Handcrafted Soap & Cosmetic Packaging (Part 2)-Tips for Packaging Your Cosmetics

Welcome to the second part of our two-part series on Handcrafted Soap and Cosmetic Packaging! In this article, we will be discussing some of the different packaging opportunities available to those who make lotions, butters and scrubs.

Just like with soap, there are many different options when it comes to packaging your cosmetics. Tubes, jars, bottles; the options for customization are nearly limitless! Choosing your shape, size and color wisely is very important, but it is also important to consider factors like whether the material could be recycled, whether it is sustainably and responsibly sourced, and how you will fill the packages with your product. You must also take into consideration how the product will look with your label on it.

Cosmetic Packaging 3

 

Packaging Materials

              Whether you choose tubes, jars or bottles, you will likely have the decision between plastic or glass packaging. Today’s consumers are becoming more and more environmentally aware; for this reason, it’s important to know a few terms that can help you navigate the different materials at your disposal.

HDPE (High-Density Polyethylene)

             HDPE is one of the most common materials in cosmetic packaging. It is a very strong material, and is effectively moisture and chemical resistant. It is rated for exposure to temperatures ranging from -100ºF to 120ºF, making it more resistant to climate-related damages. HDPE is also easily recycled. Companies offer HDPE bottles in many different shapes and sizes, and with a variety of closures to really help you customize your final product.

PET (Polyethylene Terephthalate Plastic)

             Much like HDPE, PET is lightweight and relatively durable. Temperature resistance for PET ranges from -40ºF to 120ºF, which lends resistance to climate damage. Unlike HDPE, which has a cloudy appearance, PET is clear like glass and comes in a wide variety of colors, from cobalt blue and amber to crystal clear. PET is also easy to recycle, making it an environmentally friendly packaging decision.

Glass Packaging

            Glass packaging can certainly make an impact on your customers. It is important to consider shipping when choosing glass packaging options; be sure to find a durable jar or bottle that will have a lower chance of breaking during shipment, or if a customer accidentally drops it in the shower or bathroom. Glass package is easy to recycle, and is also easy to refill if you offer discounted refills to your customers.

 

cosmetic packaging 2

Packaging Considerations-Custom vs. Stock

             So, you’ve chosen your packaging material-great! Now, you must decide whether you will order customized bottles, tubes or jars, or if you will order stock. What’s the difference?

Custom Packaging

            Custom packaging can really help your product to stand out. Silk screening and custom labeling will give you complete control over the entire look of your package-but is it worth it?

There are a few considerations when you are looking at custom packaging. Most companies will require a minimum for a custom order; this number can range anywhere from 20 to 10,000 pieces. If you decide to continue with custom packaging, request a sample if possible so that you can be sure your container is exactly the way you’d like it; after all, you may end up with thousands of them. As an addendum to this potential issue, any changes in your company name, logo or ingredients may mean a complete reorder if you must change the packaging.

Stock Packaging

           Stock packaging is an easy way to order, and usually does not require ordering in very large quantities. Stock containers also have a quicker turnaround and shipping time, and can be easier to replace with a different company should your supplier discontinue carrying them. You can still customize a stock container with your own label and logo to really make it yours!

 

Sustainable Packaging

           Let’s talk for a moment about the importance of sustainable packaging. Your customers are looking for a quality product that is also environmentally friendly. There   are a few ways you could accomplish this.

Recyclable Packaging

           As we discussed earlier, there are recyclable packaging options such as HDPE, PET, glass, etc. To encourage customers to recycle your products, educate them as they are checking out. Let them know that they can choose to recycle the package themselves, or they are welcome to bring it back to you to turn in when they return for a new product; offering an incentive like a discount on a new product will encourage them both to recycle, and to become repeat customers!

Cosmetic Packaging 1

 

New and Interesting Packaging Options

             Some packaging companies have started to offer PLA plastic (Polymerized Lactic Acid) containers in place of traditional plastic packaging. PLA is biodegradable and compostable and is made from corn or sugarcane. PLA containers are durable and offer a great alternative to less sustainable methods. The minimum order quantity for these containers is usually a bit higher than normal; for example, SKS Bottle & Packaging requires a minimum order of 50,000 pieces.

PEFC certified wood packaging is also growing in popularity. PEFC (Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification) oversees and promotes sustainable forest solutions. There are some packaging companies that offer wooden jar and bottle tops, or containers made for fragrances and perfumes. This packaging option is pricier than typical packaging solutions, however.

Other Considerations

             Before choosing your packaging, consider the following:

  • How will you fill the container?
  • Will this packaging fit your shipping needs?
  • Is the packaging easy to display?
  • Is the package large enough to hold a compliant label?
  • Do you know how to sterilize your containers?

