Sunday, February 10, 2013

Studio Sunday! - Show Me Packaging - with Rebecca Anderson of Songbead

Welcome to Studio Saturday....em, Sunday! {Yes, I messed up a little and this Studio Saturday post is coming to you a day late! Better late than never, right? So you'll be getting a two in one with this post - a Studio post and a Show Me Sunday} Each week one of our contributors gives you a sneak peek into their studio, creative process or inspirations. We ask a related question of our readers and hope you'll leave comments! As an incentive we offer a free prize each week to bribe you to use that keyboard. The following week we choose a random winner.
This weeks winner is.... OpenIDJeanne aka Gem Chick
You have won a beautiful set of ceramic beads from Gaea Cannaday.
Send Gaea an e-mail with your address and she will get it right out to you.
This week we visit the studio of Rebecca Anderson of Songbead and The Curious Bead Shop

As we are featuring packaging this month, I thought I would talk a little about my own packaging here - how I protect and 'dress up' my jewellery and beads to sell, and also some of the paraphernalia that you need to think about when selling at a craft fair.

Obviously, selling both jewellery and beads has some areas of overlap, but there are also some some areas unique to each. When I am selling online, I have to post my jewellery/beads out to people - sometimes all the way across the world from little old me, here in the UK! I have had the privilege of sending out to such far flung places as Italy, Spain, France, Switzerland, Finland, Canada, many different states in the US, Australia, and of course, all over Great Britain. {It's one of my plans for the coming few months to make a map of my sales, so that I can see everywhere that both my jewellery and beads are now happily residing :-).} First and foremost of course, is ensuring that the product you are sending is received safe and secure by its new owner. I have lovely little recycled brown cardboard boxes for the jewellery, and tissue paper and stickers for the beads and cord. These in turn get tucked into padded envelopes or sturdy little boxes, to protect them on their way to their new owners. Here's a shot of some of my beads, getting ready to travel all the way to Austria:
Wrapped up neatly with colourful (I am ALL about colour!) tissue paper, sealed with pretty stickers, and my business card tucked in. The cardboard box this is in will be taped up VERY securely before it leaves my side. 

With jewellery, which can be more delicate than loose beads and cord, I add a double layer of protection. The jewellery sits snugly in a hand decorated box, is covered with a folded sheet of tissue paper, before being securely taped up in a padded envelope. I've learned the hard way here - I once had a bracelet reach it's destination in Canada, and when its new owner opened the box, she discovered that a delicate lampwork flower had a petal missing - it had snapped off en route. I now make sure that my jewellery cannot really move, even within its own box, to avoid such mishaps occurring again. 

You can see here that, like my one-of-a-kind jewellery, I like to decorate my boxes in unique ways. No two come out the same! You can also see that I stamp my details on the base of each box. You can NEVER give out your business details in too many ways. Business cards can and are easily discarded, but jewellery boxes are often kept, and my details along with it. 

And along with decorating my own boxes, I make my own price tags for craft fairs. 
Brown cardboard, cut, stamped, ready to be hand-written with prices and item descriptions, and simple cord ties attached.

You can see too that, although my jewellery and supplies businesses are separate, the packaging  that I use for both is sympathetic. The brown paper 'kraft' materials are something I use as a bit of a signature for both Songbead and Curious.  I've developed my own style and I like that to be an area of overlap between the two businesses. 

Last week in the comments, Ann Schroeder said:

I am a buyer, not a seller. My main concern is that my beads arrive safely. However, when they are packaged in a special way it's really fun. My favorite wrapping recently was in a box with pretty ribbon that had a little freebie charm that matched what I had ordered! That really made me feel special and gave me a good feeling about that seller. 

So you see, it's not just jewellery that people appreciate being presented beautifully! When I send out my beads, they get hand strung on cord, and each strand comes with a tiny key charm tied onto the end:

This shot is from beads I sent out in my opening weekend! You can see I had more strands to go out than I had every single strand comes with a bonus charm. Photo courtesy of Bo Hulley Beads.

