Thinking outside the box

Posted by Rachel Westall on 4 December 2023

Tiny Box Company is based in the stunning Ashdown Forest in Sussex near to the Bluebell Railway. The company started in 2007 and has been in various nearby locations as it has expanded. In our December, January edition, Rachel Watkyn, Founder of the Tiny Box Company spoke exclusively to Craft Focus about the company's journey from the Dragon's Den to where they are today!

lime green curved paper jewellery boxes Who founded the company and why?
In 2007, I was searching for recycled packaging for my (then) range of ethical and fair trade jewellery and accessories. I thought this would be easy but I was wrong. What I did find, after months of research, was that there was an extremely high demand for recycled and ethical packaging but no one to meet that demand. So, I rose to the challenge and started up a packaging company with a huge difference.

How has the company evolved?
A year after I founded the company we appeared on Dragon's Den, it turned out that my idea was innovative enough to capture the imagination of Theo Paphitis and Peter Jones who recognised the demand and invested my fledgling company.
A decade and a half later, Tiny Box Company has thousands of products in stock and has over 50,000 customers, ranging from individuals and sole traders to international corporations.
We've managed to stick to our core values of sustainability and that makes me very proud.

stack of four bright paper gift boxes What do you specialise in?
Recycled gift packaging, from postal boxes to rope handle bags to Christmas cracker boxes!

Talk us through the current products you're particularly excited about. Do you have a favourite?
Our Christmas range is incredibly exciting, we have beautifully designed and printed advent calendars that businesses can fill with their products and this year we are stocking traditional colours as well as brand new on-trend colours that will last long into 2024.

Hobby & crafts have boomed over the last two years! Have you noticed any new trends?
Colour! We've had great success in craft (brown/natural), white and black products but we've been asked to increase our colour palette and they have flown off the warehouse selves. From pastels to earth tones right through to neon pink and cyber lime, craft businesses are no longer just about neutral tones.

How would you advise a retailer who is interested in stocking your products?
Get in touch! We can brand or personalise (almost) every product, bulk orders are often cheaper, and we love to speak to our customers so just give us a call!

Gifting advent calender for mini gifts What sets you apart from your competitors?
Our ability to listen to our customers and commitment to sustainability. Lots of packaging suppliers will say they're sustainable but also stock a lot of plastic and non-recyclable products alongside their eco range. We're committed to reducing waste and are constantly innovating our product range to reflect this. We also listen and change products as customers give us feedback, after all, we'd be nothing without our customers.

Do you visit any trade shows? Do you plan to visit any soon?
Of course! London Packaging Week, Packaging Innovation, Top Drawer, Harrogate Gift Fair, Autumn Fair, Spring Fair, they are great places to meet our buyers face to face!

What are you looking forward to most over the next year?
Helping more businesses achieve their branding dreams. There's nothing more rewarding than creating something unique for someone's business that elevates their products and then receiving an email to say thank you!

What new products can we expect from you in the future?
Even more printing and customisation options, right now we can foil and digital print on boxes, bags, ribbon and labels and we're expanding the range and our printing abilities almost weekly.

+44 (0)1825 723 832

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