Business Information Factsheet

Becoming A Wedding Stationery Maker

Contents

  • Introduction
  • Qualifications and skills
  • Key market issues and trends
  • Trading, commercial and legal issues
  • Legislation
  • Further information

Introduction

A wedding stationery maker designs and produces wedding invitations, RSVP and save-the-date cards, orders of service, menus, table plans, place cards, guest books and thank-you cards. The stationery is usually personalised, although many wedding stationery makers also supply ready-made designs that enable couples to add their own details. Stationery making is a skilled craft, typically requiring calligraphy, card making and digital design skills.

This profile provides information about starting up and trading as a wedding stationery maker. It describes the skills required, the training available, the current market trends and the key trading issues. It also explains the legislation that must be complied with and provides sources of further information and support.

The 2020 coronavirus outbreak and resulting Government restrictions have had an impact on all UK business sectors. Appropriate advice should be sought to understand how the outbreak has affected wedding stationery makers trading in the UK.

Qualifications and skills

There are no qualifications legally required to start up and trade as a wedding stationery maker. However, natural creative talent and craft and graphic design skills are essential, as is an understanding of trends and developments in the wedding sector.

The following courses are suitable for anyone intending to start up and trade as a wedding stationery maker:

Anyone starting up in business as a wedding stationery maker will benefit from training in general business and enterprise skills. Suitable courses include:

  • Free webinars provided by HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC), which cover topics such as business expenses, self-assessment online, VAT, self-employment and becoming an employer. Go to www.gov.uk/government/collections/hmrc-webinars-email-alerts-and-videos for more information.
  • Social Marketing Training, which is a free online course with six chapters run by Hootsuite Academy. Topics covered include optimising social media profiles (on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and YouTube), developing a social media strategy, building an online community of customers and creating online content that will engage followers’ attention. Go to https://education.hootsuite.com/courses/social-marketing-education for more information.
  • The Consumer Rights Act 2015, which is a one-hour online course provided by Virtual College and developed in partnership with the Chartered Trading Standards Institute. The course costs £30 (excluding VAT) and covers consumers’ rights when purchasing goods such as ready-made wedding stationery or services, the time limits for consumers making claims under the Act and the limited rights of businesses to restrict their liability to consumers. For more information, go to www.virtual-college.co.uk/courses/retail-courses/consumer-rights-act-2015.
  • GDPR Online Training, which is a 60-minute course provided by High Speed Training that covers the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Topics covered include recognising personal data, understanding individuals’ rights, the importance of appropriate security measures and the consequences of breaching the legislation. The course costs £25 (excluding VAT). Go to www.highspeedtraining.co.uk/business-skills/gdpr-training.aspx for more information.

Sector awareness

Wedding stationery makers can keep up to date with news and developments in their sector and improve their awareness of trends by attending events and reading trade journals and resources, including:

  • The Creative Craft Show (www.stitchandhobby.co.uk/birmingham/autumn), which is an annual trade exhibition for the arts and crafts sector, held over four days as part of the Creative Craft Show each October/November at the NEC, Birmingham. The event, which may be useful for wedding stationery makers, features workshops, demonstrations, new products and networking opportunities.
  • ‘CraftBusiness’ (www.craftbusiness.com), which is a print journal and online resource for craft makers and retailers, featuring news, trends, events and product reviews.
  • ‘Craft Focus’ (www.craftfocus.com), which is a bi-monthly trade magazine and online resource featuring information about the arts and crafts sector, details of trade events and an online directory of suppliers.
  • ‘You & Your Wedding’ (www.youandyourwedding.co.uk), which is a consumer magazine featuring news about wedding market trends and popular styles. It also publishes a directory of stationery suppliers and retailers.
  • The National Wedding Show (www.nationalweddingshow.co.uk), which is a series of annual events featuring over 250 exhibitors, including suppliers of wedding stationery, that also provides networking opportunities with florists, photographers and wedding favour makers. The events are held at Olympia, London in September; ExCeL, London in October; the NEC, Birmingham in September; and EventCity, Manchester in October.
  • Progressive Greetings Live (www.progressivegreetingslive.com), which is a trade event for the greeting card sector held each June at the Business Design Centre, London. It features an exhibition of suppliers and new products.
  • Stationery Show London (www.stationeryshowlondon.co.uk), which is a trade event for the stationery sector featuring writing and paper products, including a range of brands not available at other events.

