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Unboxing experiences are a big deal these days…

If you want to sell your product for premium prices, you have to think about packing!

When customers open their purchase, they want it to be fun – to feel good.

New designers sometimes think of packing as an added expense… just another thing they have to spend money on.

But actually, packing is an investment in growing your business. It's an opportunity to elevate your brand – and stand out against the competition.

And there’s a lot that goes into great packaging…
You need to be considering…
Your customer and what aesthetic they’re attracted to…
The sustainability of the materials you’re using…
What colors are trending this year…

Customers are more and more aware these days of fashion trends. And a brand with really unique packaging STANDS OUT.

It's a way to be remembered and noticed. It raises brand awareness along with elevating your product…

This week I got to chat with Barbara Whitney from Packaging Specialties about what designers need to know to create great packaging… and how to use it to stand out against the competition.
Barbara is also giving away a really amazing deal on materials in this episode!

Listen to episode #204 of Thrive by Design to get your all-access pass to How to Elevate Your Brand with Packaging with Barbara Whitney

Read Full Transcript

"As a marketer, I also understand the value of branding ad how important packaging is to a brand. I definitely enjoy meeting with customers to really get and understanding of their business, what they need for packaging and really helping them to create a packaging program that resonates with their brands."

Welcome to Thrive-by-Design. The podcast for ambitious, independent jewelry brands looking to profit from their products. Get ready to make more and sell more doing what you love without spending every single waking minute doing it. Hey, and if you're a creative fashion or product-based business, I want to welcome you to the show. I'll be dropping big tips on launching, growing, and scaling your business so you can spend more of your precious time using your creativity to make money. You ready? Alright, let's do this.

Tracy: Welcome to Thrive-By-Design, Episode 204. Hey there, it's Tracy Matthews, Chief Visionary Officer over at Flourish & Thrive, and I'm excited because today we're talking about packaging, in particular how to elevate your packing or how to elevate your brand with packaging. As we know, unboxing experiences are huge these days, and if you want to charge a premium price point and if you want to be able to elevate the price of your product, you need great packaging, and that's exactly why I invited Barbara Whitney of Packaging Specialties onto the show today to talk a little bit more about ways that you can elevate your brand basically with packaging, and Packaging Specialties is sponsoring this show today. They were one of our sponsors for Flourish & Thrive Live, and we had some scheduling conflict, so I actually finally got a chance to interview Barbara recently, and I'm really excited because she's offering a very special offer to our listeners over here at Thrive-By-Design. So, if you really want to elevate your brand with packaging, head on over to Packaging Specialties and check out their offerings, because whether you have a jewelry business or a fashion brand or you just need bags, boxes, tissues, and customizable product range for your packaging, this is a great, great resource, plus they're offering our listeners a very special deal. Last column pricing for in-stock product lines. This is their best pricing that they give to anyone, so it's the biggest discount no matter what amount you're ordering. They are also offering a 100-plate promotion for custom printed tissue. This is normally $400 to $600, and they are waiving that fee, so it's a really great price plus free printing plates for your labels up to 4 colors. So, the way you're going to grab any of these great deals is to head on over to pack-spec.com, or you can just call up Tracy Hamilton, their packaging stylist, and give them the word "THRIVE" when you're checking out, and we'll have everything over on the show notes, Tracy's phone number, the website, all the links and everything so that you can get this deal, especially for those of you looking for some great packaging because I know I've been dropping some Pack-Spec moms in our groups. Anyway, I'm excited to dive into today's episode. And before I do, I just wanted to do a brief introduction of Barbara. Barbara Whitney is the Marketing Director for Packaging Specialties. She's been in the packaging industry for over 20 years with diverse roles in marketing, merchandising, and buying. Barbara is passionate about packaging and enjoys new product development encompassing colors, style, creativity, and working with customers to create packaging that resonates with their brand. All right, let's dive in. You are going to love today's episode. I am so excited to have a very special guest, Barbara Whitney, on the show with me today. Barbara, welcome.

Barbara: Thank you so much Tracy. Glad to be here.

Tracy: I'm so excited to have you here. You are a sponsor for our live event. You are with Packaging Specialties, and we're really excited to talk about elevating your branding to set yourself out from the competition. So, thanks for being here. I know it's been, I would say, a long time coming. We have rescheduled a few times, so it's fun to actually talk.

Barbara: Well, thanks for having me on the show. It's great to be a part of the show.

Tracy: Awesome. So, give us a little back story. Tell me a little bit about your journey, and how'd you get involved with Packaging Specialties, what are you passionate about, all those things.

