cards

The Environment And Me

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Like most people, I watched Blue Planet 2 with David Attenborough and was made very aware of the damage that plastic was doing to the environment. In particular, the problem of single use plastics, like packaging. For example the plastic that greetings cards come in. Like the ones I sell. I realised that I was part of the problem and needed to make a change. ‘But that was back in November 2017,’ I hear you say. ‘Why are you talking about it now?’. Because, although I made changes in the past, it is still important now. How things are packaged has become part of the thought process when thinking about making a purchase.

How things were

At the time that Blue Planet 2 came out, all my cards were in plastic to protect them from damage. No matter where I sold them. It was all the same if it was in person, online or at Edington Farm Shop, which stocks my cards. Please note that the farm shop is currently closed due to Coronavirus.

What I changed – the easy bits

The first thing I did was stop sending out my online orders in plastic sleeves. I send out my orders well packaged in ‘Please Do Not Bend’ envelopes, so the extra protection wasn’t really necessary. The next thing to consider was selling to people in person. The whole point of having them in plastic is so they don’t get damaged while people are looking at them. So my solution for this was to have a set of my cards in plastic that people can browse, but when they buy them, they get one without a plastic sleeve. 

What I changed – the less easy bits

That solution is fine selling them myself, but wouldn’t work for the shop environment. I could sell them loose, but they would get damaged and the envelopes would get separated. The first thing I did was to look into biodegradable packaging. I found varying reports of how long it would actually last for. Also they were more than 4 times the price of the plastic packaging. I know I shouldn’t put profits before the environment, but I am running a business, so I have to think about the financial side of thing every now and again. It wasn’t just about profits, but also about cash flow. How much I could afford to spend at that particular time. I decided to search for other solutions. As I had a good stock of plastic sleeves and I was using less of them already, I had time to see what I could find. 

I experimented with using card and paper bands to keep the card and its envelope together. This seemed to work for keeping them together. However, it didn’t help with the problem of protecting them as shoppers browsed them. So I kept thinking and experimenting and googling possible solutions. I kept coming back to the environmentally friendly plastic. I looked at different suppliers and finally found one that was only 3 times what I had previously paid for the plastic sleeves, if I bought double the usual amount. That was from Eco-Craft, so I placed an order with them. It would would reduce my profit, but I felt it was the right thing to do for the environment. Also, I reasoned that the more people that made the switch to green plastics, the more readily available they will become and hopefully they will become more affordable.

And so back to now

That all happened in 2018. I did intend to write a blog about it at the time, but alas, I didn’t get around to it. I now get my biodegradable sleeves from Redcliffe Imaging, which is where I get my cards printed. Does this mean that all my cards are now in biodegradable plastic? The answer is sadly no. Because of the seasonal nature of cards, and the fact that I am using a lot less of them, means that I still have some cards in old non-biodegradable sleeves. I feel it is better to use these up, as to not would be an even greater waste of plastic. I am sure there are more ways I can help the environment, and I will continue to look for ways of doing that going forward.

Online shop

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Hello, I hope you are all safe and well in these interesting times. I am delighted to say that my website now has it’s very own online shop so you can now buy direct from me.

This is something I have been working on for a long time, but I kept coming up against technical problems. Since moving my web hosting, things have been somewhat easier, although not without a certain number of challenges. In fact every problem I solved seemed to present me with at least one more challenge to overcome. But now it is done and ready for you to have a look at and, hopefully you will feel inspired to make a purchase.

Why set up my own shop?

I currently sell through Etsy so why set up my own webshop?

Well, one reason is that it will allow me to offer a wider range of products. With Etsy there is a listing fee for every item that is listed (regardless of whether the item sells, or not). So, with my own shop I can sell more items without having to worry about cashflow so much. Having my own online shop also allows me to offer my own deals, discounts and offers. While I can (and do) have offers and discounts from time to time with my Etsy store, the options are limited. With my own webshop I can offer discounts like 3 cards for £5.

Will I still be selling through Etsy?

As having a shop on my own website is so great, will I still be selling on Etsy? Yes, is the simple answer. The reason for that it has a much wider reach than I can (currently) achieve on my own site. People will find my work through Etsy that would otherwise not see it. It is also a name that people trust, which is an important thing when people are shopping online. So for the time being I will continue to sell my work through Etsy.

What can you find in my shop right now?

I am currently selling cards and unframed and unmounted prints. I haven’t extended my product range too much from what is available on Etsy. This is partly due to Covid-19 and to ensure that I have the capacity to cope with incoming orders. But I will add to my products over the coming weeks and months. What I can offer right now is discounts on cards. You can now buy 3 cards for £5, 6 cards for £10 or even 10 cards for £15. Just add the relevant coupon code in your cart or at the checkout: 3CardsFor£5, 6CardsFor£10 or 10CardsFor£15. Also until 22 June 2020 you can get 10% prints by using the coupon code 10%OffPrints.