Key market issues and trends

Current market issues affecting established and start-up wedding stationery makers include the following:

Trading, commercial and legal issues

Start-up and established wedding stationery makers face the following trading, commercial and legal issues:

Premises and running the business from home

Wedding stationery makers typically trade from a home base or small rented craft studio and require a well-lit workroom with sufficient space for tools, equipment and supplies. A storage area for materials is also essential, as is a secure place to store finished items awaiting delivery. Many areas of the UK have local arts and crafts centres and other managed workspaces with workshops or studios that can be rented by small craft-based enterprises, often at subsidised rates on easy-in, easy-out terms.

The Business Centre Association (BCA) maintains a directory of managed workspace, workshops and studios around the UK at www.bca.uk.com/search/searchwww.bca.uk.com/search.

Commercial rent and business rates vary significantly depending on the location, layout and size of the premises. In England and Wales, the Valuation Office Agency (www.gov.uk/introduction-to-business-rates) is responsible for determining the rateable value of premises based on their size and rental value, and this figure is used by local authority valuation officers to set local business rates.

In Scotland, the determination of business rates is the responsibility of the Scottish Assessors (www.gov.scot/policies/local-government/non-domestic-rates), and in Northern Ireland, it is dealt with by Land & Property Services, part of the Department of Finance (www.finance-ni.gov.uk/topics/property-rating).

Wedding stationery makers intending to trade from a home base should inform their mortgage company or landlord and check that they are allowed to do this under the terms of their mortgage or tenancy agreement. Landlords may be unwilling to grant permission if, for example, there will be an increased fire risk or nuisance caused by a stationery maker storing large quantities of paper products and finished stock or stationery-making equipment at their property.

The Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act 2015 amended the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954 to allow tenants to run a home-based business from a rented residential property under a specific ‘home business tenancy’ granted by their landlord, as long as it is the kind of business that someone could reasonably be expected to run from their home. Go to www.landlordsguild.com/consenting-to-carrying-on-a-home-business for more information.

Stationery makers should also contact their local authority to find out whether they will need change-of-use planning permission to run a business from home, for example if they intend to convert a room or outbuilding permanently into a workshop. Landlords and local authorities may be unwilling to grant permission if, for example, there will be nuisance to neighbours caused by unreasonable noise or parking problems due to frequent deliveries to the premises.

Anyone running a business based at home will need to find out whether they will become liable for business rates. The Valuation Office Agency has information about rates for a home-based business in England and Wales at www.gov.uk/introduction-to-business-rates/working-at-home. Guidance for Scotland is available at www.mygov.scot/business-rates-guidance/working-from-home, and guidance for Northern Ireland can be found at www.nibusinessinfo.co.uk/content/rates-and-your-business-premises.

It is also essential to hold adequate insurance cover both for the home and for business purposes.

Sourcing equipment and supplies

A wedding stationery maker needs to budget for and source a wide range of equipment and supplies from reliable trade suppliers.

A typical budget for stationery-making equipment (excluding VAT) is:

  • Die cutting machine (from £50 to £280).
  • Letterpress (from £500 to £6,000).
  • Embossing machine (from £30 to £250).
  • Craft knives (from £5).
  • Cutting mat (from £5 to £13).
  • Glue gun (from £9 to £45).
  • Scissors (from £4 for a pack of five).
  • Paper trimmer (from £30 to £140).

Typical supplies include card, ribbons, polythene card bags and insert paper.

Equipment is typically sourced from online trade suppliers such as Fred Aldous (www.fredaldous.co.uk).

Letterpress machines are available from manufacturers such as Caslon (www.caslon.co.uk/html/adanar_letterpress.html).

