With the children back at school (yippeee!) I’ve had a little time to do some more designing.
There are a few new products in the Homeware section of my website. These are all printed to order by Redbubble and I can easily tweak designs to suit. Just ask! Check out the Homeware section »
I developed this leafy pattern for a future paper tape design but thought it looks quite nice on a mug too – what do you think?
Leafy tape will be in the future, there are a couple of new Christmas designs being printed just now – watch this space! See all mugs »
This week I added a few new Wrendale and Sally Swannell cards to my shop, why not have a browse and see if there’s something you like (I think the giraffe might be my favourite – well you know how I feel about cake!)
The Mystery Box is back!
Got a few birthdays coming up? Seen a subscription box you liked but missed it?
I have lots of gift wrapping items left over from my subscription boxes but not enough to make complete coordinating boxes. So instead I’ll mix and match you a bumper mystery box of gift wrapping.
Alternatively – subscribe for a monthly box of coordinated loveliness! Have a great week – hope the sun continues to shine for you. (It’s actually got a bit cold and dull here – but no snow so I’m not complaining!)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
If you’ve heard of Flamingo Paperie but aren’t sure what it’s all about then you might find this answers some of your questions. Flamingo Paperie is still a relatively new company, which rose out of the ashes of Phoenix Trading. It’s about to enter its busy period with the Christmas range launching late August. Now is possibly the best time to join and reap those rewards. But you might be wondering how it all works. Whether it could work for you and possibly even who or what is Flamingo? Well here’s my Flamingo Paperie review after 6 months being an Independent Flamingo Partner with the new company.
Who or What is Flamingo Paperie?
Perhaps you haven’t even heard of Flamingo Paperie and that wouldn’t be surprising as the company only launched in February 2018. You might have heard of its predecessor Phoenix Trading. Flamingo is a different company with a new focus but it comes built on 22 years of Phoenix Trading with many of the same staff and independent Partners. Flamingo is a British greeting card company specialising in exclusively illustrated greeting cards, gift wrap and stationery. I’m proud to be part of a company with a strong ethical and charitable vision. All Flamingo’s cards are ethically printed in the UK, using FSC card and vegetable based inks and all our Christmas cards are charity cards. The design team are passionate about supporting and promoting the illustrators and artists who create the designs (I’ve met the design team, their passion really shines through them when you talk to them).
Who am I and what do I know about Flamingo?
Flamingo don’t sell through shops, at least not in the UK (it’s slightly different in Australia and New Zealand). Their fabulous cards can only be purchased through an Independent Partner, which is what I am. I was a Phoenix Trader from 2012 until they closed and have been a Flamingo Partner since they launched in February. I’m an Executive Partner, which means I support a team of my own and their teams too. At the last check I was the top sponsor, which means I have added more people to my team than any other Partner in the business since February. I have a team from Shetland to the Channel Islands and in France. I love sending cards and I’m a complete stationery addict! This is my personal Flamingo Paperie review from my experience.
How does Flamingo ‘work’?
There are prinicipally three ways to earn money as a Flamingo Partner. You can buy and sell stock to friends, colleagues, relatives, at craft fairs, pop up shops and more. You buy stock at 30% off the retail price but you do pay delivery on all your orders (£6 max). It is possible to sell without buying any stock. You can do this by directing people to your personalised website. Here the company ships all the orders direct to your customer and you get 20% profit. The other way to earn is by building a team of Partners who you support, with the help of your upline Executive Partner. E.g. if you joined my team and someone joined your team then I would support both you and your team member in your businesses. When your team sell you earn a commission from the company depending on how much you sell and they sell etc. If you would like the details of how this works exactly just ask.
Flamingo Paperie review of the good stuff so far?
I live in the Outer Hebrides and pay the same delivery on all my orders as everyone else in the UK. It means we all have the same opportunity.
