Budget & Planet Friendly Gifting
Hands up, who's feeling the pinch right now? *raises hand*
Most of us are having to cut back our spending on fun things at the moment, but we still want to give gifts to loved ones. We want to celebrate their special occasions and even just appreciate them being them. Plus, a gift from you to you every once in a while never goes amiss, right?!
Here's where we can help... Only the other day, after we announced the closure of Little B's, our kids' shop, a customer said "it's no wonder the shop is closing, you're not a very good salesperson!". Wanna know why she said that? Because someone was struggling to make a decision so I told them not to stress and in fact, maybe go away have a think and then come back, send us a message or purchase online once they'd made a choice.
Personally, I'd rather our customers leave really happy with their purchases and not feel like they were rushed into buying something that wasn't right for them or the person they were buying for, because:
a) it's a waste of money, which we all work really really hard for
b) it's a waste of time, which we all know is so precious
c) it's likely the item itself will be wasted, as unwanted gifts often just sit around unused
d) it's likely the customer simply won't come back because they didn't successfully complete their mission and just felt bullied into a purchase.
None of the above is our vibe or what we stand for. We want nothing more than customers leaving our shop feeling happy and calm - or super excited!
So here are our top tips for gift buying which are kinder to our planet and your bank balance!
1. Don't rush around buying at the last minute!
When we're rushed we don't tend to make sensible decisions, or consider our options properly, so we often end up opting for convenience over everything else. I bet most of us end up overspending because we grab the first thing we see too.
Leave yourself plenty of time, especially if you're posting, to find 'it'.
2. Set a budget - and stick to it!
Gift guilt can be reeeeeeal, right?! The 'they got me something kinda expensive so I have to get them something of equal value' mentality.
I'm a firm believer of living within your means. What can you actually afford? I'm sure the lovely person you're buying for would rather have 'just a card' than know you've struggled or gone without so they could have a gift. It's the thought that counts, right?
3. Consider postage
If you need to post, don't get caught out with crazy postage costs you can't afford. All postal/courier services have size and weight thresholds so it's worth checking that out if you're thinking of gifting something heavy, large or a weird shape!
Like most small businesses that sell online, we offer the option to send gifts directly to the recipient. If you prefer to do your shopping online, this will save you two postage costs and having to do any wrapping yourself, as well as saving on the package's miles in transit - win win for your wallet and the environment!
As well as sending our curation of handmade gifts directly to the lucky recipients for you, we can also gift wrap and write gift notes and cards. Just pop their details in and leave your message in the box at the checkout. (Our FAQs explain more!)
4. Consider how eco-friendly your chosen gift wrapping option is
Most gift wrap that is shiny, glittery, foiled etc cannot be recycled. But make sure you use up what you have before binning it and rushing out to buy an eco alternative - that kind of defeats the point!
Changing to eco-friendly gift wrap is a really small change you can make, and we all know all these small steps add up. As well as buying eco-friendly wrap, you could reuse some, or perhaps use a gift bag that you've received a gift in before. A lot of small shops, including us, at least wrap items up in some nice tissue paper for no extra charge (I'm not a tissue paper expert, so I don't know about others, but ours can definitely go in with your paper recycling!)
Our sheets of wrap are designed by independent UK based designers and artists, printed on recycled paper and use vegetable inks so they're as eco-friendly as they come. The quality is amazing too, so when carefully wrapped and unwrapped you can easily reuse it for more wrapping or craft projects - and it won't be hard to find a use for any leftover paper yourself either!
5. Think about the person you're buying for - what will THEY actually love and USE?
It's so easy when you're browsing to get caught up in what you like, but really it's not about us, it's about the person we're shopping for. So what do they really love? What do they need but can't/don't buy for themselves? What do they often admire but always talk themselves out of buying?
It may sound weird to some, but our tea towels are often bought as gifts and several people have told us they buy them because it's the sort of 'nice' thing that people would like but often feel they can't justify buying themselves - but £10-£12 is a pretty average gifting price, right? And it's something they will USE over and over again.
Whether it's something to make, wear, read... whatever, just ask yourself, "will they actually use it?"
6. Buy UK made (preferably handmade!) where possible
There is a common misconception that products made in the UK, handmade or sold through high street stores are more expensive.
Let me clear this up for you now: that is absolutely NOT true. Not always.
Our customers are always really surprised at how affordable we are. 99% of our products are made right here in the UK, by small independent creative businesses and we don't inflate our prices in-store to account for our overheads. In fact, I don't know anyone who runs a small shop who does.
We can't always compete with big chains on price, but we can always vouch for the quality of our products, and you can still definitely find an original card and gift for a tenner or less.
Don't forget that cost aside, there's little to no air miles involved (some of our stock is even hand delivered by the makers themselves!), it holds more value for our local economy, we are helping to keep local people working and, smaller businesses tend to have more consideration for their carbon footprint.
7. Shop small where you can
Did you know that small businesses generate almost a trillion pounds a year for the UK economy? And that from every £1 spent with a small business, 63p stays in your local economy? By doing your shopping at local small businesses, you can directly support your neighbours and help benefit your local economies
Ask yourself "would I be sad if this shop closed?" If the answer is yes, then we have to find ways to shop and support them when we can.
You'll probably also find that you have a more pleasurable shopping experience when shopping small than if you go with the big wigs. At the end of 2021, we had absolutely no products stuck in ports when so many were struggling to get their stock. You also get a much more personal experience, with personally tailored advice and suggestions from our lovely staff who genuinely really care.
If you go to a big brand store, you can find their products in a thousand stores. But if you go to a small, locally owned business like ours, you can find something very special and unique.
Ultimately, it's a big win all round if you choose to shop with us. It keeps the planet healthy, your wallet heavy and you happy - so why wouldn't you support small?