbec, and 1% Petit Verdot.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Gahanna's Girls Night Out

Mill Street in Olde Gahanna on Thursday, May 7th was the location of the 2nd Annual Girls Night Out presented by Portraits by Knight.

While the weatherman had predicted rain, partly-sunny skies prevailed and Mother Nature provided a lovely backdrop for this pre-Mother's Day event.

Among the food donated by area restaurants was a platter of fruits, cheeses & meats from Mezzo Italian Kitchen and desserts from Ganache Dessert Kitchen. Participating vendors such as Tastefully Simple - Angie Hendershot also provided munchies.

Two massage therapists contributed chair massages to invigorate the busy shoppers; Nick from Sound Touch was stationed at Portraits by Knight and Holly from Center for Therapeutic Massage worked her magic in the window at Honey Grove Botanicals.

I also had a chance to pop over to Zodiac to pick up a Cosmic Cake Cupcake but didn't have enough time to take in a reading. Afterwards a group of us took over a pit-group on the patio at Mezzo's and grabbed a bite to eat. A good time was had by all!

I can't wait for the next Girls Night Out! ( or should I say Knight Out). Kudos to Sara for organizing such a neat event!


Portraits by Knight is where the conga line of participants started at 3:30 p.m.; 30 minutes before opening time. Sara Knight had put together 50 cool canvas totes jam-packed with goodies from over 20 participating businesses.

Within half an hour, the goodie bags were all snatched up!

Sara Knight and her trusty assistant, Adrienne making everyone feel welcome!

A few of the many participating vendors.


Unusual Window Display in Honey Grove Botanicals: A relaxing chair massage being given by Holly amongst the intoxicating aromatherapy fragrances.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Customer Retention - When Things Go Terribly Wrong


Even the best of companies can have a service failure. How these issues are resolved are key to customer retention. To paraphrase a line from Lilo & Stitch, "we are the ones you call when things go terribly wrong".

We are all human and therefore it is safe to assume we all make mistakes. What the recipient of a service failure needs most is validation of their concerns and correction of the error. Upon resolution of the issue, our Service Recovery Clients will call us to send a gift to their customer that includes a nice note. This reinforces the value of their relationship. The best part of our program, it doesn't cost a dime if you don't have any service gaps.

There is an excellent article from GreatBook that discusses Service Recovery Practices. Spot-on advice!

By the way, we are also the ones to call when things go exceedingly well!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

"Make New Friends But Keep The Old"

"One is silver and the other is gold......" is the start of an old Girl Scout song whose author is unknown.

This principle holds true with your customers. Statistics vary by industry and method of calculation. The general rule of thumb is that it costs 5x as much to acquire a new customer as it does to retain an old one. In a recent business luncheon we were told that our current customers have the capacity to provide 30% MORE business than they currently are.

I just received this email from a repeat customer the other day:
"...Thanks a lot for again coming up with a fabulous basket. .... I look forward to more wonderful baskets in the future." Carol K. from Barrie, Ontario.

This is Pure Gold in our world!



Thursday, March 12, 2009

New Customers Wanted - Current Ones Do Not Apply

Just the other day, I received a coupon in the mail for a discount at a business I have not been to in over a year. I have also seen similar coupons in mass mailers from this company and one of its competitors.
You must be a new customer or have not been a client for over a year to be able to redeem this 20% off discount.

Funny thing is that once you become a customer, there are no deals. What do you think this trains the consumer to do?

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Peanut Butter Recall - When In Doubt, Check It Out or Throw It Out.

Over 2,000 products are on the FDA List of potentially contaminated items with the Salmonella Typhimurium bacteria. If you are unsure about any food products that contain peanuts or peanut butter, you should check with the FDA Website before consuming.


Taken from the FDA Website -
Update on FDA's Investigation:

A joint investigation by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), of the ongoing outbreak of illnesses caused by Salmonella Typhimurium, identified peanut butter and peanut paste made at a peanut-processing plant in Blakely, Georgia, as sources of the outbreak. The plant is owned and operated by Peanut Corporation of America (PCA). In response to the outbreak and accompanying investigation showing violations of FDA requirements, PCA has recalled a number of ingredients from the market.