Suppliers of specialist paper and inks for use with letterpress machines include Lyme Bay Press (http://main.lymebaypress.co.uk).

Trade suppliers of stationery-making consumables such as paper, card, ribbons, embellishments and envelopes include Swallow Crafts (www.swallowcrafts.com) and Peak Dale Products (www.peakdaleproducts.co.uk).

Printing and design software

Depending on the scale of the stationery maker’s activities, the printing of some stationery items is often contracted to a specialist printing service. In this case, it will be important to find a reliable and flexible supplier that is able to carry out small print runs within a suitable price range and timescale.

Stationery designs and artwork usually need to be supplied to the printer in a specified image format, such as PDF or JPEG. Designs are typically produced using software such as CorelDRAW Graphics Suite 2019 (www.coreldraw.com/gb/product/small-business-software/?pid=prod4960089), which costs around £600 (including VAT), and Adobe Creative Cloud Illustrator (www.adobe.com/uk/products/illustrator.html), which costs from around £20 per month.

Under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988, the copyright of original works of ‘artistic craftsmanship’ and ‘graphic work’, such as original designs and wedding stationery images, is protected by law. Under the Act, the copyright (or intellectual property) in original work automatically belongs to its creator, such as a wedding stationery maker, who may publish, reproduce and sell the design in any way. Wedding stationery makers should protect their copyright (for example by marking drawings with the © mark, their name and the year the design was created).

The British Library provides information about different types of intellectual property protection at www.bl.uk/business-and-ip-centre/articles/what-is-intellectual-property.

The Copyright Hub also provides information about protecting copyright, including safeguarding creative work. Go to www.copyrighthub.co.uk for more details.

Wedding stationery makers must also ensure that they do not infringe the copyright of other designers, artists or stationery makers, for example by producing stationery based on other artists’ or stationery makers’ original designs, without their explicit permission or licence.

Consultations, quotations and contracts with consumers

As well as being approached directly by couples, wedding stationery makers sometimes obtain sales via recommendations from wedding planners and wedding venues that introduce couples to them. This sometimes involves an initial face-to-face consultation or a telephone or e-mail discussion about wedding stationery styles, quantities and designs required by the couple, along with a formal written quotation for the price to supply stationery, including minimum order quantities and arrangements for the delivery or collection of the stationery.

Under the Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013 (CCRs), wedding stationery makers who supply stationery to consumers (meaning anyone purchasing stationery for purposes unconnected to their business or profession, such as engaged couples) online, by mail order or over the phone must provide them with specific pre-contract information, including their pricing, payment and cancellation terms.

The pre-contract information must explain that there is no right to cancel once an order has been finalised for stationery that has been personalised or made to order.

To comply with the CCRs, the pre-contract information must be in writing and, as best practice, should be included in the stationery maker’s standard terms and conditions (Ts and Cs) of business, which can be displayed on their website or provided in an e-mail response to an enquiry.

Ts and Cs of business should typically include:

  • The wedding stationery maker’s trading name, address and telephone number, as well as their company registration number and VAT registration number, if applicable.
  • The business name that will appear on any credit or debit card statements, which is often different to the trading name.
  • Detailed descriptions and clear images of the stationery designs that are available and which should be provided as part of the online or mail order listing for each item.
  • Clear details about pricing, including delivery charges and VAT (if any).
  • Payment terms and deposits.
  • The process for confirming or finalising the order, including the design, personalisation and number of stationery items.
  • The required lead time to produce or deliver the order.
  • Indemnification against claims of copyright infringement if the customer supplies a song or poem for use in their stationery without the permission of its originator.
  • Details of the customer’s right to cancel an order and the cancellation procedure.
  • The policy for complying with the Data Protection Act 2018 (DPA 2018) and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

Wedding stationery makers selling via an online marketplace such as Notonthehighstreet.com, Etsy, Folksy or Handmade at Amazon must also ensure that they provide the pre-contract information on their website, or provide a link to the online marketplace’s Ts and Cs of sale.

