After a turbulent 2020, we wanted to catch up with some of our customers to see how they were doing, what their learnings from the past year are and what they’ve got planned for Christmas.
First of all, we spoke to Declan from CUApps, a company aiming to revolutionise and modernise credit unions through the creation of bespoke mobile apps to support their members.
As a digital company, CUApps saw an increase in demand for their services at the beginning of lockdown, however this was initially tough to manage as the tightknit team were still getting used to working remotely.
“It’s a family environment at CUApps, so supporting employee wellbeing is something we’re very conscious of,” Declan told us. “We call around daily to check how everyone is and give employees ‘social hours’ during quieter times and lunch breaks where we don’t bother anyone unless it’s an emergency.”
For their Christmas marketing, CUApps are going for the classic branded company Christmas card (something they have never tried before) – but with a socially-distanced twist.
“We’re going to have everyone take a picture of themselves working from home helping our clients for the card, so we’ll be virtually together!”
Declan’s top tip for preparing for Christmas 2020? Simply put: start now! “We usually start getting ready for Christmas and the start of new year around September, getting essentials like stationery in early rather than adding to all the extra expenses Christmas usually brings in December. This will be even more crucial now with the uncertainty caused by the pandemic.”
Next up, we had a chat with Tabitha, the owner of ocean-inspired stationery and design business, Thalassical Creations.
Launched at the height of the lockdown in May, Tabitha used working from home for her full-time job to her advantage to push her business idea into fruition by dedicating her evenings and weekends to her side hustle.
She told us, “Getting supplies was the main challenge to begin with, but having all that extra time at home during lockdown meant I could do a ton of research. I watched loads of videos and read up on who established stationery businesses used as their suppliers.”
Support from friends and family, who were asked if they couldn’t make a purchase to share Thalassical Creations’ Etsy page on social media, was a main contributor to initial sales before the store became more established. Tabitha advises, “Use your network and every resource you’ve got available!”
If you’re excited to see what Thalassical Creations have got lined up for Christmas, we’ve got some good news for you! Ever the early bird, Tabitha has already created a range of surfer-themed Christmas cards.
She’s also preparing a new service for Christmas shoppers:
“I think this year, people will put a lot of focus on sending other people personalised gifts directly to their doors, especially if they can’t see them in person. I plan on offering a direct mail service to customers who need this where you can send a gift straight to the recipient’s address with an option of gift wrapping.”
Ruffled Paper Boutique
Finally, we spoke to Michelle who runs the bespoke design and stationery company, Ruffled Paper Boutique, based in central Scotland.
With a goal of creating the perfect print design for her customers, whether that’s a wedding invitation or bespoke print, Michelle puts her heart and soul into her work and uses this as a way of making the world a prettier place.
With weddings and events being cancelled during the pandemic, Michelle has found other ways to make her downtime productive, as well as enjoying more time working from home with her rag-doll cat, Sidney (who loves the extra company and attention!).
“I run this business part-time alongside my day job, so luckily I have another income. I’ve taken this quieter time to reflect on my aims and goals for the next year, which I expect will be jam-packed with rearranged weddings. I’m also researching new design trends, creating sample packs and working on a full brand refresh for 2021.”
In terms of support, Michelle relies on online forums and social media, where she can collaborate, seek advice, and offer encouragement to other creatives.
Despite the coronavirus pandemic, Christmas traditions are still on the menu. Michelle runs a project where she creates personalised letters from Santa, themed charts and certificates for good behaviour for parents to reward their children with during the festive period. She uses online forums, social media, and word-of-mouth (sometimes the most effective tool!) to promote these items.
“The main advice I can give for Christmas, pandemic or not, is to be prepared. I tend to start my Christmas prep in September – I have my certificates and charts printed, ready to be written on and signed by Santa! I think this is especially important if, like me, you also work in a full-time job on top of your side business.”
We’d like to thank our fantastic customers for their time and advice for this article. If you’d like to be featured on our blog, in our mailers or on our emails and social media channels, make sure to follow us on Instagram and Twitter @instantprintuk to be the first to hear about any upcoming opportunities.