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Small-Business Savvy: Personalize Your Packaging

When people buy from independent creative businesses, they're often looking for better, more personalized service — a small business can have more flexibility than a large corporation and can sometimes better meet the needs of the consumer. When someone receives a custom-tailored product that's also creatively packaged, it shows that the sender really thought about and cared about him or her.

Small businesses can really shine in the details, including things like packaging, which might be overlooked by larger counterparts. There are a lot of economical options, but are those the right move?
Small businesses can stand out when they present and package their products in special ways. A few simple materials and techniques will surprise customers and have them wanting more. Here are some ideas.
The best packaging is simple but never standard. Present your product in the best possible light. Put some time and thought into your packaging and your customers will respond.
Material: Kraft paper

Kraft paper may seem like a simple and mundane solution at first, but I see it as a neutral backdrop that can shift the emphasis to unique, colorful flourishes. Kraft is so easy to dress up; just use whatever materials you have on hand.
Packaging idea: Make a bold statement by adding a faux flower made out of scrap paper. Fringe the edges of some circles, tape them together and fluff the petals for an easy flower. Customers will be surprised by the ingenuity. Also, the recycling of scraps is Earth friendly.
Material: Twine

Twine is a economical option because you can often buy large spools in bulk online. Have a few colors on hand so you can switch them out when the mood strikes.
Packaging idea: Mix a few different colors together to tie your merchandise up in style.
Material: Washi tape

Washi tape comes in all kinds of colors and patterns, so you are sure to find a few styles that fit into your brand's aesthetic. Washi can be functional as a replacement for plain tape, or it can be an embellishment.
Packaging idea: Use your washi tape to make a pattern. Mix up the colors and make stripes across your package. Weave the tape or even make a diagonal crosshatch. If you accidentally mess up, just peel up the washi and reposition it.
Material: Glassine bags

I use glassine bags as an organizer in my packaging to slip in all the loose odds and ends. I stuff them with receipts, a handwritten thank-you card, any special coupon codes and my business card so that upon opening, customers can find everything easily. Usually the bags are translucent white, but you can also find them in colors and with patterns.
Packaging idea: Tie your glassine bags with twine or seal them with washi tape, then add a tag. The transparent material gives a little peek at what's inside.
Material: Shipping tags

Stock your studio with a variety of tags. They come in all shapes and sizes, and you can use them in multiple ways on your packages. To streamline the packaging process, have rubber stamps made with your business logo or other useful messages. You can stamp a bunch in advance and have them ready for when you get a big order.
Packaging idea: I use shipping tags as cards to write personal thank-you notes to my customers. The tag is just the right size for a quick greeting. Slip a tag into a coin envelope with confetti for a fun surprise.
Material: Rubber stamps

Stamps allow you to personalize your packaging, but in a much more efficient manner. If you get a stamp made of your logo, you have the potential to brand all kinds of promotional material: business cards, mailing postcards, thank-you cards, bags and tags.
Packaging idea: A simple shape or graphic can get stamped repeatedly to make a pattern. This pattern can represent your brand and become a part of different packaging elements, and can be used for personalized wrapping paper.

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