BNI Gateway To Business

Members' Articles

Largest order ever for Cream Tea Company

by Jane Malyon from The English Cream Tea Company

07th November 2015

Post Type: Other
Largest order ever for Cream Tea Company

October proved to be an exciting month for The English Cream Tea Company, who are based in White Roding, Essex. They received their biggest ever order to supply Afternoon Tea Hampers for a nationwide company, Unite Students, who run university student accommodation services.  As a thank you to their staff, Unite wanted teams at 26 locations UK-wide to all share a tea party experience on the same day, spread out across the country. The staff didn’t know what was arriving but were told to expect something on Thursday 8th October 2015 and sent a picture of half a gift tag as a ‘teaser’ to get them wondering.

Head of The English Cream Tea Company, Jane Malyon said:  “We prepare all sorts of delicious gifts here including ambient, postable treats.  However, we love to send out our very indulgent chilled fresh afternoon tea hamper boxes filled with dainty sandwiches, scones, clotted cream, luxury jams, cakes, pastries (the works!)...because we know the recipients are going to be thrilled to enjoy the contents! However, up to now in our 4 years of business, 88 hamper boxes delivered on 1 day was our maximum (and seemed like a stretch at the time)!  This new order was for just under 1000 people and it truly called for ‘all hands on deck’ to prepare 2500 meringues, 2000 scones, 700 brownies, 700 shortbread teapots, 700 lemon drizzle cake slices, 80 fruit loaves, hundreds of jars of preserves, 500 pots of clotted cream pots and more!”

Jane explained they were concerned they didn’t have enough oven space for freshly making all the scones in one day and that they tried to outsource the making of these whilst still maintaining their prized standards and recipe. They hoped to work with a local tiny factory but after a trial run, the factory thought it would be too much work to add to their schedule. Similarly, asking a local Chelmsford factory to make the fresh sandwiches failed because The English Cream Tea Company sandwiches only use butter and cut the crusts off - and the factory only uses margarine and keeps the crusts on!  The result was that The English Cream Tea Company’s small team speedily bought a packaging machine and then worked through the night to have all the ingredients ready for packing into hampers for collection by their nationwide courier mid-afternoon on Wednesday 7th October: ‘Packing Day’. Assisted by friends and family, they became a packing team starting from 5.30am, filling the boxes with all the treats which included tins of old-fashioned games to play too.  “One of our sons (George) even flew over from Canada to assist!”

Jane said: “We were so grateful to everyone who heard we were snowed under and offered to help.  I belong to the amazing networking group BNI in Stansted and received lots of offers of spare hands from them too.  So sweet!  They realised that orders like this can make a big difference to a small company. There was real Dunkirk spirit going on with all the new ‘Scone Gnomes’ working together to fill several hundred hamper boxes, ensuring each one was beautiful.  Stacking the finished boxes up created something of a giant wall and the couriers had to send extra vans. Of course, all the helpers enjoyed scones, cream and jam throughout to keep their energy up!  Then the next day we monitored the progress of every delivery, ensuring they arrived to their correct destination.”

The staff at Unite Students have an intranet system of communication within the company and on the afternoon of 8th October, it lit up with pictures and messages of delighted and excited staff enjoying their mass tea party.

Download Attachment

SMEs pay GBP 500m too much for energy

by Steven Godfrey from Auditel

21st October 2015

Post Type: Education Item

The problem

Between 2004 and 2014 domestic electricity prices rose by 75% and gas prices by 125%.

A July report by the Competition & Markets Authority (CMA) discovered that energy companies make bigger profit margins when selling energy to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) than to domestic consumers or large businesses.  Whereas EBIT margins on domestic gas sales averaged 4.4% (electricity 2.1%), equivalent margins earned from the SME sector averaged 10% for gas (8% electricity).

Why this anomaly ?

Busy SMEs seldom have time to tender or negotiate their supply contracts and often allow the supply to “roll over” into a new contract with the incumbent.  This is an expensive mistake – the CMA’s comparison of rollover vs. negotiated rates showed them to be 29%-36% higher for electricity and 25%-28% higher for gas.

In addition, complaints against energy companies increased fivefold between 2008 and 2013, mainly centred on billing and payments queries.  Another time-consuming headache for busy SMEs.

What is the solution ?

Consider outsourcing energy procurement to an expert, particularly one who gets paid out of the savings achieved.  That way the SME can still achieve useful savings and lessen their workload.

Specialist Packaging for High Street Brands

by Noel Greenwood from GWD

09th October 2015

Post Type: New Member Article

Now that the holiday season is (near enough) over we’re reminded of a specialist packaging job that GWD Ltd were commissioned for last year. We were asked to work on a very special product for the High-Street brand ‘Lush’.