Barbara: So, I worked with retail packaging for over 20 years, and I've had many roles in that amount of time. I've worked as a buyer, merchandising, inventory planning, and also in marketing. So, it's really been a great experience to experience packaging in all those different worlds both as a buyer, merchandiser, and marketer, and it really has allowed me to truly appreciate packaging from so many different perspectives which has allowed me to develop packaging for our customers in a much more meaningful way. So, it I was to say like as a buyer, I really understand the need to negotiate the most cost effective pricing.

Tracy: Mhm.

Barbara: ...or that our small business customers have a range of packaging solutions that are affordable and attainable. So, it's nice to have that perspective because I know how small business, packaging is just an added expense for them.

Tracy: Oh no, we call it an investment in growing your business.

Barbara: Exactly.

Tracy: In elevating your product.

Barbara: Right. Exactly.

Tracy: Exactly. Cool.

Barbara: Yeah, so as a marketer, I also understand the value of branding and how important packaging is to a brand and the messaging. I definitely enjoy meeting with customers whether it be a trade show or in our corporate office showroom to really get an understanding of their business, their challenges, what they need for packaging, and really helping them to create a packaging program that resonates with their brands. I think having that deep understanding of our customers really helps with new product development, whether it be adding a new bag style or in on trend colors, a new box style for their jewelry line, or just incorporating just eco-friendly like recycled content because being green is really popular right now with customers. Everything needs to have a minimum of 40% postconsumer contents. So, developing products with all those things in mind really helps to build a product that's great for the customer.

Tracy: Now, what are the hot colors right now? Totally random sidebar.

Barbara: So, coral is definitely the color of the year, the pantone announced, and we actually have packing bags and boxes and tissue paper in that color. So, yeah, that's the color of the year, but blush and rose gold have been really, really popular for us in terms of packaging, and we have rose gold as a foil color, and customers love it. It's a nice take on gold and just a different take on gold and silver, and just customers just love it.

Tracy: So, you can get boxes in rose gold?

Barbara: Yes.

Tracy: Ooh, I love it.

Barbara: Yes.

Tracy: This is total sidebar, but years and years ago, I was having custom boxes developed, and we had some prototypes in gun metal and rose gold. It was so cool.

Barbara: Oh really, nice.

Tracy: There was texture on the box. I mean I ended up closing my business, so I never ordered the boxes, but it was really cool. I should try to find those somewhere and have you guys make them, custom boxes.

Barbara: Yeah, we'll have to compare the colors.

Tracy: I know. So, tell me about your experience as a merchandiser.

Barbara: So, I really love helping customers to design their packaging programs, whether they're just starting out or simply looking to update, upscale, or refresh their packaging. It is really fun presenting customers with all the various options in terms of all the packaging styles that we have, bags, boxes, tissue paper, ribbon, and just really helping them create a packaging that resonates with their brands. As I mentioned in my roles in buying, merchandising, and marketing, all these perspectives really have enabled me to better understand the customer.

Tracy: Mhm.

Barbara: Their branding, their budgets, and really their packaging needs on a holistic level. I think the packaging landscape really has evolved over the years with elements of fashion and color trends really taking shape. So, customers, as you mentioned earlier, asking what the color is, the trending color is now. Customers are very aware of the fashion colors, what is shaping the fashion world, and that's the very colors that they're looking for in their packaging. So, it's nice to be able to offer customers what's out there and what's really trending.

Tracy: That's awesome. So, Barbara, I'm curious, like how did you get involved with Packaging Specialties, how'd you get involved with them?

Barbara: So, I have worked in packaging for over 20 years, and I was really excited to embrace the opportunity of working at Packaging Specialties as the marketing director. This was an exciting new role because in my previous experience, I worked for a wholesale distributor, but our company did not manufacture any products. So, the great thing about Packaging Specialties is that we are a local company, and we also manufacture gift boxes in small quantities. So, it really gives our customers the ability to order customized packaging in as few as 500 boxes. This also really helped me to develop products a lot quicker because normally we would have to outsource products to a box manufacturing company per se, but having all of that manufacturing in house really enabled me to add products or colors that were relevant in the marketplace at a much faster pace. So, it was really great to join the company. Also, we're located in Newburyport, Massachusetts.

Tracy: Okay, awesome. I didn't mean to interrupt you.

Barbara: It's okay. Also, the other great thing is the fact that we also print everything in house, so we have extensive printing capabilities. So, we can do affordable ink printing for customers who are looking for cost effectiveness, but we can definitely do more upscaled printing technology. So, we can do hot stamping, embossing. We can do silk screen printing. We can also do 4-color process printing and digital printing, and then we can also do a combination of any of those together. So, we have customers who do ink printing and add hot stamping. So they do a combination printing method. So, it's nice to be able to offer the customers the ink printing from a cost perspective but also the more upscaled printing solutions like 4-color process printing and embossing.