In addition to complying with the CCRs, stationery makers who accept orders online must also meet the requirements of the Electronic Commerce (EC Directive) Regulations 2002. This includes providing clear information about the technical steps to follow to conclude the contract, and how the consumer can identify any input errors before confirming their order.

It is worthwhile having a solicitor draft or review Ts and Cs to ensure they comply with consumer protection law.

Setting up an e-commerce website

Some wedding stationery makers build and manage their own e-commerce websites, using platforms such as Shopify (www.shopify.co.uk/online), which provides a range of options for selling online:

  • A new e-commerce website can be created from scratch, using templates that the stationery maker customises with colours, images and logos (www.shopify.co.uk/online/ecommerce-solutions).
  • Stationery makers with an existing website can add a ‘buy button’, enabling customers to order items that are listed on the site (www.shopify.co.uk/buy-button).
  • Stationery makers with a Facebook page can add a shop section to it, where customers can browse and order items (www.shopify.co.uk/facebook).

Other e-commerce platforms include:

Providers of e-commerce platforms typically charge a monthly fee, as well as commission for each item sold via their platform.

Sales to consumers via online marketplaces

Many wedding stationery makers also trade via online craft marketplaces such as Etsy (www.etsy.com) and Folksy (www.folksy.com). For example, Etsy and Folksy both have a dedicated ‘Weddings’ category.

Etsy charges listing fees of 15p per item, a 5% transaction fee per sale and a 4% plus 20p fee for payment processing. Go to www.etsy.com/uk/sell for more details.

Folksy provides a basic account and charges a listing fee of 15p plus VAT per item and sales commission of 6% plus VAT. Alternatively, stationery makers can sign up for the Folksy Plus account, which costs £5 per month (including VAT) but has no listing fees, although sales commission is still charged at 6% plus VAT. Go to https://folksy.com/selling for more information.

Other online marketplaces where stationery makers can set up stores include Handmade at Amazon (https://services.amazon.com/handmade/handmade.html), which is a dedicated store where invited artisans can promote their products.

Amazon provides a Professional selling plan costing £25 per month (excluding VAT) for regular sellers who list more than 35 items a month (https://services.amazon.co.uk/services/sell-online/pricing.html). It does not charge insertion fees for professional sellers, but charges a percentage of the sale price, which varies depending on the type of item sold.

Wedding stationery makers can also apply to sell via online marketplace Notonthehighstreet.com, which has a dedicated sub-category covering wedding stationery within the main ‘Weddings’ category. Go to www.notonthehighstreet.com/join/signup for more information.

Other consumer and business protection regulations

Under the Consumer Rights Act 2015, wedding stationery makers must provide their services to consumers with reasonable care and skill. For example, wedding stationery must be delivered to customers on or before the date agreed, in order that the invitations can be sent out in plenty of time before the wedding. Consumers can claim a full refund within 30 days of purchase if items they buy from a stationery maker are not of satisfactory quality, not as described or not fit for purpose. A replacement can be offered instead of a refund, but the customer is entitled to insist on a refund.

Under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 and the Consumer Protection (Amendment) Regulations 2014, it is an offence for a wedding stationery maker to mislead or otherwise act unfairly towards a consumer, for example by providing misleading information about their experience, pricing and promotions.

Under the Alternative Dispute Resolution for Consumer Disputes (Competent Authorities and Information) Regulations 2015, stationery makers who fail to resolve a dispute through their own complaints-handling procedure must inform consumers about a certified alternative dispute resolution (ADR) scheme relevant to their sector. ADR schemes provide consumers and traders with a way of resolving complaints without going to court.

The Business Protection from Misleading Marketing Regulations 2008 make it a criminal offence for wedding stationery makers to promote their business by means of unfair comparisons between their stationery and services and those of other stationery makers, for example in relation to the quality and range of their stock.

Under the Supply of Goods and Services Act 1982, it is an implied term of business-to-business contracts (such as supplying stationery to a wedding planner or venue) that the service will be provided with reasonable care and skill. Stationery must be as described, of satisfactory quality and fit for purpose. Some provisions of the Act have been introduced in Scotland through the Sale and Supply of Goods Act 1994.

