As a independent business I am always striving to find ways to improve my business. This year there has been a lot of news articles about how plastic pollution is impacting on our planet. Sir David Attenborough has been speaking a lot about this, and this has inspired me to make changes in my personal life to reduce the amount of plastic waste I am producing. This led me to look at how I package my orders. We were using plastic packaging from a business that makes them in the UK, these packaging bags can be recycled at carrier bag recycling facilities. I loved the fact that they were being made in the UK due to the low carbon footprint element but I felt it was time to look at different packaging in order to ensure that I wasn't using plastic.
Now as a fabric business it was important to source packaging that was going to protect your fabric, and I didn't want to lose the sunshine branding.
At present I am happy to keep the yellow tissue paper that your parcels are wrapped in because this can be recycled (either you can use it again, or you can pop it in with your home recycling).
At first I looked into mail bags that were made out of substances that meant you could pop them in your compost bin, however, as a business owner in London I know a lot of us do not have gardens let alone compost bins so I wasn't keen on this option. So when I came across mail bags that were made from kraft paper that had been soak-tested using cobalt moisture testing cards and have been proven to be water resistant I knew these were the ones for Sew Me Sunshine. These kraft mail bags are made from a virgin source in order to ensure that they are strong enough, but the paper is sustainably sourced (certified by the FSC). Also all inks used on the mail bags are eco-friendly because they use vegetable and water based inks. What is even better is that these mail bags are made in the UK meaning that they have a low carbon footprint. These mail bags can either be reused because there is an extra seal, popped in with your home recycling or you can shred, soak and mix with soil and they will biodegrade in 3 months!
These bags come in 3 different sizes, and I have also sourced eco-friendly paper tape to help seal the bags. For those of you who might place heavier orders (such as wool coatings...) you might receive your parcel in one of our very LARGE mail bags that have been made out of sugarcane. These are produced from a bi-product of sugar cane, and grown on reclaimed waste land and therefore have no impact on the rainforest, they are also recyclable.
We are still using our branding stickers, return labels and mail stickers, so these will need to be removed prior to recycling your mail bags. I will be looking at other options in the near future, but unfortunately Royal Mail stickers will not be changing anytime soon.
After trialling these mail bags, I then decided that I needed to look into ways to make my cards that I include with your orders more reusable/useful. I know a lot of you love your sunshine cards and often display them in your sewing room, but I wanted to make sure that you could do something useful with them if you didn't wish to display them, so I decided to make the back into a postcard. This now means that you can send happy mail to your fellow seamstresses! This means I wont be signing your postcards anymore, but I have designed some new stickers to seal your parcels with which will have the person's name on them who packed your parcel.
I also LOVE the fabric care cards that I spent a long time designing for you, but I again I wanted to make them even more useful, so on the back you now have a section where you can write down your fabric and what you are going to make with it, these are perfect for organising your fabric stash.
So although the purple flower bags have served me very well for the last 2 years, it is time to say goodbye in order to operate a more sustainable and eco friendly business. This move has resulted in an increase in packaging costs, after speaking to a lot of sewists online I found that all of you were happy to pay a bit more for postage if it meant that you received your order in more eco-friendly packaging. The business is going to absorb some of the costs, but I am having to increase my UK postage slightly from £2.50 to £2.75, and my free shipping threshold will go up from £40 to £50. Remember all of your orders are shipped via first class royal mail, and my processing times are going to improve because I am really excited to announce that I now have Lisa working with me!
I really hope you all love the new packaging, I can't wait to start seeing happy mail posts pop up on instagram.