The quality of the cards and gift wrap is outstanding. Phoenix were reknown for their high quality affordable cards and gift wrap. I think the designs and quality that Flamingo now have are even better. The gift wrap always had a reputation for being quality and ‘unrippable’. Now it’s even thicker with Flamingo than it was with Phoenix. It still has the same invaluable cutting grid lines on the back. This helps to make gift wrapping a pleasure not a chore.
Everyone gets a personalised website as standard. This is simpler because we all get the same but it’s included in the starter pack cost and everyone has the same opportunity to sell online if they want to.
We have a narrower range than we had with Phoenix. This gives the company more focus on what they do and doing it really well.
The ‘team’ feeling is outstanding. The mutual support that most Partners give each other in Flamingo is something I’ve not seen anywhere else. Given that we earn commision on our own teams and not on other people’s you’d understand if it was all a bit cliquey but it’s not. I’ve had support from other teams. I also have quite a few Partners who have asked to receive my team emails and be part of my Facebook team support group. In the long run if we support each other we all grow as the company grows.
30% profit is a really good rate. I find it pretty easy to reach a monthly level of sales where I earn a further 10% on my bonus sales volume.
There are no targets that have to be met or sales levels that have to be achieved. There are rewards for selling and growing a team but it’s up to each Partner to decide what they want to achieve.
What could be better about Flamingo Paperie?
We have a narrower range than we had with Phoenix. Wait a minute, I said that before!? Well while I think it’s a good thing on the whole there are products that I loved that we don’t do now. So I have supplemented my business with colouring in tablecloths from Eggnogg and gift wrapping accessories from British wholesale companies like Deva Designs alongwith designing my own inspirational stationery.
Brand awareness. This is my personal opinion only. I think the company could do more to promote the name and range of Flamingo Paperie. They believe it’s up to us as Partners. I think it’s a joint venture. Without the company using their clout to get us ‘out there’ we are struggling. Too many people have never heard of us.
Social media. I have nearly 1800 followers on Facebook, 3000 on Twitter and 500 on Instagram. As far as I know I’m the Flamingo Partner with the biggest social media following. But I’ve done most of that myself and it’s hard work. Other direct selling companies I know produce a library of images and suggested posts for their Partners to use. We have access to all the stock images. I’d like to see more of the creative eye catching images that work well on social media produced by the company. What is great is how Partners who create their own images and posts are willing to share them with other Partners. The ‘team’ feeling, which I mentioned before, that exists in Flamingo is priceless.
How could Flamingo work for me?
Do you love cards?
If you love cards and/or gift wrapping and/or stationery then by becoming a Flamingo Partner you will have direct access to Flamingo products you will love.
Do you know other people who love cards?
If you know other people who also love cards then you could make some money selling your Flamingo cards to them. There is no doubt that Christmas is the most lucrative time of the year for this especially with our traditional advent calendars. If you haven’t seen our advent calendars before and you love Christmas then you are missing a treat! Selling your Flamingo cards could make you some nice spending money.
Do you fundraise a lot?
Do you support a local charity or are you involved in a local community group? You could direct people to your online website and donate your 20% to whatever cause you are passionate about without having to handle any stock.
Do you want to make money?
If you want to make serious money with Flamingo then you’re going to have to work very hard. You will need to build a team. There is only so much you can sell. Growing a team is like opening new shops to sell to people you can’t get to. This takes time.
Do you have another selling business that needs a little boost?
If you have another business then I seriously suggest that cards and gift wrap will go very nicely hand in hand with almost anything else. If you sell books, chances are they are often bought for gifts. So why not sell the gift wrap and card to go with them. If you sell skincare, jewellery, candles, cosmetics, chances are there are gifts in there too. Your customers will need wrapping paper! Whatever you already sell, or whoever you sell to, everyone knows someone who has a birthday!
Want to know more?
If you think that Flamingo could fit in to your life, your passion, your business then let’s brainstorm together to make it work for you. Ask me for more information or for me to give you a call.
