“Climate change is a huge challenge, but it can be brought in line if governments, businesses and individuals work together”
- Richard Branson
Now, I’m very fortunate that Wit and Wisdom has a global customer base, and whilst the majority of my customers are based in the UK, US customers come a close second, followed by our friends across the channel in Europe, with a smattering of other international destinations thrown in for good measure.
In many cases your little parcel from Wit and Wisdom, based here in the UK, has to travel many miles before it reaches you, especially if you happen to be one of my lovely overseas customers.
So let’s take a look at the typical journey of an international order from the Wit and Wisdom online store.
Your order starts life as a product lovingly designed, made, packed and dispatched by me (or sometimes my Mum if it’s really busy - thanks Mum) in the Wit and Wisdom Studio a.k.a. the tiny single bedroom of my little 3-bed semi-detached house in Whitehaven, on the North-West coast of the UK.
I then drive your parcel to my nearest post office and hand it over to the lovely post-office ladies.
Come collection time, the Postie will collect your parcel and take it to the local sorting office, where it will be sorted and trucked out of town to a national hub, where it’s sorted again before being taken to the airport.
Phew! It’s already had quite the adventure, and it’s only just left the county!
Once at the airport your parcel will go through customs, sail through an x-ray, whizz through a scanner, and possibly get sniffed by a very well-trained dog, before it’s ready to board it’s international flight.
Your parcel will have a somewhat chilly journey across the pond travelling in the unheated cargo hold of a passenger plane. If it’s lucky, it might get upgraded to a designated cargo plane (either way the in-flight entertainment is rubbish).
Once the plane touches down, it’s off to customs for your parcel and it’s fellow passengers. A customs agent will check it, then it’ll probably take a ride through another x-ray, whizz through another scanner, and be sniffed by another very well-trained dog, before it can make its way through the airport and out into a whole new world.
Then, it’s off to the nearest sorting office, for another bit of sorting, before hitching a ride to your local delivery depot (however far away that might be), where your delivery driver will pick it up, pop it in their van, and deliver it to your front door.
All being well, and as long as your parcel has had a pleasant journey and been treated with the utmost respect, it should reach your home in no time at all and in tip top condition.
Wow! I think you’ll agree, that's quite some journey!
That’s a lot of air miles your parcel has clocked up and quite the carbon footprint it has accumulated when you consider just how many miles it has travelled and how many modes of transport it has taken to get it from my front door to yours.
Which got me thinking: surely there must be something I can do to improve this situation, and reduce the overall carbon footprint of my products, whilst still connecting with and serving my global community?
After much contemplation, deliberation and rumination, along with a side order of worry, I came up with a nugget of an idea which looked like it could possibly grow into a fully-formed, problem-solving, carbon-saving, solution.
Now, the solution I’ve come up with is by no means ground-breaking and I’m certain larger corporations would find it simple to implement, but for a one-woman owner/operator like myself, it has proven to be a somewhat more complicated and time-consuming undertaking.
The question: how do I get my products closer to my customers, so they don’t have to travel so far?
Making large amounts of stock and shipping it overseas in bulk to a distribution partner was out of the question, because as a one-(Wo)man-band I simply couldn’t afford to hold lots of stock in multiple international locations.
Which meant that the only option would be to partner up with printers in several international locations, and ask that they print, pack and dispatch to my customers in their respective countries. Easy right?
Erm no, not quite. Not when the quality of the product is paramount and good service is critical. Oh and you’re a recovering perfectionist who has to relinquish control of a vitally important aspect of your business process and that of the product designs which you gave birth to!
But, after much searching, and many months of research and testing, I am pleased to report that I finally have the beginnings of a great network of printing partners in several locations around the globe.
And the result?
I call this creative small-business shipping solution:
My Planet-Friendly Postage Policy
What does it mean for my customers?
They receive a great quality Wit and Wisdom product which is created nearby and arrives quickly with fewer air miles under its belt. The resulting impact on the environment is much reduced because, as one small supermarket chain wisely says: every little helps, and as I’m sure you’re aware by now, there’s no planet B.
So, if all goes according to plan, whenever you visit the Wit and Wisdom online shop, you should only ever see Wit and Wisdom products that are available to buy in your country, ready to be shipped a shorter distance in line with our planet-friendly postage policy. And to ensure there are no hiccups with the automated part of the system, we’ve also added little Earth labels to each of the product listings in our online shop so you can see where in the world the item will be shipped from prior to placing your order.
So, if all goes according to plan, whenever you visit the Wit and Wisdom online shop, you should only ever see Wit and Wisdom products that are available to buy in your country, ready to be shipped a shorter distance in line with our planet-friendly postage policy.
And to ensure there are no hiccups with the automated part of the system, we’ve also added little Earth labels to each of the product listings in our online shop so you can see where in the world the item will be shipped from prior to placing your order.