It’s probably fair to say that there is a plethora of options in the online marketplace to order presents and tokens of love and send them by post. But in the world where many are trying to steer away from the bigger department stores and high street brands, and seek something more unique, local and niche, how can your find the perfect shop within the web chaos? How can you seek through browser pages and finally find ‘the one’? After all, the smaller independent shops can’t compete in the browser ad marketplace and who has the time to scroll. Stuck? Here is our little guide on how to order gifts online in the UK, with the small independent peeps.
A little history of ordering gifts online…
The idea of ordering gifts online was probably conceived around 2002, after the first e-commerce platform was developed and the prospect of selling bits and pieces over the world wide web became achievable. To be honest, its taken quite a while to take on – and many shops still haven’t considered it an option until the lock-down forced businesses to take a look at what they could do to still trade safely.
UK gift ordering on the world wide web
The idea for Juul at Home was conceived in 2015 and it wasn’t until 2016 until we considered enabling our customers the option to order gifts online in the UK. We then expanded to Europe and finally, to the rest of the World this year. These days, we are pleased to say that our carefully wrapped parcels and gift boxes are now a big significant part of our biz. Our ideal is that there should be a Juul at Home gift box, winging its was to everyone and for all events and sentiments – unique online gifts, creatively put together to be perfectly appropriate to the occasion and guaranteed to raise a smile.
Online gift market
So how do we get seen, amongst the online gift market noise? How have our customers found us? To be honest, because we are so small, we don’t have that much time to analyse the nuances. The marketing department tends to be the book keeper, packager, purchaser and tea maker – all rolled into one – i.e. me.
One of the great places you can find us, and many other fabulous little UK gift shops, is Trouva. On Trouva we have our own little shop, within a larger marketplace. Trouva really do support the independents and they also ship worldwide. Have a peek at our Trouva Boutique.
Small UK independent gift retailers
Juul at Home, like many small independent gift retailers in the UK, struggles to promote itself and we actually find it a bit embarrassing to shout about our success. Plus we haven’t got much in the pot to pay for high dollar in the SEO number one stakes. To be honest, we don’t really see ourselves as one of the ‘big shops’ and we never set out to be one. We may be online, but we still want to retain that ‘one-to-one’ customer service, that we can provide in the shop. So our phone numbers on our cards are actually our individual mobiles. Customers can pretty much reach us anytime and we really do know the order and who its going to…we don’t even have to know your order number.
What to consider when looking to buy gifts online?
Probably the most important thing when buying gifts online in the UK, is to check where those gifts are coming from. After all, what is the point of seeking an independent, when actually its just a sub brand from one of the bigger retailers trying to be a bit sneaky. Even Etsy, which was supposed to be the place for all things handmade, has ended up being yet another marketplace for mass produced goods sourced from China. Quick tip, before you buy from their online marketplace, just google the product and see where else it comes up. We guarantee that about 40% isn’t handmade at all.
Go bricks and mortar store but with an online shop
One of the more preferential ways of ensuring that you’re buying independent, is to see if they actually have shop premises somewhere. Some of the very best boutiques may also have a bricks and mortar store in a cute alley of Brighton, or in a vintage warehouse block in one of the London suburbs. They’re the guys you need to find. The cooler they are, to be honest, the more likely you’ll also find them online delivering to pretty much anywhere in the UK, if not worldwide.
Environmentally friendly and plastic-free UK gift orders
The other thing to consider when looking how to buy gifts online in the UK, is where are those gifts coming from? Will they be packaged safely, but in an environmentally-friendly way? Many of our independent shop friends, as well as us, can actually spend the time to resource both product and packaging carefully. We also re-use and recycle absolutely everything. So whilst our boxes that arrive through the door might not have a distinctive black arrow on it, and may possibly look a bit vintage around the edges, you can rest-assured that we have ensured we’ve got the most out of that cardboard or bubble wrap. Locally, we even go and pick the packaging back up and re-use it again. It saves our customers having to stuff it into their overflowing recycling bins, and it saves us a considerable amount of money. (Halo’s at the ready?)
Shop from those who have a mission ‘to do better’!
So, like our online independent shop colleagues, we’ve made it our mission to do better than the big guns. To create beautiful gifts that are unique, full of real thought and personality. So, a Juul at Home box, sent to say happy birthday or cheer someone up might contain some fabulous Jones the Bones Bath Salts, or a Sass & Belle stainless steel lunchbox, or a mango wood heart bowl to suggest one of the simplest paths to happiness.
Shop online for UK gifts that are made from artisans, home-based manufacturers, or resourced from some of the best suppliers in the world, using the finest quality materials. We are proud that many are designed and created in Britain. And we make every effort to support businesses that demonstrate a responsibility to people and to the natural environment. So, your Juul at Home gift may be a hand-poured soy wax candle from Seawitch in Cornwall, or a bamboo leaf packaged home-made Miracle Oat and Honey cold pressed soap from Wales. And the packaging of our boxes are only re-used, recycled or taken only from sustainable forests.
Want to find out more? Visit the Juul at Home online shop.