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A few minutes with… Felix Favor Parker – Fairfax & Favor

Felix Favor ParkerIf you’ve seen this blog before (and if not, welcome!), you will know I have a bit of a thing for Fairfax & Favor. And their packaging. And their branding. I’ve enjoyed watching the rise of this dynamic, young company and the pieces that I own sit and smile at me when they aren’t in use. More than this though, the people behind the brand, Felix and Marcus, are really lovely, genuine people too, so I’m delighted to be able to share this ‘a few minutes with…’ blog about Felix Favor Parker.

Tell us a bit about you and your background

Marcus and I both grew up in Norfolk and have been great friends for a very long time

What made you want to start a business?

We decided we wanted to start a business when we were 16, In Norfolk there is a tennis tournament at Hunstanton that is a social event for 15-17 year olds. There was nothing for the younger children so we wanted to buy a bouncy castle and charge the parents. That was when we founded the name Fairfax and Favor. Luckily we couldn’t afford to buy a bouncy castle and eventually started making shoes instead.

How is Fairfax & Favor different?

Our business is different as we have always focused on more than just buying a product. We are selling a lifestyle, a community. Whether it’s popping in for a drink on the stand to the handwritten notes that come with each order. We like to get to know our customers.

What makes your products special?

Our products are special because they are timeless classics with the Fairfax and Favor attention to detail. As well as this all our shoes are designed for comfort with memory foam padding.

Fairfax & FavorIf you had to sum up your business in a few words, what would they be?

Classic, stylish, elegant young, fun and quintessentially British

Do you have a motto or ethos?

When we started we made many mistakes, I remember one year I drove to Blair Horse Trials and realised I’d forgotten the card machines. However our motto has always been “live and learn”

If you could give one piece of advice to an aspiring business owner, what would it be?

Keep cost low, live as cheaply as possible and invest every pound back into the business, and you will grow organically.

One thing that helps you run your business more effectively

We value Shopify, our website platform, hugely. It’s a great software system, easy to use and tracks everything accurately.

Best thing about running a business?

Complete freedom to have a go at anything, some work and some don’t, but it’s nice to be able to try

Worst thing about running a business?

Being responsible for other people’s salaries, the risks you take later have to be weighed up as you are playing with livelihood if it all goes wrong

Fairfax & FavorTop business blog you follow

Richard Branson Virgin blog

Top business book you’ve read

Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook – Gary Vaynerchuk,  The Tripping Point and Felix Dennis – How To Get Rich

One thing we might not know about you

I failed University

Top business achievement

Being involved in Drapers 30 under 30

Where can we find Fairfax & Favor online?

Web – http://www.fairfaxandfavor.com

Instagram – http://www.instagram.com/fairfaxfavor #fairfaxandfavor

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/fairfaxandfavor/

All wrapped up – behind the packaging – Sophie Callahan Photography

Sophie Callahan Equine photographerAs anyone who regularly reads this blog or follows me on social media will know, I’m a big Sophie Callahan fan… for so many reasons, but this blog just focuses on one of the many things I love about Sophie’s business, Sophie Callahan Photography, and what she does.. you might call it packaging or customer experience. I believe packaging is part of the customer experience. Here’s a bit about Sophie’s branding, her packaging and a recap about her commercial and portrait equine photography business.

Tell us a bit about your brand, Sophie Callahan Photography, and what you do

I am an equine photographer and I photograph the relationship between horses and their humans all over the UK and then package up their memories in tangible form. Whether that be in the shape of a canvas, a USB, or simple prints.

Let’s start with your branding – how did you decide on your logo, the colours and your branding overall?

My logo was actually knocked up within seconds, as a temporary fix, when I very first started and wanted to get some photos online as quickly as possible. It was never meant to be permanent, but it’s actually one of the things people love about my brand. I’ve had so many comments about how recognisable it is and I’ve even had people say they can’t wait to see their images with ‘the blue and pink Sophie Callahan Photography’ on them. So light blue and light pink feature heavily in my branding, as does white as I want to make everything quite feminine and ‘dreamy’. 

