Boxcitement - Blog
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Have you sometimes felt your creativity sinking?

Boxcitement inhabits a world of creativity - and so, we have discovered, do our subscribers. Whether they are fellow designers and creative entrepreneurs, or simply lovers of things that look good, what our customers and our team have in common is an appreciation for aesthetics, and a curiosity for the next visual 'big thing'. One of the main challenges we face at Boxcitement is to constantly be creating new things for our subscribers - whether it's a new style of illustration, a new product or a new post for our social media. And it's not easy! Have you heard of creative block? It does happen! Deadlines, time pressures, lack of inspiration and an overwhelming sense of letting people down who expect us to be inspirational can all have a negative impact on creativity. It's not easy to conjure up new ideas and designs on a whim, especially when it needs to be done yesterday. Our Creative Director Deb has compiled a bullet list of her action points when a creative block happens - and hopefully they could help you too if you sometimes suffer from a lack of ideas...

Here's Deb's definitive guide to getting rid of that block...

1. Spread the love - just ask Being responsible for coming up with ideas can be a big headache when the creative juices aren't flowing. I've learned to remove the pressure of being a one-person ideas shop by asking for help - not in a formal way, but by asking people casually. To a savvy teenager: "What colours are in at the moment? What's trendy in the shops?" (this can be a great way of tapping in to high street fashion!). To a friend or partner in a corporate environment: "What makes you happy at work? How do you make the day job more fun?" (this can open up great ideas for creating new stationery items, for example). To a busy parent: "What would make your life easier?" (we created a wall-mountable key holder after talking to a mum whose kids kept losing their keys!).

2. Go somewhere else You've probably heard this one before but removing yourself from your immediate environment can be a great way to get ideas flowing again. Get that body moving! Not only does the exercise make me feel less stressed, but the lack of other distractions means ideas seem to pop in to my head. If I have time I will go for a swim but a quick walk is just as good - try to be 'in the moment' and empty your thoughts while you walk and hopefully an idea will materialise. A walk in our local woods recently provided all the inspiration I needed for our 'Lost in the Woods' box. Along the same lines, you can practice visualisation and meditation to get used to being more present and less focussed on your problem - once the mind is relieved of day-to-day pressures it can be a wonderfully creative instrument!

3. Visit Pinterest and type in something completely random! The same idea works for Instagram hashtags too - move away from those you would normally use and search for something completely unrelated to your business. The creative, visual nature of these two social sites means you will find yourself going down a rabbit hole - and that's a good thing! Try it now - type 'space' into Pinterest and see what comes up. It's a fantastic way to break out of your creative comfort zone and discover new approaches.

4. Create an ideas funnel by picking a colour This is a great one for starting from scratch. Pick a colour - not necessarily your favourite - and write a quick list of the first things that come to mind. White could describe pure, snow, blank, space, marshmallows, clean sheets, diamonds, a blank piece of paper, teeth! Then pick one of these words and do the same - teeth could describe animals, zips, predators, aliens, sterile equipment, pain. Keep going until one of the words resonates with you - open your mind and allow the words to create images that can lead to fresh ideas.
Boxcitement talks about colour

5. Google 'art exhibitions' Let the world of art curation do the hard work for you! Simply Google a list of art exhibitions in your country and be inspired by what other people have put together. Recent exhibitions I have discovered include a retrospective of American pop art which has been VERY influential for Boxcitement (watch this space!) as well as a collection of wedding dresses and a celebration of plywood - all very inspiring! If nothing else just search for past and present exhibitions at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London - use the skill of their curators to jumpstart your own ideas.

Do you have any failsafe ways to unblock your creativity and get those ideas flowing again? We'd love to hear from you - getting feedback is another amazing way we can tap into more ideas for Boxcitement boxes! Right, time to head back to Pinterest...

Deb, our Creative Director, has been taking part this month in #marchmeetthemaker, a creative initiative on Instagram dreamed up by designer and illustrator Joanne Hawker. Every day in March Joanne sets a challenge - anything from 'workspace' to 'raw materials' to 'inspiration' - and thousands of hugely talented designer makers from around the world post the image that describes the challenge as it relates to them.  
It's been fascinating to see how everyone works - their creative process, the tools they use and the things that motivate them - and it inspired us to take the challenge a step further and write about a whole month in the life of Boxcitement. We were amazed when we thought about it about how much goes on behind the scenes!

Boxcitement design most of the items we include ourselves, so we have to factor in our own design stage when creating our boxes. The themes and illustration styles for our boxes are generally agreed on months in advance, but the beginning of each month marks the start of the process that we go through to make sure our boxes get out the door. Once our subscribers have renewed their subscriptions on the 1st, we have a rough idea of how many items we need to produce for the following month - with a lot of wriggle room for last minute orders of course! This means that we can start to send all the designs we've created off to the printers. The designs can be applied to anything from bags to cards to mirrors - and with each manufacturer taking a certain amount of time to produce the items we've ordered, there's a lot of juggling to be done to make sure we hit our deadlines!

