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What’s Special about Flamingo Paperie

Other than the quality and affordability, which Flamingo cards and gift wrap has in abundance, what makes them any different to other greeting cards on the market? In short – what’s special about Flamingo Paperie?

What's special about Flamingo Paperie

Recyclable

All Flamingo gift wrap and gift tags are recyclable, 100%! That’s quite something in a day where there is still a myth spread on social media that only brown paper can be recycled. The gift tags all have jute string ties and jute is totally biodegradable and therefore compostable.

If you’re still not convinced whether you can have pretty wrapping paper without harming the environment then read my guide Is gift wrapping paper recyclable

What about the cards? Good question! All the greeting cards without effects added are 100% recyclable. Until now the glitter on some of the cards wasn’t environmentally friendly but Flamingo have just launched the first cards with eco-friendly vegetable based glitter.

Happy Anniversary

‘Happy Anniversary’

now with eco-friendly, vegetable based glitter!

It’s unclear whether foiled cards are recyclable or not. Many recycling plants won’t accept them but there is some research done by interested parties to suggest that this might be unnecessary.

Charity

ALL Flamingo Christmas cards, including the advent calendar cards are charity cards. If you want to know more about that then I wrote about it in a bit more depth here.

Woodmans House

Woodman’s House

charity advent calendar card

Flamingo Partners, like myself, got to choose which charities would benefit in 2018 and we chose Macmillan Cancer Support, Together for Short Lives and the Alzheimers Society for UK donations. You can read more about Flamingo’s charity here.

Artists

Have you ever seen or bought a greeting card after liking the image on the front only to wonder who created it? You turn over the card and all you see is ‘Made in China’. Not so with Flamingo!

Flamingo are proud to promote each and every one of the artists who design for them. And if you read their profiles the artists are pretty pleased to supply Flamingo with their designs.

Flamingo Paperie are a design led company and are always looking for new artists. If you have something to offer, it could be your name on the back of the next new Flamingo greeting card.

You could be part of a very special Flamingo too!


Are you:

  • Running your own business and need to compliment your products with cards and gift wrap?
  • Needing a little extra income?
  • Looking for something flexible that you can shape to fit your lifestyle?
  • Someone who loves cards, gift wrap, stationery, Christmas and all things glittery!?

If you’d just like to get your hands on these charitable, ethical and desing led cards and gift wrap then you can buy them from my Flamingo shop. Shop now and find our what’s special about Flamingo Paperie.

what's special about Flamingo Paperie
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Is gift wrapping paper recyclable?

is gift wrapping recyclable

You’ve watched Blue Planet, you love turtles and you want to do your bit this Christmas to be eco friendly. But you are a bit confused by mixed messages about whether you should be using gift wrap, brown paper, newspaper or even wrapping presents at all this Christmas. So I’ve put this little post together to help you answer the question; Is gift wrapping paper recyclable?

[inbound_button font_size=”20″ color=”#c8232b” text_color=”#ffffff” icon=”” url=”https://www.flamingopaperie.co.uk/web/janetrossjordan/area/shop-online/category/christmas-gift-wrap-and-tags” width=”” target=”_blank”]Skip the waffle, show me where I can buy 100% recyclable gift wrap![/inbound_button]

 

A really quick test is the Scrunch Test but it’s not quite as simple as that.

So which gift wrapping is recyclable?

Supermarket ‘cheap as chips’ wrapping paper

Probably not recyclable. Even if it doesn’t contain any glitter, foil or added extras, the thin wrapping paper that is often found at the checkout is unlikely to be accepted by paper mills for recycling as it contains few good quality fibres for recycling.

Gift wrap with foil or glitter effects

The paper might be recyclable but the glitter and foil effects make it difficult and too expensive (if it is even possible) to recycle. At least the paper will biodegrade if put in general household waste but the foil and glitter additives might not.

Recycled wrapping paper

Yes, most probably recyclable, providing no glitter, foil etc is added. You can get recycled wrapping paper. However, there is a debate as to whether it is better to produce recycled paper or use virgin pulp from FSC certified sources as the recycling process itself is expensive and energy consuming. Another alternative could be using paper from easily replenishable sources such as bamboo that grows quickly.

stamped brown kraft wrapping paperBrown paper

This shouldn’t be recycled but should go in the compostable bin along with brown cardboard but that’s ok. Good environmental option! Not so good if you want a pretty design as you’ll have to do one yourself and make sure any design you apply is also compostable! Check out my Pinterest board for some ideas. Use vegetable based inks to stamp the paper and add natural embellishments like twigs, flowers and berries that can also be composted.

