Tuesday, 29 October 2013

What Tiffany & Co Can Teach Us About Packaging For Your Brand

Image supplied by Tiffany&Co

When I say  ..... Tiffany&Co ..... what comes to mind? Do you see an elegant Audrey with bagel in hand or perhaps you see perfect diamonds in "Tiffany Blue" boxes tied with white ribbon? Whatever it is I'm sure when you read it you pictured something that automatically linked you to their brand.

Your brand is so much more than your business name and the logo you use. Your brand is a collection of visual and behavioural cues that communicate who you are as a person and business to your customers.

It's the emotions that you provoke in your customers when they think of you.

So, what is a  .... B R A N D ?

Simply, your brand is everything about your business. Every little detail works together to represent your brand to the world. First you have the obvious stuff of your business name and logo and part of that then determines your colour palette,  fonts, icons & tagline. But the sometimes forgotten aspects of branding are your policies & practices and your presentation & packaging. 

Today we are focusing on packaging. While to some, how you wrap your products seems to be inconsequential, perhaps even a non important task I can assure you that not only does it get noticed by your customers it can impact your bottom line either by repeat business or .... not.

Close your eyes and think about your business, think about your name and logo do they convey who you are and what you do? Do you have a tagline? Think about the feeling and message you wish to convey to your customers, the ones who actually buy from you.

Does the way you package convey this feeling? This message? Are you representing your brand?

Now, before you go off and claim you can't afford to have branded packaging, I'm not saying you need to be all blue boxes and ribbon, nor am I saying that you need to have a certain look and feel in line with your logo. If your business is about sustainable living, your packaging could be recycled materials. It doesn't all have to look the same to actually represent the message you want to communicate.

They say picture speaks a thousand words so I'm going to stop now and let some imagery help with this one. I have a wonderful collection of examples of how handmade businesses package, some simple, some very planned and thought out, yet all assist the business in their overall image and branding. 

 I love wrapping my parcels. It is such an important part of my business as first impressions last! I often receive feedback with lovely comments about how special it was to receive a handwritten note and a beautifully packaged product. My packaging has evolved somewhat over the last few months since opening my shop. I now use predominantly yellow tissue paper (ties in with my business name 'Dandelion Threads') with twine. Using no sticky tape is a family tradition, resulting in lots of fun at Christmas as we see who can wrap the most complicated shaped gift with only ribbon. It also means that the wrapping can be reused by my customer rather than thrown away. My gift tags are made from up-cycled vintage books (made by my friend) which look lovely and meld with my ethos of recycling and upcycling fabrics to make something new. I have recently begun attaching a sprig of lavender as it smells beautiful and adds an extra special homely touch which is perfect for handmade goodness.

For me I think half the thrill of buying handmade is the extra touches and love that is put into your package. Opening a boring Australia Post bag is exciting if you know there is something awesome inside but its even better to open that ugly package to see someone has put in just that little bit extra time and wrapped your purchase and made it even more exciting. I like to think its those little things that allows me to say thank you. Thank you for buying handmade, thank you for buying from this little ol' stay at home mum with 2 kids under 2 and thank you for giving me that little bit extra money so I can then buy some more handmade goodness off someone else for myself and my family. Doilies are hand dyed and purchased from Etsy. Twine is from Whimsy Farm Twine. I use heavy duty brown paper, and the pattern paper stripes were purchased locally. I also put a label on the parcels (as seen on the hobby horse) as part of the branding. In the little ones its on the back. I also make sure my addresses on parcels are neatly written and like to use coloured ink if possible and I always use a printed address label on the back as it looks just that little bit more professional. I include a business card with all purchases, and some items come with printed care instructions.
I think that a customer should feel more then just that. When you expect to receive just a simple parcel in the mail and are then surprised to receive a parcel that not only looks pretty, but smells pretty too is a nice change. I package each individual hair accessory in sweet organza bags, I even use a cute love heart hole punch for clips & hair tie cards, I always include a thank-you card to know that their purchase is appreciated, wrap their order in pastel pink tissue paper sealed with my business sticker & then completed with a spritz of my favourite scent! To receive so much feedback on the effort I go to for my packaging and especially the aroma that they get when they open their parcel truly makes the extra time taken worth it!

