As we all navigate this very uncertain time, I wanted to let you know what we are doing at Place in Print to help keep our customers safe, and our small business afloat. Place in Print is very much operational and fulfilling all orders as usual. All of our stockists will be now be temporarily closed, so if you would like to pick up a new print, you will now need to order online.
We are fortunate that our business operates from a studio and workshop at our home. Therefore, we are able to continue to work as normal, albeit with the occasional distraction from our 4 year old! As we are now juggling work with childcare, we may not always be able to answer queries by telephone, but we do check our emails regularly. If you do need to ring, your best bet is to aim for the afternoon, between 1pm and 5pm. You can always leave a voicemail and we'll pick it up as soon as possible.
Changes we are making
At present, all of the Place in Print team are fit, healthy and showing no signs of infection. Nevertheless, in order to mitigate any risks we are taking the following precautions:
- Only leaving the house for essential journeys in order to minimise contact with potential virus carriers, and mitigating the risks to others if we are carriers ourselves.
- Following government guidelines to ensure anyone showing symptoms of the virus, or living with someone who does, remains at home.
- Regularly washing hands to ensure any contact with our products and packaging is safe.
The majority of our parcels are delivered by Royal Mail. Where a signature would normally be required, this will no longer be the case (Royal Mail will sign on your behalf). If you miss a delivery and are left a 'sorry we missed you' card, we would recommend rescheduling a delivery rather than going to your local delivery office to collect. Other couriers that we use will also be offering contact-less deliveries, so you should not need to have direct physical contact with anyone in relation to your order.
At present, Royal Mail are still fully operational, albeit struggling under the weight of additional postal demand. As a result, we have increased our Express Delivery time window to 1-3 days. We are also experiencing occasions where parcels take up to a week longer than expected to arrive. If your order is overdue, please get in touch with us so that we can track your parcel. We are happy to send replacements if required.
Impact on our Business
While we have had reassurances from every company in our supply chain that their businesses will continue to operate, we have taken precautions to ensure the continued operation of Place in Print. We have a good level of paper, ink and packaging stock to ensure that we are able to fulfil orders throughout this period. Our frame supply is fluctuating, but we are doing our best to maintain stock levels wherever possible. We are updating stock messages on all our product pages, so if you are able to add something to your basket then we should be in a position to dispatch it on time.
A number of events that we had booked to join over the summer have already been cancelled or postponed, including Crystal Palace Festival and Dulwich Park Fair. We keep our Facebook page updated with scheduled events. There aren't any on there at the moment as we wait for confirmation from the other organisers.
We are already feeling the impact of economic uncertainty, as people begin to tighten their belts when it comes to unnecessary spending. As a small family business, we feel this acutely. We very much hope that, over time, our customers will continue to see the value in our products and perhaps our designs will provide some small respite to an otherwise gloomy outlook.
We encourage all of our customers to support fellow small businesses wherever possible. While the majority of big companies will be able to ride the storm with relative ease, it is likely that small businesses will suffer the most. Next time you are doing some online shopping, please consider supporting independent retailers wherever possible. Often there is only a small price difference, and delivery services and prices are likely to be comparable.
One of the saddest aspects of this period of forced separation is that many of us will be unable to see our loved ones. Birthday parties will be cancelled, celebrations postponed etc. I'd like to remind you of our gift wrapping service, which enables you to place an order and have it delivered directly to the recipient ready-wrapped and virus free! It may not be quite the same as giving a gift in person, but your own personal message can be included and our prints make a great gift - something a bit different.
Feeling the Pinch
Of course, it won't be just us feeling the pinch at the moment. We know that many of you will be under more financial pressure, unable to work and holding back because of the uncertain times ahead. We really appreciate you helping us out during this difficult time, so are happy to announce that we will be offering free Standard UK delivery on all orders from now on.
Thanks for reading this update, and for visiting our website. Please stay safe, and look after each other.
Ed & Helen
Place in Print