This box is the problem….

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When Mr P presented me with this box at the weekend and asked if I could use it for anything it struck me that this box epitomises the very problem with high end packaging and is exactly what I was meaning in my blog post about resentful packaging.

It’s beautiful, it’s made out of solid board, covered elegantly with bright red glossy paper for the base and a slight flock feel fabric paper for the lid. It oozes quality, it feels special. So special in fact that you keep the box long after the products have been used and their packaging discarded.

You want to use this box for something that matches its quality and timeless elegance so you put it away while you think what that purpose could be…. Fast forward 4 years and the box has been on a shelf gathering dust in Mr P’s office as he doesn’t want to throw it away. It’s too nice to throw away oh and the real kicker is that if you did throw it in the recycling, it’s not recyclable as many of the gloss finished papers can’t be recycled in the usual way so even if I were to put it in the green bin, the people who sort the recycling would have to put it to landfill. The box doesn’t seem so special now…

Whilst I do personally love beautiful, elegant packaging, I can’t feel comfortable about the cost it has not just in terms of the price of the product but also the environment. Lubylu® packaging is designed to be elegant and stylish but not wasteful and resentful. It’s made from recycled materials and can be recycled. My aim is for my customers to be able to enjoy high quality, handmade home fragrance products with a hint of fun and a sprinkling of glitter that don’t cost the earth in more ways than one.

Who’s with me on trying to increase our purchases of Ethical Luxury goods…?

 

Lucy Pimblott

Owner

Lubylu® Ltd

www.lubylu.com

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Just get up half an hour earlier…!

I used think that ‘Mum’ prenuer groups, Mum targeted business networks were unnecessary and frankly quite limiting in terms of who they targeted and attracted. I saw them as counter intuitive as it shouldn’t matter who we are in business in terms of our status, family situation and gender, just that we’re in business and trying to achieve our goals. But then I was in a meeting with a chap who is possibly young enough to be my son 😮 and I realised that we’re not all the same…

In this meeting we were talking about ways to be more productive. I mentioned that I’d started listening to Podcasts (Janet Murray ones are particularly good as well as the ones from Shopify callled TGIM) while I run. I don’t run far or fast but it is my little bit of calorie burning head space so I want it to be productive as well as then I can feel like I’m doing 2 things at once. It was mentioned in this meeting that listening to podcasts on double speed is a great way to get more listening done in half the time, not tried that yet and I guess you have to tune your brain into the concept, but I will try it.

I happened to say that it’s all well and good reading and listening to books about how to be more productive but that while you’re absorbing this information you may not actually be being productive and that somehow you have to get that time back. It was suggested to me by this very young chap that I get up half an hour earlier each morning so that I can read for that time and that way I get more out of my day….!

Those of you with children will understand and picture the look he got when he suggested this! We were in a friendly meeting and I wanted to keep it that way so I refrained from saying any of the things I’m going to say now.

If I got up half an hour earlier every morning I’d be waking at 5:30am, I would not be productive in that half hour, I would not wake and instantly think ‘oh how I’d love to read a business book about how to be more productive or how to build my business plan’ I’d be thinking, ‘for the love of all things decent I want more sleep, I need coffee, lots of it’. The moment I am awake I am ‘on duty’ for other people. I sneakily use the 10 minutes before everyone knows I’m awake to catch up on social media and work out who I need to contact with what message that day. To check through my emails and remove all the spam telling me I’ve won a lottery I didn’t enter and that they can get my website ranked at the very top of Google.

Pretty much from the time my eyes open to the time I leave the school car park after drop off, my time belongs to other people, child, husband, dog. This isn’t a problem and I’m not complaining about it all, it’s just the way it is and it’s the life I chose, one that I’m very happy with but not one where you can find 30 mins spare on a morning. If I so much as think about sitting down to get something work related done a little voice will say ‘muuuuummmm, I’ve got to take 24 buns in today for a bake sale, can we make them now!’ This could be at 7:30am so after swearing, sometimes under my breath, sometimes not so much, I get the eggs, flour, butter and sugar out and we bake 24 buns, decorate them and try to find a suitable container for them (that’s usually the really tricky part). The little voice has also been known to tell me at 8:30am that she wants to be a pack up not a school dinner that day or that she has some violin practice to do (that’s never pleasant but before alcohol has been consumed it’s particularly ear drum shattering), or that it’s PE and she can’t find her PE kit. All the while the dog is following me around wanting to be wherever we are and then wanting whatever food we have, to be cuddled, let out, play sock pull – I’m sure she’s trying to ‘do me in’ so she can have my side of the bed! The husband has taken himself off to his office at this point so at least he’s out of the way.

If this is the situation with one child, I can only imagine (in a comedy sketch kind of a way) what’s like for parents (I do include dads here, it’s not just mums in my opinion) who have two, three, four or even more children to sort out, organise and generally shepherd out of the door each morning – for them to find the time to go to the loo let alone anything more time consuming must be so hard so the idea that they can find time to read books on how to be more productive is a little insulting.

