Last month marked a year of Molly and Tom being in business, and I can’t believe what a journey it has been.
For those of you who aren’t familiar with our story, Justin and I moved to the UK a year ago, and decided to give this little photography packaging business a go. Its’ not our first time in the couplepreneur world. We had a wedding stationery & styling company, that we sold just before we moved from South Africa to the UK.
We have grown so much, both personally and in business this last year; and because we have been running our own business for the past 8 years, we wanted to be more mindful this time about our brand values, message and most importantly about ensuring our personal values translated and were fully intertwined within our business.
Starting all over again in a new country, really teaches you that there aren’t very many important things in life, other than the people you love. And that things are just things. We lived an entire month out of a suitcase with none of our possessions, and the only items that we missed were our personal items, such as memory boxes, photographs and Justin’s Vinyl collection (something that is a part of our daily routine – we can’t bare to work, cook, or live without playing music).
Because we had also been living out of a suitcase a few months prior to our move, that we started to question why we needed so much excess in our lives. Because we were in a new country as business owners, that meant no credit rating, this in turn has led to a completely debt free, slow, conscious lifestyle
We focused on growing our minds, rather than our wardrobe and Emerson’s toy collection This has opened our eyes to all sorts of things like:
- How can we be more sustainable
- Can we repurpose old furniture rather than buying cheap new furniture
- Teaching Emerson to be more mindful about plastic and the amount of waste we produce
- More conscious mindset, focused on slow living
All of these things are now having a major influence in our business.
The more we dive into the world of sustainability, the more we are feeling the push towards creating products with ethical materials and focusing on our packaging and how we ship our products.
Our products are designed to be kept and treasured for many years, and hopefully handed down from generation to generation (we have old photographs of our parents and grandparents, that’s are too special to just be thrown away)
In the past six months, we have made the shift and completely removed all plastic from our own packaging.
This is what we did:
1. We Switched to Paper Bubble Wrap
We use paper bubble wrap, which is an Environmentally friendly alternative to bubble wrap. This paper is 100% recycled, and is also 100% recyclable with biodegradable materials. We also now package our fine art prints in recycled tissue paper instead of cello bags.
2. Paper Packaging Tape
We close our boxes with a 100% recyclable tape, it is environmentally-friendly and is a paper-based solution. We have also found, that if you peel the tape off carefully, it leaves very little damage to the box, so our clients can re-use our shipping boxes.
3. We Are Mindful of Our Waste
Instead of throwing away our off-cuts, we try to see how we can use our waste. Our thank you cards, for example, are foil pressed on paper offcuts from past jobs we have completed in the studio.
4. We Reuse Before We Recycle
We collect and reuse shipping pellets from the other creative business around us (we work in a creative space, so we have lots of recycled packaging materials to choose from).
5. Keep Searching for Better Alternatives
Finally, we are searching for a better alternative for our stickers and hope to implement these soon.
We have chosen to be really mindful of our packaging and create something that is truly representative of our brand. We haven’t done away with everything (it’s important to give your customers a tangible brand experience when opening their parcel), but we are also choosing to focus on using what would have become waste, and re-use it for our own packaging, and ensuring that our packaging reflects our brand values and aesthetics.
We are also mindful of the impact we can have on other businesses. We work directly with other small creatives and photographers, and we love to help them grow through communicating their brand values and worth.
We are planning on making some big changes, in this next phase of our business. Including stationery and packaging that has mindfulness and sustainability at the forefront.
We hope you come along with us on this Journey xx