Shiny New Website

Hello, and welcome to the first blog on my shiny new website.

When I started on the redesign of my website we weren’t all staying at home to avoid spreading coronavirus. But that is where we find ourselves now, and it is in that world that I am sharing with you my redesigned website. However, these strange times we are living in mean my plans for my website have changed slightly.

Why the redesign?

There were two main driving forces behind the redesign of my website. The first reason was that with a new website I could illustrate what I do better. The second was that I wanted to incorporate a shop into my website so I could sell directly to you without using a third party site.

This redesign has been a long time coming. I have made several attempts in the past but I have always come up against problems that I didn’t have the time to overcome. So now, having moved servers, sorted out my sites SSL certificate, and redesigned the site, here is my new website.

I have gone for a simpler layout, with less clutter and distraction. I have switched around the colour scheme, which hopefully makes it easier to read.

How have my plans changed because of coronavirus?

Well, as it stands there are only a few pages at the moment, and the plan was to add more over the coming months. The next page that I was going to add was going to be my own webshop. This was one of the biggest reasons for revamping my website. However I rely on going to the Post Office to post anything ordered that is bigger than a card and for anything going overseas, and following government advice to only make necessary journeys, I am only selling cards at the moment. So this doesn’t feel quite the right time to start the webshop. However, I will continue to monitor things and see if I can find a way of dispatching prints that is safe for all. For now, I am still selling cards through Etsy

What will I be doing now?

Instead of working on the shop next, I have decided to work on and share a couple of projects with you. One is a project that I started a long time ago, but has never seen the light of day. The other one is a new project that I have been planning for a little while and now seems a good time to start it, as I won’t be leaving the house for a while. I will write more about both projects in future blogs.

So, please have a look around  my redesigned website and let me know what you think.

2017 – Looking back

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2017

2017 – what have I done?

Well, looking back at the blog I wrote at the start of 2017, it seems things didn’t really go according to plan.

I had intended to give my website a complete overhaul in 2017 and add a shop. While I did manage to redesign my website, I didn’t manage to add the shop because I encountered a number of problems. I run out of server space and once I overcame that issue, I was then unable to find a third party shop interface with safe and secure card transaction facilities that I could (with my limited web design and development knowledge) make work to my liking.

Another thing that I failed to do was to write this blog regularly. I had thought that doing it once a month would be manageable, but I failed to do that. I’m not sure why I didn’t manage it, time just seemed to get away from me.

Also, my experiment of using Redbubble to sell my images was something that didn’t work out. I’m not sure why it didn’t. Perhaps it was because I didn’t promote it enough. Maybe it just isn’t the right platform for me to sell my work. Whatever the reason, it didn’t work for me. I’m going to keep the store open for now and see if anything changes.

That was all a bit negative, wasn’t it? Well, now for the more positive stuff that I did in 2017.

Although selling my images through Redbubble didn’t seem to work for me in 2017, selling through my Etsy shop did. My sales increased, along with my product range. If you head over there to have a look before 31st January 2018, you can get 30% off orders over £15.

I’ve started selling images through a photo library. I started contributing images to it in 2016, but it was in 2017 that my images started to sell. A lot of work goes in to choosing images and preparing them for an image library. It’s work that isn’t seen by anyone else, but it has now started to pay off for me, which is always gratifying.

Also in 2017 I started selling my cards at the Three Daggers Farm Shop in Eddington, Wiltshire. They currently stock 12 different designs of my cards, and the designs they carry will change roughly every three months or so.

I did a number of photo shoots with bands and musicians, which was something I planned to do and actually managed to see though. I did photo shoots with Jamie R Hawkins, Phil Cooper and Scout Killers

Another thing I did in 2017 was my first craft fair. I had hoped to do more than one in the run up to Christmas, but I was about a week or so too late applying so they were mostly already fully booked. I did manage to do one, which was local to me and was only on for a few hours so it was a good introduction into what it takes to do a craft fair.

Learning

Something else I did was learn. Somewhere, I can’t remember where, I read an ‘inspirational quote’. It said something like ‘running a business without advertising is like winking at a woman in the dark, only you know you are doing it.’ Which, despite the weird winking at women thing, made me realise I really need to promote myself better. I think that is something I started to do.

Thank you

Thank you for reading, and thank you for your support. I will try to write my blog more regularly. My next one will be about what I intend to do in 2018.

thank you