The key is also my business logo, so it links in nicely, and hopefully customers appreciate that little extra touch in their package. I am planning on expanding Curious' range to include handmade beads and findings too over the coming months, and I'll be thinking of new ways to present them in special ways too. 

One thing I'd like to focus on with my packaging for the future is getting it to be more I said, I already use recycled kraft boxes for my jewellery. I would like to switch to recycled tissue paper also, and look for more ways to make my packaging as environmentally friendly as possible. I know that it is something that I really value as a customer as well; for me, it's worth the extra time and effort, and even the few extra pennies that it can cost. This area of focus is one I will talk about in next week's Show Me Sunday. I'd love to hear any ideas that you have about this or any other areas and elements of packaging!

So that's my bribe to you for this week - tell me something about your packaging that you like, or that you'd like to improve. Or if you're not selling yet, what do you as a customer want to see when your beads and jewellery arrive through your letterbox?

Leave your comments for the chance to win $20 worth of (beautifully packaged!) goodies from The Curious Bead Shop

And before I go, here are the Bead Blogger Links - it is Sunday after all!

A Bead A Day 
Have you ever created a piece of jewelry and wondered if you went one bead too far? Stop by A Bead A Day to share YOUR story. Jewelry Making 
Fernando Dasilva is this month's jewelry designer interviewee. 

Resin Crafts! 
Do not miss this post showing you how to embed vintage trims in resin! 

Snap out of it, Jean! There's beading to be done! 
Jean is so thrilled that Nina Designs is offering great new videos on how to make lovely and versatile jewelry. See her blog for an example she really liked!

Beading Arts
Cyndi has new polymer clay projects to share, including resin and beads!

Rebecca is a Scottish jewellery designer, currently living in Manchester, England. You can read more about her and her work at her blog, and see more of her jewellery at She also has a supplies shop 


Heidi Post said...

Depending on the size and shape of the item, I'll ship things in Altoids tins. My dad eats them like crazy, so he often give me a bunch of his leftover tins. I figure the items are very safely protected inside, except for the one time I didn't wrap a delicate ceramic piece in enough tissue, and it arrived broken. Still though, it's recycling, and I think kinda cute.

I do like when I receive something in nice packaging. It definitely shows that the sender cared enough to make that extra effort.

Shyme said...

Beautiful packaging is definitely one thing that make me smile :)

Giorgia Rossini said...

thanks for this useful post!
Love the kraft personalized boxes, they are beautiful.
I package my jewels with handmade boxes, I think I will presonalize them somehow :)
ciao dall'Italia

Claire Lockwood said...

What a helpful blog - Thanks! For ages I've wanted to come up with a way to wrap jewellery so that it hasn't fallen into the corner of the box when it's finally opened. Wrapping it in a tissue paper package would be a start towards making the 'reveal' neater. Ta!

Unknown said...

I think that you packaging 'hits all the right spots'. As a customer it's worth paying that little bit extra to receive a reuseable Kraft cardboard box to receive a jewellery or supplies. It not only gives the customer confidence that the products will arrive safe and sound, but will also ensure repeat business with a supplier they can trust. I have used other suppliers for products and the disappointment I've felt when the package arrives in a reused envelope, often patched up, or a package with the contents poorly wrapped on in little plastic bags (not good if you are buying fragile jewellery or beads.

I think that you are doing everything 'right' Rebecca, and including a business card ensures that you client has a 'aide memoire' to hand to find your online stores, and blog, or to give out to other potential buyers

baymoondesign said...

I am a lucky receiver of your beads and packaging. I must say that I thought your craft box decorated with pretty tape was very sturdy and adorable. When I opened the box and discovered the pink tissue paper and heart stickers I was very excited. The real bonus were the cute keys. I thought how smart to attach keys that are in your logo. It made a very favorable impression on me. It also made me want more of those keys. I want to use them in some earrings.

