My thoughts on packaging

My experience and thoughts on packaging as a small business after a thought I had on Threads went viral...

My thoughts on packaging

So, the other week a thread I wrote went a little viral over on Threads. And it didn't end in a positive way.

It sparked a debate about small business packaging, but it also led to people being unnecessarily rude.

My thoughts were that sometimes I feel a little disappointed when an order from a small business arrives and there's no branding (such as a business card), or any form of packaging except the outer envelope. The example that led to this was a card I had ordered from Etsy, and it was just the card slid into a do not bend envelope.

I want to iterate: This was merely a thought/opinion I had.

Nowhere did I state in the thread that I expected all small business to do what I do (as I shared what I included in orders I send out) and I definitely don't expect small businesses to go above and beyond at all, but people decided this was what I was saying, reading things I hadn't written. The internet can be an interesting place sometimes, I just didn't expect to experience it firsthand!

(Tbf, I have since then realised that there are a lot of people on Threads (and the Internet in general if we're being honest), that just want to argue and be negative).

I've ordered from a lot of small business over the years, and I'd say at least 95% of them have lovely presentation with their orders, even if it just to put the card or item in a little striped paper bag, and add a business card/thank you slip. It really doesn't have to be a lot, but for me it makes a big difference. Packaging is an important part of a product.

People were arguing that small businesses shouldn't have to go above and beyond compared to big businesses, and I agree with that, but a lot of small businesses want to add that personal touch, to show how much that order means to them. And adding small bits to the packaging, just makes it a step apart from the businesses who clearly do just chuck your order in a box. coughAmazoncough.

99% of small businesses are not packing thousands of orders a day, some days you're lucky if you get one order.

One thing that really incensed me though, was that I was called ableist. Now I don't share my personal life online because I don't want or need to. But I can assure you, my health, both physical and mental, impacts me in one way or another on pretty much a daily basis, and it is one of the reasons that I love having my small business, because it gives me the freedom for if I'm having a not so great day. This person on Threads reasoning for calling me ableist, despite knowing nothing about me, was that some people might not be able to put the extra effort in, as a lot of small businesses are run my disabled and/or chronically ill people. Whilst I understand that a lot of people running small business may be disabled and/or chronically ill, if a person can pack an order, why is adding a business card or putting it in a protective bag considered too much? Even when taking things like cost into account, these are quite minimal, but also they convey your branding as well, making everything a little more cohesive.

Anyways, it did make me realise that I find packaging an important part of anything I order, whether it's from a big or small business. And thinking about it, I've realised that it's been a part of my life longer than I realised...

My dad has been in the packaging industry all of his career. He used to make dies (a die is blades shaped to cut out the desired shape into board, paper etc., - it's really hard to describe it!) and for the longest time now has designed the packaging itself (the construction of the packaging, not the artwork). I can remember when I was like maybe 10? He'd bring home a bunch of greetings cards from where he worked (they cut and printed cards), and we'd help and sit and pack them up with their envelopes in their cello bags. So I was used to seeing packaging and him talking about packaging a lot.

In my early 20s, I went onto to get a graphic design job at a gift packaging company, doing the artwork for packaging.

So packaging has always kinda been there in my life, and I think it's why I put quite a bit of emphasis on it for my business, and something that I love spending time getting right. Opening a nice package is part of the experience of buying the item. Just look at premium brands like Apple or Tiffanys. I'm not saying that small business have to be like these large corporations at all (I would love to have branded/custom printed tissue paper, but it is expensive), but the customer experience goes a long way in keeping those people coming back to you. Yes a great product might be enough for you to shop with someone again, but having a little extra attention makes you feel valued as a customer.

I could easily go to the Card Factory and buy cards. I will buy from other small businesses, because I know that there is way more thought put into the products itself, and also the packaging (when ordering online).

I thought I'd share the reasons as to why I pack the orders the way I do, and why I add what I do. And to note, not every order will have all of this. I of course don't want to cause any unnecessary waste as I make my packaging as eco-friendly as possible whilst hoping the customer has a nice experience upon receiving it.

So here are the reasons I pack my orders as I do: