Here are some of the questions I get asked the most. If there’s anything else you’d like to know get in touch, I’d be happy to help.
is the shop open?
Currently the online store is still open. I am working from home and have a stock of cards, pin badges, keyrings and mini-prints ready to go. I can send these out once a day during my exercise (I rollerksate around the park, via the post box!). As long as Royal Mail is able to keep running I will be able to get orders out.
I will of course be keeping an eye on the government recommenations, and do whatever is needed to prevent the spread of the virus.
i'm isolating, can you write my cards for me?
Absolutely. If you leave your message in the order notes at checkout I’d happily write it and send direct to the person.
Don’t forget to include the delivery address if different from the billing address.
i'm worried about the virus on my products
A study has found that the Covid-19 virus can survive for up to 24 hours on paper and card and up to 2-3 days on plastic and stainless-steel surfaces. All my packaging is plastic free, so by the time your order gets to you you should be fine. If you’re vulnerable and worried about contamination from the post person, I’d advise waiting a further 24 hours before opening the package, just to be sure. There’s a useful article here if you’d like more information.
I have a strict system of sanitising my hands whilst packing up orders, and am using water rather than licking envelopes to minimise contact.
are delivery times affected?
Royal Mail are working tirelessly to keep the country connected and I am so grateful for their hard work at this time. Although the services are still running as usual they are understaffed due to sickness. I’d plan for potential delays in delivery, and check their website for regular updates.
If your order is urgent get in touch – they are still offering SPecial Delivery, which is guaranteed next day (but not before 1pm).
Free resources to help people during lock down
I know how hard the next few months are going to be for many people. I have added a ‘freebies’ page to the website where you can download some free resources. Printable colouring-in versions of my alphabet (all set up to print in black and white on a normal home printer). And some ‘textable’ images you can ping over to someone if you want to send them a little pick me up but can’t afford a card. Hope this helps.
Where are your products made?
Everything is made within the UK, apart from the clasps on the keyrings which I have to import. I am searching for a supplier in this country though, so watch this space.
All of the prints, cards, wrapping paper and envelopes are made in Kent and printed on FSC certified paper.
I have the occasional limited-edition prints which I hand screen-print at Princlub in East London.
The plywood decorations and keyrings are made by Laura and her laser cutter in Wales.
are they eco-friendly?
As with any business the products I produce do have an impact. I don’t use plastic glitters or laminationn, which means everything is recyclable. And the hope is that other than the cards everything has a shelf life that means it will be enjoyed for years to come rather than end up in the bin after six months. There is always more that can be done though, and I am in constant contact with my suppliers to try and find greener ways to do things.
I’ve looked into recycled stocks but it is actually harder to trace the origins of the trees when using recycled pulps. Because of this I use FSC-certified paper for my archive prints, cards and wrap. This paper is produced from well-managed forests which are being conserved for future generations. My decorations and keyrings are also laser cut from FSC certified wood, which is grown in Wales just 30 miles from the workshop.
I print my products digitally, which means there are no printing plates that have to be made (and then disposed of) during the process. All empty ink cans from the presses are re-cycled as is the small amount of waste imaging oil resulting from the printing process. Any waste paper and board in the production process is recycled.
I am currently shifting the production of my cushions, along with my wholesale cards and wrap over to a print on demand model, which means zero wastage.
I make my products in the UK wherever possible, which greatly reduces their footprint.
what's an archive print?
In a nutshell, it is a print that won’t fade. The archive-paper that we use is acid-free and cotton based, which means it doesn’t go yellow with age. The lovely Polly at Little Bit Margate tells me she’s had the prints in her shop window in full Kentish sunshine and they are still as bright and colourful as the day they arrived.
my item looks different to the one on screen
Screens are notoriously inconsistent when it comes to colour, but I have tried to ensure that all imagery on the site is as acurate as possible. If you are unhappy with your item for any reason do please get in touch. If you’ve purchased one of my limited editions there may be slight variations in alignment or ink coverage from print to print. This is to be expected with hand screenprinted items and is part of their charm. If you prefer pixel-perfect reproduction you might be better choosing one of the archive-quality giclee prints instead. Check out our individual letters on the Alphablots shop. If you bought one of the plywood tree decorations please be aware that due to the nature of plywood there may be variations in grain and a slight charring around the edges which is normal when laser cutting natural materials – the heat from the laser charrs the wood and gives it a nice dark colour and slighty smoky smell.
postage and packaging
When will my order arrive?