At the same time, the design for the item of jewellery we include in every box is finalised, the findings (the bits and bobs used in jewellery making) are sourced and our makers start making! With each item of jewellery being hand crafted it can take nearly the whole month to create enough for all our subscribers - and just when you think you've got it all organised, you run out of something and there's a panic to get it all finished!
Around the middle of the month, the Box Office becomes very busy with deliveries from manufacturers turning up every day. We work with local artisans and also printers and makers from Spain, Poland and Germany - and they're all fab to work with and are never late! Once the manufacturer has delivered their contribution it needs to be inserted into whatever cute packaging we have chosen for that month - which can sometimes take days! We believe that presentation is everything though, and the opening of a Boxcitement box just keeps on going as you open all the individually wrapped goodies inside. It's an exciting moment for us too when we see everything come together for the first time.

With all the products safely delivered, we then spend a couple of days with a photographer creating the images that you will be familiar with - not only the images that reveal the contents of our newest box, but also some 'sneak peek' pics of the box coming up next, so that we always have a good source of images for our social media channels and to send out for PR purposes. Our website is also regularly updated so that new customers can see what we've been up to. Around this time we will also arrange to send boxes to reviewers and organise promotions so that the word gets out when our latest box is launched.

And then comes the packing... with Boxcitement growing all the time we now have to hold 'packing parties' every month with our team so that all hands are on deck - usually the process takes two to three days with everyone on board but there is usually a late night involved (followed by pizza and wine, of course). It's a lot of fun but we have to work hard to make sure every box contains what it should. Then they are all taped up and allocated to our customers - who are as far afield as Australia, Japan, the US, Saudi Arabia, Malta, Russia and Sweden to name a few! As you can imagine the paperwork required to file all those boxes with Royal Mail takes a while, but once all the boxes are popped into their mail sacks and picked up it's a big moment, because after that they are literally out of our hands! It's a nervous couple of days until we start seeing feedback from subscribers - but there's simply nothing better than seeing an image posted on social media of someone enjoying their box. It's what our job is all about!

After a big clear up (you can imagine the number of boxes we have to flatten for recycling!) we usually spend a day or two brainstorming future boxes, analysing how the month came together and contacting potential new suppliers and manufacturers. This is the time when you are most likely to see us hanging out on Facebook or Twitter - we run out of time the rest of the month! We also start to formalise the contents for the next box - some of the biggest challenges are making everything fit into our letterbox-friendly boxes and that they don't weigh too much! We work out our production times - and the process begins once again. Deb visits trade shows and exhibitions in London and nationwide as well to help come up with new ideas, spot trends and discover new craft techniques - it's never ending but fantastically satisfying!

It's a wonderfully creative process involving some really talented people and we love to see our ideas come to life, and that they are enjoyed and used by our customers. We find inspiration in everything from a quick (OK, never quick) visit to Paperchase to the way someone is dressed in Shoreditch. And we constantly try to learn and explore new styles and influences so that every month is different. Hopefully you think that we usually succeed!

All the best for now - it's back to work!
Deb and the Boxcitement team

Boxcitement subscription box, UK subscription boxes, monthly mystery box, stationery subscription, gifts and jewellery, free delivery

Do you find it tricky to source the perfect present every time?

In today's busy world many of us just don't have time to tramp dow the high street looking for presents and cards whenever a special occasion comes around. The rapid growth of companies like Moonpig and Amazon Prime reflects the reality that, although we still love to search for and give good presents, we find it much more convenient to order them online than in person. But how do we avoid our gifts looking unoriginal and uninspiring?

Traditionally, gift wrapping and beautiful greetings cards have helped us to 'present our presents' in an exciting and thoughtful way which increases the enjoyment in opening and adds sentimental value to the gift, whatever its worth. But items ordered online will more often than not turn up in several layers of boring packing materials, covered in shipping stickers and filling the world with unbiodegradable plastic filler. Convenient they may be, but beautiful and environmentally friendly they definately are not!

That's where subscription boxes come in - not only as a regular way to treat yourself, but also as a convenient way to give a thoughtful gift that can be posted directly to your recipient - often in stunning packaging, with bespoke messages, hand written notes and even personalised gifts to add to the originality. With most UK subscription boxes being fulfilled by a small team of dedicated business owners, rather than large conglomerates with their eye on the clock, excessive and wasteful packaging is avoided and the gift that lands on the doormat so much more appealing.

With everything from organic snacks, pet treats and whisky samples to choose from, you can also choose a box to delight and surprise anyone, even the hardest to please teenager or fussy mother in law. A search for 'UK Subscription Boxes' on Google will open your eyes to the world of monthly boxes - no two are the same! And because the market is still relatively new here in the UK, you can be sure your gift recipient will be intrigued and impressed by this unusual way to receive a gift.

Here are five of the best subscription boxes available in the UK (including ours, naturally!):
Vallebona - incredible artisan cheese delivered monthly
My Geek Box - geeky collectibles and t-shirts
Pact Coffee - fair trade coffee from speciality farms
Allotinabox - grow your own vegetables in urban spaces
Boxcitement - loveliness through the letterbox, for people who don't do boring!
At Boxcitement, we not only provide a very personal service when someone orders a gift from us - with handwritten cards and the ability to choose a delivery date - but the gifts inside our boxes are about as original and exclusive as it's possible to be! Created by a small team of designers and makers, each item is made in strictly limited quantities, often by hand and always exclusively for Boxcitement. It's that creativity and uniqueness that makes our gifts so original - so from the initial unboxing to the final parcel unwrapped, our boxes are a joy to give and receive.

People are talking about Boxcitement's monthly subscription boxes! Check out some reviews and testimonials here.