The Biggest Packaging Mistakes Shopkeepers See

Landing the wholesale account is just the beginning. Actually having people buy your product off the shelf is quite another. And packaging plays a vital role in that. It is even a reason some shops won't pick up your product-- even if they love it! So we talked with an #ahasmember retailer about what packaging mistakes they are often seeing. Read on.

Q: Please, introduce yourself, tells us about yourself and your business.
A: Hello! I’m Kiley and I own Period Six Studio in Golden, Colorado. A little over a year ago I quit my “day” job to realize my dream of working for myself and sharing my passion for American craft. I haven’t looked back. 

Of course it helps that my business partner and I have a long history… Okay, it’s my mom, Ann. She is a graphic-designer-non-profit-maven-knows-a-little-about-everything-machine, and that works well with my acting degree, theatrical background and years of working in the events, American craft, and customer service industries. Most importantly, we share a love for making people smile when they least expect to. We combine our powers to curate a store we’d go out of our way to visit. 

Q: How do you decide what products to bring into your store? 
A: Product selection is a very organic process for me. I am constantly observing the world around me for clues as to what’s trending, what excites me, and what looks like it belongs at Period Six. 

I enjoy going to art festivals and craft shows and use them in addition to Etsy wholesale (Brandboom, etc.), Instagram, and artists’ websites to get a feel for the potential artists. Whether in person or online, there’s a whole lot of first impressions and gut instincts at play.

Once something has piqued my interest, integrity becomes the most important thing I look at. Integrity of the craftsmanship, the brand they’ve created and their story. 

Q: How important is the product packaging for you? What kind of packaging catches your eye? Why?
A: Packaging is vitally important. I even choose my craft beer according to the best artwork! It’s an introduction to the artist, their work and how they see it. 

The packaging I’m drawn to makes me start imagining the products in our store. The aesthetic is complimentary to ours and it “dresses” the products up rather than distracting from their value. 

I shy away from glossy, less personalized looking packaging especially when it only works on displays sold by the artist (this can become too costly and wasteful for us), or generally limits the ways to merchandise it. These things can work for other stores, but it isn’t right for us. Since we are selling the handmade story, big box functionality can work against us. 

I like packaging that helps me answer these questions:

  • As a customer, would I be drawn to it and understand it without explanation?
  • What kind of time will I have to invest in making it easy to shop?
  • Will the product work best in store or online or both?
  • How will it play with our other products?

When I’m looking to write an order, answering these has a huge impact on my decisions. 

Q: Is there anything you consider vital in a product's packaging?
A: A logo that tells something about you is a must have. When I see a logo I like, I can’t help but to want more. Your packaging can be as unique as your product and that’s what makes it so fun!

Packaging that really resonates with our customers can be reused in some way. They can be planted, recycled, or maybe used as a display for the piece in their homes. Bonus - it ensures customers thinking of you (and us :)) well after the initial purchase. 

We also love graphic/ digital packaging that helps us get your products maximum exposure. If you’ve spent the money on great product photos that represent you in the best way possible, we’d love to honor that. If you have great videos or other content you’d like shared, use us as an ally. 

Q: What mistakes do you see small business owners make with their packaging? How do they affect your perception of that brand/product?
A: Nothing’s more of a let down than putting together an order, being excited for it to come, talking it up to customers and opening the box to find that the artist has just thrown the product in there. No note, no packing list, no business cards, nothing that says my product is special. Nothing that says, “you, my customer are valued.” 

Even though B&M businesses aren’t the final stop for your work, the way you present to them can be how they present you. If you don’t say “my product has value” with the presentation no one else will for you. I received a box like this recently and will hesitate to reorder even though I like the product itself. There was literally nothing but the loose products in there, not even packing material. The personal touch is why we sell handmade. If that’s absent, we can’t in good conscience represent that work. 

Q: What would you say to a maker who's trying to get their products into a B&M store for the very first time?
A: Know what you need. I have the best working relationships with artists who have given a lot of thought to what they need out of a business relationship. They know what kind of stores they want to be in, where their price point is mutually beneficial, and what story they want told. From that strong foundation we both get to be creative and flexible enough to inspire our customers. 

Q: Where can we find you online and off?
A: If you find yourself in our area we’d love for you to visit! The storefront is at 720 Golden Ridge Road, Golden, CO 80401. Just don’t come on a Sunday or Wednesday…these mountain girls will be skiing, hiking, or looking for new artists!

Otherwise we’re most active on Instagram @period6studio and on our website

Thank you for creating! - .6