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Psst… Something Big is about to happen at USB2U

Posted by USB2U on 16th January 2015 | Permalink

We’re not very good at keeping secrets at USB2U and this one has been bubbling away for a while so it’s been really hard to keep quiet about it. So here we go, here’s the first little taster of what’s about to be unveiled. If you’re a professional photographer then please do read on because this news is hopefully going to be of interest to you.

Over the last year (since attending The 2014 Photography Show) we’ve been blown away with the interest in our range of USB photography packages (branded USB Memory Sticks and gift boxes). Thousands of you have trusted us with your brand and worked with us to produce some absolutely stunning results. Our dark wood and light wood “Woodland” flash drives combined with our matching wooden boxes have been a clear winner and we’ve been humbled by the feedback we’ve been given. The Facebook posts that customers have made, the tweets that have been shared and photos that have been posted on Pinterest have all been amazing. Thank you. We, the whole team here and it is a team effort, are genuinely happy that that you like our work. It means a lot.

But, (there’s always a but isn’t there) we know we can always do more and we know (from all of the great feedback we’ve had) that lots of photographers don’t just want packaging options for their personalised USB memory sticks, they want packaging options that will allow them to include some printed photographs as well and they want gift boxes that are large enough to allow them to add their own personal touch to them (fillings, inserts etc.).

We’ve listened and for the last few months we’ve been working on a special project to bring to you a range of bigger, better and we hope even more exciting USB and photo packaging options. We’ve taken a cue from our smaller (most popular) USB boxes and we’ve used these to develop two new ranges of top quality presentation boxes. Don’t worry,  none of the current boxes and packaging option will disappear, we’re just adding to them to give you greater choice.

With The 2015 Photography Show just weeks away we’re now ready to start the reveal of our new bigger boxes. The final reveal will take place at the Show so please do put a date in your diary and come and see us – we’re on Stand H131. We’ve love to meet you and get your feedback on our new USB packaging. We’ll have lots of great offers running at the show and some really interesting give-aways – not USB sticks ;-)

New Photographer USB Boxes Coming Soon from USB2UNew Photographer USB Boxes Coming Soon from USB2U

New Photographer USB Boxes Coming Soon from USB2U

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Looking Back at 2014 and Forward to 2015

Posted by USB2U on 1st January 2015 | Permalink

What a year 2014 was for us at USB2U. In the last 12 months we have seen record sales of promotional USB sticks, enquiries from new customers have never been higher and the feedback from customers on Trustpilot has exceeded all expectations.

We’ve gained new resellers across Europe and the number of orders we now ship around the world has grown markedly and shows not signs of abating. All we can say is “Wow!” and a big “Thank you” to everyone who has entrusted us with their project, their business and their brand this year. We really do appreciate your order(s) and your faith in our ability to deliver your promotional USB sticks against what often look lime impossible deadlines.

Much of our recent growth has been underpinned by continued investment in new products, a top quality team of people and our own in-house printing and engraving kit. A significant number of our USB memory stick orders are now delivered within 72hrs from order! So whilst many of our competitors talk in of delivery timescales measures in days of weeks we’re, for a growing proportion of our business, are talking in terms of hours.

Customers clearly like the comfort of knowing that with USB2U they can place an order one day and their printed, data-loaded and boxed promotional USB memory sticks can be with them the very next day! It’s a service that de-risks everything because it uses stock we carry in the UK, it uses our own in-house design, print and data-loading capability – nothing is reliant on being “shipped in from factories in China” or on the use of 3rd party printers. It’s a service offering we will continue to expand in 2015.

USB2U for Promotional USB Flash Drives

USB2U for Promotional USB Flash Drives

We’ve also been bowled over by the support we’ve had from Professional Photographers over the last 12 months. When we exhibited at The Professional Photography Show at the NEC in March we knew immediately that it was going to be bonkers. Every day for the 4 days we were at the show people were queuing 4 deep to talk to us. It was crazy, exhilarating and exhausting. Keeping up with the demand from Photographers after the show has, at times, been challenging but again this was primarily down to an embarrassment of orders!

