Pack it in...
We spend a surprising amount of time thinking about packaging. Which isn’t quite what we envisaged when we sat down to discuss starting our own company.
At no point did we think ‘yes, let’s create a company where we have to constantly talk about boxes, postage and packing materials’.
But given we're an online company which needs to send (often incredibly difficult shaped) tools and kit out to customers - we’ve now acclimatised to the fact that this goes with the territory.
Like it or not, packaging is important (to you and us) and in case you were wondering, here’s how we ‘pack it up, pack it in’*…
- We have a lot of different sized boxes – but sometimes we have to send things in boxes that seem oversized for your order. We’re sorry – we try and size them to be perfect – but that can be a challenge. If you’ve got a box that you think is a bit large or odd for the size of the tools you’ve ordered, the reason will be one of the following:
- The perfect size box may be ridiculously (and prohibitively) expensive – we’re an independent retailer, we aren’t Amazon. We offer free postage over a certain amount, the rest we absorb as a business cost. But in this day and age where costs are rising, we need to try and – where possible – make cost effective decisions. For both us and you (so we can try to limit passing on rising costs).
- The perfect size box may be out of stock. Cardboard and Coronavirus was a ‘thing’. Edd’s totally organised in ordering packaging stock and having box supplies - but sometimes we just can’t get what we need. So a different box may need to be used until supply chains smooth out completely.
- Louise may not, whilst picking and packing, have been able to find the correct sized box. Imagine a lot of different size boxes. All flat pack. Having previously built a number of boxes to find the ‘goldilocks’ size, she may have beaten her head against the cardboard mountain, and sent it out in a slightly oversized box, to enable it to get in the post on time whilst retaining her sanity. Again – refer back to the point above about us not being Amazon. We’re a husband and wife team – so please forgive us the occasional box-related or pick and pack mistake.
- Having selected what is likely to be a box that is too big to fit your unique order consisting of a Sneeboer spade, Opinel penknife, tiny brass brushes and a pair of workshop gloves, we now need to pack it so it arrives safely and in good condition. Sometimes we have a lot of space that needs to be filled up to stop your tools rattling around in the box whilst out for delivery.
- Repair and reuse are key to Tinker and Fix as a company, so we try to reuse all packaging that’s sent to us by suppliers - both in the United Kingdom and internationally. They’ll use everything from shredded cardboard to newspaper (that’s why you’ll spot Dutch or Japanese newspapers in your parcels – as they come from Sneeboer, Niwaki and Fedecca deliveries).
- We do buy/use starch based biodegradable loose fill “peanuts” (they look a lot like a white Wotsit - but don't eat them). They work really well as they are eco and they don’t add much weight to the overall parcel.
- We re-use all our own newspapers and those from other sources that we collect up.
- Boxes: all the new boxes we buy are from Forest Stewardship Council approved sources. We do try to re-use boxes where possible (the ones that we get sent with products in) – to give multiple use to the cardboard that’s already been in production.
- Packaging: We re-use everything (see above) and we don’t buy plastic packaging. But if you spot plastic air bags or plastic packaging – that’s come from a supplier, and we are reusing it. Most of it is recyclable, but regardless, we’ll re-use so it isn’t going straight to landfill.
- Tape: We use paper based packing tape to make recycling at your end easier. But before you recycle the box we’ve sent you – please try and think about re-using it first if you can.
- Paper: We only buy Forest Stewardship Council paper (for printing/receipts). We buy the paper that comes in paper boxes/wrapping (rather than plastic wrapped).
So – we hope your parcel of tools arrive in great condition and are ready for you to enjoy straight away in your garden, workshop or garage. And you can be safe in the knowledge they have been packed with care for both you and the environment.
*and yes, it’s not uncommon for House of Pain to be playing whilst we pack up customer orders… ‘Pack it up, pack it in, let me begin…’