5 secrets to perfectly branded packaging for your handmade business

Struggling to put together perfectly branded packaging for your handmade business? Click through to discover my 5 secrets on how to put together an awesome unboxing experience and make your shopping experience memorable and shareable! Click on the pin to read the full post or click save to read later!

Have a think back to the last purchase you made. Was it to replenish an essential item or something you bought on a whim? Chances are you bought the item because there was something about the packaging that about it that caught your eye. Did you really need that pretty tube of hand cream, especially when you have half a dozen half used ones at home already? You probably bought it because you thought it would make you feel special. A little treat for yourself, even if it’s a similar product to what you already have at home. Customers buy with the emotions they feel from the benefits of the product and rationalise their buying decision with the features.

So what’s the purpose of packaging? If packaging is done correctly, it attracts, make customers feel a specific way and ultimately sell your product. Read on to discover my 5 secrets to perfectly branded packaging for your handmade business!


Why you should care about packaging

If you’re an online seller, the packaging of your product will be the first and most direct touch point of your brand. As you know, first impressions are everything! So it’s important to put the same amount of thought and effort into your packaging as you do your product. The initial energy and effort you put into your packaging is all part of building a long-term strategy that encourages your customers to come back again and again.

Furthermore in a recent DotCom Distribution study, results suggest that 52% of customers are more likely to make repeat purchases from online shops who invest in premium packaging. In the same survey results showed that 4 out of 10 customers are likely to share an image of their purchase via social media if the packaging was unique and memorable. User generated content like this is invaluable organic marketing. It helps get your product and brand out there to more people, further providing more social proof for your product and brand.


What is an unforgettable unboxing experience?

Have you seen on social media ‘unboxing experiences’? This is usually a video of the customer, unpacking their new product(s) and sharing this with their network of friends, family and other potential customers. There’ll usually be some commentary as the customer describes the packaging and contents of their package. This experience helps other potential customers see exactly what they’ll get and how the product is, which helps them along on their decision making process.

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What’s the best way to create a memorable unboxing experience?

Although there is no one way that’s best, as each brand and shop is unique, there are some factors you should consider. An awesome unboxing experience is a carefully considered selection of packaging and shipping materials that convey your brand values and aesthetic. Your packaging’s purpose is to present your products in the most desirable way. It appeals to your customer. It’s informative, functional and helps set your brand apart from your competitors. Furthermore, it also creates a distinct and memorable experience for your customers.

Starting with a customised box or mailer is much more exciting than a plain brown coloured box. From the first instance the customer sees your branded package arrive at their doorstep, they’ll know they’re in for a great experience and probably can’t wait to open it up. When the customer opens up the box/mailer, it’s important to think about the order of which your customer will follow during their unboxing experience.  Also the items should be packaged beautifully and safely too.

  1. Belly band + sticker: great for items such as socks and body/bath products
  2. Cotton/linen/muslin drawstring bag: to provide some cushioning and protection for delicate items such as leather products or shoes. If placed inside a hard box, this extra layer adds a more luxurious feeling to your product, making it easier for customers to rationalise their buying decision for spending more money on a more premium product.
  3. Hard box: to house smaller items such as jewellery
  4. Paper/plastic sleeve or bag:
    • protects items like paper cards. Plastic bags allows the customer to see exactly what the product (e.g. sweets) looks like before purchasing.
    • Lets the product speak for itself without it being hidden away.
  5. Product tag: Sewn onto the product like a t-shirt, tea towel or a metal tag like you’d find on a necklace
  6. Tube/tub/jar: great for bath/body products, tea leaves, food consumables
  7. Coloured or custom tissue paper: wrapping your products in tissue paper, gives it an extra layer of excitement
  8. Wax seal: Can use a wax seal with your branded logo on it, to seal the packaging as a final touch
  9. Custom wrapping paper: house items like soap
  10. Marketing material:
    • A business card or two (so they can give one to a friend),
    • a post card with instructions encouraging your customer to share a snap of their new purchase on your dedicated hash tag or
    • a discount off on their next purchase or for a friend is a nice extra touch for marketing.
  11. Handwritten note: Although this may be hard to scale, for businesses on the start up end of the scale, it can be a personal touch that makes the customer aware that real people are behind the brand.
  12. Coloured tape: clear tape is kinda boring right? Spice things up with some coloured or patterned tape in your brand colours.
  13. Free gift/sample: Depending on what products you sell, a bonus gift is often
  14. Ribbon/string: a simple but effective way to elevate your packaging as a final touch
  15. Bag: to house all your products, especially if you’re selling in person at a fair or market
  16. Gift wrapping: similarly for particular occasions or events during the calendar year, you can surprise your customers or offer the option of holiday specific gift wrapping that includes:
    1. Gift tags
    2. Complimentary gift cards
    3. Pompoms
    4. Pinking shears on edges

