As Europe’s leading supplier of office essentials and accessories, we offer an extensive selection of business envelopes and window envelopes. With next-working-day delivery options available, you can get your marketing campaign up and running in as little as 24 hours.
Despite the ubiquity of email, business envelopes are still immensely popular and important for communication. In 2021, almost 8 billion letters were sent in the UK alone, worth around £122 million to the British economy. However, the history of envelopes goes back further than you might think.
How long have envelopes been around?
The earliest use of envelopes can be traced back to the Ancient Babylonians, around 4000 years ago. Even though they were still writing on stone tablets, they found the need to protect their heavyweight missives, whether they were being used for business or personal reasons. Their answer to this problem was to enclose the tablet in wet clay, which was then left to dry. The clay would have to be broken for the recipient to read the contents. While this might have been inconvenient, our sympathies lie with the postmen!
In China, paper envelopes didn't hit the scene until around the 2nd Century BC. While the Babylonians had been sending personal and business correspondence, these prototype paper envelopes were primarily used for the gifting of money. Fast forward to the 14th Century, and envelopes had become essential to communication between the aristocracy, the Church, and the military. Little more than folded sheets of parchment, they were sealed using wax blobs across the flap on the back.
Increasing envelope efficiency
Even until the 19th Century, envelopes were the monopoly of the wealthy. Anyone posting a letter was charged for the number of sheets involved, plus an extra charge for the envelope itself. However, this all changed in 1840, when British inventors Warren De La Rue and Edwin Hill created the world's first machine designed to fold envelopes on an industrial level. Under the auspices of other innovators, this machine evolved to the point where, in 1876, Henry and Daniel Smith developed a device that added gum to the rear flap, allowing them to be sealed quickly and efficiently. Twenty-six years later, window envelopes were patented, so addresses didn’t have to be written by hand.
Although the envelope hasn’t changed too much over the years, the way we use them is evolving. When it comes to making people aware of your brand, business envelopes can be an effective way to ensure that yours gets noticed. While multi-million-pound corporations might employ designers and printers to adorn their business envelopes with logos, similar options are available to those on a budget. Using office printers and address labels, even a sole trader can give their envelopes that professional edge, leaving the recipient no doubt about where it's come from.
The benefits of business envelopes
In addition, while there is a leaning towards offices 'going paperless,' the same isn't necessarily true of your customers. Business envelopes can be an excellent way to promote your company to those who prefer to rely on traditional methods rather than email or the Internet. Similarly, with an address label holding the recipient's name and address, it's far more likely to be opened than blank promotional envelopes that regularly find their way through our letterboxes. That simple yet personal detail can have a positive impact on the way your correspondence is received.
Why use window envelopes?
Window envelopes take levels of efficiency one step further. Using the window, you can clearly display the recipient's name and address without having to write or print it again on the envelope. An excellent solution for small businesses, there's no need to invest in printers or labels. Instead, you can arrange your brand’s logo to be visible through the clear plastic, announcing your brand before the envelope has even been opened. It also helps to ensure that there’s no confusion as to which letters go into which envelopes, helping your business’ mailshot campaign to be more streamlined.
A question of conservation
Because they're made from paper, most envelopes are recyclable. However, if you really want to let your customers know about your commitment to the environment, it can be worth using business envelopes made from paper that's already been through the process. Browse our range, and you'll find recycled business envelopes that have been certified by the Forest Stewardship Commission. However, while they might be 100% recycled, there’s no compromise on their appearance or durability. They still have the same professional aesthetic as their non-recycled equivalents but can help you to minimise your carbon footprint and promote your company’s ethos to your customers.
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