How to elevate your brand with custom packaging and unique unboxing experiences

Editor’s Note: A few months ago we released our first line of physical products here at Dear Handmade Life. True, we’ve designed a few things in the past (die-hard DHL’ers may remember our Patchwork Show mugs, totebags and even the one issue magazine we did?). But, this was different. We put months of planning, designing and strategizing into it. One of the things I focused on heavily during that pre-launch phase was branding and unboxing. As our friend Angie explains below, social media has made packaging and unboxing experiences essential parts of the branding puzzle for makers. I did tons of research on packaging, freebies to include etc. and one of the things I discovered was custom branded tissue from noissue.

Aside from noissue‘s easy ordering process, their low minimums are what drew me in. I’m so excited to that they’ll be present at our next Craftcation Conference with treats in the gift bags for attendees and… my favorite part of this partnership… our co-branded custom tissue paper that will be used to wrap purchases in our Craftcation Conference pop-up shop! I’ve got tons of love for noissue but when I was chatting with our friend/Craftcation Conference presenter/Patchwork Show vendor Angie Chua of  bobo design studio at our Oakland Patchwork Show last fall, she mentioned that her custom branded tissue paper source was noissue. I asked her to join us on the blog to share her experience with noissue and thoughts on the importance of packaging and unboxing with you. -Nicole S.

Dear Handmade Life Craftcation no issue
The co-branded custom tissue paper with designed with noissue for our Craftcation Conference pop-up shop.

Custom Branded Packaging Giveaway!

To celebrate noissue‘s recent addition of custom soy ink stickers and compostable mailers to their already rad custom tissue, they’re giving away a 250 custom branded tissue sheets, compostable mailers and soy ink stickers to one lucky reader!

To Enter: Leave a comment on this post sharing a brand whose packaging or unboxing experience wowed you. Contest ends on 3.15.19. A single winner will be notified by 3.22.19 via Instagram DM so be sure to include your Instagram handle in your comment.

Now, on to Angie.


unboxing packaging Dear Handmade Life

There is the age-old saying, “you only get one chance to make a first impression.” As an emerging, product-based brand, this saying is fuh’realies! I’m here to share with you how I thoughtfully think about my first impression by creating a killer unboxing experience and using custom branded elements from one of my all-time favorite vendors- noissue.

Hi, I’m Angie, and I’m the founder, heart, and soul of bobo design studio. I create wanderlust inspired goods for the bohemian rebel. I love to inspire and encourage folks to get out and explore the world around them.

I am grateful to have been able to share a little bit about my approach to branding and business with the Dear Handmade Life family and their readers in a previous blog post discussing social media, and on the podcast where I chat with Nicole about taking and owning big risks. I want to take a hot min to touch on this again as it bears reinforcing.

My Approach to Branding

After working with Lela Barker of Lucky Break Consulting (and Craftcation Conference presenter!) and going through her Brick House Branding course, I looked at my business, my brand, and the products I made in an entirely new way. I often led with product first, and while it makes sense to have a killer product, if you don’t know how to talk about your brand or product and get people to care, that product might as well not exist. For bobo, I think very carefully about sharing the story of my brand. I paint a picture for my audience. With words and pictures, I infuse that story with sights, sounds, and smells that evoke the feelings of adventure.  Lela has taught me that I don’t want to just sell merchandise, I want to set a mood and create context.

Dear Handmade Life Angie Chua bobo design studio

One of the most cost-effective and impactful ways I do this is with packaging, specifically branded tissue paper. I discovered the brand noissue about a year ago and was able to create affordable branded tissue to wrap all my goods. One of the big things that drew me to them was that I could order in low minimums. A lot of branded tissue companies make you order ten plus reams, and that just wasn’t feasible for me from a cost or storage perspective. I know what you are thinking. Why spend money on branded tissue paper that the customer throws away?  Let me dive into this.

Dear Handmade Life Angie Chua bobo design studio

Why I spend the extra money on packaging. 