Soaps in a confectionary style created by Lush

Soaps in a confectionary style created by Lush

For anyone who doesn’t know  (where have you been?) Lush, they create non- animal testing cosmetics that are fresh, and handmade. Celebrating their 20th anniversary this year, Lush now have 106 stores nationwide with more than 900 Worldwide in 49 countries.

The project in question was to create presentation, specialist packaging in the shape of a suitcase, or old-fashioned travelling trunk, complete with metal clasps and  fitted handles. The case was to present a selection of soaps, cosmetics and ‘bath-bombs’ that could be given as a gift to someone off on a journey abroad or to college, for example. Naturally, this was quite a substantial project for Lush with the specialist packaging taking pride of place in their stores up and down the Country.

‘Box 29’ showing clasps and handle

‘Box 29’ showing clasps and handle

Like many other big brands, Lush realise that the care and dedication given to their presentation packaging suggests to the customer that the brand take similar care and dedication over their product. The time and thought invested in the packaging is indicative of the care and belief that the Company have in the product itself.

The ‘suitcase’ was a relatively complex project to complete out of cardboard, however at GWD Ltd we have undertaken many other complex projects in the past and have staff with the skills and experience to carry it out with ease. Our cardboard engineers designed the trunk from scratch and worked out the precise way to  attach the clasps and reinforce the handles without compromising the design and, although you couldn’t throw it in the hold of a plane (it was never designed for that purpose), the final product was very sturdy and fitted the original brief perfectly.

Finished product showing foiling and internal compartments

Finished product showing foiling
and internal compartments

Incidentally, the whole process was filmed by Lush in our Essex factory and used by them for promotional purposes. You can see the video by clicking on the image below.

GWD Ltd have produced other boxes in the shape of bags and suitcases, albeit much simpler versions. Please visit our website for more examples here. So if you want some travel themed promotional packaging look no further than GWD – we can help.


Video showing the production process -


Noel Greenwood is the Managing Director of GWD Ltd, the designers and manufacturers of presentation and promotional packaging.  You can reach him on (01279) 416093 or at the company’s website:

iOS9 and data usage

by Steven Godfrey from Auditel

07th October 2015

Post Type: Education Item
iOS9 and data usage


Apple’s latest operating system contains a new function called ‘Wifi Assist’ which is switched on by default.

When the signal strength of 3G or 4G mobile data is greater than your wi-fi router signal the app automatically switches to receive mobile data instead.  You think that you are connected to free wi-fi but are actually eating up your mobile data bundle.  If you are on an unlimited data plan this might be acceptable as it will give you uninterrupted service when moving locations - if however you (or your staff) have a fixed data bundles then you might see mobile data use increase unexpectedly.

The app is accessed via Settings>Mobile Data>WiFi Assist.

One possible compromise is as follows - iOS9 includes the ability to control which apps have access to mobile data and which can only use wi-fi.  Users can restrict non-essential data-intensive applications (such as media streaming) to wi-fi, and allow more critical functions to use mobile data as required.  This option is accessed via the same Settings>Mobile Data menu.


Giving a TEDx talk

by Jane Malyon from The English Cream Tea Company

25th August 2015

Post Type: Newspaper Article
Giving a TEDx talk

I was thrilled to be auditioned and then chosen to give a TEDx talk this summer - and also delighted that I only had to travel to Chelmsford, Essex to give it!  Others flew in and travelled to the destination from the world over, whereas I just had to go 8 miles in my car. 

These TED talks are globally famous (Technology, Entertainment, Design) for being 'ideas worth spreading' and have been delivered by the ultra-famous and the unknown.  My favourite TED talk is by Ken Robinson - check it out here  

So the big question now is: do you have an 18 minute (max) talk inside you that's original, factual and exciting?  If so, now's the time to apply in readiness for next year: 

My own talk fitted in with my passion and business: The English Cream Tea Company (which delivers hamper boxes of afternoon tea and other treats, UK wide...and retails/exports preserves, teas and manners tips!!). However, you aren't allowed to go on stage to deliver a blatant advert.  No commercial or website mentions allowed and you must have original slides or ones that are paid-for-use.  'Thems the rules!'  Here is my talk called 'How Afternoon Tea Could Save The World':    

Around 8 speakers were chosen for the filmed event day although TED talks are filmed in many destinations worldwide (so you could apply to speak at other destinations).  Think about your Big Idea....encapsulate it in a paragraph for the application...and then work on your technique.  You're not supposed to have notes with you and there is no autocue.  Yikes!  I would dearly have loved both of those, especially to remember the statistics I needed to quote. However, you are allowed slides and props - and I took an afternoon tea on stage with me! 

So that's my challenge to you.  I've done my (first?!) TED offering and found it to be exhilarating, adrenalin-filled and great for my credentials.  Now, surely, it's your turn?  Can't wait to hear and see what message you have for the world!