Or you can buy patterned kraft wrap that is 100% recyclable.

Printed, quality wrapping paper

Yes, this wrapping paper is recyclable. One thing you might like to check is what inks are used in the print. Some companies use eco friendly vegetable based inks that do not harm the environment. Also check if the paper used is from FSC sources.

All of the gift wrap in my Flamingo shop is 100% recyclable, uses vegetable based inks and is from FSC sources.

We can confirm that all Flamingo Paperie gift wrap is recyclable. It is printed on Amber Graphic Material which is ECF (Elemental Chlorine Free). This is a technique which uses chlorine dioxide for the bleaching of wood pulp and does not use elemental chlorine gas during the bleaching process, so preventing the formation of dioxins, dioxin-like compounds and carcinogens. We also use vegetable inks with water rather than the alcohol damping process. Individual local authorities have their own rules on what they will and will not recycle, but we can confirm that our paper is fully recyclable. (statement from Flamingo HQ)

If you are a designer looking to print your own gift wrap then there are UK print companies that have a very high standard of eco friendly printing like Ashley House.

General tips on making gift wrapping paper recyclable

Before recycling or composting your gift wrap make sure you remove all sellotape, tags, ribbons, bows etc. Gift tags might be recyclable/compostable but the ribbon that they are attached often isn’t so make sure you remove it first. If in doubt, ask the company, they will know. Many gift wrap companies have an environmental policy like Flamingo Paperie. In fact all their gift tags, including the jute string, are 100% recyclable. Use washi tape for a recyclable tape option.

For further information see Recycle Now

Also wondering what Christmas cards to buy? You might be interested to know that all our Christmas cards are charity cards as well as being environmentally friendly.

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Thinking of You Week 2019

We all know someone who’s having a tough time. Think of the friend, family member, neighbour or work colleague who is having a rough patch. Perhaps they’ve recently lost a loved one. Maybe their children have left home recently and they’re feeling a bit alone. Or perhaps they are just going through a rough patch where life just isn’t as good as it could be. Maybe you actually don’t know how things are because it’s been too long since you last heard from them. Thinking of You week 2019 is a chance to change that. It’s an opportunity to make someone smile in a very simple way; by sending a card.

thinking of you week 2019

Thinking of You Week 2019

This year, Thinking of You Week runs from the 22nd to the 28th September. It’s an intiative that the Greeting Card Association (GCA) started 5 years ago and has grown in popularity and impact with each year. You can be a part of it and it’s really simple!

All you are asked to do is send a card.

In fact, as the GCA puts it, “Send a Card, Deliver a Smile.”

We all know, and science has proved, that receiving a hand written card is really good for mental health. The small effort of taking the time to write a note in a card and pop it in the letterbox means so much to us. To know that someone was thinking about us and wanted us to know we were important enough to them for them to take time out to write a card means so much.

Thinking of You Week Challenge

If you only send one card, that’s great! Do it!

However, if you want to take up my Thinking of You Week Challenge, you could try and send 7 cards to 7 different people. To help, I’ve put together a special offer until the end of September. Choose any 7 every day greeting cards from my Flamingo Paperie catalogue for just £10 (plus postage). If you can’t choose, or want to same time, I’ve picked my top 7 for the occasion.

Email me your selection at janet@cardsandgiftwrap.co.uk or get my Thinking of You Week 7 card pack here.

Thinking of You Week 2019

Send a Card, Deliver a Smile!

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Moon landing gift ideas

moon bunny moon landing

If you’re looking to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the moon landing then here are a couple of ideas. Great gifts and activities to celebrate the event. If you’re looking for a family or class room activity then the giant poster is for you. If you are looking for a space related craft to complete then the cross-stitch is perfect. Or perhaps you just want to send someone a card and let them know how much they mean to you.

Space colour in tablecloth moon landing

This cosmic space colouring in tablecloth can be used as a poster too. With a black background and lots of space oddities to discover this is great as a fun activity. If you’re studying the moon landing in class then this could be a fun educational tool.

Great for classrooms or family dinners!

It might be quicker to fly to the moon than complete this cut thru cross stitch from Bothy Threads but you’ll feel like you’ve made some giant leaps when you’re done! Illustrated by Amanda Loverseed.

Perfect moon landing commemorative craft idea!

