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We’re often referred to as a stationery subscription box company. Technically we are, but if you’ve subscribed to or ordered from us, you’ll notice a slightly random thing…

Our boxes AREN’T BOXES.

Ink Drops parcels ready to post |

So why would we do such a heinous thing? Why would we call ourselves a subscription box company and package our stationery delights in anything other than, well, a box?


Our number one reason for choosing sturdy envelopes instead of a box is postability. Being able to fit through your letterbox is important. This means that a) we live up to our tagline. Then there’s b) your time is precious. Galumphing around the local sorting offices is not how I would define time well spent. Nor would I say the same about trying to prove that it’s your parcel and you’re allowed to take it home.

why our boxes aren't boxes |

Back in 2012 when we started, we did actually go around and measure various people’s letterboxes. We want to see what the best size for our packaging should be. It needed to both fit through a letterbox and fit our goodies into. Needless to say, we got some very odd looks! Hey, we’re willing to do (almost) anything in the name of bringing you stationery! Our envelopes fit almost every letterbox. Teeny tiny Victorian ones being the only exception. Annastasia lived in a house with this kind of letterbox for a while. And Post Office visits became part of her routine.

Recyclability (totally a word)

A lot of the boxes out there are not terribly eco-friendly. They are foil-blocked and plastic coated. We don’t bang on about it a lot, but Annastasia is vegan and Carla is a mermaid. So we care about our environment. Early on we decided that our packaging would be as recyclable as possible.

why our boxes aren't boxes |

As such, we use paper bags for the inner wrapping and sturdy card envelopes for the outer, with paper labels or handwritten addresses. Our inserts are also all printed on paper. And our business cards are made from recycled pulp (courtesy of

We could buy printed plastic post bags – but we prefer cardboard 🙂

Very occasionally we use padded envelopes, which obviously have a plastic element to them. But only when nothing else will fit the contents, because obviously we want to make sure your order arrives with you in perfect condition!


Neither of us are particularly ones for following the rules. We’ll do it when we have to, but this didn’t seem like one of those occasions. Subscription boxes focused on beauty and wellbeing when Ink Drops was starting out. Subscribers received little bottles, tubes & containers. And a padded envelope just wasn’t going to cut if for these.

Those beautifully branded boxes were a pretty novelty for the first few months. Then we started to notice people posting about having too many. They were stacking them and not knowing what to do with them. However, they didn’t want to throw them out, or unsubscribe and stop receiving the contents.

We curate stationery, which means 90% of what we send out is nicely flat. Or only as lumpy as a pen or washi tape. On the occasions we’ve had really chunky items (like boxed stickers, or giant washi tape), we’ve sourced some rather lovely boxes. These are also cardboard, fully recyclable and fold flat for storage and reuse.

why our boxes aren't boxes |

So there you have it. A short history of why our boxes aren’t boxes. And how our stationery box of delights is in fact perfectly packaged. (That only makes sense if you’ve read the whole post…!)

What are your thoughts?