Parcels are sent first class using Royal Mail, please allows 3-5 working days for dispatch and delivery. If it has been over 5 days get in touch and we’ll get to the bottom of where your parcel is pronto.
how do you work out postage costs?
Anything A3 or above is rolled and sent in recyclable triangular boxes at a flat rate of £4.99. Anything A5 or smaller is sent flat in a protective envelope at a rate of £3.99. If you buy more than one item they will be sent together and you will only pay the postage and packaging costs once. If you spend over £40 postage and packaging costs are free of charge.
argh, i left it too late. can you get it to me any quicker?
We can definitely try. Get in touch before you make your purchase and if we are in the studio we may be able to get it out to you faster via special delivery.
will the amount of packaging make me want to cry?
I hate unnecessary packaging and do my best to keep ours to a minimum whilst making sure your products get to you in perfect condition. Our postage tubes do not use plastic lids and so are 100% recyclable and you won’t find any polystyrene peanuts in Alphablots boxes. The ‘plastic’ wraps on the cards and mini prints are made from biodegradable PLA. Unfortunately they don’t make bio wraps for larger items yet, so for now the wraps on the bigger prints are recyclable only.
there is a problem with my order
We do our best to make sure your package gets to you in perfect condition, but sometimes accidents happen in transit. If you are unhappy with the condition of your products in any way or there is a mistake with your order please email us within 7 days and we’ll be happy to help.
i've change my mind
If you no longer want your products please get in touch via email to discuss a refund or exchange. Returns need to be made within 7 days of delivery and the items should be unused and in the original packaging. Unfortunately we can’t refund postage costs on returned items.
i own a shop, can we collaborate on an exclusive line?
Absoltuely. I love working with other people and am always open to the idea of site-specific collaborations. I have a range of place-name prints that I could expand for your local area, or we could look at a completely new idea. Get in touch and let’s talk
How much does a private commission cost?
That’s a tricky question because there are so many variables involved. I might be able to create your design by repurposing existing elements, or I might need to start from scratch. The best thing to do is get in touch so we can discuss your needs and go from there. It won’t be cheap though – if you’re looking for something within a similar price-range to my off-the-shelf prints it’s probably not for you. It can take anything from a few hours to a week to creat each new design.
do you have an agent?
Not yet. I currently do all of the negotiating myself, but it’s definitely something I’m interested in so if you’re an agent on the scout for new artist give me a shout – I’d love to chat.
the other stuff
i love your work, can i use it for my blog/magazine/branding?
Unfortunately the designs aren’t available for open source licensing, please don’t take them from the website for your own use. If you have a project that you would like to use them for drop me an email and tell me more – I’d love to hear about it.
i'm a student, do you offer work experience?
Right now Alphablots is just me, cramming in as much work as possible around other commitments so it’s just not practical for me to have anyone working alongside me. That doesn’t mean I don’t want to help though, I know how hard it is when you’re starting out. If you have a portfolio you’d like me to take a look at then send it my way along with a brief description of your design practice and what you’re looking to get into. I’ll keep it on file and get back in touch in the future if I have a project I think we could work on together.
i can't afford your products - why are they so expensive?
I have a range on so that hopefully there is something for everyone’s budget. Unfortunately I can’t bring the costs down any lower without compromising on the environmental and ethical aspects of production, or having them made outside of the UK. The prints are available in a more affordable mini-print size, and I have friends who have framed the greetings cards which look great.