Kate Oehlers

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‘Guyra girl’ Kate Oehlers has just started her online business Red Ribbon Gifts. We catch up to talk about the business and her upcoming wedding in Armidale.

Are you from this area? 

 I am originally a Guyra girl and my parents are Debbie Burey and Peter Oehlers. I attended O’Connor Catholic College. David Stephen is my partner; he is also a local boy.

We are currently living in Brisbane, where David works for Invest Blue Financial Planning, which also has branches in Armidale, Coffs Harbour, Brisbane, Gladstone, the Goldcoast and Tamworth. We have lived in Brizzy for 2 years. We will be getting married in November and have decided to have our wedding in Armidale, as both our families still live here. We love Armidale and couldn’t imagine getting married anywhere else! 

Where did the inspiration to create www.redribbongifts.com.au come from? 

I have spent the majority of my working career in the hospitality industry at a managerial level. Then I studied communications at university. 

Year after year when my birthday rolled around, David would struggle to shop for a gift. He would hound my friends for ideas while thinking that there needed to be an easier way. Then, while we were living in Tamworth (David worked for Invest Blue there too), he thought, “What if there was a gift website for guys where the gifts for women were chosen by women AND it took care of everything – the remembering, delivery, wrapping and even flowers?” 

Dave encouraged me to look into it, as I’ve always wanted to have my own business. So that’s how www.redribbongifts.com.au was born. “When I started doing the research I soon developed a passion for the business. Over a period of 18 months I worked part time while researching and planning for the business. I have really tried to keep to Australian designers, because we have some really good designs and high quality stock in Australia. 

I am pretty picky about my purchases but basically, If I see something and I like it, then I will track it down by contacting the agent or the supplier. 

> What other services does www.redribbongifts.com.au offer? 

We offer a number of services on www.redribbongifts.com.au that take the hassle out of gift giving. You can register important dates with our Date Reminder service so you never have to remember those important dates again! We will then send you an email reminder one month before and then two weeks out, in time for you to select an appropriate gift. 

We also have a Gift Matcher service, where if you tell us about your partner by ticking boxes that describe certain characteristics, we will send an email with appropriate gift suggestions. We also offer a Personal Shopper service. 

This enables us to source gifts for you. If you have a particular gift idea in mind but don’t have the time or know how to locate it, we will find it for you. We also offer gift wrapping and flower delivery for extra brownie points!

> What is your target market? 

Our target market to date is time-poor men who need a helping hand with purchasing the right gift for their special someone. Eventually I wish to open up other markets, such as time- poor women. 

Most of my suppliers are women and they’re telling me that they also need my services. I believe that women on the land would benefit from the service too, as how often do they get time to travel to the big smoke for a gift? 

How long does it take to deliver a gift? 

I can have a gift to someone the next day in most areas if need be, or you can pre-order so that your gift will arrive on the special day. We can send by standard post or courier. The best thing about this service is that we will cater to your needs. 

> What is the cost range? 

 Because we are offering a higher end product, the prices range from $100 upwards. You are definitely paying for quality gifts. One of the great things about operating from home is that we don’t have the same overheads as a retail store and savings are definitely built into our prices. 

> How often do you come home? 

 As often as possible, because we both have pretty big families and we are very family orientated. As we get older we appreciate our relations more. And I think, honestly, we will probably be back here to live in the next 5 years. 

> Plans for the future? 

We are engaged to be married in November this year. I have been so busy with www.redribbongifts.com.au that I haven’t even bought my wedding dress yet! I have not really begun planning but that’s sure to change soon as the weeks tick by. Wedding planning is one of those things that when you start, there’s a whole gamut of things to do. I have found one wedding dress designer that I love. I met him in Brisbane. He’s from Glen Innes, so we have built that country connection! 

We can’t wait to start our own family. Our long term plan is to continue with our careers and then start a family in a few years. Currently, my goal is to really get Red Ribbon up and running both locally and then nationally.  I believe that the lifestyle in Armidale is perfect for raising children and this is where we plan to settle when the time for parenting arrives.

> Thanks for your time

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