As we enter 2015 we’re absolutely determined to move thing up a notch or two so expect some exciting announcement from us during the 1st quarter of this year. We have already committed to exhibit again at The Photography Show at the NEC in March (but this time we’ll have a bigger stand, more staff, lots of exciting new products and we’ll have a better idea of what to expect!).

We’ve also just launched a new range of Power Banks thousands of which we hold in stock in the UK so they can also be delivered (printed or engraved) within 24hrs! Power Banks are just the start though so again keep an eye out for lots of new exciting products throughout 2015.

2014 was a cracker – bring on 2015

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Promotional USB Stick Market – Trends of 2014

Posted by USB2U on 30th December 2014 | Permalink

As 2014 draws to a close it’s a good time to look back and review how the market for promotional USB sticks played out over the course of the year. The most fundamental observation anyone looking at the market during the last year is that little has changed.

Promotional USB memory sticks are just as popular now as they were at the end of 2013. If anything their popularity has continued to grow over the last 12 months with increased sales fuelled by falling prices and the ready availability of USB sticks with higher levels of storage – typical promotional USB sticks now have a storage capacity of 4GB and upwards but 12 months ago this would have been 1GB to 2GB.

The falling price has arguably helped drive the USB sticks into new markets. Smaller memory capacity versions (think 128MB) can today be purchased for around £1.50 each. This is the price for a fully branded and data-loaded stick (subject to volume) and it really does put them into a price bracket where hundreds can be bought and just handed out as a speculative promotional tool. Whilst 128MB might sound a small amount of storage it was only a couple of years ago when it was the de facto storage offering!

Engraved Twister USB Sticks

Engraved Twister USB Sticks

So, in the corporate market there are now two distinct markets developing: i) companies who want to use USB sticks as a “cheap and cheerful” giveaways (often still packed with lots of pre-loaded data files and ii) companies that want to use USB flash drives with a larger memory as part of a more sophisticated sales and marketing campaign.

In parallel with the development of these two distinct market sectors a third market has blossomed over the last year and that’s the market for top quality USB sticks and gift boxes for professional photographers.

Wooden USB Sticks for Professional Photographers

Wooden USB Sticks for Professional Photographers

Today no self-respecting wedding or professional photographer would still use CD’s or DVD’s to hand out their client portfolios out on! The range of high quality flash drive packages aimed specifically at the professional photographer (which include some stunning gift boxes) has increased dramatically over the last year. This coupled with a fall in the popularity use of CD’s and DVD’s has seen a surge in sales to photographers.

In response USB sticks suppliers have had to up their game with some now investing heavily in the sector, hiring dedicated accounts managers that understand the photography market an launching bundles and packages aimed specifically at the unique needs of the professional photographer. USB2U is one such supplier – see them again at the 2015 Professional Photography Show at the Birmingham NEC.

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Professional Photography USB Flash Drives – New Package Goes Live

Posted by USB2U on 17th November 2014 | Permalink

Never ones to let the grass grow green under our feet we’ve been busily working away on a range of new packages for the professional photography sector. Today we’re delighted to announce the launch of our Wooden USB Twister Stick and Wooden Flip Box bundle. More will follow over the course of the next few weeks!

Today’s exciting new package offering includes the ever popular capless “Twister” USB memory stick but instead of the body being made from plastic (like the vast majority of twister sticks in the market) the body in this package is made from an attractive light wood. To compliment it we’ve combined it with a matching light wood flip style gift box and to top the whole thing off every box is supplied in a black velvet style drawstring bag.

Wooden-USB-Twister-Package

Wooden-USB-Twister-Package for Professional Photographers

With prices starting from £6.70 per unit they’re not going to break the bank and this price includes the USB sticks, the gift box, the drawstring bags and delivery. There are no artwork set-up or origination charges to pay and our in-house design team will happily work with you on multiple iterations of mock-ups and samples to make sure you get exactly what you need (we don’t charge for design support unless we are re-drawing your artwork from scratch!)

The USB sticks are printed but the boxes can either be printed or engraved – you decide. There is no difference in the price whichever option you choose.

