I’ve just come back from the post office and have picked up the lists for new postal pricing, it prompted me to finally start writing a selection of posts that have been in my head for a while about the things I do to try and make my life easier, starting with P&P. I will point out now that most of this is obvious, so you may want to skip this entry, but I always find it interesting to read similar things in blogworld so here we go.
I’ve written about P & P before and not a lot has changed really but I am becoming more efficient as I get busier. When an order comes in, I like to turn it around within 24 hours, ideally even quicker; I also like to avoid going to the Post Office unless it’s absolutely necessary as the parking in our local village is a nightmare. This means the more consistent and organized I can be the better, especially as mornings in a household with small boys can get quite hectic.
I have 3 sizes of brown cardboard boxes bought in the early days from Rajapack, they felt like a huge investment at the time as you can only order large quantities but I have to say, I couldn’t manage without them for my bigger items such as Foxes and Linen Cats. At the same time, I bought jiffys (or the cheaper brand equivalent) in various sizes and, more recently, PIP boxes (from Defendapack). PIP (Pricing in Proportion) Boxes are designed to fit within the guidelines given by Royal Mail for a Large Letter, so you don’t have to worry about them being over the allocated 25mm deep and as long as the weight is below 100g these parcels only need a Large Letter stamp. The majority of my orders fit into this category. PIP boxes also allow me to post out the ‘Little Birds’ and ‘Lavender Birds’ without the ribbon tails getting crushed which is something I always used to worry about.
In all cases it is cheaper to buy in larger quantities to reduce the cost per item, although storing it all is quite a headache and it’s really all about how much you are going to sell. I also decided on a ‘colour’ theme in the early days – green – and I’ve stuck to this for my internal wrapping and details, I am inclined to swap and change things a lot but I’ve kept very consistent here.
Where I score a big fail is in the eco friendliness of my packaging, the cardboard is obviously bio-degradable but it’s held together with quite a lot of parcel tape (I’m paranoid about it coming open in transit) and as weight is such an issue (as well as cost) I do use horrid plastic lined jiffy and not the greener (heavier and pricier) alternative. I would say, when my current stock runs out I will take time to re-think this aspect and I’m on the hunt for a reliable sturdy paper tape at the moment.
Inside boxes, I usually wrap the contents in apple green tissue paper, fastened with a Moo mini card and green sticker. On larger items, I often include a ‘little bird’, either inside the parcel or attached to the front. I also always include a copy of the order in the form of a printed packing slip from the appropriate PayPal page and often a home printed business/thank you card with my details on the back.
Smaller items are put into a green paper bag, again usually fastened with a Moo mini (which also acts as a business card), and then into a Jiffy for posting. I struggle with the items that are in-between and ideally need to go in a Jiffy bag but that need a bit of extra padding (this included cashmere bears and wool bunnies), I wrap them in brown paper with tissue lining.
For the address labels I use the ones I designed whilst in Yorkshire last year, they contain a return address and it saves me having to add this separately. I do have an address stamp (from the English Stamp Company) and some green ink which I use on the odd occasion, I prefer a green ink pen for writing.
I’m addicted to my printer but have to remind myself how expensive ink is. I have stickers, labels, and cards home printed
I also have professionally printed postcards (with rounded corners – of course!) which to be honest I don’t use all that often these days.
I stamp and weight as many things as possible at home and this is the single most important time saver for me. I really should just print postage (which you can do from Royal Mail website), but sometimes the printer has a huff and refuses to work so I have a tin full of stamps to cover most postal costs which I keep topped up. All my items up to and including the cashmere bear fit into a post box that is on my school run, it’s an old one but for some reason has a slightly larger opening than many in this area. Anything over this size (and price) is taken to the post office so I can get also obtain a proof of posting certificate or send ‘Signed For’ as appropriate.
Finally, I now design with packaging in mind, especially the larger items. For instance I made sure the Linen Mice fit nicely into one of my existing boxes.
Things I need to work on? I need to design a new banner and logo for my shop and carry this through on the packaging. I am always running out of the mini Moo’s with their beads and thread attached , in future I would like to fasten these directly to the products and instead design a ‘thank you’/business card to attach to the front of parcels, it would also cut out the need for a separate business card. As already mentioned I need to get more eco-friendly.
I hope that was of help to some people, it feels like a bit of a long waffle but there you go. OK, need to go and collect C from pre-school and then M will be back and it’s Thai takeaway night tonight – hurrah! 🙂