Allocate a set budget for your packaging and add the dollar value of all your packaging (cost of box, bag, drawstring bag etc.) to your product. Remember you can get crafty and creative and repurpose existing materials you may already have on hand for your packaging.

If you sell fashion clothing like a t-shirt, it doesn’t make sense for it to be packaged up in wrapping paper or a box that can’t be opened up. People would want to try things on before buying and the packaging would be ruined. So before taking the plunge and making an order, think through to see if the packaging makes sense for the product. Is the packaging functional and not too time consuming for you to dress your product up in?


How do I get my packaging branded?

There are many options available for branding your packaging, ranging from do-it-yourself to custom.

  1. Stamps: getting a custom made rubber stamp made is economical. It means you can use the same stamp in all your brand colours for simple variations between order to order.
  2. Stickers: An affordable option to have instructions, logo or other information printed and attached to your product
  3. Embosser or debosser: A hand operated stamp that embosses or debosses your logo onto a card or sticker
  4. Hand Drawn: Each item is unique, but can be time and resource consuming
  5. Custom made: your designed packaging is outsourced to a company to produce

Nerd Burger tip: Source locally and buy your packaging materials in bulk for each piece. This is often more cost effective and you can save on shipping fees.


5 tips to create your unique packaging

1. Be simple

  • Packaging costs money. Duh. If your product doesn’t need a lot of it, keep it to a minimum.
  • Don’t be afraid that your packaging is too simple! If you sell organic bath products, perhaps using earth toned recycled kraft materials with a pop of colour conveys your brand values such as eco friendly, simple and natural.
  • I would advise against following the current design fads for your packaging. Look to them for inspiration, but use elements that would serve your brand for the long term and won’t make your packaging look dated in a flash.


2. Be bold

  • Using bold colours or patterns could be an excellent way of standing out amongst your competition. Being bold could give the feeling of your brand being fun and modern if that’s the vibe of your brand.


3. Incorporate the product

  • Being a little cheeky with your packaging can be fun. Try incorporating your product as part of your packaging. Examples include a cute illustration of a bear stuffing it’s mouth full of the delicious biscuits inside, using the bristles of a brush as a man’s beard or ear buds as musical notes.
  • Make sure your product includes all the facts and instructions necessary especially when it comes to bath/body products, food consumables and other products that come into physical contact with the customer.
  • Is there a creative way to incorporate this information into your labelling?


4. Make use of the other senses like touch and smell

  • People will be touching your product, so why not add an element that would appeal to their sense of touch too? Consider using interesting textures (like embossing or debossing) to create a unique sensation to your customer’s senses.
  • Similarly for smell, can you package it up in a way, so that the customer can still smell the product inside?

5. Be unusual

  • Go against the usual packaging norms of your product and integrate several of your favourite elements into one. For example, if you sell handmade soap, consider using an unusual shape for your product. An ice cream with a wooden paddlepop stick shaped soap could showcase milk off as the main ingredient in your product.

Finally, don’t be afraid to experiment with different materials, colours and styles! Packaging isn’t meant to be a do once and forget about it forever type exercise. Gather feedback from your customers and keep tailoring it to fit their needs, desires and your brand’s values and aesthetic. If you make minimalist jewellery, make your packaging simple and minimal. If you sell luxury monogrammed leather products, include all the bells and whistles in your packaging to match your product.

The Nerd Burgers has just joined Pinterest and would love to hang with you! We’ve collated pins to inspire, motivate and help you learn and implement new things into your handmade business. We even have a dedicated board for inspirational packaging so why don’t you check us out at https://au.pinterest.com/nerdburgersclub!


Download the FREE packaging and shipping materials resource list!

Enter your information below to receive your resource guide to master the shipping and packaging of your handmade products instantly via your inbox.

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Monica is a corporate cubical escape artist turned jewellery maker, designer and creative business infopreneur. She helps fellow artists, designers and makers launch and grow a handmade business they love.
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