In putting these packages together for professional photographers our focus has not only been on who great they look but also on the quality of the core components. For example we don’t use standard “promotional grade” USB memory or controller chips in any of our bundles because we know that they’re simply not going to be up to the job. When you’ve moving lots of large, high quality images around you need a USB stick that is going to be up to the job, is reasonably quick and will survive over the years. For this reason we always supply upgraded memory and controller chips so when you are comparing prices do bear this in mind.

It’s not enough to simply look for “Grade A” products either because you can get Grade A promotional flash drives but these are likely to be much slower at handling data, they’ll typically have a shorter expected lifespan (they’ll support a smaller number of read/write cycles) and they may not be able to handle video footage! If you’re a professional photographer of videographer then your start point should really be a company that specialises in the supply of products to your sector and one that really understand your particular needs. Buy standard promotional Grade A products at your peril or at least understand the risks when you buy them and then think about whether you want to risk your hard won reputation with them.

At USB2U we’ve been around in the UK since 2002, we have dedicated account managers that only look after our photography clients, we invest heavily in new products specifically for this sector and we are a regular attendees at shows like the Photography Show at the NEC. But don’t take our work for it check out what other photographers are saying about us on TrustPilot.

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Review of USB2U Flash Drives by Professional Photographers

Posted by USB2U on 16th September 2014 | Permalink

In today’s highly competitive flash drive market a clear focus on quality, service and value is absolutely critical. Arguably when it comes to supplying flash drive packages to professional photographers the bar gets raised even higher.

Why? Well professional photographers aren’t just buying USB sticks to give away at a trade shows. They’re not using them to give to a team of roving sales people who can hand them out as a “promotional gift” and they’re certainly not looking to post them out in their thousands to a prospect list!

No, most professional photographers are using them to hold and store some of the most precious memories any of us will ever have!

USB flash drives have for many photographers become the obvious replacement for CD/DVD’s. Partly it’s because less and less people now use CD/DVD’s, partly it’s because they’re a format that is now a little dated and old fashioned and partly it’s because the range of USB flash drives now available are much more attractive, particularly when combined with great packaging (something that was harder to do with a large CD/DVD).

Quality, quality, quality is what’s needed. Cheap and cheerful standard promotional USB sticks that have poor read/write speeds, a short life span and a relatively high failure rate are certainly not the order of the day. At USB2U we understand this. Not only have we invested in taking time out to meet and talk to photographers at shows like The Photography Show but more fundamentally we have hired a dedicated Photography Sector Account Manager who, because her mum is a professional photographer, really understands photographers and what makes them tick.

USB Flash Drives for Professional Photographers

USB Flash Drives for Professional Photographers

We’ve also put together a dedicated web site aimed specifically at photographers and all of the products and bundles that feature on the site have been carefully selected – so expect high quality packaging options combined with high performance flash drives all of which are then hand finished (printed or engraved) in our own Northampton based facility. This way we get to control the quality locally and nothing is sent out until we are 100% happy with it.

The feedback we’ve been getting over the last 18 mths (since the new website launched) has been amazing. Here’s just a sample (more can be viewed on the TrustPilot site where there are well in excess of 2,000 customer reviews):

Sally (Amplified Studio): “We went for engraved wooden USB’s that came in gorgeous presentation boxes to match. The price was good, and communication was excellent. Nothing seemed too much trouble. The turnaround time was also faster than expected. I will certainly be using USB2U for all of our USB’s from now on and can’t wait to start giving these out to our clients.”

Iain Struthers Photography: “Great speedy service at a reasonable price. Ordered 25 wooden usb sticks for presenting to my photography clients. They are stunning items and have been very well received by all who have seen them. Will definitely be using them again!”

Steve McKenna L.M.P.A. (SMK Photographics): “Got my USB drive delivered and love them. From first initial point of contact all the way through to the finished product we were kept informed of what,why ,how,& when Great product & going down a treat with my customers”

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Handmade Wooden USB Boxes from a Sustainable Source

Posted by USB2U on 4th September 2014 | Permalink

We love our little wooden USB gift boxes and fortunately our customers seem pretty happy with them too! When we started to look for a range of gift boxes that we could offer to professional photographers we wanted at least one box that was manufactured from wood (and the wood had to be from a sustainable source), it had to be a really good looking box and it had to be a box that we could engrave or print in the UK.