What’s really good about Flamingo is that it’s totally flexible. Every Flamingo Partner runs their own business their way. Join today and start writing your Flamingo Paperie review story.
While there must have been a lot of birthdays in June, the wedding season must be in full swing as one of our best selling greeting cards was an anniversary card. Here’s the Flamingo Paperie best selling greeting cards top 10 for June.
In reverse order the Flamingo Paperie best selling greeting cards were…
Here are a few simple steps to make sure your gift wrapping looks good and doesn’t take hours to do.
1 Buy Quality Gift Wrapping Paper
If you want your gift to look neat then you need wrapping paper that won’t crumple or rip when you start to cut it or fold it. A decent grade of paper (100gsm or more) will make your job easier and make the end result look better.
2 Use Matching or Complimenting Tag
I have 4 children so I’ve been to a few children’s parties and how often have I seen presents with no tag and no card attached. There probably was a card when it was handed over but in the excitement it’s all been put to one side and the card and gift have become separated. It’s really nice to say thank you afterwards but if you don’t know who the present is from then you can’t. A good idea is to stock up on plain tags that will go with anything, like manilla ones, or a multi pack.
3 Use Ribbon
It doesn’t have to cost a lot of money to add ribbon to a present. The most elaborate is probably organza ribbon but for a special occasion it really does the business. However baker’s twine is a really good buy and has lots of other uses too, or raffia is very cheap and a multi-coloured one looks fab.
If using organza, try adding an extra complimentary colour to the bow.
4 Cut straight lines
This is very hard to do with poor grade wrapping paper (see point 1) as most likely the paper will rip as you cut. Especially that foil stuff that looked so good on the roll and seemed really good value but when you open it you realise why it was so cheap as it falls apart in your hands.
Buy wrapping paper that has gridlines on the back, it makes your job easier and we’re all for that.
5 Keep it Simple
Don’t try and overcomplicate things. Sure you can find some great ideas for Japanese wrapping with fancy folds and origami on Pinterest and maybe for the odd occasion it’s great to give that a go. But when it comes to children’s parties, or Christmas where there’s a lot to do, keep it simple and make your life easier.
You can find lots of other great ideas and inspiration on Youtube.
If you found this useful and want another simple wrapping idea try The Gift Bag
You know Christmas isn’t far away when it’s time to start opening your advent calendar. I remember every advent calendar I had when I was little. They were all traditional advent calendars with 24 little doors to open. Even if I got a new one the next year I would still reuse the old one pushing the doors shut as tightly as I could so I could reopen them again. My children love chocolate but when it comes to advent calendars the delight and wonder of the traditional advent calendar is what they ask for.
If you’re looking for something more traditional this Christmas season then here are some of the best traditional advent calendars you will find. Flamingo Paperie (from the people who brought you Phoenix Trading) have been producing well-known, beautifully illustrated, traditional advent calendars for over 20 years now. With either 24 doors to open or 24 pieces to press out and slot in or stand up, these calendars will stay in the memories for years to come. All printed in the UK and beautifully illustrated.
Whether you love Nativity themed, Santa or just Christmassy there are traditional advent calendars for everyone.
The Nativity Stable, with both slot in and stand up pieces, illustrated by Kate Garrett is our current bestseller. This is a perfect advent for classrooms, Sunday School or at home.
Ski Resort, with slot in pieces and illustrated by Julia Rigby. Christmas Ark, with 24 slot in pieces, illustrated by Julia Rigby. Tower of London, with a mixture of slot in pieces and doors to open, illustrated by Amanda Loverseed. Winter Village, with 24 slot in pieces, illustrated by Sue James.
The Reindeer Stables, with 24 slot in pieces and illustrated by Amanda Loverseed is our second bestselling advent calendar. Of course you’ll know all the reindeer names but in case you forget one, they’re on each of the stable doors!
If you’d like to see the Winter Village unfold day by day then take a look at my video of the advent calendar being built.