How did you decide on your packaging? What elements did you consider?

sophie callahan packagingWhen I was deciding on my packaging, I wanted to go for a look that brought the femininity of my brand and the earthy, natural side of horses together. My prints come in brown, natural kraft boxes and my USB sticks come in bespoke wooden boxes, with the client’s favourite image printed onto the wooden front. I then use branded stickers to add my logo and my USB sticks and CDs also have my logo printed onto them. I’m a big fan of hand-written notes, so I include a thank you card in every package, with a little hand-written message on.

What kind of response have you received to your packaging?

Since improving my packaging, I have seen a huge increase in the number of people who post pictures of their parcels onto social media. This is great advertising for me and often results in enquiries from new potential customers. I get a lot of messages and emails thanking me and commenting on how beautiful the parcel was.

Do you think packaging adds to a product and the customer experience? Was this something you factored into your product quite early on or something that has evolved over time?

Absolutely! I think when you are offering a high-end product or service, the packaging needs to reflect this. My packaging has definitely evolved over time and I still tweak it or try new things every now and then. As somebody who loves packaging, it’s fun to try out new ideas and take the time to make your work look pretty. When I first started, I wasn’t charging the prices I am charging now, so spending money on beautiful packaging just wouldn’t have been an option. But as my prices have increased, the value I offer my clients must increase too and my products must reflect the investment they are making.

Are there any other brands who have packaging that inspires you? Or that you think is done really well?

Sophie Callahan PackagingI am big candle fanatic, so I always love receiving White Company and Jo Malone parcels, for birthdays and Christmas, and they always beautifully presented. I also really love make-up and the Charlotte Tilbury burgundy and rose gold packaging is the stuff of my dreams! And lastly, I’m a brand ambassador for Hiho Silver, so I receive a lot of their beautiful jewellery through the post and I have their boxes stacked up on my vanity unit, because I just can’t throw them away. My other half is constantly complaining about the amount of empty bags and boxes I hoard, but how are you supposed to throw away something so pretty?

Where can we find you online?

WEBSITE: http://www.sophiecallahanphotography.com/

FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/SophieCallahanPhotos/

INSTAGRAM: https://www.instagram.com/sophiecallahan/

TWITTER: https://twitter.com/SophiecCallahan

YOUTUBE: https://www.youtube.com/sophiecallahanvlogs

All wrapped up – Sophie Kirkpatrick- Atlas & I

After seeing Atlas & I at Badminton Horse Trials and then seeing the video included in here on Facebook, I had to drop Sophie an email and find out more about her brand, her packaging and what inspires her.

Atlas & I Atlas & I packaging demo (click to see!)Atlas & I Bespoke Leather Album 

Tell us a bit about Atlas & I and what you do

At Atlas & I we create gifts that tell your story. From a photo album printed with a vintage map of where you got married or went on your honeymoon to a congratulatory gift of a silhouette created from a photo of someone completing a gruelling challenge. 

Let’s start with your branding – how did you decide on your logo, the colours and your branding overall?

The company was started 5 years ago from my coffee table. Initially it started at KirkPatrick Design (My surname) but I didn’t think it explained what the product was and it wasn’t a name I could see going global! I sat down with a good friend who was a graphic designer and we brainstormed names, colours and logos. The circle and star above the brand name hints at the idea of a compass and the name Atlas & I was born from the use of maps and the personalised aspect of each and every product. Because the vintage maps are all sorts of colours and designs it was important that the logo was simple and clear and stood out. We took the red from the markings on an old London map that showed the tube stations in a strong deep red colour and the text we wanted to keep fresh and contemporary.

How did you decide on your packaging? What elements did you consider?

The artworks came first followed by the leather stationery range. It’s hard to package a picture as well as keep the glass protected in transit so these were always bubble wrapped to keep them safe. The leather albums and journals needed something to protect them in transit as well so the gift boxes were designed to do this as well as look beautiful and keep your album safe on the shelf in your house. Photo albums last for years and so the packaging they are kept in need to be just as robust. The tissue paper is only a recent addition but all our products will now be wrapped in this.

