Why do customers buy handmade products online, from someone they have likely never met in person?
For me, as a customer, it’s partly about supporting someone’s life and dreams, partly about the quality that handmade has to offer, and partly about the experience.
There’s anticipation. I like to call it the “snail mail factor”. The wait. Checking the mailbox. The little moment of glee when you find a box or package, waiting for you. The unveiling of the box contents.
Let’s pause here.
Packaging is important. It says something about you, and your business. Opening a box is part of the customer experience.
I have been opening many wonderful online purchases from OMHG community members lately. Cody from Lu & Ed and Colleen from Colleen Attara Studio both use recycled and repurposed materials in their product packaging, which fits perfectly with their business concept and branding. Cody also includes “swag bags” with product samples and coupons with each of her purchases (if you missed her post, you can read about it here) Colleen wrote an inspiring message on the outside of the envelope when she mailed my parcel. The day it arrived, I was having a horrible day – I opened the mailbox and found this sentiment, “begin each day shining so brightly”– how can that NOT make the world a better place, one small moment at a time?
Geri, from The Languid Lion and I collaborated earlier this year on my branding (you can read our story here). Geri packaged my custom branding materials in the most delightful way for mailing, each item was wrapped individually in white bags and twine, nestled into brown crinkle paper (which I’ve been reusing for gift wrap). Professional, simple, yet very thoughtful at the same time.
I used my new branding materials as a jumping off point to plan my intended customer experience. I wanted each purchase from my shop to feel like a gift (in my mind, this only makes sense, my blog and my business, are both based on “thoughtful gifting”.)
I spent a lot of time thinking about product packaging for my new online shop. Not only did I want the materials to reflect my brand – quality, heirloom, handmade, attention to detail, but I also wanted to source as many materials as I could from either a) local businesses or b) other small business suppliers.
Originally I had planned to package my products in sturdy cardboard boxes, but in the end, I opted for mailing envelopes to keep shipping weight and size to a minimum.
Each handmade countdown calendar set is wrapped neatly in white tissue paper, and sealed with a variation of red washi tape (red polka dots right now) to reflect the pops of red in my branding. I use vintage lace/ribbon to tie the package, and include a kraft paper product tag* on the outside.
A polka dot kraft paper bag holds my hand-written thank you card*, business card*, and the small items (clothespins) that are included with each countdown calendar purchase. It gets tucked under the vintage lace on the outside of the package, along with a short product description and product care instructions. I’m experimenting with hand-lettering each mailing address in big, bold letters. I’m not perfect (by a long shot!) but it really makes the outside look fun and personalized.
People notice when their package arrives with care and thought. Have you seen any great packaging from a handmade business lately? Are you proud of your own product packaging? Share the details here in the comments, or pop over to the OMHG forums and we’ll share our photos and ideas.
*All branding items created by The Languid Lion
Say Hello to Alison
Alison Butler is a part-time creative, a wife, and mother with a passion for thoughtful gifting. She blogs weekly inspiration at www.thepetitcadeau.com and recently launched The Petit Cadeau shop, filled with handmade, hand embroidered celebration countdown calendars and other lovely goods for thoughtful celebrations.