All advent calendars are available here or click on an image to go straight to that calendar. Alternatively keep reading to see some well loved old favourites, available while stocks last here, at Cards and Gift Wrap.
Snowy Village, 24 houses to build and place round the village. Elegantly illustrated by Sally Swannell. Christmas Tree, 24 slot in decorations, Illustrated by Amanda Loverseed.
Bethlehem, with 24 slot in pieces and illustrated by Sarah Summers and Nativity with 24 doors to open in a 3D display, illustrated by Anna Cattermole are both exquisitely illustrated advent calendars depicting the story of Jesus’ birth.
If you want something with a Santa theme then the following advent calendars all have some aspect of Santa’s part in the big day.
If you’re thinking of starting a direct sales business then you’ll be probably be told to do some at home events, at least a launch one.
Why? Because it’s a tried and tested way of successfully launching your business. You’ll be inviting people you already know, who already trust you and care about you to come and test your new business idea. Once you’ve done it, if you follow some of the ideas I’ll give you here, your confidence will grow and hopefully you’ll get a friend who wants to do the same kind of event in their house and invite other people you didn’t know!
We Flamingo Partners call these kinds of events, pop up shops or coffee and cards, or ‘wine and cards’ too sometimes!
So what’s the big deal with an at home event, I’ve found there are 3 main hurdles to get over; too scary for you, house too messy, don’t like baking!
Get over it! These are your friends, they already know you and trust you. You’ve probably already told some of them about the business you’re starting, they’re already curious. If they turned up at your door anyway, would you be too scared to let them in to your house? Unlikely, so what’s different? Ah, they might not support you and you’ll feel let down. Yes that does happen from time to time and it is harder to take from people you expect to support you than from complete strangers but these people are your best chance at launching your business because you’ve already built a relationship of trust with them so go on, bite the bullet and invite them round. Try saying, “I’m starting a new business and I’d really love to know what you think of it.”
House too messy?
Your friends (not necessarily your family if my mother is anything to go by) will be most forgiving. Don’t you find it reassuring if you visit a friend’s house and it’s not totally spotless? Reminds you that you’re as normal as they are. Sure, clean the toilet a little and don’t have dirty dishes lying around, run the hoover around and make sure they can sit down somewhere but don’t go overboard, they’ll only feel uncomfortable!
Don’t like baking?
You think if you invite people round you’ll have to put on a big feast, you’ll have to get the baking bowl out and whip up some Mary Berry standard delights. No you don’t, that’s not what you asked them round for is it? Open a packet of biscuits and have the kettle on – if you want to really splash out go for chocolate biscuits not plain. Keep it simple, you’ll feel more relaxed and so will they.
So what’s stopping you now? Ah, you don’t know enough people. Would it surprise you to know I’ve done really successful home events with just 3 people turning up? It doesn’t really matter if there aren’t many. After all it’s meant to be an informal get together. Sometimes less is more because you can have more meaningful conversations with fewer people. The thing is those 3 people know other people. They know people you don’t know but because the 3 people you know trust you, they’ll pass on that spirit of trust to those other people who don’t know you.
Remember to ask if someone else would like to host a similar event too, at any home event you do. Keep it simple and your guests will be relaxed. Give some incentives like a % of sales in free stock or special free gifts just for hosts, then someone else will host a home event for you. Then they’ll invite people you wouldn’t have met otherwise and so your sales business grows.
Still too scary?
Then why not invite your local Flamingo Partner round to host a pop up shop for you, that way you can see how easy it is, and get some free cards and gifts too. You can keep these or use them to start your business along with your starter stock pack when you join!
Are there limits to how much I can do?
