Sending Presents for Valentine’s Day

For most couples, Valentine’s Day will involve flowers, a romantic meal out or maybe even just a night in cuddling on the couch, but what about those in long distance relationships? How do you spoil each other when distance is an obstacle? The answer of course is a good old parcel. But what should you include and how do you make sure it will be safe when posted?

There are many reasons a couple may be apart on Valentine’s Day; students studying in different cities, professionals who have to work abroad, or those away on a business trip that want to make a gesture before they return home.  Whatever the reason, sending gifts is a big part of celebrating Valentine’s Day if you’re apart, and don’t worry – posting gifts can be just as romantic as any gesture made in person.

Image of Pink Roses

If you’re thinking of sending a parcel for your loved one this Valentine’s Day there are a few things you should consider before packing and sending it:

1. Make sure you can actually send your intended present through the post

Many items are deemed unsafe or unsuitable to send through the post so always check to make sure first. The Royal Mail has a list of restricted goods  on their website which includes the following:

  • Alcohol*
  • Batteries*
  • Electronic devices
  • Lighters
  • Living creatures
  • Magnets
  • Perfumes and aftershaves
  • Flowers
  • Food
  • Sharp objects*
  • Paint 

As well as a list of prohibited goods, which includes the following:

  • Items with batteries more powerful that 100W, including some laptops and power tools
  • Living creatures
  • Goods made in foreign prisons 

Rules and laws vary from country to country, and additional checks on whether you can send your package are necessary just to be on the safe side.

*unless packaged correctly. See our section below: Packaging presents correctly.

2. Make sure your intended present can survive the trip

Royal Mail suggest that items should not be sent domestically if they would not survive more than 48 hours in transit – this is likely to include popular Valentine’s presents like chocolates and flowers. Both of these items are only seen as restricted by Royal Mail, but flowers are easily crushed, and chocolates can melt; both of these outcomes are likely if posting internationally.

If you’re intending to send flowers, using a courier service that specialises in flower deliveries is a much safer option.

Similarly, if you’re sending crafts or homemade items you will want to make sure they are packaged correctly so they don’t end up broken. 

Packaging presents correctly

Alcohol

Alcohol is a very popular present to send through the post, particularly nice bottles of wine. There are however restrictions on these that many people may not be aware of.

Legally, Alcohol with an ABV of 24% or less has to be wrapped in polythene and sealed with tape. This then needs to be surrounded with an absorbent material and enough protective material to prevent unwanted breakages.

The volume of the bottle in the parcel cannot exceed 1 litre per item. This means that most average wine bottles are okay, but larger wine bottles are not – unfortunately you won’t be able to send that Melchizedek of champagne!

All packages containing glass bottles must be clearly labelled as ‘FRAGILE’. As well at this, the sender’s name and return address must be clearly visible on the outer packaging.

For stronger alcohols (those between 24% and 70% ABV) there is one extra restriction to be aware of: no more than two items can be sent in any one package. 

Food Stuffs

Foods are extremely popular around Valentine’s Day (think chocolates and sweets) but they’re actually one of the most heavily restricted things you can send in the post.

As a rule of thumb, all foodstuffs sent through the post must be able to last more than 48 hours in transit; first class postage should always be used.

Like alcohol, all foods must be wrapped in polythene in case of spillages, and must be packed in a strong corrugated cardboard box with adequate protective material.

No frozen water or dry ice is allowed to be sent in the post. 

Perfume

Perfume is extremely restricted so it’s good to know the facts before you go sending some to your lover. Firstly, the volume per item must be less that 150ml.  Secondly, the perfume must be in its original unopened packaging. Thirdly, it must be wrapped in a strong outer layer of packaging with a generous amount of cushioning to prevent breakages.  Finally (and most importantly) the package must clearly have an ID8000 label attached to the outside.

To get an ID8000 label, the package and the goods must be presented to the Post Office counter.

Clothing and other soft goods

When sending clothing to your loved one it’s worth noting that although there aren’t as many restrictions, there are some good pieces of advice worth following.

Firstly, boxes are not necessary for sending clothing, however if you want to reduce the risk of damage a box may be worth considering.  Secondly, if you’re sending other items with the clothing, say for instance chocolate, you may want to separate the items with polythene packaging to prevent marks and stains. 