I try to be green in my packaging. I always use padded envelopes that I save from something that I ordered. I use pretty tape to cover any torn areas. I am trying to display jewelery at craft fairs in a unique way and I found it can really help with sales. This past winter I took out some Victorian looking frames (plastic) that I bought years ago and never did anything with. I cut some sturdy paper and put holes for earrings. I set these frames up all over my table. I got so many compliments. I kept the frames and put the earrings into little cellophane bags with my business card and a matching sticker. I did have one customer who wanted the frame and I gave it to her. I intend to do more of that kind of thing at craft fairs.

Anonymous said...

I used to use simple pillow boxes for packaging jewelry, but have just changed what I do. Purchases small size glassine bags and tiny wooden clothes pins from etsy sellers. The jewelry slips into the bag, fold down the top, clip one of my business cards onto the front with a clothes pin. Easy and cute.

Beaditi said...

As a customer, I love to see a personal touch of the designer on the packaging - basically more than a business card.
A stamp with a logo representing the designer's style, or a logo charm, something that can stay as a memory or a souvenir !

ps - oh and id love to win the goodies !

lamplight crafts said...

I love color. Right now I use lime green jewelry boxes (if the item fits). I often tie a ribbon or place a sticker or paper flower on the box lid. It really depends on how I am feeling at the time. Also, I like to include something extra, that goes along with what they bought.

Anonymous said...

I love to open a package to find that the sender has taken care to make it pretty as well as protective! Having said that, it's nice if the seller keeps in mind how much the packaging adds to the sale price. I know from Australia a flat padded envelope costs around $6.50 to mail to the US, for example, but putting a small box inside the envelope makes it too wide to fit through the "slot" and it is classified differently with a postage price of $13+ I'd be a bit annoyed with having to pay higher postage unnecessarily! And it's something I need to keep in mind as I start to sell my jewellery.

Kristina said...

*drools* My love for boxes was discovered long before my love for beads, but I must say the two are comparable. I have to agree with you on the eco-friendly bit. People assume that to be so would mean plain packaging, but that really isn't true. You can recycle ribbons you get from gifts or old clothes. You can even dye light colored ribbon or string with a vegetable scrap solution to make the color more vibrant. Really, being earth-conscious is just another way to express creativity.

Unknown said...

I always enjoy seeing all the ways my packages come wrapped, especially all the tapes! I like to make my own envelopes for my swaps.

Ann Schroeder said...

I like the idea of using recycled packaging. One way sellers make their packaging materials recyclable is to package with something I can reuse. For example, I recently ordered some sari silk and the package was tied with a small piece of a different color. I incorporated that into a necklace I made. I loved to be able to do that because it worked out beautifully, and I didn't add anything to the landfill!

fairiesmarket said...

Thank you all for the wonderful ideas. We use envelopes to send a lot of our items. The jewelry we ship in a no frills jewelry box in a padded envelope.

I do enjoy nice paper when giving or receiving items. You've given me a lot to think about, THANKS!


Divya said...

I use a self sealing plastic cover with a chart backing and then tissue plus bubble wrap before putting it in white cardboard boxes and decorating them with doodles or pretty washi tape. Breakages so happen at times and it is very depressing. I would like to shift to brown kraft boxes but I have a hard time finding them locally. After seeing the color tissue used here, I am thinking of using maybe crepe or tissue paper in my packaging too

Ellie said...

I love special packaging. I received some goodies this morning that were so beautifully wrapped and boxed I had to take unboxing photos. Plus inside the beads were protected with strips of stiff crinkled brown paper, which my naughty cat LOVED so I had to take a photo of him playing with it :)

Candace, Boston MA said...

I'm a marketer by day, so I like to see that packing details represent the artists brand - their personality, appreciation for customer and respect for their work. The simplest packaging as long as its unique and consistent can do this.

Malin de Koning said...

Irresistable bribe there Rebecca! I have not yet attended a fair or market or show, so my reply is only to to with when things are sent by mail.

