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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!