In Conclusion

Sending presents through the post is a great way of spoiling your loved one on Valentine’s Day when you can’t be there, but there are many restrictions you must be aware of when sending alcohol, food stuff, perfume and clothing.

By remembering to wrap things properly to avoid breakages, most things will be fine, especially if sent first class.

If in doubt, always ask a member of staff at the Post Office, and always remember: get proof of postage and insurance if the items are expensive or valuable.

Amazing Uses of Packaging Tape

We all know about the many uses of packaging tape in the office, but what if you think outside the box? We have looked at some amazing and creative uses of tape, and have found some fantastic surprises!

Whether it’s being used to make a Batman mask, or one of the many impressive sculptures in this fantastic competition from Scotch tape, it just goes to show that there’s more to tape than meets the eye.

It’s not just a matter of sticking things together, there is so much more you can do; whether it’s making yourself some trousers, or even some new and unique shoes, the items below show just what can happen with packaging tape and a little imagination.

 Batman Mask by Seamster

Batman Mask by seamster

Image of computer casing


 Computer Case

science.discovery.com 

Amazing art sculpture from tape

Tape Sculptures at Blaze Press

Masking tape pants

Tape Trousers by Music Paints the Soul

Tape flip flops

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Flip Flops by Tree-hugger

Rajapack stocks a wide range of packaging tape and strapping which is available here, offering services including personalised packaging tape with a free quote available within 48 hours.

What could you create with a roll of packaging tape? We’d love to see your imaginative designs!

 

We’ll be at Packaging Innovations 2015, hope to see you there!

NEC Birmingham – 25th & 26th February – Hall 9, Stand G37

We’re very excited to be exhibiting at Packaging Innovations 2015 once again. As the UK’s leading packaging event with over 350 exhibitors, if you’re looking for new solutions for your organisation you’re sure to find it here!

Packaging Innovations 2015

Don’t miss this year’s top packaging event

Come and say hello at the Rajapack stand G37, in Hall 9 next to the Networking Bar. Our experts will be on hand to help you plan your warehouse, improve efficiency, save money, reduce damages, safely ship fragile products, and much more. Plus we’ll be demonstrating our new range of packaging machines, including the fast and compact FillPak TT and the mobile PadPak Junior.

Every year, Packaging Innovations showcases the very latest inspiration, trends and technology in the packaging world. To reserve your place at Packaging Innovations 2015, register online now for free.

We’re looking forward to seeing you there!

Hector’s mansion grows and so does our fundraising!

Since our last blog entry just three short days ago, we’ve had huge support for our Home Safe Home campaign!

We’ve now raised over £290 for Tiggywinkles Wildlife Hospital and our team of cardboard constructors have added a garage and garage extension to Hector’s mansion:

Hedgehog mansion stage 4

Hector’s cause has been a big hit on social media too and he’s even had a mention from comedienne, Pam Ayres.  We’d like to say a big thank you to all our kind donors and followers.

Help us support Tiggywinkles

This incredible charity is totally reliant on public generosity. Each year they treat over 10,000 hedgehogs, deer, badgers, foxes, wild birds and reptiles who have been injured, before releasing them back into the wild.

It’s great to see so much support for such a worthwhile charity and we’re really looking forward to seeing what next week holds.  Will we raise enough to give Hector a west wing extension?

We hope so!

A great start for our charity campaign – and Hector’s mansion!

It’s been an exciting few days since we launched our Home Safe Home campaign to support Tiggywinkles Wildlife Hospital. If you missed the launch, see it here.

Thanks to our generous donators we’ve raised over £100 already which means we’ve smashed our first and second milestones and Hector’s house has now got a sky dish!

Hedgehog mansion stage 2

The more we raise, the bigger the difference we can make

Tiggywinkles is completely reliant on donations from the public. Each year they treat over 10,000 sick or injured animals free of charge. Hedgehogs, badgers, deer, wild birds, foxes and reptiles are brought in by the public as casualties and the staff at Tiggywinkles nurse each one back to health before releasing them into the wild.

Please help by donating as much as you can

To help Tiggywinkles treat all their patients this winter, we want to raise £1,000. We’re donating packaging and we’d love you to help us reach our target. It’s quick and easy to make a donation at our Just Giving page.

As Hector’s mansion grows we’ll post updates our blog and you can see how much we’ve raised over on our website.

We’re raising money for wildlife this winter

As winter sets in across the UK we’re helping Tiggywinkles Wildlife Hospital to treat sick and injured hedgehogs at their most vulnerable.