What kind of response have you received to your packaging?

Atlas & IPeople love the boxes, I think it heightens the experience of receiving a gift. Once you unwrap the paper you then have another layer to get through by opening up the box. That sense of excitement about what’s inside just grows and by having the name on the lid, people are already thinking, maybe it’s a map!

Do you think packaging adds to a product and the customer experience? Was this something you factored into your product quite early on or something that has evolved over time?

To be honest the packaging started as a practical aspect of the product to protect it in the post. I looked at so many gift box companies who had such huge numbers for their minimum orders that I simply couldn’t afford the outlay of ordering 1000 gift boxes, especially as we have size different sizes of boxes. But when I found a company  in the UK that could do small quantities it was possible to make beautiful packaging at an affordable price.

Are there any other brands who have packaging that inspires you? Or that you think is done really well?

I love Jo Malone, everything about the brand, the packaging and the product. You think, “who would buy a candle for £50!?” But the packaging and ceremony of the brand makes it all worth it.

 Anything else you’d like to add?

I think as more and more competition arrives on the gift market and products that are so similar crop up everywhere, packaging, brand and stories are almost becoming more important than the product itself.

Where can we find you online?

www.atlas-and-i.com

https://www.facebook.com/atlasandimaps/

 

All wrapped up – behind the packaging – Hanrose

HanroseI’ve been an admirer of Hanrose for a little while now, so you can imagine my delight when Johanna at Hanrose was happy to talk to me about the packaging of her beautiful candles and photoart. I think packaging is so interesting and adds such a lot to the overall experience, and as companies like Hanrose prove, it’s the little details that make it special. **Spoiler alert – a video review will also be available soon**

Tell us a bit about your brand and what you do…

Hanrose was created simply from a Christmas gift I wanted to make for someone! The photographic letter idea is not a new concept, but nobody does else does it; well not in the UK anyhow! 

The Christmas decorations were rather special last year. I decided to improve them from the previous wood version to metallic and glitter infused acrylic. I’ve also produced the Willberry Decorations for the past two years. All profits go to the Willberry Wonder Pony charity and I love seeing pictures customers post of them hanging on their trees. 

The Quote Posters & Cards came about from posts I used for Instagram etc. Someone asked if that’s what they were, so I produced them!

Can’t remember where the candle idea came from (I’m always thinking of ideas!) but it definitely was a lightbulb moment! I get so excited when I think of a great name, however Unicorn Fluff was thought of by one of the Twitterherd, I just matched it to the candy floss scent; and as promised I sent her the first one.

Let’s start with your branding – how did you decide on your logo, the colours and your branding overall?

Recently rebranded due to the candles. My first logo was actually created from the Photoart. I have a giant one in my workshop. 

As I started to add new collections it changed to a very simple text version. I’ve I always wanted a round logo and when the time came for the candle tins to be designed, there it was. (I’ve still got my original drawing on a green post it, stuck on to one of the candle tins) 

Hanrose Pick N Mix

How did you decide on your packaging? What elements did you consider?

The hay idea for packaging was another lightbulb moment and ties in perfectly with the equestrian theme, plus doing my bit for the environment. The popcorn idea came when selecting the the bags for the wax melts. 

What kind of response have you received to your packaging?

Everyone appears to love the hay their candles are nestled in and the popcorn has got people talking! I’m sure there will be a few more options to follow. 

Do you think packaging adds to a product and the customer experience? Was this something you factored into your product quite early on or something that has evolved over time?

From the lovely comments I receive, I feel the packaging does add to the customer experience. We often like things and never contact the company to say, so when people post pictures etc I know I’ve put a smile on their face.  I love the fact that the packaging for the candles & wax melts is quirky. The luxury of being in control is, I can do what I want, when I want. It’s always evolving, if I think of something new I usually do it. Just like the popcorn, off I went to buy a popcorn maker and a box of kernels!

Are there any other brands who have packaging that inspires you? Or that you think is done really well?

