Thursday, June 9, 2011

New Soap Packaging

If you ask any soaper, the hardest part is actually deciding how to package the soap you so lovingly created. Compared to that the oils to use, scent, and color is downright simple! There are numerous ways to package your soap. You can put it in a box with a little see-through window, you can wrap it in ribbon, raffia, or a cigar band, you can shrink wrap it...oh the list just goes on. We also have a lot of fun checking out other soapers' packaging (so much so, that we get really excited when other soapers blog about packaging)

When choosing your packaging, there are a lot of things to consider. Do you wish to reduce costs? Do you want to reduce packing waste? Do you want you soaps to be visible because you put a lot of work into making them pretty? Do you want to be able to package them quickly because you make A LOT of soap? Do you transport your soap to a lot of shows, so you need a way to protect it?
My original soap packaging.

Packaging is tough for all products, but soap is the one that I agonize over the most. Lotions are fairly simple. They must go in a bottle, so all I have to decide is the material, shape, and color. Then I had to choose a pump to a flip-top. That was about it. But man, the soaps just make me crazy!

Originally, I choose to go with a simple cigar band made with a special tree-free paper that was recyclable. The paper was made with plant parts that did not require the plant be cut down or irreparably harmed in any way. I then taped the band around my soap. It was simple, clean cut, and it saved a lot of waste (I mean, you don't hold on to the packaging, no matter how great we make it).

I ran into quite a few problems. First, cold-process soap tends to continue to shrink over time as the water continues to evaporate (good for the consumer because you get a harder, longer-lasting bar), but I had to keep tightening the bands. Second, I transport my soaps to shows and after a few shows, the labels and the soaps looked a little worse for the wear. Third, people like to pick up the soap and sniff it (you can't blame them), but that adds to the wear on the soap and we all know people's hands are not always clean. Overall, my soaps and labels just weren't holding up the way I wanted them to.

So, after much though, I decided to go with shrink wrap and a small label inside the wrapping. This allows my customers to see my soap and the label, while protecting both. The shrink wrap does have a small opening on one end for sniffing, but I'll keep sniffy samples out too. I also changed the type of paper I used because I couldn't find more of my other paper :( but now I can get 15 labels on each sheet instead of 5. Big difference! I am saving so much paper. I did consider boxes, but decided that the overall cost was not what I was looking for. Overall, I'm happy with the new look. What do you think?
New labels on the left and old cigar bands on the right.