I have always loved sending snail mails as much as receiving them, since grade school in fact. I love the handwritten notes, the stationery specially picked for me, and the enclosed little surprises like an odd sticker, an old postcard, a bookmark with a beautiful quote, a comic strip torn from the paper, a photograph. I know the feeling of receiving something unexpected, and how it makes a simple letter even more meaningful. From these feelings so vividly tucked in my memory I have sent out every package from my shop. Regardless of the amount of the item purchased, packages big and small were all carefully and lovingly wrapped from my home. The reason I do it is simply because I love doing it. Packaging is definitely my most favorite part of shop-keeping.
Which brings me to my trade secret #1 : Business Cards
I always enclose a Thank You card in all of my packages in the form of these postcards. There's a pretty space at the back where I can write my handwritten notes as well. These lovelies I got for free from Vistaprint . For free, yes. I can pick the design from hundreds in their library and customize the texts for my business and only pay for VAT and shipping. For a small fee, I can upload my own photos and designs and voila, my very own unique postcards. I also have return address stickers and rubber stamps availed for free from them!
The gift tag used here is from an old set of free business cards from Vistaprint which contained my mailing address. When we moved, I felt so stupid for having my address printed on the cards and I couldn't bring myself to throw them away because the material was very good and I love its design. Then a bright idea hit me...gift tag punch of course!
That little tag is still from the same business card with my shop name beautifully printed on the upper corner. A scissor and a hole punch transformed it into a cute gift tag. I love it when nothing gets wasted.
Handmade cards and notes for shop customers are still the best way to do it, but as your shop gets busier, it's handy to have something cute and ready-made for you to grab and write on.
Trade Secret #2: my favorite shops
This is definitely my favorite online shop here in Ireland. Cara Craft Supplies is my source for punches, cutters, and other crafting tools. The delivery is super fast too, and their prices are very competitive. I always shop around for good deals, and all things considered - shipping fee, customer service - they're my best choice.
And finally, my favorite brick and mortar shop in all of Dublin. Ritzy Rags is a charity shop of the Friends of the Elderly and they stock beautiful vintage clothes, linens, shoes and bric-a-bracs, and unlike the rest of the charity shops around Dublin, theirs are mostly, if not all, from France. The items you'll randomly find are very unique and it's one of the secret jaunts of costume designers and young design students. Thing is, you'll have to drop by week after week because you just never know when's a good thing coming in the racks and shelves.