I simply adore fancy packaging, gorgeous boxes with embossed writing & bows. The packaging that the larger businesses can provide, which get you excited before you even open it! 

Hanrose Candle

Anything else you’d like to add?

I would just like to say thank you, it was great to see your reaction when opening your Hanrose parcel. Watch this space, my light bulb moments usually go into production and a new product could appear at anytime! 

Find Johanna and Hanrose online here…

 www.hanrose.co.uk

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Packaging matters – with Fairfax & Favor

As Badminton Horse Trials starts this week, it seemed a good idea to share this blog all about Fairfax & Favor, a brand and stand that is on my hit list when I attend the event on Friday, and a website I find myself straying towards more regularly than I’d admit in public (oops).

As you may have noticed (if you follow my blog or my Facebook page, you will have noticed!), that I’m a teeny bit obsessed with packaging. Well, obsessed sounds bad. I have a keen interest in packaging. I think packaging as much as social media, blogs, press releases, the design of a website (I could go on and on) helps to tell your company’s story. Whether you’re a sole trader or a huge company, packaging matters. Just like your social media does. Just like your website does. But how often do you see amazing packaging? Yep, not all that often. So when I see something special, I have to share. I’ve written about a few great examples, but today I’m going to talk about Fairfax & Favor and their Regina packaging.

Haven’t we been here before?

Yes and no. Last time I created a video about Fairfax & Favor’s Windsor Bag. That was equally stunning, but this time we’re talking about boots. Now, the Regina is the boot style that Fairfax & Favor is best known for (although there’s now an Explorer and other boots too). Being quite tall, I went for the flat version, although I assume that the heeled ones have similar packaging. I can’t see why they wouldn’t.

What did Fairfax & Favor get right?

Quite a few things…

  • The care and attention given to the packaging gives you a feel for the quality of the product within.
  • The handwritten note. Something that I think all businesses should do. It makes you feel special and like the company cares about your business.
  • The show dates/invite. It promotes the events that the company is at this season, but framed as an invite which, again, makes you feel special.
  • The fabric wrap/liner. I’m not sure the correct name. The boots were/are wrapped in a piece of material to help protect them. And it’s Fairfax & Favor branded. Obviously.

Anyway, I’ve created a video about the packaging too – enjoy!

I’d love to hear you thoughts. Have you experienced packaging that has blown you away? Do you think it matters? Let me know!

A chat with Marc Brown – Sporting Hares

Following the Fairfax & Favor blog I wrote a little while ago, I received a lovely email from Marc Brown from Sporting Hares. Now, if you don’t know about Sporting Hares, follow this link and find out more. You might have seen the company’s Beauchamp Blazer popping up all over Instagram, or maybe you know Sporting Hares for the bespoke KINGS sunglasses its known for? Actually, it was the sunglasses that started the company’s journey (and what we’re focussing on today!) as Marc, fresh from university, identified a gap in the market for a sunglasses brand for stylish ‘country bumpkins’ that matched their lifestyle. Preppy designs were submitted… and sold out. And so Sporting Hares was born and now has the tagline – Defining British Prep.Sporting Hares

Marc got in touch to talk about augmented marketing and how essential the ‘layers’ that surround a product (metaphorically as well as literally) are so important. In his words…

Acknowledging the extra layers

“Augmented marketing was something I loved studying in University. It’s so important in acknowledging the importance that the extra ‘layers’ surrounding the core product are. It is this that that essentially defines a brand from ‘just a product’.

How does Sporting Hares do it?Sporting Hares

“Take for example our KINGS sunglasses. Rather than ‘just a pair of sunglasses’, they are wrapped in a protective film, have Sporting Hares lens protectors on, have an anti-rub arm protector, if engraved they have a sticker label on each engraving with the initials/name engraved under it, Sporting Hares case chosen by the customer, wrapped in Sporting Hares tissue paper with sunglasses leaflet and product care card. This is enclosed in a solid, thick and sturdy Sporting Hares box which, finally, is gift-wrapped with Sporting Hares wrapping paper and a red ribbon. All this comes with our Instagram competition leaflet and, of course, the all-important hand-written note thanking the customer and making them feel special. We like to stage our product experience – rather than throw all features at the customer in one, they admire the packaging, then the sunglasses, and then the final touch – their engraved initials.