At some point your sales business will reach a limit. You can only be in one place at a time, at some point you’ll be so busy you’ll have to turn down events. It takes time to sort orders and make deliveries. You need to expand! You need a team. Share the same business opportunity you had at the start with someone else (even better, with a lot of someone elses!). Direct sales companies (also sometimes known as network marketing companies) don’t have shareholders. So instead of profits going to big cheeses at the top they are shared out through their network of Partners in the form of commission payments. Each Partner has the potential to earn the same money. It’s up to each Partner how much time, effort, positive mental attitude they invest to determine how much they grow their sales and their team network.
You can be growing your team from the moment you start your own business. It can be really fun if someone starts at almost the same time as you and you can build each other’s business from the very beginning.
I must get asked this question so often by people considering joining my team of Independent Flamingo Partners. My answer to this question probably applies not just to Flamingo Paperie direct selling but to all direct sales opportunities and possibly to all businesses too.
In short, yes, you can make money from this but –
How much you make depends on how much you’re prepared to put in.
I don’t believe there is any get-rich-quick-with-little-effort scheme. Flamingo Paperie direct selling is no exception.
To build any successful business you need to invest time and effort, a lot of positive mental attitude and probably some wise financial outlay.
Time and effort
Don’t expect to start your new business with a new personal online shopping website and for people you’ve never met to suddenly purchase huge amounts from your website without ever seeing the product or having a recommendation from someone who has.
People need to see a product between 3-7 times before they will make a purchase and they are more likely to purchase based on a recommendation of someone they know and trust.
So if you’re not prepared to repeat a sales activity at least 3 times then it’s probably not worth doing. It takes time.
Positive Mental Attitude
You will need to be determined. People will say no, it happens. Are you prepared to ask someone else? The more you ask, the more ‘nos’ you will get but you will also get some ‘yes-es’ and if you don’t ask you won’t get the nos but you certainly won’t get the yes answers either.
People aren’t really buying the products, they are buying you. Customers need to trust you before they will buy.
If they already know the product then they might trust you because of the trust they already have with the brand you’re selling but if they don’t know the product then they have to trust you first. That’s why when new Traders start in my team I always suggest they begin with an at home launch event with friends. These people already trust you, they have probably already ‘seen’ your product through you talking about it so they’ve already had a ‘visit’ to your stall, even if only in their mind. It constantly amazes me the number of new Traders who refuse to do an at home event and then wonder why they struggle. If you can’t start with the people already within your trust circle you’re making it very hard for yourself to get your business going.
How often do I hear people wanting to start a new at home business with no financial outlay. Often the reason is fear, not a lack of finances.
If you really want something, you’ll find the money.
If you’ve bought the product and you like it, then surely others will too? Most direct sales companies offer really good, heavily discounted start up stock packs. This isn’t to lure you into the business. They know that starting a business is the hardest part. However, with a good start up stock you are more likely to recoup your initial investment quickly and have repeat customers on board.
So perhaps you’ve read all this and are now thinking that Flamingo Paperie direct selling is not for you.
Well, maybe I’ve saved you a little heartache – or perhaps I’ve helped to prepare you to invest in your business. Maybe you can see the bigger picture, which is that when people who trust you, buy from you, and keep buying from you, then tell others who in turn become customers, that’s how your business grows. Perhaps now you won’t focus so much on the success or failure of an individual ‘event’. Instead you’ll see a process of growth that has many individual steps to it.
You might also be asking if there is a limit to how much money you can make? Through sales alone then yes there definitely is. At some point you’ll be so busy you’ll have to turn down events. There are only so many orders and deliveries you can make. If you want your business to grow then you need a team, a network of Partners who work with you and that you support. In return you’ll get commission from the parent company. How much, just like with your income from sales, is up to you. You can start building your team from day 1.
In direct sales every Partner has the potential to earn as much as anyone else. We all buy at the same level of discount and we call get the same commission opportunities. This is why it’s not a pyramid scheme. How much you earn depends on how much you put in.
It is illegal for a promoter or participant in a trading scheme to persuade anyone to make a payment by promising benefits for getting others to join a scheme. Do not be misled by claims that high earnings are easily achieved.