Let’s Do This!

Well, we’ve made it through the first quarter of 2019, and what a super productive one we have had!

As you know, I like to do little updates throughout the year, just to let you know what has been happening behind the scenes at The Smile Parcel, and what’s new.

We started off the new year, by making lots of changes to the website in January. We wanted to make it a little more user-friendly, easier to navigate, and generally make it look tidier and more organised!

Also, in January, we introduced our first “The Smile Parcel Select” range parcels. These are one-off purchase parcels, with set contents and themes, so there’s no surprises with the “Select” range. Customers have been asking for one-off gift parcels since we launched back in 2017, so we have been putting them together, as and when they have been asked for, so it seemed to make sense to include a range that are already, ready-to-go.

We currently have around 15 parcels available, all with inspirational themes including: “Keep Going”, “Stepping Outside”, “Take A Break”, “Time To Relax” and “You Got This!”.

With the introduction of the “Select” range, we opened a Facebook Shop, which we’ve been told by customers, makes ordering very easy! Simply click on the blue button on the parcel listing you’d like, which takes you straight through to our Facebook Messenger, where we’ll send you our new direct PayPal link, for one-click payment, so not even an invoice is required.

We opened an Etsy Shop for this range too. We are very new to Etsy, so we are still learning our way around, and how to make the most out of it.

We decided at the beginning of the year, that 2019 needs to be all about marketing for us, and trying different ways to get our brand known and reach new audiences. The world of marketing and advertising for small businesses seems to change at  a very quick pace, and if you’re not a marketing whiz (like me!), it can take time to understand new ways, and learn what works for a particular business, what doesn’t work, and what to try next – it’s definitely a bit of a mind field, and something we are always looking to improve and learn about – but I admit, we do find it to be a mission full of trial and error!

As part of the above, I revamped the Instagram account for The Smile Parcel, as I’m hoping to get to grips with using this more as a platform, and I’m also trying harder with Pinterest – which isn’t really a social media platform, but more of a search engine, and (like a lot of people!) I naturally gravitate towards Pinterest when I’m looking for personal ideas, so why not get more involved as a business tool too?!

I’ve been fortunate to work with, or be introduced to several very motivational business peeps so far this year, all female entrepreneurs, who are incredibly clued up on running successful small businesses, and they love to support others to do the same.

I think it’s so important to have role models, in whatever profession you are in, and running a small business, especially from home, can sometimes be a lonely place, after all, you need to be a Jack-of-all-trades (and I’m definitely a master of none!). I’m hoping to work more with these talented women during this year, and hopefully gain just a fraction of their knowledge and skills, and put them into practice!

On a personal note, I have now been volunteering as a Crisis Counsellor for almost 4 months – it’s gone so quick! I initially spoke about this back in December, when I was doing my training.

I wanted to talk about it for 2 reasons, firstly, I wanted to encourage others to become volunteers. The charity I work for (details below), are always looking for more Crisis Counsellors, so if you might be interested, do take a look at their website for more information.

I can honestly say it has been one of the toughest, but best things, I have ever done.

The second reason is because I believe whenever we get the opportunity to talk openly about mental health, we should, and in turn, this helps to normalise talking to someone about how we’re feeling, including seeking therapy and having counselling, which is so important. It’s never a weakness to ask for help or talk about mental health, in fact, it’s the opposite, it takes strength and courage to talk about your story.

I posted a blog post on 7th December 2018, which gives you more details regarding the training needed and what is involved, but you can also find their website here: https://giveusashout.org/

Overall, the first quarter of this year, has been inspiring, motivating and educational – let’s see what the second quarter has to offer…

Karen x

May 2018 – Parcel Contents

Good Morning!

It’s a very rainy wet morning at TSP HQ, so I’m going to cheer myself up by showing you the contents of this month’s parcel!

The theme for May was ‘Make Time For Tea’, and the contents were all about taking a break and making time for a well-earned cuppa, with a friend, and having a catch-up, and remembering to ask ‘Are You Okay?’.

May Contents:

Travel Mug –

The first item inside your parcel this month, is a travel mug with the quote ‘Always time for a cuppa’ – something we believe in completely! We wanted to include a mug you can take with you this time, rather than a ceramic mug, so you’re always ready for a catch-up and cuppa – wherever it may be!

Tea Towel –

This pretty tea towel is in the same blue floral design as your new travel mug. The quote this time reads ‘Come, let us have some tea and talk of happy things’, which fits with our parcel theme perfectly.

Tea Bags –

As this month, we are all about having a nice warm cuppa, we couldn’t possibly not include a couple of tea bags! These caffeine free vanilla chai sachets contain 6 herbs, along with vanilla, there’s cinnamon and ginger, cardamom, fennel and liquorice – better get the kettle on!

If you received our parcel last month, you may recognise the packets keeping your tea bags safe – they are similar to the little packets that contained the sunflower seeds in April – that’s because we went back to the lovely ladies over at ‘Twine and Bow Wedding Stationery’ to order another bespoke design.

Biscuit Tub and Chocolate ‘Animals’! –

In our opinion no cup of tea is complete without a biscuit (or two!), and we can’t really go wrong if there’s a little chocolate involved too – hopefully they aren’t too small for dunking! (check the packet ingredients for allergens). We’ve also included a cute little biscuit tub, as travelling with a snack is a must…

 ‘Make Time For Tea…’ –

‘Make Time For Tea, Make Time To Talk’ – we all have busy hectic lives, so this is a reminder that we all need to take a break sometimes, to meet up with a friend, or a family member, or even someone we don’t know well, and have a catch-up – as they say ‘it’s good to talk’!

Smile Cards

As always, there should be a couple of these little cards in your parcel, I’ve written one for you, and the blank one, is for you to write a short inspirational or positive message, and give to someone you know, or leave somewhere for a complete stranger to find – but this is of course optional, there’s absolutely no pressure to do this if you don’t want to*.

Parcel Assistant

This month, your Parcel Assistant is, Louis…between you and me, I think he may have recently changed his name to match a new born prince – we’ll pretend we haven’t noticed!

Karen x

*Parcel Assistants are cheeky little pompom chaps who help (or hinder!) us with packing your monthly parcels!