Bothy threads cut thru rocket

This Moon Bunny card is adorable. If you’re looking for a cost effective way to decorate a child’s bedroom then you could frame it. This card would look beautiful on the wall in any child’s bedroom or nursery. Illustrated by Kate Garrett and produced by Flamingo Paperie.

Perfect new baby card!

How many friends could you send this card to? Good Friends are Like Stars. Blank on the inside for your own message this is a perfect card to send to those who mean so much but are far away. Illustrated by Lucy Smith and produced by Flamingo Paperie.

Send a card, deliver a smile!

So why not celebrate the moon landing with some of these cards and activities. If you’re an astronaut they could keep you busy while you’re in space too, though I’m not sure how you send the cards from the space station – do they have a post box?

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5 Deadly Sins of Gift Wrapping

5 deadly sins of gift wrapping

Trust me on this, you really don’t want to make the mistake of doing any of these. There is a special corner in the afterlife where you will be sent if you commit any of these 5 deadly sins of gift wrapping. A corner where they wrap you in cheap, easy to tear wrapping paper and then bind you in rolls and rolls of sticky tape…. It’s called Hell-otape and is easily avoided if you can steer clear of these mistakes. In this post I’ll show you how to avoid the pitfalls without having to be a gift wrapping expert, without spending a fortune on wrapping accessories or spending hours mastering origami style wrapping techniques.

Deadly Sin #1 – Just shove it in a gift bag

I know, I know, you’re a busy person and you just don’t have time to put the extra frills, ribbons and bows on a present. So stick in a gift bag and it’ll look okay. Right? Wrong!

Simply shoving your gift in a gift bag will make it look like you didn’t have time, didn’t plan ahead and left it to the last minute. Which you did, right? But you don’t want them to think that do you?

So what’s the answer when you have left it to the last minute and you don’t feel like a gift wrapping guru and you really just want to shove it in a bag?

Well the answer is simple really and yes, actually, you’re still going to shove it in a gift bag…BUT…you’re going to shove some tissue in the bag first!

gift bag subscription box

Now that wasn’t difficult was it?!

One sheet, or even half a sheet of tissue, placed in the bag so it’s sticking out of the top, gift inside tissue and there you go. Now it looks like you tried and actually it didn’t take that long did it? My tip is to fold the tissue in half, lightly scrunch the bottom, middle bit and place that carefully at the bottom of the bag. Then you can find the opening in the tissue and spread it out before putting the gift in the centre of the gap in the tissue.

Deadly Sin #2 – Sticky tape

You might have a really fancy tape dispenser that’s fun to use but please…don’t use one sided sticky tape. At least not on the outside of your gift! You are allowed to use double sided tape and if that’s too fiddly for you then you can buy repositionable double sided tape ready to roll. We could buy shares in these double sided tape rollers as my daughter uses it for making cards. It’s not the cheapest way to stick things together but it is really easy to use and will save you a lot of time.

Other options if you don’t like the double sided tape is use gift wrapping seals. A bit like conventional sticky tape but in neat circles of stickiness. A word of caution though, if your paper is too thick or textured then these might not stick well.

Later I’ll show you a video of how to wrap your present with double sided tape.

Deadly Sin #3 – Rough edges

There is no reason why the edge of your paper shouldn’t be straight if you have to cut it. Here are some simple tips:

  • Use a decent pair of scissors (and don’t let the children use them for cutting up cardboard boxes – sorry, just personal experience!)
  • Fold the paper where you need to cut it, then cut along the line.
  • If that’s really hard then use wrapping paper with a cutting grid on the back. E.g. ALL of Flamingo Paperie gift wrap comes with a cutting grid on the reverse.
  • Fold the cut edge over so that the ‘edge’ is a straight fold instead of the cut line. This is especially relevant if the edge of the paper is already rough or squint.

Deadly Sin #4 – Having the edge of the paper in the middle of the gift

This is a really simple tip that makes your present wrapping look so much more professional. When you wrap the paper around the gift, make sure the paper edge that sits on the top of the paper as you wrap it round is at the corner edge of your gift, not right in the middle of the gift.

I probably haven’t explained that very well so in the video link at the end I’ve given you a clip that shows you how to do this (as well as how to use double sided tape to hold it all together).

Deadly Sin #5 – Cheap thin wrapping paper – it’s a rip off!

You know the stuff. As soon as you wrap it round a corner, it’s got a big rip in it. By the time you give the gift the paper is so creased and the pattern has worn away at every crease that it looks like you’ve used the paper before. What’s worse is that most really cheap wrapping paper is so thin it’s not even recyclable. Why bother? It’s not good for the environment and looks rubbish!