Pricing and bespoke designs

Wedding stationery makers often require couples or wedding planners ordering bespoke stationery to place a minimum order, for example for 25 units. Pricing will reflect the size of the order and, in particular, the costs associated with the print run. Prices also depend on factors including the complexity of the design, materials used and level of customisation. For example, wedding invitations and orders of service are typically priced from £3 to £4 per unit, while smaller items such as save-the-date and RSVP cards range from £1.50 to £2.50 each.

Some wedding stationery makers also charge a fixed fee for researching and designing stationery items that is non-refundable if the customer decides not to proceed with the order.

Examples of pricing for wedding stationery can be found at www.pureinvitation.co.ukwww.emmydesigns.co.uk/bespoke-stationery-prices and www.louiserowlesdesigns.co.uk/index.php?p=1_11_Prices.

Wedding stationery, and any delivery fees charged by the stationery maker, are standard-rated for VAT. Stationery makers must register for VAT once their turnover reaches the mandatory threshold.

Proofs and sign-offs

Wedding stationery makers typically provide a set of standard designs that customers can choose from and personalise by selecting different colours, fonts, graphics and text, sometimes via an online order form. Go to www.weddinginvitations.co.uk and www.artcadia.co.uk for examples.

Once the customer has completed and returned the order form, the stationery maker will produce a proof or sample to send to the customer for approval. The customer will return the proof with a deposit if they are satisfied and prepared to place an order.

The initial proofing stage is often free, although some stationery makers charge a fee for it, or require a non-refundable deposit in advance.

Taking payment

Wedding stationery makers often charge a deposit for personalised stationery, such as 50% of the total price, when the order is placed. They usually request payment of the balance on delivery of the order.

As best practice, stationery makers should invoice couples for deposits and any other payments received.

It will be necessary to apply for a merchant account to process online payments. Examples include PayPal (www.paypal.co.uk), Worldpay (www.worldpay.com/uk) and Nochex (www.nochex.com).

Certain apps enable customers to pay for services via a smartphone without providing a physical card. Examples include Google Pay and Apple Pay, which work on Android and Apple devices respectively.

Privacy and data protection

To comply with the Data Protection Act 2018 (DPA 2018) and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), any personally identifiable information or data that the stationery maker holds about couples or commercial customers such as wedding planners should be stored securely and used only for the lawful purpose for which it was collected.

In addition, stationery makers must have a data protection policy and notice that clearly explains how personal data collected and held by them is managed and used. The policy should be in writing and can be included, for example, in their Ts and Cs and on their website.

Under the GDPR, stationery makers may need to pay a fee to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO). For most stationery makers, this will be £40 per year. Go to https://ico.org.uk/for-organisations/data-protection-fee/ for details.

Guidance from the ICO about complying with data protection legislation is available at https://ico.org.uk/for-organisations/guide-to-the-general-data-protection-regulation-gdpr/.

Arranging customer deliveries

Wedding stationery makers providing a telephone, online or mail ordering service will need to arrange delivery by Royal Mail parcel post or courier service. Some offer free delivery on orders above a certain value and next-day delivery on orders placed before a certain time (usually 1pm). Orders will need to be wrapped and packaged carefully to ensure that they are not damaged in transit.

Wedding stationery makers can list items requiring delivery on auction-based trade exchanges that enable couriers to bid for jobs on a ‘reverse auction’ basis, where the lowest bidder wins the contract. Examples include Delivery Quote Compare (www.deliveryquotecompare.com) and Shiply (www.shiply.com).

Boxes and mailing bags (which can be branded with the maker’s logo), bubble wrap and other packaging can be sourced from suppliers such as Kite Packaging (www.kitepackaging.co.uk) and UK Packaging (www.ukplc.co.uk).

Stationery makers should ensure that they obtain specialist goods-in-transit insurance to cover items they send to customers by courier or parcel post. Details of Royal Mail compensation schemes for lost or damaged items (which vary according to value and mode of postage) can be viewed at https://business.help.royalmail.com (click on Complaints & claims).

