HOW TO CHOOSE YOUR PACKAGING
There is so much going on with packaging. Is it recyclable? biodegradable? sustainable? Blessed by the Dalai Lama? Does it have provenance? Do we know the name of the person in the factory that last touched it? Is it fit for purpose? And very importantly, does it get noticed on the shelf? Okay, a little joke. I spent a lot of time in the corporate world thinking I knew something about packaging - what an education I got while I was starting up my business, MERUMAYA Integrative Effective Skincare®! In my case, I said to all suppliers, give me 'friendly' packaging but no need to create a marketing story out of it please. Your choice of packaging is suggestive of the brand positioning. Type and materials need to be relevant to the formula, consistency and usage, needs to be decorated and filled, may comprise a number of different components (e.g. bottle/pump/lid/lock) and may need additional protection via secondary packaging. All of this affects the price and the cost of finished goods.
Tubes- are relatively cost-effective however, look out for the tendency towards much higher minimum order quantities (MOQ's) and need to be filled and crimped within 3-6 months usually. You can brand them with screen printing or label them which gives a bit more flexibility on MOQ's and re-runs. It is usual for the tube supplier to label though beware, if it is not done at the same time as production as this can cause delays, that in my case have affected the launch. We had to send my tubes to another labeller because they did not get labelled in time although they had been made! Make sure the tube maker is procuring your labels from the label supplier because if something goes awry, it is between them to sort out. Generally versatile for lotions, creams, gels depending on the orifice size
Airless pumps- I like these best for their aesthetics as well as the hygiene and protection of the active ingredients from oxidation. They are much more expensive than jars generally and good for treatment type products. If you need smaller quantities, you can find suppliers (rare) that hold stocks of these type of items though be prepared for the higher price per unit and that the amount of product released is standard across different sizes (I got caught out here) and changing that makes it customised and costs a huge amount more with higher MOQ's. Again, you have the option to print or label. There is usually one part of the mechanism that is not fully recyclable so it often has to be broken down to re-cycle. Generally good for creams and serums, be sure to check that one pump delivers the amount of product most effective.
Bottles - come with pumps, flip top lids, screw tops, glass, plastic, PET. I chose bottles with pump and lock. More expensive but more convenient to use for the customer. Generally good for liquid products. Jars - While I have not used these to date, some regard them as luxe, for creams though that is personal. Cartons- On the one side, they definitely give a more luxury feel to your product, protect the product, allow space for branding, legally required information, explanation of the product and different languages if you need that. On the other, they add to the cost of the finished goods and might be seen to be non-essential in terms of sustainability.
I chose to go with cartons for all products except the Confidensual® Handwash for which there is not so much to say. MERUMAYA Integrative Effective Skincare® is a luxury skincare product presented at accessible price points so, I was not going to skimp on the luxe feel or the enhanced presence (and keeping the actual product clean) in a self select enviroment. @Qualvis have a good feel for luxury products and from the beginning they presented me samples that were a good weight and finish and were cut so they would not topple over when on the shelf. A separate post called The Customer is King tells you more about the service I got @qualvis if you need a carton supplier. I worked with the team @qualvis to create cartons that could be used for multiple different products and if I chose in the future, have enough room to hold a product brochure or sample without further cost. For the Tease Me Please Me™ Taster Set, I instructed the designer to create artwork that included the image of the contents, Full vs Trial size notification and the mls per item, to avoid self select customers opening the box to see what they are getting and in so doing, rendering that set unsaleable.
Labels or print - It is definitely more cost-effective to label when your runs are on the small side - i.e. until you get to at least 5-10,000 per product. There have been a lot of advances in labels and they are much thinner, can be colour matched, have all kinds of processes to make them look prettier and generally have become much more acceptable with many very high-priced niche brands labelling too. I went the labelling route for the flexibility, particularly on re-runs when you don't really know what is going to sell thru' fastest. I worked with @Royston Labels and they too feature in my post titled The Customer is King, for their outstanding service. Choices to be made are the different treatments that you can have on a label; mind-boggling, they include spot gloss, metallic, texture and tons of other things that they are better placed to explain. Then, do you have a full wrap to try to look as though there is no label or a gap so the customer can see when to replenish? Do you go colour matched or clear? Include the supplier of the primary packaging, the label producer, your filler/manufacturer and the designer doing your artwork for optimum decision-making. Then, after all that, make the decision you think is best. Here is some film footage of my labels being created and huge thanks to Roystons who allowed me to film and to use the film. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y6DVLo7EkhM
Carriers - I did not factor the cost of these in because I was not advised to. When your product is filled it is likely to go into a brown cardboard box called a carrier in 6's, 12's or whatever you decide. They cost, so factor it in.
Lesson: Tell your formulator up front what type of package you are intending to use as it may be important in the viscosity of the formula
Lesson: Be sure to link your brand designer (artwork) with the label producer, tube producer, carton supplier, filling and manufacturing facilities so that they can all communicate directly on specific issues that affect the final product.
Lesson: Especially when using tubes (because of MOQ's) try to ensure that more than one product of the same weight is using the same primary packaging vehicle. In my case 2x 100ml tubes, 2x 50ml tubes, 2x 30ml airless pump. This saves cost and means the customer does not have it passed to her/him.
Lesson: When creating cartons they were made with enough internal space to include a sample in the future if I want to do a promotion or could contain some informative point of sale material without the cost of re-designing, artwork, cutters and plates being re-produced.
Recommend; you go to the packaging shows. There is a big one in Birmingham and another in Islington every year and I am sure there are more. @packaginginnovations I think it is called
Recommend; you look at your competitors packaging to see what you like about it, how it stands up to the retail environment (dust etc), the artwork, what stands out in your category etc. I stuck prints of my brand design onto boxes, took it into skincare stores and placed it on the shelves to see what stand out it had. While there, I asked people what they thought. That though, takes a bit of chutzpah and you could find yourself being marched out of the store by security