Tracy: And you were saying 4-color process printing.

Barbara: Yes. Four-color process printing. So, it's like a multicolor printing on the bags or the boxes.

Tracy: So, tell me know Barbara, why is packaging really important for jewelry designers and makers in your opinion? We teach over here at Flourish & Thrive Academy that you need packaging because it really helps you create a brand, but I'm curious from your perspective. You probably work with thousands of independent jewelry brands over the years. How do you see them really stand out with their packaging and create something unique that makes them separate themselves from the pack?

Barbara: Well, packaging really is an integral part of any brand. It helps to reinforce the perceived value of the product that's inside, and it really enhances the customer experience. I think having that special packaging for that special jewelry piece or product really helps to reinforce the product, and it helps to build the brand awareness, and that's something that's really, really important for small business retailers trying to sell their products. I think branded packaging is particularly important to elevate and add uniqueness to your product. It also helps to set you apart from the competition, and it really adds brand relevance and brand recognition. We definitely do work with a lot of jewelers, jewelers who have brick and mortar stores and also jewelers who just sell online, and time and time again, these customers come in and often times, they may just have plain package, and they're just really to look to brand themselves and set them apart from what their competitors are doing, and it's really interesting to see from a create perspective how creative they design their packaging, and the logo truly does make the product, make the packaging pop. So, that customer's logo, their brand message, their colors, that all really plays into the packaging. It really helps the packaging come to life.

Tracy: I also think that with the powerful imagery of an unboxing video, this is where you can get really beautiful packaging. It creates an experience for your brand. This is what we teach over at Flourish & Thrive Academy and many of the episodes on Thrive-By-Design, we talk about really standing out in the saturated market, and one thing that I love, we have this coaching program called SOS here is to see how those students of ours are using packaging to basically promote their brand in a way. So, they'll take pictures of themselves delivering a box, like if it is a customer jeweler, delivering the box to their client or they have the client's husband film them as they're opening up the packaging if they're not in front of them and showing the surprise on their face. I know that even in my own business, when I'm delivering engagement rings, I often take a video of them opening up the box or handing over an heirloom redesign. It's so fun to watch their faces because they just light up, and all those experiences if you can capture them on video or through photographic imagery becomes and experience not only for I would say the consumer to connect with your brand, right, which is the first stage of that no-like trust branding process or the brand journey, but it's also content that you can share that gets people excited about what it is that you do and unboxing videos are fun to watch, don’t you think?

Barbara: They are. They're great. Yeah.

Tracy: What's the coolest packaging you guys have ever made?

Barbara: Well, we have a lot of stock products, but I think in terms of most unique, it's usually when customers truly create a customized packaging solution for their jewelry. You know, it's nice to see when they can create something customized, truly customized, from like a sizing and color perspective, but it's also nice to see those customers who take like a stock box that is also really high end and really make it their own with their logo. So, I mean there are just so many different box styles out there, but I think the ones that interest me the most are the ones that have color and ribbon closures or some magnetic closure feature. Those are the ones that really are very upscale, and jewelers really tend to like those. I think they also tend to gravitate towards pouches. So, in addition to jewelry boxes, customers are often time using pouches. Those are really popular, whether it be like a jute or canvas pouch or like a sheer pouch. So, those are really popular as well.

Tracy: Yeah, I used to have a lot of pouches in my first jewelry business. I found that necklaces got tangled though, so I think they're good for certain products. We had to have them carded, maybe carded necklaces.

Barbara: True.

Tracy: Right.

Barbara: Yes, definitely.

Tracy: The best. I love magnetic closure boxes though. There's something about it. I just makes it's so nice. So, what are a few ways that jewelry brands or jewelry designers/makers can stand out or really set themselves apart from the competition with their packaging? I know we talked about a couple of the things that you guys offer, but let's bring that kind of 360.

Barbara: So, I think jewelry designers best understand what their unique value composition is and the look and the feel that they desire for their product and brand. So, I think the customers that I speak to or that come into the showroom or that we meet at the tradeshows, they have definitely a concept in mind in terms of the packaging that they want in terms of color and style. White is probably the most popular packaging color.

Tracy: Interesting.

Barbara: Yeah. Yeah. White is the perfect canvas for any foil color really. So, it truly is the most popular, but a lot of our customers with the eco-friendly appeal and the nature, they do also do gravitate towards craft, but really we have so many different box colors.

Tracy: And by craft, you mean the brown craft boxes?