I am mostly concerned with the safety when it comes to the shipping of things. Beads AND jewelry. And both as a seller and a buyer. For a period I felt that so many sellers put so much extra work into the packaging of what I bought, so it has happened that I even have left a message that I don't wish for any fancy wrapping. I feel it is something immoral about it all. We use up natures resources on not really necessary things. Something I've seen lately that I really like is a kind of padding inside the box, made from recycled paper that has ben creased/folded and cut into thin slices. I assume there is some sort of simple device that takes care of that. (I'd like one of those myself.) I like all kinds of recycled thinking.

I still feel i have not completely found my own style and approach on packaging my own sold items. I am searching and trying new things every now and then. But I do recycle as much as I can.

re-maker said...

I really enjoyed your post!

I agree that packaging is really important not only for safety, but presentation too. It's fun to receive a creatively sent order and little surprises are the best!

I treat every outgoing order as though it's being sent as a gift.

Unknown said...

I recently tried my hand at making pillow boxes from kraft paper. They were pretty, and I think I will continue to explore this idea for future use. What if you purchased old quilts from the thrift shops, and used the squares instead of tissue paper? I'm with you, I love that pop of color in your tissue paper!

Anonymous said...

I think your packaging is great! I recently ordered beads from another seller. She wrapped them in tissue paper, tied it up with beautiful string that had a charm in the knot! So cute! Thanks for all of the ideas!

Angi Mullis

Susanm said...

While I always appreciate creative packaging, I like it when the seller takes time to write a personal thank you. Even a quick hand-written "thanks" on a business card is enough. It's a small thing, but as a buyer, this little extra effort makes me feel like the buyer appreciates my business.

Mona said...

I love the wrapped paper it gives value to the whatever wrapped inside and I'm all about color too. The little boxes are really simple and delicate.

Martha Dz Jewelry said...

Your Kraft boxes are wonderful! I use Kraft boxes to send my jewelry, but I love how you have decorated yours. Thanks for the ideas!

Starstruckbooks said...

Thank you so much for sharing your lovely packaging ideas. I can't decide if the decorated jewellery boxes or the coloured tissue paper was my favourite, I love colour too! I normally thread a business card onto coloured ribbon and tie that around my white tissue-wrapped packages.

If you wouldn't mind sharing, where do you get your outer boxes from? I have been searching for a good source to use for my books but most of them seem so expensive or not up to the quality standard I want.

Thanks again, all the best for an inspirational year! Lizzie :)

Hurrundi said...

As a customer, I love getting handwritten notes or a free item, I always come back for more :-)


CrippleHorse said...

I adore beautiful packaging, it doesn't have to be fancy, just to show there is some thought behind it.
I also love handwritten cards, discounts for next purchase and a little gift with my purchased items.
I have also received candy and tea bags, which was also wonderful :-)


Klassy Joolz said...

I recycle, too. I always package in a pretty way. My packaging is always different...but always artful. I, also, include some handstamped/ink distressed Gift Tags from my Lil' Love Notes Etsy Shop as a "thank you gift" for purchasing from me.

I think it is more special for the customer and it shows you care when you do the little extras.

Love your packaging!

Thanks and Smiles, Pam

Michelle said...

As a customer, I always love when the package arrives looking like a little present - all that waiting for it to come in the mail makes it extra special. And really, what is online shopping if not "gifts" to yourself?

Empty nester at last said...

Great post. I have a box maker template, I may just have to get it out and start making my own personalized boxes and cards...thanks bunches!

Elaine said...

In Canada, items over a certain size and weight cost DRAMATICALLY more to ship so on top of effective, cute and recycled, it also has to be lightweight and not bulky.

Most of my packaging is very simple due to this. I use boxes, tissue and envelopes made from recycled or partially recycled paper fibre so I have that down.

I am working on ways to decorate the envelopes / boxes / tissue a little without adding weight or bulk. Stickers, stamps and tapes will probably be how it goes!

