What Makes The Smile Parcel Different?

So, what makes us different? – This is an important question for businesses, especially small businesses and especially, at the moment.

So, I wanted to tell you a little more about us, what we’re all about, and what does make us different.

We don’t offer continuous subscriptions…

We decided when we created The Smile Parcel, that we wouldn’t offer a continuous subscription, as we know it can be off-putting to feel trapped in a long term subscription, so instead we offer just 3, or 6 month subscriptions (or one-off parcels) which naturally expire after your last parcel payment is taken, it’s then completely up to you, if you want to re-order again (lots of you do, thank you!)

We don’t have many offers or sales…

You may of noticed that we don’t have a lot of sales, discounts or offers at The Smile Parcel, as we wanted to ensure our customers knew they were receiving value for money, always.

We do occasionally have a one-off discount, to celebrate our birthday or an anniversary, for example, as we want to treat our lovely customers from time to time, but otherwise, our prices are what you see.

We don’t bombard you with emails!

We routinely send just 2 emails a month, one to let those of you who have placed an order, know when they are on their way, so you know when to receive them, and one as a little update, or maybe to share a mental health tip, to those of you struggling.

When you place an order, you’ll receive an email as a thank you and confirmation, but this will be a personal email, not an automated one, and if you decide to cancel your subscription, we won’t send you emails begging you to come back, as we understand there could be lots of reasons for doing this.

We have amazingly loyal customers!

Now, this may be controversial, but I’m going to say it anyway, I’m pretty certain that The Smile Parcel has the best customers in the whole world!

We have such fabulously loyal customers, some of which have received every single monthly parcel.

We’re fortunate to have a very low cancellation rate, I can count on one hand how many customers have cancelled their subscription early over the last 3 years, and one of those sent a lovely email to apologise and explain why she needed to cancel! (of course, she didn’t need to do this!)

Basically, you lot are amazing!!

We’re not all about growth and expansion…

This is a difficult one, as we are a huge supporter of small business, and growth and expansion are important to run a successful business. But, for us, we’ve worked hard over the last few years to build The Smile Parcel into where we are today, and it’s where we want to stay.

The next stage could be to hand over our packing to a fulfilment centre, or give the reigns of customer service to an agency, but this isn’t for us.

We want to keep all our packing in-house, so we know exactly what’s going inside your parcels, and I know I may sound a little odd in saying this, but talking to our customers is my favourite part of the job!

Our ambition now is to continue where we are, keep sending smiles, providing great customer service and of course, wrapping parcels!

Karen x

When Can I Order From The Smile Parcel?

We’ve had this question a few times this week, so I thought it would be a good starting topic for a post.

You can place an order from The Smile Parcel anytime during the month, to receive a parcel next month, i.e. orders placed anytime between 1st April and 30th April 2017, will receive their first parcel (or one-off parcel), in May 2017.

All parcels are posted during the first week of each month, and they usually take 3-5 working days to be delivered, so should arrive with you during the second week of the month.
Each month, the parcels have a different theme, and the contents are kept secret until they are received – love that bit!

We also love being able to buy from fellow small businesses and hard working crafters, to support cottage industries and families, where we can too.

We try to connect the parcel theme to the month, our March parcel was ‘Dreams & Goals’ – to help refresh our goals we set at the beginning of the year, or maybe, start all over and think about what we’d like to achieve.

The theme for April was ‘Growing’, as it was all about yellow packaging and the beginning of springtime. It also contained sunflower seeds, along with a plant pot and compost, so everyone had everything they needed to plant and watch them grow.

Our May parcel, will be all about tea, and the theme will be ‘Make Time For Tea’ – which is very important! Along with drinking tea, it’s a great excuse to get with friends and family, or even someone you don’t know well, and have a natter and a cuppa – good things happen when there’s tea involved …and we drink lots of it at The Smile Parcel HQ!

Karen x

So, Why The Smile Parcel?

This is where the personal story comes in, briefly mentioned in my previous blog post.

I was diagnosed with anxiety in 2013, and sadly, had to leave my office admin job, the same place where I’d worked since I was 18 years old (I’m now 36!).

It was a huge change for me, I’d been leaving the house, successfully, everyday and going to work, since I was 17, and suddenly, leaving the house, to go anywhere, became the most difficult thing I could imagine doing.

Of course, it wasn’t sudden, not really, I’d been struggling to get outside my own front door for years (yes, years!), a feeling of panic, nausea, and like I was going to pass out, everyday, but then once I was at work, after 20 minutes or so, I was fine.

Until, June 2013, when the panic didn’t stop when I arrived, and I struggled to get to the top of the office stairs, to even get to my desk. My line manager sent me home, and of course, I felt better when I was back home, back in my safe place, so I felt silly, as I was Ok!

I wasn’t really Ok, after being signed off work for months by my doctor, I decided the best thing for me, would be to leave, and start something new.

I started an online business, Paw Prints in the Sand, in 2014, selling home accessories and gifts, which I loved, but then last year, I made the decision to close that business, to do something where I could turn my mental health experience into a positive.

The idea that customers could order parcels full of lovely products, surprise contents, to have something to expect each month, which spreads a little positivity, and that would make them smile. Something they could order for themselves or for a friend or relative, to make their day a little brighter.

Anxiety affects my life every day, it’s always with me, and I know it’s likely that it always will be. I’ve learned techniques after visiting several therapists, which helps me to manage my anxiety – but not always, I’ll share some of these soon, on this blog.

I hate that there is still a taboo around talking about mental health. I believe the only way we can completely battle the taboo, is to talk about it as much as possible. When I started discussing my anxiety with other people I know, I found out lots of them had experienced similar issues, and
didn’t discuss it.

1 in 4 of us will experience a mental health issue at some point in our lives, so it’s likely we all know someone who has, we just need to talk more openly about it, and so we become more comfortable around it.

Karen x

We’re 2 Months’ Old Already – Better Start Blogging!

This is our first blog post, and my, first, ever, blog post!  I’ll start by introducing myself, a little.

I’m Karen, the owner and founder of The Smile Parcel, I’m 36 years young, married, with 2 slightly crazy (and lovely) Schnauzers, and we live in Leicestershire, in the UK.

Before The Smile Parcel, we ran a successful home accessories and gifts business online, and then in 2016, we decided it was time to do something different, and something personal.

The Smile Parcel is still a very young business – we’ve just sent out our second parcels, but we’re grateful for the lovely feedback we’ve already received, it means so much.

I’m going to post more about why we’re here, and what The Smile Parcel is all about, over the next few weeks, along with mental health tips, and mindfulness techniques that I’ve learnt from therapists…and numerous self-help books!

I’m hoping to use this blog to get people talking as much as possible about mental health, as we all have mental health after all, and do my bit to help knock down the silly taboo surrounding it.

Karen x