Ice Lolly gift wrap

Always use a decent thickness of wrapping paper. You can get affordable gift wrap that is good quality, ethically sourced from sustainable forests and can be recycled.

If you want to know more about which gift wrap can be recycled then you might like a previous blog post – Is gift wrapping paper recyclable?

If you do like to use ribbons and bows then there are eco-friendly options there too, paper rope, jute twine and recycled or recyclable gift tags too.

Video tutorial – how to avoid the deadly sins of gift wrapping

All the tips I’ve described can be used for any shaped gift. Shiho Masuda is known as the Paper Guru and has lots of useful video tutorials to help you take your gift wrapping to the next level. The video below shows you how to wrap just about any shape. You’ll see how she uses double sided tape (See Deadly Sin #2), folds the paper at the cut end (See Deadly Sin #3) and gets the edges of the paper to line up with the edge of the gift (See Deadly Sin #4).

Follow these simple tips and the gift wrapping gods will smile favourably upon your creations, you will make your recipients smile and you will look like a gift wrapping genius!

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Why do we need to ask to support friends small businesses?

support friends small businesses

I do Facebook, as they say. It’s a necessary evil of running a small business. For me it helps me maintain a connection between my local friends and my business and has resulted in sales from friends who otherwise might not see what I sell. However, more and more I see posts on Facebook saying things like ‘5 ways to support your friends business without buying anything’ or pleas to ‘support friends small businesses like you support celebrities you don’t actually know’. I’m left wondering why do I need to ask?

Why do we need to ask to support friends small businesses?

I just find it bizarre that ‘we’ feel we need to ‘ask’ friends to support our small businesses.

What is a friend? If I consider myself a friend with someone then surely I want to support them? Why on earth do they need to ask me? I think our society is coming to something very bereft if supporting our friends isn’t just a given.

Perhaps the very same Facebook (or other social media platforms) are responsible? Have they disconnected us so far from ‘community’ that we don’t care or identify with each other any more. Or is that just an excuse for justifying a self-centred existence that just thinks about ourselves, our convenience. Do we resent so much when our friends seemingly give up on the traditional ‘proper job’ to try and make it on their own that we don’t want to support them. Perhaps we want them to fail so that we can feel better about not taking the same leap of faith and giving up all to start our own businesses?

Perhaps it’s none of my business?

My business, if you don’t happen to be a friend who has found this blog post by clicking a link on my Facebook page, is cards and gift wrap. I’m not selling anything wacky. I’m not selling anything unusual, expensive or so exclusive that you’d never want to use it. I sell birthday cards. Everyone has a birthday I’m pretty sure everyone knows someone who has a birthday. So it stands to reason that everyone I know will at some point need to buy a birthday card. I sell gift wrap too. Most people at some point need to wrap a present, or put it in a gift bag (I do those too!).

Yet, I know lots of ‘friends’ who never buy a thing from me.

I do need to add here that I have LOTS of friends who do buy from me and without them I’d have given up my small business years ago. I’m not ungrateful and this isn’t a post to beg the friends who don’t support me to buy.

I’d like to beg, if I thought it would do any good. I’d really like to tell you how hard my family is finding things. I gave up my ‘career’ to look after my children full time and my husband has just gone part time in his ‘proper job’ to try and make it as a writer. Oh we’re struggling but it’s our choice to be where we are. We didn’t think it would be easy. We have asked for help with little things but only sometimes do people listen. A good example is when a friend reads one of my husband’s books, we ask them to leave a review on Amazon. Just to click the stars, not even to write anything but only a small minority of people have. That small act can make a huge difference to a writer. If everyone left a review it would help enormously.

All the posts on Facebook are true. Liking, commenting, sharing friend’s posts does help a small business. But for flip’s sake it’s not half as helpful as actually buying the stuff!

But your choices are none of my business.

Is it too much to ask?

I’m not going to ask you to buy anything from my shop. I suspect I’ve already lost a few ‘fans’ just by writing this post. Perhaps I am just too disconnected from my friends. I’m probably too busy myself to really understand what they need, why should it be any different them to me.

Instead I’m going to look up a few friends I know who have small businesses and give them some support over the next few days.





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Strategies for success in direct sales, from an Executive Flamingo Paperie Partner

strategies for success

So you’re looking for a new way to earn some money. Direct Sales seems a good option with its flexible working hours and it looks like it has some good prospects. But you haven’t quite worked out how to fit it in to the nooks and crannies of life. I’ve been in direct selling for over 12 years now and promoted to Executive Partner with Flamingo Paperie in the first month it launched. I have 4 children aged from 2 to 12 and as you can imagine that keeps me very busy. The flexibility of direct selling works really well for me and my strategies for success in direct sales are really different ways you can make your chosen company work for you.

