Wednesday, 17 April 2013

The cost of getting LitB on the go

It's amazing how many things you need to buy just to package and market the stuff you're selling, and it's frightening how expensive it can all get.

As well as getting scarves, bags and jewellery organised, we also needed to get business cards, address labels, product tags, and labels to stitch into things. 

One of the most surprising expenses was business insurance if we wanted to sell to the USA and Canada.  When we found out that it would cost an additional £500 we decided that North America could survive without Look-in-the-Bag products for a year or so.

The most annoying expense to date though, has been a recent hike in delivery charges.  We had found an excellent source of boxes that we thought were just about the right size for us (320x220x80mm).  They were - until 2nd April.

A recent survey organised by the BBC found that the UK's traditional three classes have now split into seven.  This development is being reflected in Royal Mail policy.  Our postal service used to offer a basic 1st & 2nd class service.  In recent years though, classes have multiplied.  For a while we've lived with big 1st & 2nd class, and small 1st & 2nd class (for both letters and parcels).  On 2nd April 2013, Royal Mail introduced medium parcels. 

When we took a package for despatch from the local post office and asked for a stamp, we were told to push it through a slot in order to determine its class.  It was tantalizingly close to fitting.  The package went part way, then stuck.  I asked at the counter how much more it would cost if we sent our box as a medium parcel instead of a small parcel.  "Three pounds" I was told. 

I gulped.  Our current postal charge of £4 barely covers our expenses as it is.  The box was stuck in the slot.  I pushed harder.  The post office woman shook her head.  "Sorry,"  she said, "it'll have to go as a medium."  I groaned, paid the postage, and wondered what to do with a large pile of boxes that are no longer quite the right size for us.