This is an ingredient-driven outbreak; that is, potentially contaminated ingredients affected many different products that were distributed through various channels and consumed in various settings. The recalled products made by PCA, such as peanut butter and peanut paste, are common ingredients in cookies, crackers, cereal, candy, ice cream, pet treats, and other foods. Consumers are advised to discard and not eat products that have been recalled. To help consumers identify affected products, FDA has initiated a searchable database of recalled products that is updated daily or as additional recalls are identified. To date, more than 2,100 products in 17 categories have been voluntarily recalled by more than 200 companies, and the list continues to grow.

In January, the recall list was expanded to include some pet-food products that contain peanut paste made by PCA. Salmonella can affect animals, and humans who handle contaminated pet-food products also are at risk. It is important for people to wash their hands – and to make sure children wash their hands – with hot water and soap before and, especially, after handling pet-food products and utensils. More information for consumers is available in the Frequently Asked Questions section of this web site. The recalled pet food products are also included in the searchable database of recalled products.

The large number of products and brands recalled already, and the large quantities of some products recalled, makes this one of the largest food recalls ever in the United States.

Major national brands of jarred peanut butter found in grocery stores have not been among the products recalled.



Affected Products at Baskets by Bonnie
We were lucky to have used just 2 products that have been recalled. These products are Austin Peanut Butter Sandwich Cookies and Kashi Granola Bars.

We have contacted any recent customers that have received a basket with these items, however if you have any questions or concerns please give us a call.

Category: Cracker
Brand Name: Austin Quality Foods
Product Descriptions: Cheese & Peanut Butter Sandwich Crackers
Toasty Crackers with Peanut Butter
Recalling Firm: Kellogg Company
Size: All
Lot Numbers: All
Stock Numbers:
Product Code:
Label: http://www.fda.gov/oc/po/firmrecalls/photos/kellogg01_09.html
http://www.fda.gov/oc/po/firmrecalls/photos/kellogg7.jpg

Category: Snack Bar
Brand Name: Kashi TLC
Product Description: Chewy Granola Bars in Trail Mix and Honey Almond Flax varieties "Best if Used Before" SEP 19 2009
Recalling Firm: Kashi
Size: 7.4-ounch box
Lot Numbers:
Stock Numbers:
Product Code: 1862703000, 1862703001, 1862723959, 1862728409, 1862731567
Label:

horizontal rule

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Chocolate Fix - the No-Cal Dessert!

Chocolate Fix

"A Mouth-Watering Game of Logic"

We added this puzzle to our inventory a few months back and love it! If you like puzzles similar to Sudoku and have a sweet tooth, you'll love Chocolate Fix.
Features
• 4 Levels of Play, Beginner to Expert
• 40 Mind Challenge Cards™ with Solutions
• 9 Chocolate Pieces (Dark Chocolate, Milk Chocolate, and Raspberry)

$16.95
Click Here to Buy

We also have a link so that you can try this game online for FREE.

Click Here to Try


We do need to warn you that you may find this game just as addicting as a box of fine chocolates!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

What Makes It All Worthwhile!

Not every basket is for a joyous occasion. Sometimes our job is to deliver a message of comfort . We go the "extra mile" when friends and family can't be there in person to convey the right sentiment.

While we don't accept gratuities we appreciate notes of gratitude. The following email I received yesterday really made my day:

Thank You, Thank You, Thank You! My husband and I are both very pleased with what you put together. It is difficult to express how truly grateful I am to know that from hundreds of miles away we were able to send the family this small piece of comfort during this difficult time. Without your help and attention to detail it would have been impossible.

Sincerely,
Tia & Tony D
Thank you Tia for letting us know how our service rated!


Monday, January 12, 2009

Free Stuff!

The highest form of Recycling is Reusing. Many discards put in the trash still have a purpose. Some products and bi-products from our business that we no longer have a use for can be used in classrooms or in art projects. The Waste Not Center is a great resource that helps save our landfills and provides materials for classrooms.

"Unleashing Recycling Through Creativity"

For a small annual membership fee, artists, teachers and non-profits have access to a treasure trove of paper, pads, notebooks, glue, pens, fabric, vases, containers...... the list goes on and on!

Save a landfill and either join or donate today!