Creating Packaging that will make your Small Business Stand Out!
Being unique in the small business world is so important! In a world full of other creatives, finding a way to separate yourself from the crowd might just be the difference between finding customers, or going out of business, and here's one way The Saddle Shoppe stays unique: Unique Packaging.
Often other businesses say "You need to struggle for the information the way I did", and refuse to share their tips and sources for products that make them stand out. And I will be honest, I understand where they are coming from--you should struggle some, in order to learn and appreciate your hard work. If everything is handed to you, how valuable really was it? That being said, I also stand on the soapbox of "community over competition", and I am putting my money where my mouth is.
How The Saddle Shoppe Creates Unique Packaging?
This year, I made it my goal to step up my packaging for my 2023 planners--and I am proud to say I succeeded! One of my favorite things, is receiving a notification, that your package arrived and you loved the planner, and loved the packaging too! If you remember (or you are new), when I first started my business, I was wrapping every planner like a Christmas present, with a bow, and included a special thank you seed packet--and it was CUTE! But also when I started, I was selling 10-20 items, total, in a week. This year, I sold over 300 planners (woohoo!!), and knew that wrapping each planner like a present, was not only not a quality use of my time, but maybe wasn't even fesable. So I set out to make unique boxes that would still give you that "special delivery" feeling, without causing me to loose my mind in a tangle of wrapping paper.
It took me MONTHS to find a company that would create and print boxes that were not only exactly the design I wanted, but also functional and easy to assemble. But creating a unique box was number one on my packaging priority list. When I finally found Uprinting, it took several weeks to design the packaging just right. So how did I do it? First, I made a pattern out of words and logos that I felt embodied my business--it is important to note that I tried to make it versitle enough that I could use it for a variety of products. There are a lot of resources you can use to make these patterns, but I did mine on Procreate and Canva. From there, I made an account, selected my box shape and size, uploaded the design, and submitted for approval. I had to redesign my box pattern 3 times before I was happy with where the words and lines ended up. After the design was finally approved, my part was done and the boxes were created and shipped directly to my door. But the goal of "unique packaging" wasn't achieved yet.
I wanted to replace the cute seed packet, with something that my customer base would not only appreciate, but use. So I designed planner tabs and book marks to be included in with the planners as my "thank yous". These items I designed on Canva. The planner tabs I printed at my home printing shop, and the book marks I out-sourced to Smartpress--another great printing resource. Along with the custom boxes, and unique thank yous, I also wrapped each planner in colorful tissue paper, with a custom sticker, and included a custom thank you card.
All of this adds up to a uniquely packaged planner--and my customers love it! From the moment it arrives at your door, the package feels like truly "Happy Mail"!
What does Unique Packaging Cost?
It isn't cheap--not going to lie to you. But in my opinion, having a positive experience through and through is worth the cost!
Cost Break Down:
Boxes: $5.00 a box
Planner Tabs: $.50 a sheet
Bookmarks: $1.00 a bookmark
Tissue Paper: $11.00 for 96 sheets
Sticker: $15 for 120 stickers
Bubble Wrap: $.50 per order
Thank You Card: $.30 per card
Total per order: $7.65
These costs are built into what customers pay for the product itself, and come out of my total profits. Again, I know it might seem like a lot, but the reward is worth the cost!
Why does Unique Packaging Work?
When a customer has a positive expierence with your business, and looks forward to SEEING your package in the mail, they are more likely to be a return customer. I aim to give every customer that feeling of happiness they used to receive as a little kid when they seen a special package from grandma in the mail. Yes you bought it, yes you knew it was coming, but did you know it was made special just for you?
I also think that unique packaging works because your customers will recoginize and appreciate the effort you put into making that package, just for them! It is all about the effort. Will you come back to a relationship that isn't going above and beyond for you? I won't. And sometimes customers wont either.
Now, I know custom boxes and bags isn't an option for everyone-especially if you are a new business. But, custom thank you cards, or small thank you gifts? That is something obtainable by every business. Ask your customer base "What are small gifts that you love receiving from businesses?" "What are small items that would make this product better?" It's not about spending more, it's about showing more effort!
How can YOU make Unique Packaging?
It is so important for me to say this: PLEASE, PLEASE do not replicate the good ideas of others, and simply make them your own. For example, do not replicate the cute packaging exactly as another business does it, and expect to have the same results--you are working towards being UNIQUE.
First, you must brainstorm, what packaging products have you seen other businesses do that would work ideally, for your business? What packaging products could YOU MAKE DIFFERENT that would serve your customers better than the other guys? It's not about competition, it's about making yourself stand out...you following me?
Once you have an idea of products, it is time to start designing. If you are not able, or not interested in the design piece there are a ton of other businesses out there who can help you make designs for your products. To throw my own hat in the ring: I have helped several businesses design and create custom thank you cards, boxes and shipping bags, unique thank you gifts and more! I would be happy to do the same for your business. But aside from me, there are tons of graphic designers who would be happy to help with the design piece, if you want to tackle the actual product piece; Instagram is a great resource to find graphic designers!
Resources I Use to Make Unique Packaging:
Boxes: Canva and Procreate to Design; Uprinting to print.
Thank You Gifts: Canva to design both Planner Tabs and Bookmarks; Home printer to print planner tabs, and Smartpress to print bookmarks.
Thank You Cards: Canva to design and print cards.
Tissue Paper and Bubble Wrap: I purchase these through Amazon Business.
Custom Stickers: I design these with Procreate; Print through VulgrCo on Amazon.
So What's Next?
Being Unique is the business world, is "the secret sauce to success", in my humble opinion. Stand out, be different, go a different path--you will be met with a group of people who were just waiting for someone to be brave enough to do it!
So with that, I am excited to announce the topic for my first ever Saddle Shoppe Workshop: "Ways to Create a Unique Business". As stated last week, this workshop will be hosted in Northern Colorado, for women in small business. I am still working on a date and exact location, but plans are underway--early spring (April or May). Please keep an eye out for more information as it comes out, and leave a comment below if you are interested in signing up for this awesome opportunity to take your business to the next level!