When I make decisions about products, I always answer these three questions.

  •  What does it mean to me?  Packaging is essential to me because I care about my products. I want to find ways to protect my goods when I ship or bag them up for the customer. My packaging needs to be high quality, look nice AND be functional.  I can’t tell you how many times I got off-the-shelf tissue from Target only to have it tear easily, be too small, or look cheap when putting an order together. It instilled little confidence that it would survive a day in a paper bag while a customer is out shopping, or that it would hold up on a long trek across the country in a poly mailer.
  •  What does it mean to my customer?  The unboxing experience has become an event. People get excited to open their goodies and see how they were packaged with love. They can immediately see the care that was put into their order. Having branded tissue makes it feel like every order is a little present. And everyone loves presents! It also opens the door for people to share their “omg look what I got and how cute it was packaged” item with others online. That is free press and eyeballs on your brand that cost no extra time for you.
  •  What does it mean for my brand? It gives me a chance to continue subtly telling my story. I can infuse my brand colors, design elements, prints sayings… noissue elevates bobo design studio in a tangible way for only pennies per order. Why miss out on the opportunity to make that more significant impact?

Working with noissue has been so easy. I create a design, upload it, and get a proof within a couple of hours. I get updates during each step of the printing process and have it shipped relatively fast. If I need to reorder, it’s one click.

I instantly knew I was going to be forever #teamnoissue when I wrapped an order up for a customer at my storefront, only to have them come back in one hour later and ask for extra tissue so that they could put it up in their cubicle.  I’ve had people tag me on social media showing how they re-used their paper for gifting, and people make their own “unboxing” videos for their friends to show off the packaging. This tells me a couple of things:
1. The paper is good enough to reuse which is a nod to the quality of it.
2. People appreciate the details of a well-designed paper/packaging.
3. They remembered me. So much so to take the time to share with their friends, tag me, and come back to my store. Just by doing that I’ve made a customer for life.

Dear Handmade Life Angie Chua bobo design studio

How upgrading my packaging elevated my branding Dear Handmade Life
Why invest into an unboxing experience Dear Handmade Life

57 Comments

  1. I really love the way Marigold & Grey (marigoldgrey.com) carries their brand through their entire process. As a gifting business, presentation is everything, but they really take the time to make sure that the bags and boxes they use and the way items are arranged will create the best experience for the client. They even upped their game in 2018 with branded liner paper and white labeled bath products to really drive home their brand and aesthetic.

  2. Angie, of Bobo design studio, was seriously one of the first businesses that inspired me to get better at packaging and branding all together. It was always a goal of mine to make my customer’s unboxing experience great but I didn’t know how to go about it.

    Angie includes her custom tissue paper, handwritten letters and notes- she really makes it all about you but has her touch all over it. It makes you feel like she only sees you (even though she has hella customers and followers and should be on billboards).

    Another brand that caught my eye with their unboxing experience is Fringe Supply Co. It’s a one stop shop for fiber folks and their supplies. FSC packs each of their products I’m handstamped Muslim bags and while this doesn’t seem in-your-face amazing, what I love about it is that it calls out to their brand and way of living. Knitting slow and protecting out materials. Fiber supplies is not cheap and adding that extra layer of protection makes you feel like the knitting bag you just bought needs to be protected and cherished forever.

    And one last shout-out to Google. The way they packaged their Google Pixel phones is so sleek and minimal but still fun and quirky.

  3. This is such a helpful post for small businesses like mine (ig: @fractalflora) that are trying to up their branding game! I have to say I struggle with the idea of packaging and the effects it has on our environment. We are becoming more reliant on e-commerce and I always wondered when someone was going to create something that works in everyone’s favor. Thank you so much noissue for taking steps towards creating better and more environmentally friendly packaging!

