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We’ve got USB Gift boxes fully covered

Posted by USB2U on 8th April 2015 | Permalink

Innovation in the gift box space continues apace and no more is this evident than in the gift box (or keepsake) sector for Professional Photographers. Even for those enlightened photographers that have already made the move from CD/DVD to USB sticks it’s not enough to simply stand back and admire your work. No, you need to keep on pushing, you need to keep on challenging yourself and your suppliers, you need to differentiate and increasingly you need to add value to the packages you offer to your clients.

It’s a dog eat dog market with lots of competition and whilst the “superstar photographers” at the top end of the market rarely have gaps in their bookings for the mere mortals of the professional photography world life can be a little more challenging. Digital cameras and easy to use editing software packages are a double-edged sword – yes, they make it easier to take great photographs and manipulate them but they lower bar for everyone. There are now lots of “keen amateurs” entering the business who’ll offer a wedding shoot or portfolio session for peanuts and of course with little in the way of overheads it’s increasingly difficult to compete with them.

 

Gift Boxes from USB2U

Full Print USB Gift Boxes

The trick is to focus on your art, to let your images and clients do the talking. Brush up your skills, buy the best kit you can afford and spend time understanding how to really get the best from it.

Get a brilliant website built and understand how to optimise the website when its built. Spend time on Social Media, build up a following on Facebook, encourage and participate in dialogue, encourage reviews on 3rd party review websites, post images to Flickr, Pinterest and Instagram. Blog, yes, blog, write about yourself, express your personality off the page, and do it on a regular basis.

USB Pine Gift Box

Pine Gift Box with full colour print to lid

Get close to the best local wedding venues and get them to endorse your work and add you to their list of recommended professional photographers. Enter the industry competitions, challenge yourself, push yourself and just to anything you can to get known, get endorsed and get recommended.

In terms of differentiating your offer you could look to add some of the latest printed wooded gift boxes that were launched by USB2U at the 2015 Photography Show. These can be purchased on their own or bought as a bundle with a matching USB stick. The latest innovation with these boxes is the full colour print to the whole surface are of the box lid. The results (as you can see from these examples) are stunning and will really help to lift your proposition.

At USB2U we’ve got packaging for professional photographers covered!

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Five Days and Counting – Come See USB2U at The Photography Show

Posted by USB2U on 17th March 2015 | Permalink

The weather forecast for this weekend (according to the BBC) is “cool and breezy with scattered showers” so not exactly the weather for doing a great deal outside. The gardening and other chores can wait until things perk up a little and the promises you made to get your bike out or take the kids for a walk in the Spring sunshine to see the new season lambs might have to be put on hold – well for a few days at least!

This weekend your time, if you’re a professional photographer or budding amateur that’s thinking of going professional this year, would be better spent at The Photography Show in Birmingham. The show takes place at the NEC in Hall 5 and runs from this Saturday (21st March) until Tuesday (24th March) and it’s going to be massive. Last year over 29,000 professional and enthusiast photographers attended the show and the organisers expect this year’s numbers to be even higher.

USB2U at The Photography Show

USB2U will be a The Photography Show at the NEC this were

With a mission to create a “photography day out you’ll never forget” the organisers have pulled out all the stops to bring together a 4 day program that is rammed full of exciting, informative and education elements with plenty of fun and shopping opportunities along the way. There will be plenty of chances to have a play with some of the very latest kit, to hear first hand from some of the world’s most inspirational photographers (Tom Stoddart and Mary Ellen Mark to name but two) what makes them tick and how they approach their work.

There will be advice clinics (run by Bowens) and plenty of in-show seminars and workshops to help you brush up on your skills. If you do decide to go then don’t forget your own camera because there will be tons of photo opportunities throughout the event and of course there will be lots of competitions to enter with some amazing prizes on offer.

We’ll be there again this year (come see us on Stand H131) but having been overrun last year we’ve invested in a bigger stand this year! We’ll also have more of our amazing USB2U team on hand to talk you through our USB Memory Stick and gift box packages and there will be plenty of show discounts and offers that you can take advantage of.

We’re taking lots and lots of examples of printed and engraved USB memory sticks and examples of our new wooden gift boxes that we’re keen to get feedback on – we love them but we’d still value your opinion.

If photography is your thing then we’d strongly recommend making some time to come to the show later this week and if you do please make sure you stop by and say hello – we’d love to show you what we can do and if you’re an existing customer we’d love to catch up with you and get your feedback on our work.

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Can you get Cheap USB Photography Bundles (boxes and sticks)

Posted by USB2U on 9th February 2015 | Permalink

The short answer to this question is of course yes. There are plenty of companies that will supply cheap USB memory sticks and gift boxes to professional photographers and if price is your only criteria for making your buying decision then it’s unlikely you’ll buy from us at USB2U.

Arguably it’s the same in the Professional Photographers sector – there is always someone with a camera who is willing to offer a cheaper wedding day package or portfolio shoot and again if price is the only determining factor then that’s fine, isn’t it?

From our perspective we’re simply not interested in a “race to the bottom” in terms of quality and price. We’ve been selling promotional USB memory sticks since 2003. We sell millions ever year to thousands of customers around the world and any cursory inspection of our company accounts will testify to this. We don’t make exaggerated claims about our company or our products instead we prefer to let our customers be our advocates and ambassadors – see our 2,500 + reviews on TrustPilot.

Why is this relevant? Well, if you’re a professional photographer then your might be interested to know that a couple of years ago we extended our range to include a number of products aimed specifically at your sector (general professional photographers, specialist wedding photographers and videographers). We put a lot of time and effort into carefully sourcing a range of top quality USB sticks and matching gift boxes and from day one we set out to make sure that the USB bundles that we sold were very different from the standard promotional products we’ve been selling for years.

We’re not knocking our standard promotional USB Flash Drives (after all that is what we sell the most of) it’s just they are a different product. They might not look like it from the outside but promotional USB sticks are freebie “giveaways” and their performance, specification and prices reflect this. More often than not they’ll find their way into a bin or the bottom of a drawer within a couple of months. They are not and should not be compared to the higher quality products we sell to professional photographers.

All of the USB sticks in our photography bundles have upgraded high specification components; upgraded controller chips, upgraded memory and upgraded capacitors and we offer them with a full 10-year warranty.

To the best of our knowledge (and bear in mind we’ve been in this market the last 12 years) you cannot buy high quality 64MB, 128MB and so on. In fact you can’t really buy high quality flash below 4GB these days so if you’re a photographer and you’re being offered this type of product you need to be asking some very serious questions about the validity of any “quality” statements that accompany them.

Our bundles start at 4GB. We do this not because we want to charge more money for the product and force you to buy more expensive sticks but because we know that anything below 4GB is going to be made using “promotional” standard flash. Put simply our brand and reputation means too much to us to sell you cheap, inferior promotional products and we hope your brand and reputation equally means as much to you and that you’ll invest wisely in your USB presentation packs (boxes and sticks).

Wooden USB Sticks for Professional Photographers

Wooden USB Sticks for Professional Photographers

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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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