We’re told cardboard boxes make warm, cosy places for hedgehogs to hibernate, so we’ve launched our Home Safe Home campaign to support Tiggywinkles. We’ll be donating £100 worth of packaging directly to charity to help sick and injured animals, and for a bit of fun we’re also building a cardboard mansion for Hector the Hedgehog and his friends.

As donations grow, so will Hector’s mansion

Throughout January, we’ll build a home for Hector using cardboard boxes and packaging tape. Every time we reach a fundraising milestone we’ll extend it, adding east and west wings, a swimming pool, tennis court and much more!

You can see the latest photos of the building works as it happens on the blog and our website.

Hector hedgehog

The more we raise, the bigger the difference we can make

Despite being the world’s busiest wildlife hospital, Tiggywinkles is completely reliant on donations from the public. Each year they treat over 10,000 sick or injured animals free of charge. Hedgehogs, badgers, deer, wild birds, foxes and reptiles are brought in by the public as casualties and the staff at Tiggywinkles nurse each one back to health before releasing them into the wild.

Please help by donating as much as you can

To help Tiggywinkles treat all their patients this winter, we want to raise £1,000. We’re donating £100 worth of packaging and we’d love you to help us reach our target. It’s quick and easy to make a donation at our Just Giving page.

We’ll be posting updates as Hector’s mansion grows. Keep checking our blog or see how much we’ve raised here.

5 Amazing Pieces of Cardboard Furniture

Have you ever sat on a cardboard chair? If not, now may be your chance: a new trend of cardboard furniture has arrived with many companies producing high end pieces. Anything can be made out of cardboard, from beds and sofas to chairs and toys. We’ve included five of our favourite furniture collections below.

It might seem odd, but cardboard furniture is designed to be more environmentally friendly than MDF (Medium Density Fibreboard), which is the most common material used in flat-pack furniture. Using recycled paper and cardboard has less of an impact on the environment than MDF (a product which usually contains toxic formaldehyde resins) and can be constructed by almost anyone; most kits just need to be slotted together.

There are many advantages of using cardboard; it’s tougher than you’d imagine and can carry a great deal of weight. Despite concerns about water-resistance, cardboard actually dries quickly and most spillages can be treated by a quick reactions with an absorbent cloth. It can also be painted, adding an extra level of protection from moisture.

1) The Karton “Counting Sheep” Bedroom

Counting Sheep

This bedroom from Australian company Karton includes a bed (with under bed storage), a chest of drawers and a little sheep. The bed is strong enough to comfortably carry the weight of two people, and its robust construction means it will last.

All this comes for only $449 (around £250) — including the sheep!

 2) The “Chairigami” Arm Chair

Cardboard chair

This sleek geometric armchair is the product of the talented folks over at Chairigami, a US-based company that produces cardboard furniture.  This chair will add sustainable style to any home!

 3) The “Bravais” by Lazerian Studio

Cardboard chair

This limited edition chair (only 50 were made) has unfortunately sold out, which should come as no surprise when it effortlessly mixes geometrical intricacy with an environmentally-friendly conscience.

4) The “Chick ‘n’ Egg Chair” by Responsive Design

Egg chair

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Chick ‘n’ Egg Chair by Responsive Design can be made to any size for either parents or children, and its corrugated cardboard construction means it’s easy to move around the house. It’s also beautifully designed. It may look complex, but the construction has been refined and perfected to be as simple as possible.

 5) “Riki Kid’s Set” by Metrocs

Riki Kid's Set

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This set by Japanese company Metrocs is a multipurpose education tool for young children. It features two stools and a table that can be easily deconstructed and packed away. The surface is durable and designed to be drawn on, making this set perfect for younger children. It’s available online for ¥6,800 (about £38) before postage.

With so many amazing and interesting designs out there, now is the time to invest in cardboard furniture. If you want to, you could even make your own, with this incredible guide from Adrian Candela and faircompanies.com:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4IaSXJOGiuk

RAJA Foundation Women’s Awards

19 November 2014

RAJA Foundation – Danièle Marcovici
Supporting women in the World

“Rewarding the fantastic work done by charities for women”

On 19 November 2014, the RAJA Foundation Women’s Awards rewarded five charities for their exceptional work helping women in France and around the world.

Womens Awards Photo

€80,000 was raised during an evening dedicated to women’s causes!

