A Timely Blog Post

I came across this superb blog post this morning. It is by Marie Campbell, who runs the Boho Press in Wolverhampton. I’m in the process of producing some screen prints intended for sale on the interweb thingy. While I had considered such things as size of print for ease of posting and framing, I just had not put myself in the position of receiving one of my prints. And this is from someone who received one of Rosie’s prints last week, complete with ‘bonus’ postcards from the organisers of the exhibition to which it was linked. A big thank you to Marie for the timeliness of her excellent post!

10 tips for packaging handmade items featuring Mellybee

Posted by on Jun 24, 2013 in Featured | One Comment

As I’m new to selling online, I’m still giving thought to packaging handmade items and the kind of things I could do to make the whole experience extra special (without driving my costs up too high). While this was still on my list of things to think about, I was over the moon to win a screen printed tea towel by Mellybee in the BlogandBuySale Lucky Dip. I felt even luckier when I opened the envelope and saw all the thought that goes into her packaging.

Handmade product packaging

Melanie Chadwick has a screen printing studio in Cornwall where she makes lovely products for the home or for giving as gifts. Her signature style is her unique hand lettering and quirky illustrations on brown Kraft paper, which she continues throughout her packaging. The brown paper bag was tied up with garden twine and this carries her brand through to the smallest detail.

Handmade product packaging Mellybee

Thoughtful packaging doesn’t need to be costly either; a simple handwritten note adds a personal touch. Melanie says;

‘My main aim would be for people to smile when they receive one of my products and that they would want to touch it, pick it up and explore how its been created – getting a sense that it’s not been mass produced but has been individually made and printed for them.’

Mellybee packaging

Even before the package arrived, I was looking forward to ordering a whole set of Mellybee tea towels for my new home. Finding a special code for a discount off my next order was a real treat and this is another great way Melanie uses her packaging to bring buyers back to her website.

Handmade product packaging Mellybee

Melanie also uses her packaging to tell buyers all the important things about herself and her brand. She tells us that her items are British made, being printed by hand in Cornwall. The belly band which wraps around the tea towel is also illustrated and tells us it’s printed on 100% cotton using eco-friendly inks and includes the all essential care instructions.

Handmade product packaging Mellybee

And last, but not least, the fabric tag on the tea towel is neat and tidy, and will be a gentle reminder of who it was made by every time I’m in the kitchen.

In brief, my 10 tips for packaging handmade products are:

  1. Differentiate yourself from the mass produced market by adding personal touches
  2. Think about how you want to buyer to feel when they receive their item – a good start is to say ‘thank you’
  3. Carry your signature style through to your packaging to create a more memorable brand
  4. If you’re selling online, encourage buyers back to your online shop by offering discounts or showing them other products they may not have seen
  5. Take the opportunity to tell buyers about yourself, your brand and what makes your products special
  6. Be creative – thoughtful and environmentally friendly packaging doesn’t need to cost the earth
  7. Encourage feedback – if you’re doing something right (or wrong) it’s always good to know
  8. Package your product carefully. Marking your package ‘Handle With Care’ doesn’t always mean it’s going to be handled with care!
  9. Consider the weight and size of your package – inflated postage costs can put some buyers off
  10. Leave your mark on your item so in years to come buyers will still know who made the item, or where it’s from.

Melanie writes on her website that her aim is ‘to inspire joy and creativity as well as producing products that are functional and beautiful’. I’d say she’s certainly achieved that! You can visit Melanie’s shop www.mellybee.co.uk to see her quirky brand and full range of products or her portfolio site www.melaniechadwick.com to learn about her illustration services. Find her on Twitter @mellybeeblog or on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/mellybeeillustration

Mellybee was featured on the BlogAndBuySale website. BlogAndBuySale showcase a range of the best handmade products available online. Follow them on Twitter at @blogandbuysale


About notes to the milkman

I'm a printmaker based in the North West of England, living in Bolton and printing at Hot Bed Press in Salford. Please visit my website johnpindararts.weebly.com
This entry was posted in Art, Artists, Reblog, screenprinting and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to A Timely Blog Post

  1. Nancy Farmer says:

    I got some A4 sheets printed up then sliced and folded them into A8 (pretty tiny) cards exactly so that I could have something to put into packages. Here’s some of them on sale: http://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/122759445/ if you want to have a look, but the selling thing was not my main intention – these were mostly as giveaways… and because i loved the cute envelopes I found for sale on a website!
    All the same, my initial reaction to seeing this blog post was a sinking feeling of ‘oh god, not more work, once you’ve actually made the things and got buyers!’ Sometimes life is just too short to do creative packaging 😉

    • You are probably already personalising the product as received, without necessarily personalising the packaging. I mentioned this post down at Hot Bed Press today and Karen said that whenever she buys something from the States there’s always extra things ‘thrown in’.

  2. What a very useful blog 🙂

  3. Hi John, I’m so pleased you found the post useful, thank you for sharing it. I packaged up some screen prints today and dropped a handwritten note and 3 postcards (of my illustrations) for the recipient to keep or send to friends. They’re so inexpensive, and no trouble at all to drop in to the envelope, but hopefully will bring a smile when the package is received.

    • Nancy’s reaction was ‘Not more work!’ Is that a reasonable reaction, do you think? While I haven’t posted anything recently I’m planning on ensuring I’ve got some ‘extras’ to pop in and, as you suggest, it could result in return custom as well as increasing the recipient’s overall experience.

      • Nancy Farmer says:

        To be fair (to me 😉 ), I did also conclude that I did some/most of those things anyway… but it is hard being the head-chef and bottle-washer, and all the other jobs in-between. I hand-make envelopes for single cards (at least to abroad) – just a squared-off piece of copier paper, glued to an exact fit around the card, not for show, but because if i do it like that the weight is 19 grams and if i use a conventional envelope the weight is 22 grams… it’s about 50p difference in shipping! hence my reaction of ‘oh gods, more?’ 😀
        Sometimes that chucking in of a single free greetings card costs more than you’d think, and with the single greetings cards I have had to stop writing my usual post-it thank-you notes because of the extra weight!

        • Apologies for omitting the word “initial” before “reaction”. It was clear that, despite that initial reaction, you realised that you were probably doing it already. As for return custom, I’m pleased to see the 2014 Medusa calendar is making good progress!

          • Nancy Farmer says:

            don’t worry, I didn’t mind, I’m just a pedant 😉
            The calendars have just been ordered! 175 of them, though of course if it’s a sell-out before November I shall get more. One can hope… Will set up a page on my website within the next few days….

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