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…oh my!  ‘Oh my’ can be applied in oh-so-many ways to packaging.  Let’s play a game.  Just insert ‘oh my’ before each of the following phrases:

  • …that packaging is cute!
  • …it takes a long time to get this stuff printed!?!
  • …each sticker costs what???
  • …that’s a whole lot of printed bags to make this run price effective!
  • …these are going under lock and key!

You get the drift.  And…it’s worth it!

What I’m really talking about here is branding.  My logo is the foundation of my brand.  Things like packaging, printed goods and materials, website, and store aesthetic are built on top of this foundation.  The goal is to create a consistent and clear face to the business.  A personality, if you will.  A business without personality is like a person without personality – drab, boring, and invisible.  Harsh, I know.  But, if you don’t open up and show them who you are, you might be sipping punch at the punch bowl alone.

In an effort to sip my punch with you, branding is a priority for me.  At the moment, we’re working on the packaging piece of branding. Packaging, for the purpose of this blog, includes merchandise, printed marketing materials, stickers, stamps, bags and boxes.  Having branded packaging accomplishes three things (at the least): it communicates what Flour + Co is all about with a single sticker (or bag, or cup, or…); it helps to spread the word of our brand without words; and, it makes the ordinary extra special.  Here are a few examples.

Before: pear cranberry jam in a plain glass jar.  After: pear cranberry jam in a sleek jar with a super cute sticker just begging for someone to break the seal.  Which one do you want to taste?

Caramel, Jam

Before: sipping your coffee from an old, stained coffee mug.  After: your coffee served up in this sweet mug featuring butter, sugar, egg and milk. Which one sparks a conversation with your coworker at the coffee pot? (sorry if you were hoping for peace and quiet before your first cup of coffee!)

Before: a plastic gift card handed to the recipient or dropped in a birthday card.  After: a gift card slipped into this extra special wrap that can be personalized for the perfect gift.  Which one will make you look like you put in some extra effort?

Gift Card Packaging

After seeing these packaging examples, you should have a better idea of who Flour + Co is.  Let’s just say we’re on our 2nd or 3rd date.  There’s a lot more to uncover, but you’ve got the gist of our personality.  (Gosh, I hope you want to go on date #4!)

I’m far from doing this whole branding thing along, by the way.  I’ve enlisted Rubber Design Co, a small, local, firm to lead the way.  I chose them because I love their work, and I felt like my brand vision was in line with their creative style.  Of course, they started with my logo (which I LOVE!) and have built up from there.  Just look at the examples above, my logo, and the awesome illustration of Flour’s friends (thanks to Desiree!) and you will understand why I couldn’t be more pleased with their work and my investment.  I can’t wait to unveil the rest when we open!

On the topic of the investment, I think it’s worth saying that too often people see this branding exercise as expensive and optional, so it’s cut from the list in the beginning.  I, on the other hand, think it’s a necessity, albeit expensive, and will push and pull in other areas of my budget to make it work.  It’s the foundation of my business for goodness sakes.  That’s the epitome of money well spent.

As with everything else, it’s not all or nothing.  You have choices to make.  For the process of creating your brand, there are some standard steps not to be missed.  But when it comes to packaging, smart decisions will get you where you need to be.  Print some bags, stamp others (which is A LOT cheaper).  Get one sticker that can be personalized as needed instead of a personalized sticker for each item (what happens when you stop making a product, but have 5,000 stickers for it?).  Skip the logo pens, but get the logo coffee mug that people will drink from each day. Prioritize your wish list to get the necessities now and the splurges down the road.