As for extras, I often tuck a couple extra beads in - either more of what was ordered or something from my experiment bowl. I love giving things away, it's hard not to just load up the packages but again, the weight issue!

Jess Green said...

Well I haven't started selling yet, but I want to and I have been looking into the options available to me. There's so many! I love the idea of little hand made boxes and tags in purple and malachite green, and as I will be selling under a cat themed brand name I've been eyeing up little cat stamps to use as well. Of course, on top of prettiness, I need to consider the safety of my potential customers purchases. And I always love it when I receive a package that includes bubble wrap ;)

Mackin-Art said...

I know I'm in the minority, but I really prefer plain, functional, protective packaging - the fancy stuff is just going to end up in the trash and seems like such a waste.

Catherine Sorensen said...

Oh lovely!The little key charm with your beads strands is sweet.

For my packaging I have kept to simple & sweet along with easy to reuse:

Simple kraft boxes stamped with my logo & a white stretch ribbon loop to hold it closed. I used to do pretty colored ribbon in an elegant bow but that turned out a little difficult for my helpers to manage.

Now I'm off to check out your bead shop!

~ Catherine

Diva Designs Jewelry said...

I'm late to the party, but this topic is important to me as a seller and as a buyer.

Every jewelry purchase in my shop gets delivered in its own little sewn paper gift bag I create using vintage dictionary and sheet music pages, vintage plastic buttons, colored hemp twine and cutouts from digital images of vintage, usually Victorian, greeting card illustrations.

I'm recycling by using the vintage dictionary pages and buttons, so I I'm green on the inside, but my outside packaging is always, always fresh and new. I use rigid, white CD boxes that come flat and unassembled and can be enlarged according to how many items are tucked inside.

It is important to me that the package look as professional as possible. I think it lets the customer know they are important to me and that I care about their first impression, because after all, you never get a second chance to make a first impression.

As a buyer, I really do not like to get a mailer that has been reused several times. It makes me feel like I was an afterthought, and my purchase was not important to the seller.

Thanks, Rebecca!

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Shai Williams said...

I just opened up a store and have been really playing with thoughts about it so your post came at just the right time. When it was just my blog I was using the brown recycled boxes with a sticker on top of it. The only is that I only have the boxes in one size so I really need to get more and stickers with my shop's name and URL. I love seeing all the ribbons that people use but frankly my bows suck. Aw well. I know that this will be an ongoing project.

Jeanne @ Gems By Jeanne Marie said...

Wow! How did I miss this post?! (probably still digging out from the blizzard on Sunday)
First, I have to say how excited I am to receive Gaea's ceramic beads! I can't wait!

As far as packaging, when I ship I usually tuck the piece into an organza bag, then a cardboard box. I like to use the recycled brown craft boxes. I'll put on one of my labels and tie with a ribbon. At a show I use pretty plastic gift bags with my label. I love to watch a man walk away swinging a little fuschia bag. My customers love them.

Sarajo Wentling said...

I haven't been selling for too long, but what I've been doing so far is using kraft paper jewelry boxes that I've rubber stamped with a cool swirly/floral design in either teal or orange.

Wrapping the items inside the box with pretty tissue paper is a great idea (and I feel silly that I didn't think of it before. Now I have something new on my shopping list!

Tejae: Heart Shaped Art said...

I'm really late to the party but i wanted to mention that for me, it's important for my packaging to coordinate with the types of items that I'm selling. It helps with my branding message.

For me, packaging is something I'm always experimenting with in my studio.

My customers won't see the experiments until I'm satisfied with it. They will continue to get my signature brown textured box with a gold "Tejae's Art" seal.

But I'm still looking and experimenting with the perfect mix of vintage, time worn container and signature seal/stamp/embossed closure.

I haven't found anything I like better yet but the journey has been fun and eye opening. I created a pinterest board to help me with my experiments

tejae ♥

Macrosoft said...

Nice packaging design. I like this design very much.

Custom Printed Bags