The Davids that saved Christmas.

I’d like to tell you a story about how the 2 guys in this photo saved our subscription Club (and I'm not referring to either of the M`s brothers.). That might sound a little dramatic, but It’s going to be our biggest ever dispatch day tomorrow with well over 20k going out and the December boxes are always one of the most important of the year. This photo is of David Houghton and David Harrison - they own a company called D2 printing who we’ve been buying our printed boxboard sleeves and boxes off since I started the business.

A few months ago our printed corrugated box supplier asked us to place advanced orders as they were expecting December to be busy, which we did the moment they asked. I won’t name names but they are one of the larger suppliers in the industry with revenue in the billions. The day they were supposed to deliver (4th December) I had a call from them to say they had a delay in production, and could they deliver them to us 3 days later. We’d planned to have packed the boxes by then, but juggled things around in the factory to make it work. On the afternoon of the new delivery day no boxes had shown up so we called the supplier who made up a variety of excuses. It’s pretty much standard to blame Covid and Brexit these days for anything and everything, but they added Amazon into the mix…apparently their doing pretty well and have been buying more boxes than usual…who’d have thought? Essentially they told me they'd prioritised their bigger customers over us and now weren’t going to deliver anything to us before Christmas.

At this point we knew it was way too late to find a new supplier: to be able to get the club boxes out before Christmas we’d need to have the packaging in our factory in 4 days (it was a Thursday). Our other corrugated box suppliers had already told us their leads times were now longer than 2 weeks and this kind of turnaround it pretty much unheard of, especially this time of year. I picked up the phone and called David Houghton at D2, pretty much in a blind panic, told him the situation on the off chance he had any ideas what we could do. Within an hour he’d had his team make up a prototype in box board, hopped in a car and driven from Hampton Court to show it to us in person. The price was double our corrugated boxes (thick box board is much more expensive and the printing method is too) and it’s not quite as sturdy as our normal boxes, but it was good enough to get the December box back on track. They rallied their team, ran the printing presses over the weekend and delivered the boxes to us a few days later. It’s times like this I realise how much I value the reliable people in our supply chain and am so glad we’ve been loyal to D2 from the beginning. I have no doubt we could shave a few pennies off each box by importing them, but this just highlights to me the importance of genuine relationships in business.

If anyone is looking for a rock solid, reliable, friendly printer then go speak to the Davids - just let me know if you need a personal introduction.