Finally any wooden USB gift box we supplied had to be something that we were proud to associate our brand with and it had to be a box that we were confident that our customers would be happy to put their brand/logo on.

Our handmade wooden slide boxes tick all of these boxes and some. They’re available in a light wood or dark wood, they’re from a sustainable source (with certificates to back up the claim), each one is handmade and hand finished which does of course mean you will get slight variations in size, colour and graining but that is part of the charm of buying a natural product.

Wooden USB Sticks for Professional Photographers

Wooden USB Sticks for Professional Photographers

We bring them into the UK with no logo on and no internal finish (stuffing) because we prefer to print or engrave them in-house using our own highly skilled staff and state of the art print and engraving kit. This way we get to control the final finish and quality of the boxes and we can respond more quickly to requests from customers.

The wooden slide boxes are usually combined with our Woodland USB memory sticks (available in the same light and dark wood). As a package they look amazing, they’re warm to the touch, slightly rustic looking and very tactile.

We finish the boxes off with a natural coir fibre insert (we’ve tried straw but it was just too big and looked silly) so when the boxes are sent out they arrive fully assembled with the USB sticks inserted and the filling neatly in place.

Wooden USB Sticks

Wooden USB Gift Box and Memory Sticks

The price for these boxes (printed or engraved and with the coir fibre inlay) is around £2.50 to £3.00 each which is amazing value when you consider how much work goes into them and how much the competition charge for some of their boxes (£8 – £20 is the norm).

If you’re a professional photographer and you’re looking for some USB flash drives and USB gift boxes that will help you stand out from the crowd and will be loved by your clients then our wooden USB sticks combined with our wooden USB sticks are a great option.

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How are Professional Photographers Promoting their Business

Posted by USB2U on 23rd June 2014 | Permalink

It’s not easy these days being a professional photographer. Before the days of digital photography, Photoshop and other “apps” for adjusting and tweaking photos very few of us would have dared to take the risk of and responsibility of taking the photos on someone’s special day.  After all with film based photography you pretty much had one shot to get it right and even then you wouldn’t know until the film had been developed if you’d got a series of images that would satisfy the client (assuming of course you’d remembered to put the film in!).

Life In Foucs USB Sticks and Packaging

Life In Foucs USB Sticks and Packaging

Today of course it’s all so different. Anyone with a smart phone has a camera and the very latest phones have some pretty good cameras that turn out some great images (to be fair though the best images do come from people with a flair and passion for photography). The cost of a good, top end “pro” camera is not that high particularly when you consider that you don’t have to pay for film and processing costs anymore! And of course easy access to a plethora of “apps” that can turn even the most basic pictures into something stunning has raised the confidence levels of everyone taking photos and has spurred on thousands to declare themselves a “professional photographer”.

If you livelihood depends on your photographic skills and it’s something you’ve worked damn hard at over the years then lots of enthusiastic amateurs entering the fray is not ideal. Of course quality rises to the top but the danger is that prices get dragged down and the market just gets muddied for everyone.

Ali-Paul-Photography

Ali-Paul-Photography

To help with their marketing and to ensure they differentiate their service many professional photographers are now embracing the web and Social Media. Website showcasing their work and featuring testimonials from their clients are now de rigueur but many are now extending this to include flckr, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and Twitter. It’s no longer enough to just be a great professional photographer now you need to become a social media expert!

Alongside this the way in which the end product, the portfolio, is delivered to the client has changed. CD’s and DVD’s are considered by many as “old fashioned” and the new kid on the block is the USB Memory Stick, But, we’re not just talking about any old USB stick you might pick up at your local supermarket. No, these are beautifully crafted USB sticks that are engraved or printed and are often delivered in matching gift boxes. Even then some photographers will add their own little finishing touches to differentiate their service and personality from the next photographer – think ribbons, bows, bottles, little boxes in larger boxes.