The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.

Walt Disney

My strategies for success are based on my experience with Flamingo Paperie, a direct sales company that produces cards, gift wrap and stationery but I believe these ideas could be adapted to most direct sales businesses. If one way of working seems to fit your lifestyle but the direct sales company you’re looking at doesn’t offer it then my top tip is to think twice before you join. All my strategies for success are possible if you become a Flamingo Partner. You don’t need to turn your life upside down or find more hours in the day. Here are ways you can make it work by using what you already have or do.

10 Strategies for Success in direct sales

1 Add it on to something else you’re already doing

It doesn’t have to be either/or. It’s unlikely that you will want to drop everything else to try and make room for a new business. Choose a product that will compliment your lifestyle, hobbies or other business. If you’re making crafts for sale then gift wrap will add an extra to your service, or a greeting card to go with a gift gives you the ability to offer the complete gifting package.

2 Take it with you

Can you take your products to the office, to the school gate, to yoga class, to toddler group or wherever you go on a daily or weekly business? Use the networks you already have to show off your products and attract repeat customers.

3 Use your products

In theory you don’t have to like to your products to sell them. A good salesperson might be able to sell water to a well but it does help if you love what you’re selling and use it regularly. Not only does it give you confidence in what you’re selling but giving your products, in my case by sending cards or wrapping presents in style, is an opportunity to show them off.

4 Raise some money for a good cause

Are you involved in a community group or is there a charity close to your heart. Use your products to raise some money. Offer 10% or more of your sales to your cause. People love to help and love to feel that others are benefitting from their purchases. Make use of that and help others while building your customer base with some good publicity.

5 Enhance your subscription box

If you already run a business that sends out a regular subscription box then use the new products to enhance your box. Gift wrap or tissue could be used to wrap the contents while advertising the same gift wrap and tissue for customers to buy for their own wrapping needs. An appropriate card could be included to match the theme of your box or the time of year, again advertising the range of cards available for sale. The average person in the UK sends 33 cards a year. Be creative with how you present your products, this will make you different to the rest and attract others to your business.

Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.

Steve Joba

6 Add the personal touch

Do you run a company that provides a service to others, or does your partner or another family member? For example, I know estate agents who like to give a ‘New Home’ card to their clients when they pick up their keys. Or a Vet who likes to send a sympathy card when a loved pet is put to sleep. I have a customer who runs a Beauty Salon who likes to send cards to her clients when they have get married, have a baby, suffer a bereavement etc. Sending greeting cards can add a very powerful personal touch to your business.

7 Treat your employees

Similar to the previous idea but if you already employ staff then can you use your products to treat them? Can you reward them for a job well done? Send a birthday card or occasion card to show you take note of their lives outside of work. Personal touches make people feel valued and that builds loyalty within a workplace. Little acts like these can make you stand out from the crowd as an employer.

Everyone talks about building a relationship with your customer. I think you should build one with your employees first.

Angela Ahrendts

8 Provide a community service

No I don’t mean of the criminal penalty kind! Do you live somewhere that people find it hard to access the products you offer? I have a good friend of mine who got so fed up of hearing her neighbours say they were off to town for a birthday card that she asked to take one of my baskets of cards to have at home so she could offer a better and more convenient service and product to her community.

9 Help a hospital or care home

Do you work in or visit a hospital or care home on a regular basis? Similar to the community service idea, many people who live or work in these places have great difficulty in getting to shops to purchase things. Bring your ‘shop’ to them. Ask if someone can care for your ‘shop in a basket’ which you can leave in a safe, convenient place for them to buy from when they need to.

10 Build an online business

Do you spend time on social media? Are you a Pinterest addict or an Instagram lover? Use that time to build a business. Share images of your products with links to your direct sales website. No need to even buy stock, just let people love what they see and tell them how to click and buy for themselves. Rather like affiliate marketing but usually with higher profit margins. If you’re already doing affiliate marketing then treat your direct sales business as an extra string to your affiliate bow.

The secret of getting ahead is getting started.

Mark Twain

Whatever you do, however you do it, get started. Don’t put it off by waiting for the prefect business model to come along. Find the products you like then make the business opportunity work for you, in your situation. Use the strategies for success that fit with where you’re at. Start there and build out as you grow.