I’m sure the young chap didn’t mean to be insulting, condescending or patronising (he really did irk me) but it made me realise how little about a life where you and your business cannot be your sole priority, some people understand. It made me realise that the Mums groups work because the members all ‘get’ the fact that whilst business and deadlines are important, when your child needs you, your business has to take second or even third place. Parents business groups are populated by people who have other priorities in life and we all, as parents, understand that. We know that when ‘that call’ comes from school you have to drop everything and be there for your child. We also completely buy into the fact that whilst it is good for children to see their parents working hard to achieve their dreams for them and their family, it’s crucial that the children know that they’re are more important than any business meeting.

On that note, I’m off to join lots of Parent networking groups now and apologise for my previous flippant lack of understanding!

 

Lucy Pimblott

Owner of Lubylu® Ltd

www.lubylu.com

lucy@lubylu.com

Why analytics is ruining your small business.

As a small business owner we’re constantly told that we can look at the stats for pretty much everything we do and how insightful and useful they will be to us. Well, possibly controversially, I have to tell you it’s not true!

There is a fantastic amount of data out there readily available to us. The insights provided on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pintrest, not forgetting of course Google Analytics, is mind blowing, seriously, even if you’ve ever looked at the information available I would bet that you’ve not experienced the full plethora of data and have only really scratched the surface.

We’re constantly told by all the social media gurus and the marketing experts (whose adverts conveniently pop upon Facebook when we have just looked at our stats) that we should, no we must use all the analytics and insights available to us in order to have a successful business and to drive our market influence to a point where people come to us. We are coerced into looking at graphs, economic, social, geographical, heck even psycho-graphic demographics, and are made to feel slightly inferior if we haven’t analysed our analysis to a point of exhaustion. If you don’t know the exact time of day that your best customers (and you know who they are through extensive analysis of your customer base) are on your pages and website you’re domed to fail. You’re expected to know which channel they prefer to buy your services from, what other business they like to interact with, what they had for breakfast, what newspaper they read and that their dog is called Fred. And that’s the problem.

There is so much information out there that it’s easy to get bogged down in the numbers, the graphs, the analytics, the collection and presentation of the information. Don’t get me wrong, I love these sorts of numbers, the power they have to help consumers find the exact right product, at the right price, in the right place at the right time for them is incredible. The ability for businesses to be able to use information to target their products and the marketing of them to an audience who not only wants them but has a need for them is overwhelmingly exciting for me. The power of data is phenomenal and with my history as a database marketer it’s no surprise that I love this sort of information but it used to be my full time job to collect, analyse and present and make decisions on this sort of data, now it’s a small part of all the other jobs I have to do in order to run my own small business.

I’ve done it myself, I’ve thought I’ll have a look at my Google Analytics, see where my website traffic is coming from and who they are. Or maybe even looked at my Facebook page analysis to verify who interacts with Lubylu on there. Whilst it’s important to keep a check on the high level information, I’ve been known to think I’ll just create a spreadsheet for the data so I can analyse the trends going forward. I’ll just colour code those columns and cells in the spreadsheet and then maybe even add a conditional format and throw in a pivot table to aid with my analysis later on. The problem is at this point I’ve probably wasted half a day, time I should have been either making candles, ordering new supplies or actually contacting customers and maybe even trying to actually grow my customer base. Analytics can be used as distraction technique, one which you can pretend to yourself isn’t actually a waste of time and in fact it’s something you practically have to do in order to survive the bear pit of a market place out there. I call this ‘Procrastination Analysis’!

It reminds me of when I was studying for my ‘A’ levels and the lengths I would go to to create the most beautiful revision timetable. This was in the days before computers took over everything graphic so it was all hand done, multi-coloured pens were used to co-ordinate topics and subjects, stickers, drawings, plans were made, themes were introduced and be called revision. It wasn’t of course, it was a delaying tactic to try and put off the studying of the Tudors and the Stewarts and the European Wars of Religion and other such subjects that were never going to be as interesting as who was doing what with whom in the 6th form common room!

As small business owners we have a finite amount of time to get everything done. The team running the business is often very limited and the number of tasks that need to be done very large. Whilst data is your friend and it is necessary that you have an understanding of what is available to you, how to use it and a high level knowledge of some of the key insights, it’s not necessary for small business owners to spend their very valuable time and effort trying to get to grips with data that wont help them make their day to day decisions.

The key element for me is to ask ‘What decision will I make from this information?’ If the data available to you is really just of interest and it’s not going to impact how you market your product, the strategy of your business or even your product design going forward then I would suggest that spending time on them is ruining your business.

Lucy Pimblott,

Owner of Lubylu Ltd ethical home fragrance products and previously a data geek!