With an estimated 50,000+ professional photographers in the UK it’s a tough market it’s not getting any easier. Core photographic skills are almost a given requirement but over and above this there is growing pressure on professional photographers to up their levels of marketing.

cotswold_pictures

cotswold_pictures

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Wedding Photographers Guide to Buying Faster USB Memory Sticks

Posted by USB2U on 2nd June 2014 | Permalink

If you’re a professional wedding photographer (or any professional photographer for that matter) and you’re thinking of changing from CD’s and DVD’s in favour of USB memory sticks with your logo printed or engraved on them then there are some basic things you need to be consider before you commit to buying them:

  1. Most suppliers of memory sticks printed with a company brand or logo are supplying then as “giveaway” promotional gift – the sort of thing that are handed out like sweets at trade and retail shows. Typically these memory sticks won’t get a huge amount of usage and the demands the sticks in terms of read/write cycles (the number of times the USB sticks is used) and the read/write speeds (the speed taken to transfer files onto the USB stick) are pretty light.

    Typical read/write speeds of a “standard” promotional USB sticks can be as low as 2MB per second (write) and 6MB per second (read). Whilst this is slow it’s fine if all you’re doing is loading up a couple of sales brochures onto the sticks but, if you’re a professional photographer or wedding video company you may (depending on what you are doing with the drives) need to specify certain minimum requirements – read/write speeds, grade of memory chip etc.

  2. If you buy standard promotional USB Flash drives and you then start to load very files or lots of high quality images onto them then pretty soon you’ll notice that they’re not the quickest of products. If you’ve been used to working on Apple Mac’s and you use top end Memory Cards with fast read/write speeds, or Firewire or Thunderbolt to move data around then by comparison a promotional USB flash drive is going to be a “horse and cart”.

    For example top end SD cards or CF cards have a read/write speed of around 40MB per second – X10 times the speed of standard promotional USB flash drives. Thunderbolt is on a different planet with transfer speeds of 10GB per second!

  3. All promotional USB memory sticks will be USB 2.0 rather than the latest and faster USB 3.0 The reason is cost – USB 3.0 memory sticks are still priced at a premium so unless you ask for USB 3.0 the prices you’ll be quoted will almost universally be for USB 2.0.
  4. If speed of data transfer is an issue for you then ask for a price for USB 3.0 memory sticks – these have read write speed of around 50MB – 100MB per second so they are blisteringly quick! The downside is cost and you need a PC or Mac that is equipped with USB 3.0 USB ports to take advantage of the speed improvements. They’ll still work on USB 2.0 PC’s but only at USB 2.0 speeds!
  5. A sensible compromise if you’re looking for decent data transfer speeds it to ask for “upgraded” USB 2.0 flash drives – they’ll be a little more expensive but you should get something that has a longer warranty period and better performance with speeds closer to the High performance products sold by brands like Kingston and Lacie. Remember if you don’t ask for this you will just get “standard” promotional USB flash drives which are fine they’re just slow! By default USB2U always quote professional photographers for upgraded USB 2.0 products.
  6. Ideally talk to your supplier about what you plan to use your USB memory sticks and get them to recommend a solution. If you’ve chosen your supplier well and they know their industry they should not only be aware of the issues but they should be able to put forward a range of different solutions.
Wooden USB Sticks for Professional Photographers

Wooden USB Sticks for Professional Photographers

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New – Sample Packs of USB Flash Drives & Boxes for Photographers

Posted by USB2U on 25th April 2014 | Permalink

If you’re a professional photographers and you’re still not quite sure if making the move from CD’s and DVD’s to USB flash drives is right for you then this is going to be good news.

Until recently most suppliers of USB packages aimed specifically at the photographer market have asked for a minimum order of 25 pcs (some even specify 100 pcs) but based on the feedback at The Photography Show in March of this year we decided to reduce the MOQ for all of our Photography “bundles” to just 10 (ten)! This has reduced significantly the initial cash outlay to make the move to USB’s and gives photographers the chance to test the different types and styles of USB sticks and gift boxes without making a large commitment.