Packaging to me, is about creating an atmosphere and adding a element of excitement to the air. You know those exciting butterflies you use to get as kid on Christmas morning? I want my customers to feel those flutters when they first see my parcels. I don't have a set structure for my packaging, rather I choose to make each personal by trying to theme it to the item they have purchased. Last Christmas I made little clay tags and stamped 'Be Merry' into them and teamed them with some little bells; and on another order for a rainbow party I used rainbow ribbon to add some spunk to the package.  My packaging staples would have to be brown paper, doilies, twine, washi tape and good old stamps and an ink pad.
I think if you put enough thought, care and love into an item, then why not put the same into the packaging, after all, first impressions last right? 

To me handmade isn't just about fabric and sewing machines, pins and scissors! It’s about a way of life! Each day is a new journey filled with exciting colours and visions, fun and laughter and the most amazing people. All of the emotion and excitement of creating in this little world, we have come to call HOME, is wrapped up into parcels and sent out to special people, who are also part of this world!
I often think of a movie I once watched, where a chef put all of her emotions into her cooking, and those who ate her dishes felt what she did while she was cooking. I think the same happens to my creations so I always make sure I’m in my happy place when I am sewing, for fear darkness or sorrow may enter if I don’t (totally weird I know, but us handmaidens can be a kooky bunch )  
But to get to the point of this exercise!!
Wrapping our creations is also an extension of the creative process. There is nothing more exciting than getting handmade in the mail and opening the outer layer to find a beautiful, thoughtfully wrapped goodie. 
The thought process behind my wrapping began with the black tissue paper. 76 Tilly Lane’s logo colours are art deco and therefore black seemed a far better option than the traditional white. Next came our swing cards, also created in art deco flavour, and attaching them with a small black safety pin seemed in keeping with our theme. This also enabled me to attach the gift of matching hair ties to the clothing in a way that was professional and with minimal fussing. 
One of the things I really love about the handmade community is the feelings of connectedness between businesses and their customers. This idea led me to looking for something that I could give the parcel a more personal touch, one that was “Me”. Meanwhile, the lovely Sultan from “Lalise & Sienne” knew of my love of all things Alice in wonderland and sent me a link to “Chibi Run” who was selling small notecards in little tins based on Alice and Dorothy. PERFECT!!!! A small notecard of whimsical theme with a personal handwritten note of thanks could now be sent to each customer. A quick mist of linen spray is added at the moment of wrapping, so as the parcel is opened a pleasant scent rises and brings a smile to the face of the recipient as their senses are treated with pretty colours and smells.
The final part of the process sees the tissue wrapped around its precious cargo, and Art deco tape (also from “Chibi Run”) wrapped around the tissue to decorate the darkness of the tissue. Topped with a paper doily see’s customers name handwritten for that final personal touch.
And so ends my story of “Wrapping, with a dash of love and a sprinkle of smiles”. And next time you receive a handmade goodie wrapped in prettiness breathe in the specialness that is enclosed in its wrapping, for its not just about the material goodness it’s also about Handmade Love!

The awesome contributors to this article:
Dandelion Threads
Harley Barley Designs
Pink Bliss Boutique
Leegirl Pretties
Curly Jo Design
76 Tilly Lane

As shown above, you don't need a theme or everything to be the same. You don't have to be all "Tiffany & Co". But what Tiffany & Co has done is have such a clear branding message surrounding their packaging that the blue they use is now referred to as Tiffany Blue. That all their packaging is consistent with their brand and that they don't have to do any more than that little blue box and white ribbon. 

Remember that you take time to create your handmade work to sell. Show your work the consideration it deserves and put some thought and time into how you present it to your customers.

Just so you know, the businesses showcased above were actually recommended by their customers. When I asked the question on my Facebook Page these were some of the businesses that were nominated by very satisfied customers.

Do you have great packaging? I would love to see how you package your creations! Comment with your details for me to check it out!


  1. Thanks, what a helpful and inspiring post! Lots of ideas mulling around for how I can improve my packaging to fit my brand.

    1. That's great Shell! I would love to see what you come up with, feel free to share.


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