Workplace health and safety

The Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and the Health and Safety at Work (Northern Ireland) Order 1978 place a general duty of care on employers to protect the health and safety of their employees and anyone else that may be affected by their business activities, such as suppliers, customers and members of the public.

Under the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 and equivalent legislation in Northern Ireland, all employers, and those who are self-employed, are required to undertake a risk assessment of their workplace and work activities. They must also provide employees with adequate health and safety training. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has guidance on carrying out a risk assessment at www.hse.gov.uk/risk/controlling-risks.htm.

Under the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 and the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2003, wedding stationery makers must have health and safety measures in place to protect themselves and any employees from health risks arising from exposure to potentially harmful substances, such as adhesives and inks. Go to www.hse.gov.uk/coshh/index.htm and www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/indg136.pdf for more information.

According to guidance from the HSE, stationery makers must ensure that areas used for storing adhesives and inks are well organised and well ventilated. Containers should be clearly labelled and heavier containers stored on lower shelves. Go to www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/guidance/sr24.pdf to view the guidance.

Under the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 and equivalent legislation in Northern Ireland, electrical appliances used in the workplace (such as glue guns, laptops and printers) must be regularly assessed for safety, for example by carrying out regular visual checks and arranging formal PAT (portable appliance testing). Go to www.hse.gov.uk/electricity/faq-portable-appliance-testing.htm for information.

Under the Health and Safety (First-Aid) Regulations 1981, wedding stationery makers are required to provide first-aid equipment for staff. First-aid kits cost from around £10 and can be sourced from online suppliers such as Eureka! Direct (www.eurekadirect.co.uk/First-Aid-Supplies) and Safety First Aid (www.safetyfirstaid.co.uk).

Under the Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992 and equivalent legislation in Northern Ireland, stationery makers must assess the risk of injury to themselves and their employees and ensure that any unnecessary lifting is avoided, and take steps to reduce the risk of injury where lifting is unavoidable, for example by dividing large loads into smaller boxes. Heavy containers should be clearly labelled and stored on lower shelves.

Under the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER) and equivalent legislation in Northern Ireland, stationery makers must ensure that equipment used in their business (such as glue guns) is properly maintained. Employees must be trained in the safe use of equipment. The HSE publishes a guide to the Regulations at www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/indg291.pdf.

Under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 and equivalent legislation in Scotland and Northern Ireland, it is a legal requirement to install appropriate fire detection and prevention equipment on non-domestic premises.

Trade body membership

Membership of a trade body can provide a wide range of individual and business benefits. Relevant bodies include:

  • The Wedding Association (www.theweddingassociation.co.uk), which represents a range of service providers in the wedding industry, including stationery makers. Membership includes a listing in the members directory, use of its logo in promotional literature, and support and advice on industry-related matters. Newly established stationery makers can take out provisional membership, which costs £150, subject to a £25 joining fee.
  • The Greeting Card Association (GCA), which is a trade body primarily representing greeting card publishers, including stationery makers. Benefits for publisher members include the right to attend events, a listing in the members directory, copyright and brand-protection guidance, a legal helpline and access to resources such as the ‘GCA Market Report’. The membership fee for publishers varies according to turnover and starts from £85 (plus VAT) annually, plus a one-off joining fee of £10. For information, go to www.greetingcardassociation.org.uk.
  • The Giftware Association, which is a membership organisation representing the giftware sector that may also be relevant for wedding stationery makers. Membership benefits include an e-newsletter, business advice, legal advice and discounts at trade shows. The membership fee is available from the Giftware Association on request. For information, go to www.ga-uk.org.