More than 400 people, including many Raja Group employees came to the awards ceremony which was held in Paris “Maison de la Mutualité”.

On the night, three prizes worth €20,000 and Two Awards “Coup de Coeur” worth €10,000 were awarded to the following charities:

Womens Awards Charity Photos


Women’s Rights and Combat Violence Against Women Award:
“Femmes SDF” – A charity caring for homeless women in Grenoble, France.

Education and Social Measures Award:
“Asie Tana Inter Aide” – A charity based in the slums of Manilla in the Philippines that helps marginalised women in these areas.

Training and Professional Development Award:
SIAD – A charity helping vulnerable women workers in the onion fields of Burkina Faso.

“Coup de cœur” Award – France:
“Etablissements Bollec” – An Art gallery and workshop based in Rennes, France which helped women in prison to create and publish a women’s magazine.


“Coup de cœur” Award – International:

“Actions de Solidarité Internationale” – A charity based in the Republic of Congo helping young female prostitutes towards social reintegration.

More than 400 participants attended the Awards, including many political leaders and celebrities.

Womens Awards Participants

Danièle Kapel-Marcovici, President of the Raja Foundation and CEO of RAJA Group emphasised the fact that the Awards are here to put the spotlight on all the violence women are subjected to, and that it was everyone’s duty to help put a stop to it.

Pascale Boistard, Secretary of State for Women’s Rights who actively supports the Foundation also praised the Awards’ hard work and it’s engagement with women during her speech.

Celebrities were also involved in the Awards including the French singer Agnès Bihl, who performed live during the ceremony.

About the foundation – from 2006 to 2014

The RAJA Foundation was founded in 2006, under the umbrella of ‘Fondation de France’, a government body established by the French government in an effort to stimulate and foster the growth of private philanthropy. Today, as then, it the supports charity programmes for women in France and around the world.

Since 2006, the Foundation has:

    • Supported 260 Programmes
    • Operated in 41 countries
    • Raised €3,000,000 so far

Learn more about the Foundation’s activities on www.fondation-raja-marcovici.com (available in English)

Google’s Secret Drone Delivery

Aside from beating Red Bull’s sky dive, Google has also been busy with another innovative competition. Rajapack investigates the technological giant’s new drone system.

Back in January, we asked robotics & technological experts whether they thought that automatic drones were the future of packaging delivery. At this point in time, Amazon’s automatic parcel drone, the Amazon Prime Air, was the main talking point. It has since been revealed that Google had already staked a claim in the drone delivery space, working in secret for two years on their own delivery system, Project Wing.

YouTube Clip

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cRTNvWcx9Oo

Conceptually, Project Wing seems similar to Amazon’s propeller drone, but on closer inspection it’s the vision behind each concept which sets them apart. Amazon is geared towards customer delivery and has been consistently dedicated to this purpose.  Astro Teller, head of Google X, the division of the company that works on the search giant’s most ambitious projects, told the BBC that it could have major implications for humanitarian emergencies “even just a few of these [drones] being able to shuttle nearly continuously could service a very large number of people in an emergency situation.” Such a statement suggests that Google isn’t just considering a commercial product.

How has it progressed?

Much of Project Wing’s testing has been carried out in Australia, where laws around the use of drones are much more relaxed. The vehicle’s performance seems promising. It has already made many successful deliveries to local people, with shipments such as radios, candy bars and dog treats.

With user experience always in mind, Google has focussed on the physical recovery of packages to make the process as smooth as any conventional human delivery service. The risk of customers being harmed by drones has been reduced by using a string delivery mechanism. Packages can be lowered on a line, much like that of a fishing rod, directly to the customer. Meanwhile, the drone hovers above at a safe distance.

Safety in the design of these drones will be instrumental in not only granting them access to US airspace, but also in reducing the need for human involvement and control. Drone-based delivery systems are unlikely to be completely devoid of human control however, as Google plans to continue using human interaction to improve automated software. Such interaction is well-advised, especially in instances of physical errors such as misplaced or trapped packages.

When will it be in action?

It will be a few years before such a drone is ready for commercial use. Both Google and Amazon still face a lengthy challenge of negotiating strict regulations around drone flights, which are concerned with safety and privacy.

Speaking to The Atlantic, Astro Teller says that “it’s going to take conversations with the public and with regulators…I’m cautiously optimistic that everyone wants the same thing.”

