The Lewes District and Eastbourne has an amazing choice of local independent retailers. For this edition of ‘Spotlight’ we asked the Tiny Box Company in North Chailey, a few questions to give us some insight into her business:
Tell us about your business and what do you sell?
It all began in 2007 when our founder Rachel Watkyn was looking for ethical packaging for her jewellery business. She found that there was a high demand for recycled and eco-friendly packaging but no one to meet it. The idea captured the imagination of Theo Paphitis and Peter Jones of BBC’s Dragons Den, and they invested in the Tiny Box Company company in 2008.
Thirteen years later and we’re not so tiny. In fact we’re one of the UK’s largest e-commerce gift box companies and our customers range from artisans to international corporations. We’re still growing fast – our team, based near the beautiful Bluebell Railway, expanded from 58 to 85 last year.
What are your best sellers?
Our deep magnetic gift box is a firm favourite as it works equally well for storing clothing or for hampers and gifts, and, as you’d expect over lockdown, our A6 postal gift boxes have become best sellers – they’re ideal for mailing gifts and ideal for subscriptions businesses..
What are your company values and goals?
We believe that luxury and beauty need not be compromised when making eco-friendly shopping choices.
More than that – we’re on a mission to ensure our business practices are planet-friendly – so the majority of our boxes are made from recycled and recyclable / FSC paper and we buy in the UK wherever we can.
As for our goal – it’s to bring manufacturing back to the UK, not just to reduce our carbon footprint but to make us sustainable as a country. It’s a pretty big ambition for a small company. Individually we can’t change the world, but together we can make a Tiny Difference
How has your business adapted to cope with the public health restrictions, and how are you currently operating?
Fortunately, when the country locked down we were prepared. Everyone who could work from home was equipped with laptops and phones and ready to go. In our warehouse in Uckfield and our factory – Tiny Box Maker – in Cornwall we pulled together to adapt our working practices to ensure we are Covid safe.
The pandemic changed our focus too. We have always been part of a wider business community of crafters and makers so we wanted to do everything we could to help them bounce back. Firstly, we launched, Tiny Marketplace, a sub-section to our website, to support small businesses with everything from: design, branding, packaging, marketing, photography and dispatch – leaving them to focus on creating; plus we donate 10% of Tiny Marketplace’s net profits to start-ups and small companies and offer free marketing and business advice through our Tiny Box Clinic.
Covid has brought us even closer to our local community in Sussex – through donating face-masks and care packages to the NHS, and supporting our nominated charity Chailey Heritage Foundation.
Why should consumers buy local?
So many reasons! By shopping locally, you are saving essential skills, helping the local economy, creating job opportunities and lowering your carbon footprint – that last one’s crucial for us. Everything we do is aimed at limiting our impact on the environment.
For more information on the Tiny Box Company visit their website here www.tinyboxcompany.co.uk.