Promoting the business

Opportunities for a wedding stationery maker to promote their products and services include:

  • Listing in specialist wedding directories such as:
  • Creating a short video presentation, for example about the stationery-making process, uploading it onto online video-sharing websites such as YouTube and including a link back to the maker’s website. Go to www.youtube.com and enter ‘wedding stationery making’ in the search box for examples of other stationery makers doing this.
  • Posting images to social media and photo-sharing websites such as Twitter (https://twitter.com), Instagram (www.instagram.com) and Pinterest (www.pinterest.com) of, for example, new stock. Go to https://twitter.com and enter ‘wedding stationery UK’ in the search box for examples of other wedding stationery makers doing this.
  • Networking with other local wedding suppliers, such as wedding planners, bridalwear shops and florists, to encourage referrals. The UK Alliance of Wedding Planners (UKAWP) lists members by location at www.ukawp.com/wedding-suppliers.
  • Attending and exhibiting at wedding fairs, which provide opportunities for wedding stationery makers to showcase their work to potential customers such as couples and wedding planners. Go to www.allweddingfayres.co.uk for a list of wedding fairs around the country.
  • Creating a Facebook business page to encourage customer referrals. Facebook pages can be customised with the wedding stationery maker’s name, logo and other information, and regularly updated with photos, articles and special offers, competitions, trends, events, reviews and customer polls. Go to https://en-gb.facebook.com/ryanpatrickdesign/ and www.facebook.com/JellicoeStationery for examples of wedding stationery makers with a Facebook business page. Go to www.facebook.com/business for further information about how to use Facebook for business promotion.
  • Advertising in the hard copy and online versions of local business directories such as Yellow Pages (www.yell.com) and Thomson Local (www.thomsonlocal.com). Yahoo Local (www.infoserve.com/local-listings/yahoo-local) provides free listings for wedding stationery makers by location.
  • Using Google My Business (www.google.com/business) to edit and update the information about the business that appears in Google search results and Google Maps. Google My Business also enables stationery makers to respond to customer reviews.
  • Adding their details and location to Apple Maps, which enable customers to find stationery makers near to them using their Apple devices, such as iPhones, tablets and smart watches. Go to https://mapsconnect.apple.com for more information.

Insurance

A wedding stationery maker requires several types of insurance cover, including:

  • Public liability insurance, which covers a stationery maker against claims for compensation from customers, suppliers and members of the public injured or adversely affected as a result of their activities.
  • Professional indemnity insurance, which covers the stationery maker against claims of breach of copyright, design right and the Data Protection Act 2018 and the GDPR.
  • Cybersecurity insurance to cover the stationery maker for the cost of computer system restoration and recovery of compromised data as a result of cyber attacks.
  • Employers’ liability insurance, which is mandatory as soon as the stationery maker employs staff.
  • Legal expenses insurance, which provides cover for defending or pursuing claims arising from contractual disputes with retailers, suppliers, online marketplaces or landlords, or to defend employment tribunal cases.
  • Building and contents insurance, which will be needed to cover the stationery maker’s premises, office and IT systems, equipment and stock against accidental damage, fire, flood, theft, and any business interruption arising as a result.
  • Adequate goods-in-transit insurance to cover any items dispatched to customers.

Specialist insurance for craft designer/makers, including wedding stationery makers, is available from insurers and brokers such as Ian W Wallace Ltd (www.craftinsurance.co.uk) and Blackfriars Group (www.blackfriarsgroup.com/stationery-manufacturers-insurance).

Legislation

This section provides an at-a-glance list of the legislation that wedding stationery makers must comply with. Professional advice about the impact of legislation should always be taken before making any business decisions.