    I am a huge fan of Rent the Runway’s packaging. Rent the Runway is a clothing rental service that offers both one time rentals and monthly subscription plans. Their clothes ship in reusable black garment bags that zip up completely to become a mailable bag and have a clear silicon pouch for inserting your return mailing label. Once you are ready to return your clothes, just place your clothes back in the garment bag and switch out the shipping label with the one they’ve provided and you are good to go! No boxes or plastic bags to throw away!

      1. While no issue is paper, i do love the quality. I had a gal just tell me that her mom wrapped a present for her in my tissue that she saved from a bobo gift. And then after she unwrapped it, her mom took the paper back. haha!

  4. I absolutekt love getting lovely packaged and wrapped things in the mail. Jo Malone comes to mind when I think of special packaging. Their product stand out nestled in the simple black tissue paper. Opening one of their packages is a lovely experience.

  5. 2 come to mind: 1) my tshirt order from Dear Handmade Life had the best goodies in it! It really was a pleasure to open it. 2) Buried Diamond. All of her orders are a colorful treat to open!

    (IG: @_bemyclementine)

  6. I love this! I’m always looking for tips on branding. I try to maintain a strong branding on my kits but have rejected branded tissue paper because of the cost. This is making me rethink it. Hmm!

  7. I love when companies go the extra mile and consider the unboxing experience. I love showing off new goodies online and great packaging makes it even more enticing to do.

  8. I will be looking into this today – I have been looking for a lower cost option for this type of item, thanks so much for sharing!

  9. Wow this is so fantastic and something at the top of my todo list this year for my business. I really think the right packaging can change a collectors experience with the art they purchase.
    I love unboxing new art and one notable shop is an artist: Leigh Anna Newell, of nellandgrey.com. She paints tiny wonderful paintings and packages them so beautifully!
    My IG is @elissanesheim

  10. This is so timely because I’m currently updating my packaging and I’ve been hearing so many good things about no issue! I really want my unboxing experience for my customers to be one of excitement and joy, so I’m trying to design my wrapping with that in mind. I really liked the point you made that branded tissue makes you more memorable – which is something I definitely want to be so that I get customers returning again and again.

    xoKaelen | http://darlingmarcelle.com

  11. Thank you for sharing this vendor! Just what I’m looking for! I’m excited to see the collaboration with craftcation too.

    The most recent unboxing that I was impressed with was Tarte cosmetics. I love playing with makeup and I felt excited to just open everything. They have their unboxing down. Oh…and I like the unboxing of IT Cosmetics too.

  12. Thank you for sharing this vendor! Just what I’m looking for! I’m excited to see the collaboration with craftcation too.

    The most recent unboxing that I was impressed with was Tarte cosmetics. I love playing with makeup and I felt excited to just open everything. They have their unboxing down. Oh…and I like the unboxing of IT Cosmetics too.

    @lateharvestcandleco
    @HAFlitcandles

  13. I ordered and just received lip balms from Winky Lux for me and my two daughters. The packaging is adorable and completely reusable. In fact the box is reversible and turns into this lovely floral box perfect for regifting.

    IG – sadiefoxstudio

  14. Cannot wait to see the Craftcation paper!

    My favorite unboxing brand is eSalon. It’s so personalized and thoughtful.

  15. I received a gift for my daughter’s birth fron my mother. The packaging and
    product were so well-crafted. it was a super cute organic cotton baby snap up suit with hibiscus flowers on it. the brand was Pink Elephant Organics. the box was really sturdy and it had tissue and a ribbon. so beautiful. @bexmarie_

    1. Awww hibiscus flowers?? I’m a sucker for those! We’ll have to check out Pink Elephant…. thanks, Rebecca!

  16. Thank you for this blog post! Ever since I saw Nicoles unboxing video of the subscription box from Angie @ Bobo design studio I KNEW I wanted to step up my packaging game. Branded tissue paper…like Tiffany’s…like Jimmy choo…like Prada…yes please! Can’t wait to try out some tissue paper to wrap up my little earrings (ig handle: @itskellymade)

  17. So cute! I was using store bought tissue and also worried about rips and tears so I recently switched to kraft paper, but I love the idea of something truly personalized. And the fact that it is high quality enough to be reused by folks is awesome!

