Sunday, February 3, 2013

Soap Packaging Revisited

Is there a soap maker out there that hasn't gone back and forth about soap packaging? If so, please explain how you made this decision and was it easy?

For me, this has been the hardest part of soapmaking!

Here is my original packaging:
The cigar bands were easy, cheap, and created minimal packaging. Plus, the consumer could smell AND see the soaps before buying. However, they didn't protect the soaps well and I had problems with them slipping off or getting torn with moving them so much.

Next I tried shrink wrap bags:
The label was printed on cardstock, cut, then placed on the soap before it was shrink wrapped. The wrap is still cheap. The soaps were very protected and you could see what they looked like. But, you couldn't smell the soap and the shrink wrap was hard to get off. Plus, the bags were too large. So, you could get the end and have one end open (I'll tell you this didn't always work out so well if you weren't careful cutting) or tape the end down before shrinking (this didn't look great).

I've recently found soap bands for shrink wrap. They are open on both ends and already sized for most soaps, so you just center your soap and shrink wrap. They also have a perforated tab for easy opening. It also sounds like it is easy to make them smaller for smaller bars. So, that would solve the size problem, smelling problem, and the hard-to-get-open problem.

I decided to try using paper wrapping and really pretty paper bands:

I printed a label and stuck it to the paper. I won't lie, I LOVE the way these look. I used different handmade papers for different scents and simple colored paper underneath. The soaps are protected and you can smell them through the paper. It is also nice because I can make it fit any bar. But, I have to leave on unwrapped for people to see. Plus, the cutting and wrapping is a little labor intensive. With the number of bands I can get out of a sheet of handmade paper, it isn't too much more than shrink wrap, but then you add your time to that! Plus, buying different sheets of handmade paper for the soaps and making sure I don't run out is harder to keep up with.

 Last option, soap boxes (never tried):

Lg Soap Box: White Daisy
Pic from Elements Bath & Body

I've thought about boxes, but they are the more expensive option. On the plus side, your soap is well protected. It is easy to remove the soap to see and smell, but easy to put back as well. They are really easy to pop open, stuff your soap in and slap a label on. They are most commonly sold as white or kraft color and come with a variety of cut-outs. I even found a site that does colored boxes (expensive unless ordering A LOT!). My biggest concern with this option has been the cost and the fact that it would only be one size, so I'd have to figure out something else for smaller bars. However, the time I'd save compared to wrapping in paper may be worth it! I could also offer the option for no box online to save people money or maybe do a box recycling program (I haven't thought that one through much).

So, what do you think? I'm looking for an attractive, easy, cost-effective, consumer-friendly method for packaging my soaps. My options are shrink wrap bands (cheap, quick, see-through, multi-sizes), paper (BEAUTIFUL, labor-intensive, not too expensive, not see through, mulit-sizes), or boxes (more costly, quick, easy open, one-size).

Which option would you like to see or think would be the best for me?