Filling Containers

              When purchasing your containers, be sure to consider how you will fill them. Bottles and jars may be a bit easier to fill; if you prefer tubes, there are a few different ways you can go about filling them. If you are filling them by hand, some cosmetic makers find that a large syringe is an easy way to fill multiple tubes in quick succession. Others use recycled squeeze bottles such as large ketchup bottles. Whichever option you choose, make sure you have a plan for filling them; your package may be eye catching, but if it takes more time to fill it then a more standardized container, you are potentially wasting money.

Shipping

               As discussed earlier in the glass section, be sure that you choose packaging that will hold up during shipping; if you are concerned about its durability, be sure to research a cushion for your products so that they arrive to your customer safe and sound.

Displaying and Storing Your Product

               Tubes are easy to use; not as easy to display. Be sure to consider how you want to display your product if you are selling at a market or fair. Are you looking for a product that can stand on it’s own, or that is easily stackable? Thinking about how you will be storing and displaying your product in advance can save you a lot of frustration in the future!

Sterilizing Your Containers

               Be sure to check with your supplier to make sure your containers have already been sterilized prior to shipping. While containers may arrive clean, many will still need to go through a sterilization process before being suitable for cosmetic use. Taking this extra step will help you to ensure safety for your customers, and your business.

Deciding on a package for your product can seem overwhelming, but as long as you have a plan going into the ordering process, you will cut down the time it takes to look for the perfect container. Know your goal, whether it is to have sustainable packaging or a fully customized container, be sure to visit several suppliers and be ready to ask questions to make sure you are getting exactly what you want. And, as always, make sure to include a compliant, easy to read label so that your customer knows exactly what they are purchasing.

What is the most important quality you look for when searching for containers? We want to know! Comment below, or on our Facebook post for this article and tell us (or show us!) how you package your time.

Handcrafted Soap & Cosmetic Packaging (Part 1) – Finding the Best Fit for Your Bar

You’ve made your product; that swirl is just right, the scent; amazing! Now comes the big decision…how are you going to package it?

When it comes to packaging soap and cosmetics, there are many different options on the market. Each has its own benefits and drawbacks, and everyone has opinions on which type is best; we won’t try to decide that in this article. Instead, this two-part series will explore the pros and cons of popular packaging types, beginning with soap! (Keep an eye out for Handcrafted Soap & Cosmetic Packaging (Part II); Bottles, Tubes and Jars….oh, my!).

There are a few ways that you could choose to package your soap bars; boxes, cigar/belly bands, paper, shrink wrap, or naked with a descriptive card. There is no right or wrong way to package, as long as you are in compliance with all labeling requirements.

Adding decorations or embellishments to your packaging can draw the eye-but be sure to adhere to labeling guidelines.

Adding decorations or embellishments to your packaging can draw the eye-but be sure to adhere to labeling guidelines.

Boxes

Pros: Boxes can be made out of cardboard or recycled materials, and are great for those who want an elaborate package that makes a statement. There is generally more room for information on a box, and it can add protection during shipping and handling.

Con: Boxes do not offer much, if any, visibility for your product. If you have a product that is extravagantly swirled or colorful, a box will hide this. Also, pre-printed boxes must be purchased in bulk so the initial dedication of funds can be cumbersome if you are not prepared for it.  If you do use a box, set a sample bar in front of the display of boxes to allow your potential customers to see the product first.

Shrink wrap

Pros: Shrink wrap is a great way to protect your product from the elements while still allowing customers to see what your soap bar looks like/ can show off the way it looks. Shrink wrap will also provide a barrier between your customers hands and the soap before purchasing.

Con: If soaps are not completely cured, the shrink warp will cause them to sweat. If you are using shrink wrap packaging, be aware of your soap’s individual curing time.  Uncured soap will shrink causing your wrap to become loose.  Packaging it too soon may jeopardize the integrity of your product.

This is a great example of simple, yet striking soap packing.

This is a great example of simple, yet striking soap packing.

Cigar/Belly Bands

Pros: This popular method of soap packaging allows for creativity with a printed band and the advantage of space for a logo and proper labeling information. It keeps your soap visible to potential buyers, and also gives them something to hold and smell when they pick it up.

Cons: Bands do not offer any protection to your product. If banded before being properly cured, the soap will shrink causing the band to come loose which is unsightly and inconvenient. Tip: As with shrink wrap packaging, pay special attention to your product’s curing time.

Paper

Pros: Papers provide a secure place to affix a label, and can be bought in a variety of patterns and textures. They provide a barrier between the elements and your soap, and can run the gamut from classy and elegant to rustic and simple.