Barbara: Yeah. The natural brown craft. Yes. Yes. I think packaging really helps to draw the customer into the product, and it really helps to elevate the products and the branding. So, I think the ways that designers can really set themselves apart from the competition is to really have a customized packaging program, not a plain product, but something that's imprinted with their brand or their logo and really incorporating that into all the packaging that they offer. So, I'm sure jewelers, they offer boxes, but then a lot of jewelers also offer the coordinating tissue and bags and their labels and pretty much anything that goes into packaging that product. So, really taking those packaging products and customizing them is really, really important, because after all if you give someone a jewelry piece in a box that isn't branded, there is just no brand recognition there. You don't know who it came from. I think customized packaging is really, really important, and I think having a differentiated or unique packaging or like mixing and matching colors within a packaging program just for a different look and feel. I think that is really important. Also, I think just incorporating different printing methods that I had mentioned earlier whether it be ink printing or foil stamping or colorful 4-color process printing, I think that really also helps to mix up the packaging and give customers a different look. One thing that we have found with customers is that they really do like to mix up their packaging. So, we do find a lot of jewelers whether they are launching a new collection or maybe doing a new popup store in a new market, what we do find is that customers are constantly changing their packaging. So, they may have a white box for their initial packaging launch, but then they may switch it up with a different foil color or just maybe altogether a different box color. So, that's definitely something that I haven't seen as much as I do now probably within the last 2 or 3 years that customers are just really mixing up their packaging and their looks.

Tracy: That's interesting to know. I would think you would want to stick with a theme?

Barbara: Yeah, I know, I know, but we definitely have our jewelers that have canvas pouches for instance, and they're constantly changing the pouches. They started with a canvas pouch. They recently moved into an organdy, a sheer organdy style.

Tracy: Oh.

Barbara: Yeah, so it's something that we're seeing more and more. I think it's probably because other jewelers are doing it, and that's probably gaining popularity. It's just another way for customers to really keep differentiating themselves and making their brands interesting all the time.

Tracy: Absolutely. So, tell us a little bit more about Packaging Specialties and where we can find you.

Barbara: So, we are located in Newburyport, Massachusetts. Our website is www.pack-spec.com, and our toll-free phone number is 1-800-722-7732.

Tracy: And you have a few special offers for the Thrive-By-Design audience?

Barbara: Yes.

Tracy: Let's hear them.

Barbara: So, in order to help promote your brand with packaging, we are offering 3 show specials. So, we are offering a last column pricing for all of our in-stock product lines. So that would include our bags, our boxes, our tissue paper, labels, pretty much all the product lines.

Tracy: And remind us what last column is because I had to ask, when you told me about it.

Barbara: Last column pricing is actually our best column pricing. So, it's our end column pricing. So, it's our last price break. So, if you as a customer wanted to order only 100 boxes, we may have multiple price breaks up to 1,000 pricing, and you would get the 1,000 price break pricing.

Tracy: Awesome. It's amazing. Okay, and you have a couple of other little specials.

Barbara: Right, and then we're also offering a $100 plate promotion for all of our custom printed tissue, and normally, the plates run anywhere from $400 to $600, so it's a hug cost savings. Then, the final promotion that we're offering is free printing plates for labels up to 4 colors.

Tracy: Wow, that is fantastic. Thank you. Thanks for sharing those amazing offers with our audience, and of course, we'll have them over on the show notes. In order to take Barbara up on these amazing deals, should they email you or reach out through the website with the code THRIVE? What's the best place?

Barbara: They can email directly to marketing at pack-spec.com or they can call our toll-free number, and yeah, and we can help them pretty much with anything. We can help them design their packaging. We can come up with different concepts; supply them with samples to help them envision their packaging. So, we're here to help, and we want to help you brand your packaging.

Tracy: Awesome. So, this is really the way to stand out is to get custom packaging that is just unique to you, right?

Barbara: Yeah. Definitely.

Tracy: The best way. So, Barbara, thank you so much for being here on the show today. It's been a pleasure.

Barbara: Thank you so much Tracy. It was great to talk to you.

Tracy: Thank you so much for listening today. Wasn't that great. If you are in the market for some new packaging, head on over to pack-spec.com. We'll have all the links and everything for their special promotion over at show notes over at flourishthriveacademy.com/episode204. Thank you so much for listening today. Make sure that you give us a little rating review because that basically tells iTunes that you like what you're hearing, and it recommends the show to other people just like you. This is Tracy signing off.

Thank you so much for listening to today's episode. It's my mission to help thousands of creative businesses, inside and outside the jewelry space, use their creativity to make money. Make sure that you're subscribed to Thrive-by-Design on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher and wherever podcasts are played. We would love to hear what you think, please rate and review the show. If you're inspired, please share this with your friends. Here's to seeing you flourish and thrive.

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