This month we had the pleasure of meeting the Founder of Parcel London, Natalie Raven at
her beautiful home in Surrey. We caught up to find out all about Natalie's gorgeous gift
boxes and what inspired her to leave her job and start-up her own business. We also got to
meet her new dachshund puppy Reggie!
Can you tell us about yourself and how Parcel started?
After training as a Make-Up artist at The London College of Fashion, I worked in editorial
make up and eventually got into photo shoot production for various fashion retail brands,
most recently Net-A-Porter. I always loved the creative aspect of the role but had wanted to
start my own brand for many years. In early 2017 I quit my full time job and began the
process of creating Parcel, which launched in November that year. Gifting was always
something I loved to do and so it felt like a natural direction for me.
What process do you go through when creating new gift boxes and where do you draw inspiration from?
I usually have an idea of a theme, whether that be an occasion, a specific type of
recipient or an overall style. I then decide on the main gift which the other gifts are
chosen around, I make sure that some of them can be used together, for example; a pot
of honey with a box of tea or a pen with a lovely notebook, this gives the Parcel a sense
of curation. I'm always on the lookout for new products and brands and love to look in
little independent shops and markets where you find things which aren't so mainstream.
How would you describe your brand ethos and aesthetic?
It's very important to me to support cult brands and independent makers who make
responsible and sustainable decisions when it comes to production, in this day and age
I truly believe that you pay for what you get and it's a false economy to shop cheap and
fast. The goal of each Parcel is that the recipient will be introduced to a brand that they
will continue to use in the future. The aesthetic is very clean and modern, this appeals to
my own personal style as well as to fill the gap which I had noticed in the market for
gifting which was high end but still contemporary. My background in photo production
means that I choose products as much for how it will translate in a photo as I do because
of its quality and the brands values. Being online-only means that if it doesn't look great
on the website, it won't sell.
We love that you support independent makers, which brands are your current favourites for gifting in 2020?
Often the small and maybe lesser known brands who concentrate on one particular
product type are creating the best products out there. Guy Morgan skincare is incredible,
they use the finest, natural ingredients and their face mask sachets have been one of our
bestsellers from day one. I'm also a huge fan of Join London home fragrances, now that
people are becoming more aware of the benefits of burning natural candles in their home,
the popularity for these sustainable and handcrafted gifts is only growing.
What advice would you give to someone starting up their own business?
As much as you will need to make the leap at some point from full time work into running
your own business (which there is never a perfect time for) I would advise that you use
your time wisely before you make this leap. You're about to embark on something that
will take up more time and energy than you can imagine, so start as you mean to go on.
Use your free time to read, listen, learn everything you can about the industry you're
going into. Get business books from the library, learn about cash flows and pricing
structures, whatever it is that doesn't come naturally to you. It's often the parts of the
business which seem the least interesting which are the most important, so get ahead
on anything you can before you make the transition. I learnt things as I went but wished
I had got to grips with some aspects while I had the comfort of another job.
Can you walk us through a day in your life?
The addition of our new puppy, Reggie, has given me a stricter routine which I can really
appreciate. I get up and ready for the day then take my cup of tea on a walk with the
dog, it's nice to have some time to think before the day properly starts. I then make up
any website orders that are being sent out that day whilst listening to my podcasts or
audiobook's. The rest of my day is a mixture of emails, making proposals for corporate
clients, finding new brands, ordering stock and general admin, with some puppy play
breaks in-between! I try to finish work by around 6.30 to have some time to relax with
How do you make your clothes work for you and your busy lifestyle?
I'm lucky that working from home means I'm able to choose comfort above all else!
(Particularly appreciated now that I'm pregnant.) But I've found over time that dressing
for the day as if you are going out, even if you aren't, makes a big difference to how
you feel and how productive you can be. The novelty of working in pyjamas soon wears
off! I like to find the balance between comfort and being able to run out to meet brands
or clients if needed.
What are your go-to wardrobe staples?
Jeans are my life long uniform; I could not live without them! I usually go for a straight
leg style that I can team with trainers or boots. Now that I'm pregnant I'm also learning
to appreciate a softer fabric such as a linen or cotton trouser, which are a bit more
bump-friendly. I also love to layer fitted t-shirts under sweaters and cardigans for
a smart-causal look.
If I wasn't running Parcel... I'd still be a shoot producer with insomnia!
My day isn't complete until... I've had a snuggle with my puppy.
The best thing about my job... The flexibility it gives me to enjoy other aspects of my life and family.
My ideal breakfast... Earl grey, cake and nowhere to be.
Words to live by... If you can't get out of it, get into it.
My favourite London hangout... Kingsland Road. It's the last place I lived before moving out of London and always makes me feel alive.