Small Biz of the Month
Each month BizBubble takes to Twitter and Instagram to discover wonderful small businesses that deserve some recognition for their hard work. We choose one small biz each month to go behind the scenes with in order to learn about and share with you their inspirational story, challenges, successes and achievements.
This month we meet: A Toast in the Post
We are A Toast in the Post and we are an alcohol gifting business based in sunny Blackpool, Lancashire. We help you to celebrate those special moments in life by sending the gift of a mini drink of your choice together with a personalised photo message card in a stylish recyclable gift box. We keep friends and family connected when you can’t be there to celebrate together in person.
We are husband and wife team, David and Jane and we have two valuable team members, Loren who heads up our marketing, and Mabel, our furry team leader who brings nothing but joy to to the Toast Office.
The idea for the business
The idea came to us several years ago. We were unable to attend a funeral and we wanted to send a favourite tippe and a treasured photo with a message, for the family to open after the funeral service. We were discussing it and I remember turning to David and saying, I just want to send ‘A Toast in the Post!’
We registered the name with Companies House, bought the domain names, talked about it relentlessly but never had the time to start it up due to other long standing work commitments.
Before we set up A Toast in the Post over 15 months ago, David and I both worked together in our exhibition business for 25+ years. When the pandemic began and the cancellation of events snowballed it was clear that Covid was going to have a huge, long term impact on events. Even now in 2021 the pandemic causes havoc with exhibitions so we are very grateful to have set up A Toast in the Post as it created a much-needed lifeline and focus for us both in difficult times.
It has been incredibly challenging as we’ve gone from running an exhibition business to setting up an e-commerce website in a few months, learning new skills every step of the way. At the same time that Covid struck we were also midway through building premises and we ended up starting A Toast in the Post from a storage cupboard in the new warehouse whilst we completed the build.
Before launching we did a great deal of research and testing as were adamant our packaging was to be 100% recyclable. It was no mean feat as all of our mini bottles are different shapes and sizes but we are delighted we invested the time perfecting our boxes as the presentatation is all part of receiving ‘A Toast in the Post.’
Our corporate gift service is popular as it suits all occasions such as staff appreciation, gifts for customers, virtual business awards, business anniversaries, new team members, retirement, Christmas gifting etc. There is no minimum order quantity and each toast can be individually personalised with a message which makes our service stand out amongst our competitiors, and the recyclable packaging is particularly important to our corporate customers.
Sending a personalised card is a big part of sending A Toast in the Post’ and we underestimated how difficult it was to build in the personalisation into the website not only to design it so that it is easy for our customers to use, but also to create print ready documents. This element of the website did delay our launch and will always require constant improvement but our customers enjoy having the option to either upload their personal photo, or select from a range of pre designed greetings card. This year we aim to extend the range of designs we have available.
We have won several Twitter small business awards which has given us access to join numerous business networking groups online. The small business community on Twitter has been such a positive, inspiring zone as it was a lonely time setting up an online business in lockdown.
A few weeks after launching we won Dragon’s Den star Theo Paphitis’ national
“Small Business Sunday” (SBS) award and Jacqueline Gold’s “Women on Wednesday” (WOW)competition. Just recently we have learned that we are in Jaqueline Gold’s Top 3 businesses for WOW 2022!
In addition to this, we were finalsists at the Red Rose Awards, Enterprise Vision Awards, Micro Business Awards and were part of SmallBiz100 with an invitation to the House of Lords at the end of 2021. It really has been a whirlwind first year.
Why A Toast in the Post?
Our tipples are suitable for all occasions such as engagement, wedding, anniversary, birthday, retirement, new home, new baby and ‘thank you’ to name but a few. The choice of toast comes down to the individual(s) you are buying for and is completely personalised by either uploading your own personal photo or choosing from our range of predesigned cards before adding your personal message.