“All of these extra touches form the many layers of the ‘onion’ that represent the augmented product. It is the experience, the delights of a hand-written thank you message and the quality of the card usedSporting Hares in all information that impresses the customer in stages way before they even open the actual order they bought. 

“I cannot agree with your latest blog post enough. Well written. The packaging truly is our way of building a new and loyal relationship with the customer – it’s a huge opportunity to impress that many companies are missing out on.”

Why this matters

I have to say that when I received Marc’s email, it really did make me smile. To me, the details matter a lot. And I know that many, many people think the same way I do me. In this digital world when you can happily run your life from your laptop and not come into contact with others that often, layers that give that contact (the handwritten note) in a different way, matter. We’re all used to ordering ‘stuff’ online and usually this comes in functional packaging that does that job but is very run of the mill. Of course, the product we’ve invested in is inside the minimalist packaging, but that key chance to build a loyalty and to make us feel warm, fuzzy and cared for is missed. Does nice packaging cost more? Does it take time to write handwritten notes and create the customer experience described above. Yes. Is it worth it? Oh yes. It’s how you build trust, loyalty, additional sales and a business you’re really proud of. And that’s before we even consider power of word of mouth.

When I received my Fairfax & Favor handbag, the packaging excited me. It made me felt like I mattered. Now, I was so impressed I made a video and I have told numerous people about it (usually when they comment on how nice my bag is!). Not everyone is quite so passionate about packaging as I am, or as hooked on branding, but if everyone you sell to tells just one person, you’re making a real difference, aren’t you. Food for thought!

Find out more about Sporting Hares here. 

Packaging matters – Fairfax & Favor

Anyone who reads my blog or follows me on Facebook will know I have a thing for packaging. A bit of an obsession. Actually, I now have people send me pictures of packaging and strike up conversations about it on a fairly regular basis. And I love that. I know it might seem weird, but packaging is a big part of what you do, especially if you’re a luxury brand. Because receiving a beautifully packaged product adds to the whole experience in a big way. It makes you feel like the people who have designed and sell the product care as much as you do about it. It adds to the experience.

So, you can imagine my delight when my Windsor Bag from Fairfax & Favor came in beautiful packaging. But it was actually a lot more than just a lovely box. It was clever. Actually, so clever I made a video the next day. If you click on the pic, you should be whisked to Youtube to see the video.

I’d been admiring the bag for years (actually, I wrote a blog about that too and why I bought it!), but when I took the plunge, I didn’t expect to love the packaging as much as I do and did. So, what did Fairfax & Favor do, or what about Fairfax & Favor’s packaging made them stand out from the crowd? I’ll tell you…

  • Really good customer service
  • Fast delivery
  • A stunning, well made, beautifully branded box that I still have sat on my desk
  • A paper wallet that explained the Fairfax & Favor competition on Instagram and how I could take part, a handwritten note (I have spoken to SO many people about this), and an invite to their stand at the shows they’re attending this year. And a catalogue. Obviously,
  • A fabric cover that goes over the bag to protect it. Beautifully branded, even down to the tassels with the Fairfax & Favor logo on.

Now, I’m not naive here. I get how this game is played and I know that all the things above are very deliberate. They want me to feel like I did and do about the packaging (OK, maybe they didn’t expect me to get that excited about the packaging, but that would be quite a stretch!) and the product. They wanted me to feel special and start what could be an expensive and long time love affair with the brand. And I get that. Does it make me love the Fairfax & Favor packaging any less? Hell no. Because anyone could do it and most don’t bother. Yes, there’s a time factor with writing the note. Yes, there’s a cost for that level of packaging, but by being creative and applying some thought, every brand out there can do things to make their customers feel special. To make their customers feel like they care and genuinely value their business. Definite food for thought. I’d love to hear your take on it all.