Con: Packaging your soap this way can be timely, and you will need to find a reliable adhesive to close the package, or a label to affix over where the paper meets.

Naked

Pro: Selling your product without a label may seem risky, but many soapmakers have found a way to keep their product au natural without succumbing to labeling injunctions. By providing a separate card or paper that details what is in the soap specifically, along with contact information, you have the benefit of a naked soap without the perplexing labeling errors. You can choose to customize a card or flier per product, or, if you have a standard recipe, you can make just one card and simply write the name of the specific scent on it upon purchase. This will significantly cut back on packaging time.

Con: This method offers no protection for your product against elements or consumer hands. It may be best to put out a sample for smelling and inspection, while keeping the other naked bars in a case.

Your packaging is, to your customer, an indication of the quality of the product it contains. By the time you’ve formulated and produced your product, it feels like an eternity; but don’t rush through your packaging process! An incorrectly or inadequately packaged soap can damage your product and lead to returns or worse, a lost customer. Whichever packaging type you choose, be sure to include a compliant label. You are essentially packaging your time when you finally wrap a finished product; make sure you give your packaging just as much attention as your product itself!

If you also make cosmetic products, such as lotions, scrubs or butters, watch for Handcrafted Soap & Cosmetic Packaging (Part II); Bottles, Tubes and Jars….oh, my!

 

 

How to Sell an Experience – Secrets to Superior Customer Service

customerservice


Think back on a time where you had really fantastic customer service. Now, think back on a time where you had a negative customer service experience; what do you notice? Most likely, when you thought about the positive experience, you felt happy; when you thought about the negative experience, you likely felt sad, embarrassed or angry. Every customer is an opportunity to sell not only your amazing products, but an experience. Today, I’d like to discuss some tips and tricks to help you do just that!

Interact genuinely.

No one likes a pushy salesperson! Greet your customer genuinely, and wait a few moments. If you have a special on multiple purchases or a discount that you’re offering, let them know ahead of time. When you see that they are showing interest in a specific product, take a moment to share why you love it, or why your other customers love it. If they are not already holding the product, place one in their hand and let them see the quality for themselves. Then, suggest a product that would pair well with it. Listen intently to what they are saying and find out what their specific needs are. Most importantly, do not make claims that are not true; saying that your product will do something miraculous might win a customer up front, but they will likely not come back when the product ultimately does not perform.

Put your phone down.

Social media, texting, phone calls, games; we have the unique opportunity to have all of this technology right in the palm of our hands at all times, unlike the retailers of yesterday. But, also unlike our ancestral retailers, we have the unique opportunity to thoroughly ignore customers in order to get to the next level of Candy Crush. Use your phone as little as possible if you are at an event where you are selling your products; this will show customers that you are interested and present.

Don’t get offended.

One of the most important lessons I’ve learned during my 15 years of providing customer service both in retail and hospitality environments is that you must not take anything personally. Everyone has had a bad day and snapped at someone; if this happens to you and it seems to come out of left field, try to empathize and provide the best service you can. You may also run into a situation where a customer simply does not like your product or understand your pricing. It is important not to become confrontational in these situations. If it is a pricing issue, take the time to explain why your products are priced the way that they are. Giving a patient, well thought out and kind response will make a bigger impact than a knee-jerk reaction to be aggressive and defensive. If they are unhappy with your product, be sure to stick to whatever return or refund policy you have in place; and if possible, offer an alternative for them to try.

Be prompt.

If you are managing an online store, or if you have a storefront with a dedicated phone line, set aside a specific time each day that you will commit to answering messages. Between formulating, packaging, and selling, your time is precious; but ignoring an inquiry or complaint will lead to frustration on your customer’s behalf, and they may go elsewhere.

Take the high road.

We know that your products are fantastic, and you know that your products are fantastic. But, it is entirely possible for more than one fantastic product to co-exist!

Sometimes, customers may ask you what the difference is between your product and a competitor, or which one is “better”. Even if your competitor hasn’t behaved similarly, resist the urge to talk negatively about someone else’s products. Always steer the conversation back to your own by saying something to the effect of, “I can’t speak to the quality or ingredients used in Suzie Soap’s products, but this is what I offer.” Keep your comments neutral and clean; taking the high road will leave a lasting, positive impression on your customers.

Your current and potential consumers are some of the most important people that you will ever interact with. Each one presents an opportunity to educate about the importance of handcrafted products and the incredible entrepreneurs that produce them. When you provide an experience and not just a “stop-and-shop”, you are encouraging buyers to be loyal and in turn, they are supporting your dream.

Remember: It is so much easier to be nice, to be respectful, to put yourself in your customer’s shoes and try to understand how you might help, than it is to try to mend a broken customer relationship.” –Mark Cuban