The real cost of postage and packaging
We've all been there; gone to purchase something on line and then stopped in our tracks because of the price of postage.
I recently wrote about my cake toppers to show you what you get for your money and today, I've decided to do the same for postage and packaging. I've been asked a few times if I can "just send it without a gift box" or "second class" and have lost a few potential clients because I've refused.
Here's why: Your cake toppers or accessories are far more valuable than the price of postage. It might not seem like it at first, but trust me, when you receive them you'll get it. And if you read on, you'll see that the price I charge is actually more reasonable than you thought.
So let's break it down. Postage costs vary between £4.50 and £9.50 depending on the size and monetary value of your item, to give you a vague idea. And yes, that is just for postage.
The gift boxes
One bride asked me to wrap her cake toppers and send them the cheapest way possible, no gift box thank you. I said no and explained my reasons. She agreed to go ahead with her order and, after she received her cake toppers, do you know what the first thing she said was? How beautifully packaged they were and how she was glad she'd trusted me.
It's simple really; we're told not to judge a book by its cover but, let's be honest, if you spent hundreds of pounds on a bespoke brooch bouquet, you'd be pretty mad if it turned up on your doorstep in a shoe box, all battered and scruffy.
After weeks or even months of working together, the best bit is actually seeing your order for real and part of the experience is how it's presented. I want you to feel excited when you have that box in your hands, and to do that, I need to make sure you have the very best.
Pretty boxes don't come cheap. My go-to companies are The Tiny Box Company and Foldabox, which both supply beautiful white boxes with magnetic closures, ribbon or with luxury padding. These can cost anywhere from £1 for a small matchbox style jewellery box to £5 for a brooch bouquet box. The good news for you is that these are already factored into the item you're paying for (yay!) so they're not really negotiable.
Add to that any protective packaging that goes inside. For example, cake toppers are bubble wrapped and then surrounded by biodegradable polystyrene, while accessories like hair vines are pinned with jewellery pins into a foam pad. Brooch bouquets are more tricky; I make a small cushion for each one using faux suede or lace material, add ribbons and tie your bouquet in. The packaging process for most items can easily take up to half an hour as I double check everything is secure before I go any further. Perfectionism is a pain!
I add a little sticker with my logo on to each box and pop a handmade blue heart button inside, attached to a card, courtesy of Moo.com.
Pretty bit done, now it's time to get practical...
Sending out an item that you can't wait to have in your hands and I've taken a lot of time to create is nerve-wrecking to say the least. I use sturdy packaging boxes along with bubble wrap and more biodegradable polystyrene chips to protect the gift box, which has provided the first level of protection for your item. I often do one last peek inside the gift box before putting the final protective bits in to check everything is still ok (it always is, but I still can't resist!) and then seal up the box with strong brown parcel tapeto make sure that the box doesn't open in transit and then wrap it with Fragile tape, so that the Postman knows to handle it with care.
I hand-write your address in capital letters on to alabel and tape it on to the box, along with my return address (in lower case), just in case. No idea why, it's my little routine and tradition I guess!
Again, all of this could take up to 10 minutes to do and the outer packaging costs around £2.50 for all the bits and pieces, which is not always factored in to the cost of postage.
Safe and sound, we have one hurdle left...the journey to you!
This is the stressful part for me!
Some orders have to travel a fair few miles from my little work room to where you are. Whether you're UK based or overseas, I need to make sure your order arrives in perfect condition. If it doesn't? You'll be one unhappy bride and I'll be devastated, so it's in both of our interests that I consider the safest way to get your item to you.
I send smaller things, like hair pins via first class postage as they are well protected in their box and are usually less fragile. Hair vines and tiaras, on the other hand, don't qualify for first class posting due to their monetary value, so I don't take the risk. Cake toppers are so delicate that again, there's no other option so Special Delivery it is!
What do you get with Special Delivery? The knowledge that your item is being handled with care and not being chucked around in a mail bag with all the other mail. It's like a VIP service :) You can track your item online and it will be insured against any damage in transit. Oh and it's guaranteed to arrive the next working day. Woo hoo! No more waiting!
Royal Mail's Special Delivery service starts at around £7.25 for smaller items. As a general rule, a set of cake toppers on a base costs around £8.55.
Finally, the most anyone's paid for postage and packaging?
£60. Although that was to the States and Mima needed her cake toppers urgently following a small disaster with another set she'd been given as a gift by a relative. Just a couple of days later and her cake toppers were in her hands, ready to sit on her wedding cake the following day :) Anything's possible ;)
I hope this has been some help! Remember, you're far too special to receive a damaged item in the post and your order arriving in perfect condition means as much to me as it does to you. Plus you deserve a little luxury, it's your wedding day!
Have you ever made a judgement based on packaging? Tell me all about it in the comments below!