Making my life easier: Postage & Packaging

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! 🙂

19 thoughts on “Making my life easier: Postage & Packaging

  1. Thankyou so much, its a stumbling block for me, I’m sure I will take a look at some of those links later.

    I imagine its a wonderful suprise to open one of your parcels, and find such loveliness!


  2. That was really interesting Beth, some great links there especially the boxes that are large letter size!
    Vivienne x

    1. Hi Vivienne, the PIP posting thing is great as I used to spend ages holding jiffy parcels next to a ruler, trying to see how thick they were! So much easier to know they are under 2.5 and fit into the large packet bracket. I recommend them. Bethx

  3. I am stunned, Beth! I have said it before but I admire your organizational skills SO much! This post just confirmed it, you’re a true star! I also have received several packages from you and they’re always adorabble. Both items and packaking – just perfect!

    Happy weekend!


    1. Mia, considering how wonderful and thoughtful your packaging is, thank you for such lovely comments. I still have your matching cards and the tweed birdie hanging next to my desk, they are really very special. Bethx

  4. thank you for all the info , honestly I didn’t have a clue and my packaging is just a mess compared to yours . I didn’t realise about the Royal Mail weighing list … time for me to do some research I think … thanks again x .. Hope you have a lovely weekend.

  5. Huge help, although I really don’t sell much I can see where I would go wrong if things did get busier, thank you for taking the time to share your valuable knowledge I really appreciate it.
    Emma x

    1. Thank you 🙂 I figure if I can be neat and organised in my work space, I can pretend the rest of the house isn’t a tip – ha ha. you probably think I’m joking but we do live in quite a messy space, what with 2 small boys and a half decorated house. Beth

  6. I was lucky enough to win one of your beautiful bunny purses in a giveaway last year and was so impressed with the detail in the packaging! almost as nice as the contents themselves!!!

  7. i was also lucky enough to win a giveaway and i adored your packaging. love this post (it satisfies my ocd nature) and i’m inspired – i *really* need to up my packaging game …

    1. I think it might be a bit frightening how much I think about packaging, not sure it’s really a good thing.

      Love your upcycled monsters, especially the new design poppy cat one, so very cute!

  8. Wow, I’ve just found your blog (although I’ve seen your gorgeous Folksy shop) Your packaging ideas are fantastic, so very, very neat and as everyone else says I now need to get mine sorted!!

    Thank you for including all your links and for being so helpful!

    1. Hello 🙂 Glad it’s of some help, I am in no way an expert but I’ve found things that work for me, just need to get more eco friendly now!

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