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August 17, 2020
Hello. If you don't know me already, I'm Emma and I set up Cupsmith with my husband George. We are very much a family-run, hands-on business and if you place an order with us, chances are either George or I will have both made your product and packed it!
Recently we set about redesigning our organic tea and hot chocolate packaging. We wanted to switch to an eco-friendly solution that works for the environment, but also works for our customers (and indeed supermarkets who demand a 12+ months shelf life). So to meet all those needs, we changed to boxes made from sustainable sources and that are also fully recyclable, and inside we use plastic-free bags made from plant sources and that can be composted at home. And the design of the boxes? Well I decided to do them all myself! I love drawing so I sat at both our kitchen table and the one in our roastery and I spent literally days and days drawing and painting!
I based all the boxes on the idea of 'home' and the places that people love to enjoy a cup of tea or hot chocolate: from greenhouses and sheds, to Cornish cottages by the sea and quintessentially English cottages with thatched roofs. If you peek inside each open door, you'll see a little scene - often the kitchen - of a table with a cup of tea or hot chocolate. Each box design takes me about 8 hours to draw and paint by hand. I do each as a continuous, flat layout and then Andy - our Cupsmith Secret Weapon - takes my artwork, moves a few things around ( I always have plant pots in inconvenient places) and adds the text. Then after several proofs, it's off to print and 6 weeks later I nervously wait for a pallet of 'my' boxes to arrive at our factory!
I dread seeing an illustration error and so far I've only seen two: on one box I forgot to paint the front door, and on another the little kitchen scene shows a table set for breakfast with a cafetiere of coffee ready to be poured. I remember at the time thinking happily 'Ooh, I've nailed that cafetiere, it looks very lifelike and the coffee is perfect', only to realise that when I unwrapped the pallet of boxes, they are in fact tea boxes, not coffee! But I've tried to embrace my errors (if I shut my eyes and squint I don't notice them as much!) and hope that they too are part of our story.
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