packaging | Ribbon & Twine

November 9, 2013

I read a nice post in the Etsy Blog about Branded Packaging Basics, and it got me thinking. Packaging for online sellers is super important. It really is the last point of contact between you and the client, the last chance for a fond farewell. Well, besides the follow-up email. It's always a battle to create beautiful packaging that becomes synonymous with your brand, but also something that will protect the item en route. International mail is not kind. Another important factor in packaging is price. You want to keep it affordable. It's not that if you use moderately priced supplies your packaging will look cheap - I think the most beautiful brand packages are often times made from the simplest materials - and it looks expensive. It's that you don't want to drive up the price of your item total and deter buyers.

When I first started selling on etsy, I had the good fortune of having a friend who already had two successful shops and had sourced her packaging, so I was very lucky and she gave me pointers and gifted me a few of her materials to try out. For a few months when she bought packaging supplies I tagged along and we did a bulk purchase.

So I started with tissue paper wrapping, grey bookbinding board, stamps, and a hand-written thank you note, all tied together with a natural cotton twine and placed in the largest padded envelope available.

It was good packaging, but it didn't suit my brand, and worst of all it limited the size of my items. I had to think about what packages I liked, what my brand's visual message is, and how my packaging can communicate that. After a few months (or a year, I don't rightly remember) I moved on from that grey cardboard to WOOD BOARDS, cut to size and sanded. Can't be folded or bent, not so much in the budget but I was optimistic and decided to eat the costs, and most importantly - fit my brand. With a printed thank you note, brand stamps and stickers, a moisture-resistant bag, and simple kraft paper wrapping, my signature packaging was set!

...And now I've run out of my white cotton twine. Mmm, decisions, decisions! Should I buy more of the same, or should I change it to color twine, metallic twine, velvet ribbon, metallic ribbon, or cotton ribbon? So many options! I have small amounts of each and started testing them. I wanted to buy a spool that would last a long time, and to keep it affordable. I use an average of 2 yards per package, so it can get expensive.

Which one do you think I should go with? Here are my options:

Top row, left to right: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4
Bottom row, left to right: 1 | 2 | 3

NATURAL COTTON TWINE / SOLID COLOR COTTON TWINE / STRIPED COLOR COTTON TWINE / STRIPED METALLIC COTTON TWINE - Understated, lets the wood shine, practical, and the least expensive of the options. The metallic version is problematic though - the metallic thread keeps unraveling (for shame!).

JUTE TWINE - Thicker than the cotton version, it's harder to stretch and tie, and a bit rough on my baby-skin hands (Seriously, I can't open drink bottles or clean my floors without tearing).

METALLIC VELVET RIBBON - Even though it's not really elastic, I LOVE how fancy it is! The downside is that it's not two-sided, and I am not a good bow-maker - it will show.

COTTON RIBBON WITH METALLIC VEIN - The most expensive of all the options, I was all ready to pass on it (break my heart!) when Angela Liguori announced a pre-Christmas sale on instagram. Of course I jumped on it and bought the longest roll on offer. It's a good deal and I can't wait to see the ribbon in person.


1 comment

  1. The striped twine would look awesome. Another suggestion is raffia for an all natural look. Yarn can also make an impact, it tends to have a little stretch too so you can easily get a snug tie. The novelty ones are a bit of fun and there are also metallic options.