How long these conversations will last is uncertain. Before these drones are established in large numbers we will have to be patient in waiting for any friction or resistance against them to be significantly reduced. You can read about any future developments here on the Rajapack blog.

The Psychology of Packaging Design

For bees, the most attractive flowers are the ones with the brightest colours.  We’re a bit like bees in that we tend to be attracted to packaging that ‘jumps out’ at us; and it can be easy to let our instinct for attractive packaging override our better judgment when making purchases.

It’s no secret that product packaging is designed to make us pine for the product inside. Just picture a product displayed in the Apple store; rows of moulded plastic cases filled with pops of colour. It’s the same feeling children get in sweet shops.

Product marketers often call on psychologists to determine what shifts products off the shelves and into consumers’ hands. Their ultimate aim is to make us buy and they do this with persuasive marketing techniques such as using colours, textures, words and shapes to signify that their product will enhance our lives.

Ultimately, it’s about psychological triggers that bring out the inner child (a natural reaction) in all of us. If packaging can make us feel excited, eager, safe or secure – and persuade us to buy the products within – then marketers can rest easy knowing they’ve done their jobs.

Cups and Tea Packaging

 


 Why are so many things packaged?

Occasionally, you may find yourself wondering why many things are packaged the way they are. Do bananas really need to be bagged in plastic? Do cucumbers really have to be shrink-wrapped? If retailers want to sell them, then the simple answer is yes. An attractive package instils us with confidence to trust and in turn stay loyal to the product.

The history of packaging psychology is well-documented, and the word ‘purity’ features a lot. Take Quaker Oats, for example. When the brand was established in the 1870s, it was the first brand of pre-packaged oats available; previously they had always been sold out of barrels. Co-founder Henry Seymour decided that this made Quaker Oats more “pure” and so he decided to name the brand after the Quaker faith, with its connotations of religious purity.

Were they significantly different to any other oats? Probably not. But the idea caught on, and three-quarters of a century later, the sterile environment of the 1950s supermarket summed up our obsession with shrink-wrapped purity. “To the developed world imagination,” says Susan Willis in a study on packaging, “the open-air markets of the developing world are a riot of impurities. In the developed world, the package is the fetishized sign of the desire for purity.”

 Why does shape matter?

 You may think it doesn’t, but the shape of the packaging and texture can have a direct effect on how well an item sells. If consumers are compelled by an attractive or unusual shape, it’s more likely that they will choose that product.

It’s the reason why, for the past thirteen years, bottled water brand Evian has collaborated with designers such as Diane Von Fürstenberg and Jean-Paul Gaultier to produce shapely glass bottles of water decorated with 3D-textured prints, retailing at around £7.00. The product contained within is no different to the usual Evian offering – and a comparable plastic bottle costs just 80p!

Different shaped Evian Bottles

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s not just the style-savvy who are prepared to pay a premium for less product volume either. In 2013, Coca Cola launched a 250ml ‘slimline’ can in the UK, aimed squarely at the health-conscious. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the slim can is only a tiny bit cheaper than the brand’s standard 330ml can.

Slender packaging can imply that the product within is healthier and will, in turn, make the consumer more slender. Some have even suggested that certain packaging (such as washing up liquid bottles) is designed to resemble the female shape.

Image of washing up liquid

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 The importance of colour

 As the most obvious feature of product packaging, colour, has the most potential to affect our perception of a product. Colour is by far the easiest way to make packaging reach out to consumers.

Stroll down the aisles of a toy superstore or sweet shop and you’ll see that the shelves throng with colour. Any parent will be well aware that this works to capture the attention of children! Take a nosy round a health food store, however, and you’ll find a very different scene. All the packets are decorated in colours that look safe and mature – including tans, vegetable hues and watery blues.

The comparisons are endless. The metallics, greys and whites used to package digital goods and cleaning products appeal to efficient and modern people. Pastels are light-hearted and feminine. The neon shades that adorn the bottles of energy drinks and nachos can suggest energy, youthfulness and vitality.

We might like to think that we base our shopping decisions on price and quality – and to some degree, we do. But colour does continue to form a huge part of our unconscious buying habits. Which would you perceive as safest: the neon pink and bright green box of baby formula? Or the soothing pale blue box? Fortunately marketers can test different ideas through market research to minimise the risk, before the product packaging is trialled on the market.