    +1 for Rent the Runway packaging.
    I love how simple and functional it is and I feel good that none of the packaging goes in the trash or recycling bin.

    1. Oh I love kraft paper, too. I love to use it for personalized wrapping paper. The paper from noissue is definitely high quality enough to re-use and it doesn’t wrinkle easily either – I love that part.

  18. I love Goddess Provisions’ packaging. They have beautiful boxes printed inside and out. Everything is secure and tastefully done. The packaging is not excessive. I love their insert cards explaining all of the items. Every piece of packaging has a purpose and is neat. This is my only subscription box and I look forward to it every month!

  19. Yay Angie! I’ve waffled for years over whether to do custom tissue and the way you use it may have sold me! Yours looks amazing and perfect. 🙂

    I recently splurged on a pair of Pendleton Rain Boots (with Crater Lake National Park stripes and branding, natch!).

    It came in a gloriously branded box that I’ve kept for konmari storage, and made my purchase experience for something as mundane as rain boots (essential for Oregon Coast living) into something I wear with pride and makes me wanna splurge on more from them. 🙂

  20. I love the way Laura Bray of http://www.laurabraydesigns.com packages her embroidery kits! She’s local, and when I took a class with her, she used similar branded packaging, tied up with baker’s twine for the class supplies, so you always know it’s from her.

    When we started our crochet kit club, our hand-stamped muslin bags were perfect to go with the homespun colonial time period of the historical fiber fiction stories in the first few kits. But as we go into our fifth year of kits, and the stories are moving closer to modern day, it may be time to consider new options for stepping up our unboxing experience… (@ReCrochetions)

    1. I’m a sucker for a good use of baker’s twine! What is it about that stuff that makes everything it’s wrapped in so adorable?? Thanks so much for your comment.

  21. As part of my big end-of-2018-beginning-of-2019 this notion of elevating my product’s packaging has been on my mind so I really appreciate this post. Per the contest rules, I wanted to mention a company whose unboxing has wowed me: Bird’s Nest out of Australia. Everything about their brand is so very personal, and their packages also feel like they were packed with care by a human being. It was standard to not only receive your items wrapped in tissue with a handwritten thank you note, but also in a reusable, red, drawstring bag. You can actually opt out of receiving the bag when you place an order these days which I also like, as it shows mindfulness at not punishing your regular shoppers with a pile up of unwanted swag.

    1. Wow what a great idea to let your customer have a say in the packaging they receive! We’ll have to check out Bird’s Nest! Thanks for letting us know!

  22. Rad & Hungry does an amazing job packaging their subscription stationery kits from around the world to build interest and anticipation – my whole family would seriously gather around and unwrap each package from RAH like it was Christmas morning.

  23. I have to say, My Stylish French Box unboxing is always an experience that blows me away. Once you get that outer shipping box opened, the entire experience is a high end boutique in a box. It’s not flashy – the box and the paper are both a polished white, but the quality of the wrapping, and the attention to how everything is individually wrapped and boxed shows care, and nothing gets damaged or moves around on the trip halfway across the world – but not a bit of bubble wrap in sight. That is a wonderful experience.

  24. Thank you for sharing your experience and for the opportunity to win this awesome prize! I purchased a hand-printed pouch by @studio.tokek in The Netherlands. I loved the way she packaged it and also included a hand-printed notecard with envelope. I sell prints and have been using just plain, cheap tissue paper but I’d like to up my branding game. I’ve been eyeing noissue for a while but haven’t decided on what I would want to put in my custom tissue.

    IG: @papermolas (It’s my website too)

  25. **THIS CONTEST IS OFFICIALLY CLOSED.**
    Thank you so much for participating. We will be notifying the winner by 3.22.19!

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