Consumer and business protection

  • Under the Alternative Dispute Resolution for Consumer Disputes (Competent Authorities and Information) Regulations 2015, stationery makers who fail to resolve a dispute through their own complaints-handling procedure must inform consumers about a certified alternative dispute resolution (ADR) scheme relevant to their sector. ADR schemes provide consumers and traders with a way of resolving complaints without going to court.
  • The Business Protection from Misleading Marketing Regulations 2008 make it a criminal offence for wedding stationery makers to promote their business by means of unfair comparisons between their stationery and services and those of other stationery makers, for example in relation to the quality and range of their stock.
  • Under the Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013 (CCRs), wedding stationery makers who supply stationery to consumers (meaning anyone purchasing stationery for purposes unconnected to their business or profession, such as engaged couples) online, by mail order or over the phone must provide them with specific pre-contract information, including their pricing, payment and cancellation terms.
  • Under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 and the Consumer Protection (Amendment) Regulations 2014, it is an offence for a wedding stationery maker to mislead or otherwise act unfairly towards a consumer, for example by providing misleading information about their experience, pricing and promotions.
  • Under the Consumer Rights Act 2015, wedding stationery makers must provide their services to consumers with reasonable care and skill. For example, wedding stationery must be delivered to customers on or before the date agreed, in order that the invitations can be sent out in plenty of time before the wedding. Consumers can claim a full refund within 30 days of purchase if items they buy from a stationery maker are not of satisfactory quality, not as described or not fit for purpose. A replacement can be offered instead of a refund, but the customer is entitled to insist on a refund.
  • Stationery makers who accept orders online must also meet the requirements of the Electronic Commerce (EC Directive) Regulations 2002. This includes providing clear information about the technical steps to follow to conclude the contract, and how the consumer can identify any input errors before confirming their order.
  • The Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act 2015 amended the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954 to allow tenants to run a home-based business from a rented residential property under a specific ‘home business tenancy’ granted by their landlord, as long as it is the kind of business that someone could reasonably be expected to run from their home.
  • Under the Supply of Goods and Services Act 1982, it is an implied term of business-to-business contracts (such as supplying stationery to a wedding planner or venue) that the service will be provided with reasonable care and skill. Stationery must be as described, of satisfactory quality and fit for purpose. Some provisions of the Act have been introduced in Scotland through the Sale and Supply of Goods Act 1994.

Copyright and data protection

  • Under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988, the copyright of original works of ‘artistic craftsmanship’ and ‘graphic work’, such as original designs and wedding stationery images, is protected by law. Under the Act, the copyright (or intellectual property) in original work automatically belongs to its creator, such as a wedding stationery maker, who may publish, reproduce and sell the design in any way.
  • To comply with the Data Protection Act 2018 (DPA 2018) and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), any personally identifiable information or data that the stationery maker holds about couples or commercial customers such as wedding planners should be stored securely and used only for the lawful purpose for which it was collected.

Workplace health and safety

  • Under the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 and the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2003, wedding stationery makers must have health and safety measures in place to protect themselves and any employees from health risks arising from exposure to potentially harmful substances, such as adhesives and inks.
  • Under the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 and equivalent legislation in Northern Ireland, electrical appliances used in the workplace (such as glue guns, laptops and printers) must be regularly assessed for safety, for example by carrying out regular visual checks and arranging formal PAT (portable appliance testing).
  • The Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and the Health and Safety at Work (Northern Ireland) Order 1978 place a general duty of care on employers to protect the health and safety of their employees and anyone else that may be affected by their business activities, such as suppliers, customers and members of the public.
  • Under the Health and Safety (First-Aid) Regulations 1981, wedding stationery makers are required to provide first-aid equipment for staff.
  • Under the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 and equivalent legislation in Northern Ireland, all employers, and those who are self-employed, are required to undertake a risk assessment of their workplace and their work activities. They must also provide employees with adequate health and safety training.
  • Under the Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992 and equivalent legislation in Northern Ireland, stationery makers must assess the risk of injury to themselves and their employees and ensure that any unnecessary lifting is avoided, and take steps to reduce the risk of injury where lifting is unavoidable, for example by dividing large loads into smaller boxes. Heavy containers should be clearly labelled and stored on lower shelves.
  • Under the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER) and equivalent legislation in Northern Ireland, stationery makers must ensure that equipment used in their business (such as glue guns) is properly maintained. Employees must be trained in the safe use of equipment.
  • Under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 and equivalent legislation in Scotland and Northern Ireland, it is a legal requirement to install appropriate fire detection and prevention equipment on non-domestic premises.

Useful contacts

Greeting Card Association (GCA)
Tel: (020) 7619 9266
Website: www.greetingcardassociation.org.uk

UK Alliance of Wedding Planners (UKAWP)
Website: www.ukawp.com

The Giftware Association
Tel: (0121) 237 1105
Website: www.ga-uk.org

The Wedding Association
Website: www.theweddingassociation.co.uk