There’s no steeper learning curve than starting your own business. I could write a book as thick as a telephone directory (showing my age there) on the entrepreneurial skills I’ve been required to absorb since I co-founded Get Set Pet in January 2019.
One particular lesson, which remains an ongoing source of amusement to me, is my journey of enlightenment with respect to the humble cardboard box. Like many, I suspect, there was a time when for me a cardboard box was just – well, a cardboard box! As the go-live date for the Get Set Pet website drew ever closer in late 2019 attention turned to thinking about how the goods we sold would actually be packaged. "Some sort of box would be in order", I confidently exclaimed. Ah, but what sort of box?
I quickly fired up a Google search and it wasn’t long before I had found a number of companies selling cardboard boxes in a variety of shapes and sizes. The question I had to try to answer, before we’d achieved a single sale, was what would a “typical” order look like? Quite a simple conundrum to solve if all you sold was one product but infinitely more challenging to a budding e-commerce titan if your launch range numbered hundreds of SKUs.
After much consideration I was ready to make my first purchase of packaging supplies. And so it came to pass that on the 5th of August 2019 I ordered 25 single-wall boxes measuring 610mm x 457mm x 457mm – that’s 24” x 18” x 18” in old money. Reader, those boxes were never used! They were too big, too weak and too expensive.
As the orders started rolling into the Get Set Pet website it became clear that I had fundamentally misjudged the buying patterns of our burgeoning customer base. My efforts up to that point were akin to trying to transport ice cream in a kettle. A rapid pivot in packaging strategy was required. Out went the single-walled boxes, in came their stronger double-walled cousins. A variety of smaller sizes were soon purchased and over time a new range of custom-sized boxes were specified and delivered.
If wasn’t long before I had picked up some of the cardboard manufacturers' lingo and was bluffing my way self-assuredly through conversations with industry insiders about Chinese environmental policy and its impact on global wood pulp availability.
So, if we meet in the future and you happen to be carrying a box don’t be surprised if I take a weird interest in it. Except I won’t call it a box. I’ll just tell you how impressed I am with your double-walled 0201 carton with its B/C fluting, 200gsm fully recycled inner Test liner and virgin Kraft paper outer!
Check out our range of quality products at getsetpet.com