Posted on Leave a comment

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?

Skip the waffle, show me where I can buy 100% recyclable gift wrap!

 

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.

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.

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.

Posted on Leave a comment

Frequently Asked Questions about Flamingo Paperie

frequently asked questions about Flamingo Paperie

If you have any questions about joining my Flamingo Paperie team then you can ask anything directly to me. However, there are a few frequently asked questions about Flamingo Paperie that come up time and again so I thought I’d put them all in one post for you.

My Top 10 Frequently Asked Questions about Flamingo Paperie.

Are the products still the same quality as Phoenix?

No, I’d say they are even better! We have made our gift wrap thicker and our cards are now all matt textured, which makes them look even more fabulous. The same amazing illustrators are designing our cards as well as new ones each time we launch a new range. We are always looking for more artists too.

Can I make money at this?

Yes! There are two ways to make money, selling and sponsoring.

You make at least 20% on everything you sell. If you buy the stock yourself and sell it you make 30% profit. If you use your free ecommerce website that comes with your starter kit then you make 20% but you don’t have to do any stock handling. Of course you can do a mixture of both online and offline selling.

The other way you can make money is by building your own team of Independent Flamingo Partners. We call this sponsoring. E.g. when you join my team and you sell products I get a bonus from the company for your sales. This doesn’t come from your profit and the sales profit you make is exactly the same as I make on my sales. However I get a ‘sponsor and support’ bonus for helping you grow your business.

How much is it to join your team?

There are three starter packs to choose from at £45, £95 and £200.

What do I get in my starter pack?

Each pack contains a selection of stock, brochures, other sales aids, your public liability insurance and an ecommerce website.

More exactly pack 1, £45, contains 30 cards (worth £60 retail), 25 brochures, 25 promotional leaflets, 1 order pad and 500 personalised address labels, public liability insurance and an ecommerce website.

Pack 2, £95, contains 80 cards (worth £160 retail), 50 brochures, 50 promotional leaflets, 1 order pad and 500 personalised address labels, public liability insurance and an ecommerce website.

Pack 3, £200, contains 200 cards and 5 gift wrap sheets (worth over £400 retail), 100 brochures, 50 promotional leaflets, 1 order pad and 500 personalised address labels, 250 ‘thank you’ business cards, public liability insurance and an ecommerce website.

So each pack is worth more than it costs you and contains everything you need to start your business at whatever level you want to.

Are there targets I have to meet?

No. There are bonuses you can get if you sell a certain amount and if you build a team etc but there is absolutely no requirement from the company for you to do that. If you don’t want to, then don’t. If you want to make more money then you will want to set those targets for yourself but no one else is going to insist that you achieve them. It’s your business, it’s up to you.

What help do I get?

When you join my team I am here to support you in whatever way I can help. You can contact me by email, phone or online at any time and ask for whatever help you need. My team is part of a bigger team too and they are also there to support you. I have a team Facebook group where we have online meetings, people ask questions, share success stories and experiences. I am also developing a set of short videos to help with various topics that crop up frequently. However, it is up to you to make your business work. If you want to grow, ask questions. Of all the team members I’ve had the ones who are most successful with Flamingo are the ones who ask lots of questions!

Can I sell other things alongside Flamingo cards?

Yes absolutely. The great thing I have found about selling cards is that they go extremely well with other products to sell. If you’re selling candles for example, chances are people will be buying gifts and will need a card and gift wrap to go with it. You can offer the complete package!

Where can I sell the cards?

You can sell from your home, to your neighbour, to friends and family, work colleagues.  Or sell at fairs and events. You could take a bag or basket of aards to work or a workplace staff room. Set up a Facebook business page and advertise your cards on there. Or have an online ‘pop up shop’ through your Facebook page. You can have a ‘pop up shop’ (where you take some cards and gift wrap along to show people). Do this in someone’s house, a toddler group or maybe a fundraising event. You can pretty much sell wherever you like. The only exceptions being you can’t sell through an online auction site (e.g. EBay) and you can’t sell to a retail outlet (but you could give them a basket of cards for their staff room).

Isn’t it just a pyramid scheme?

No. Pyramid schemes are illegal in the UK for a start! In a pyramid scheme someone sells something to you and you have to sell it for a higher price and so on until eventually the system cannot sustain itself. In Flamingo everyone buys cards at the same price and sells them at the same price for the same profit. I support you and get a support bonus from the company proportional to your sales but not from your profits. Think of shareholders in a corporate organisation who get bonuses when the workforce bring in extra money. With Flamingo if you sell more you make more profit and your sponsor (the person who’s team you joined) gets a bonus from the company’s profits. There are no shareholders! Unlike a traditional corporation you have the opportunity to earn more by selling more!

How do I join?

The only way to join my team is online here.

If you have a question that hasn’t been answered in my frequently asked questions about Flamingo Paperie. Or if you’d like a copy of the full reward plan then please ask me. No question is too small or silly!

 

Posted on Leave a comment

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.





Posted on Leave a comment

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.

Posted on Leave a comment

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
Posted on Leave a comment

Easter cards why do we send them?

Flamingo Paperie Easter cards

When was the first Easter card sent?

According to Wikipedia people sent the first Easter cards just over 100 years ago at the very end of the 19th Century. At this time people tended to send postcards. Initially you could only write the address on the back of the postcard, along side the stamp. Postcard senders had to write on the front meaning that the illustration had to allow space for the writing. This changed in the early 1900s when the back of the postcard was split more like we see today.

What sort of cards did Victorians send?

Early images on Easter postcards and cards included the Easter bunny, sheep, flowers, eggs and often young girls who were a symbol of luck and hope. Easter carries a message of hope and new life so now we also might include butterflies and spring images, particularly in the Northern Hemisphere where Easter and Spring coincide. In Australia you might find an Easter Bilby instead of a bunny.

Where did the Easter bunny come from?

Flamingo Paperie Easter Wishes greeting card

It’s generally accepted that the Easter bunny originated in the 1700s in Germany. He was originally an ‘egg-laying hare’. German Lutherans took the tradition to America with them. Then, like so many things, once the Americans are doing it, we’re all doing it!

What are Easter cards all about?

There’s no doubt that Easter cards have their origin in Christianity. Relating to Jesus’ resurrection and the hope of new life, this is where most of our Easter images have their basis. It’s understandable that Easter cards were at their peak during the First World War. Then also the Second World War as people faced life and death situations and an uncertain future. Following the Second World War Easter cards declined and fewer are sent now than then. However, they are still very popular. With Mothers Day just 3 weeks before Easter it’s interesting to note that Mothers Day is the third largest card sending occasion in the calendar year, with Easter in fifth place.

Why send an Easter card?

Whether you are a Christian or not, sending any card at any time can lift someone’s spirits. There is a reason why the Greeting Card Association has as it’s industry tagline ‘send a card, deliver a smile’. That’s exactly what sending a card can do. While Easter may move its date each year it will always fall in Spring here in the UK. After an often cold, harsh winter here in the Outer Hebrides I know I love to see cards with flowers, animals, butterflies and eggs, heralding a new season with summer not far away.

Whatever your faith or none, an Easter card can bring hope and encouragement in tough times. Or perhaps just a reminder of what a beautiful world we live in.

So go on, make someone smile and send a few Easter cards this year!

If you’re looking for other ideas for Easter then I’ve made some suggestions here.

If you’re a busy person who’s a bit short of spare time to choose some Easter card then I’ve put together a bundle for you.