But even an MOQ of 10 pcs is too many for some so in response we have now introduced the option to buy a “sample pack” of any of our Photography USB Bundles – Prices start at around £25 and for this you’ll get a fully customised (printed or engraved) 4GB or 8GB USB memory stick (with a high performance chipset) and you’ll get a printed or engraved box to go with it. To be clear it will be your logo, design, artwork and text that goes on the USB stick and box and there are NO additional set-up costs or print origination costs to worry about either.

USB Flash Drive Sample Packs for Photographers

USB Flash Drive Sample Packs for Photographers

The beauty of the sample option is that you can order two or three different packs to test which works best for you before you commit to a larger order (when the price per unit will drop significantly) BUT, you can also use the sample pack option to order fully personalised USB sticks and boxes – again, one of the things we were asked for at the show was the option to engrave or print clients names on the sticks – so for a wedding shoot the sticks (and gift boxes) could have the names of the bride and groom printed on them – the Sample Box option gives you this scope!

The lead time for the Sample Packs is around 7 days from artwork approval. The ordering process is easy as well because we’ve “bolted” this onto our sister site USBNow which has a secure check-out payment process and allows for payment by credit card, debit card and PayPal. For more information visit USBNow and the USB Flash Drives – Photographers section!

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Ten Is the Magic Number for Professional Photographers

Posted by USB2U on 7th April 2014 | Permalink

Like lots of our competitors the minimum order for printed USB memory sticks has always been twenty five (25) but the feedback we were given at The Photography Show in Birmingham was so supportive of our “show offer” that we have now decided to reduce our minimum order quantities. From today all of the discounted USB bundles and packages of our USB2U photography web site have been had their minimum order quantities reduced to ten (10)!!

So, if you’re a professional photographer, wedding photographer or videographer and you’ve been thinking of making the switch from CD’s and DVD’s but you’ve been out off by the level of upfront commitment you needed to make to buy 25 USB sticks and boxes then this is going to be good news.

Starting today you can get yourself ten fully personalised USB sticks and ten personalised USB gift boxes to go with them for around £100! That includes all of the artwork set-up costs, the printing (or engraving), custom inserts for the USB sticks and delivery by Royal Mail Special Delivery.

You can choose from six different bundles including our very popular wooden USB sticks and wooden USB gift boxes or you might opt for our USB cards with the option of a leather wallet or a printed gift box.

Whichever “bundle” you choose you’ll be getting upgraded (high performance) USB sticks that we assemble specifically for professional photographers – these ensure a higher read/write speed, more read/ write cycles (a longer life) and they all come with a ten year warranty. We print/engrave all of our sticks in the UK so the lead time for any order is normally just a few days (depending on how busy we are).

The feedback from photographers to our range of bundles has been amazing:

A perfect job with perfect service

Having used simple DVDs to provide clients with high res files in the past I had it in the back of my mind that I should present them with something a little more refined. I’ve found that in USB2U, the customised memory sticks I’ve just received have blown me away and the feedback from clients just from posting an image of the sticks to facebook has been amazing. Don’t hesitate order some today! (Russell Lewis Photography)

A very efficient service from start to finish and great communications every step of the way.

I found USB2U very easy to deal with and they provided clear instructions and guidance where necessary – I had seen their website a year or so ago, but since the introduction of their ‘professional photographers’ section on their website, it has greatly improved my ability to present digital images to my clients and brings image and video presentation up to date. With quality in mind, the processing chips are uprated to make sure that my professional products are made to last. (Taylors Photographic)

Innovative stylish products, great quality with fast efficient and friendly service.

Had the chance to view the woodland style USB drives in wooden boxes at USB2U Stand at the Photography Show. Had been looking for a stylish way to present digital images to clients and this product is in a class of its own.  The little touches like the small magnets, to hold on the cap & sliding lid for the box, give that touch of class to what is a very elegant product. The team at USB2U where friendly, helpful and professional enabling the artwork processes to be achieved in a few hours and delivery was on time and as promised. A great experience all round (Andy Meany Photography )

USB2U Memory Sticks and Boxes for Taylors Photographic

USB2U Memory Sticks and Boxes for Taylors Photographic

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