Etsy has been talking about creative shipping and packaging and asking fellow Etsians to share photos and tips. After all, holiday show season is just about upon us. So I put together some photos to share in their discussion.
What you see to the right are just three different examples of packaging that I’ve made that’s been recycled through the skills of crochet. Here, a bubble mailer, a rip-stop shipping bag and a clear plastic shopping bag have all been cut up, sewn and crocheted into new looks. They take some time to do, but I’ve been working on these ideas for the upcoming holiday season to offer to my customers.
When it comes to creative packaging for my business, for me it’s all about recycling and maximizing my efforts while still being creative and maintaining professionalism and class. I recycle shipping packets as much as possible. In my shared examples, crochet edging is made from durable scrap yarns and sometimes buttons from “Grandma’s Vintage Bucket Of Awe” also find new life in the creative gift wrap.
For me it’s partly just good business sense to stretch my dollars if I can. Handmade is a tough enough business to be financially successful in and I’d rather spend my $ on good yarn, not blow it on packaging or shipping materials if I don’t have to. That said, I’m also not one to sacrifice quality either. Not to mention, like my Grandma Dot, who survived the Great Depression, I’m no fan of waste. And truly, since most of my sales are face to face sales, I have more creative gift wrapping concerns than I do shipping concerns. So it’s easy enough for me to recycle my and my friends shipping materials. Another reason for trying to recycle creatively as much as possible is because I simply don’t have the storage space otherwise to hang onto perfectly good items. So I look them over and then decide if I can repurpose them or not. And lastly, I simply enjoy the challenge. Crochet is a true hand art that can never be done by machine. So even my packaging is made with personal care and pride.
If I run out of shipping materials to recycle though, I do go ahead and buy them. And I do invest in tissue paper and professional business cards and labels. Clear concise cards and logos are important I think, that is, if you wish to brand yourself and be remembered. But when it comes to holidays, I try to up the ante and offer my customers some creative gift wrapping options. Since I’m a crochet designer, I prefer to incorporate crochet somehow into the fun.
For finished crocheted goods, I always wrap them carefully, tie them and focus on two layers of packaging -> the gift inside as well as the outer shipping shell. The outer shell will be abused by whatever shipping service, so I want to be sure the item inside stays safe. But also, I want my customer to enjoy pulling their purchase out of the outer shell and opening their “care package” inside. So I think about the presentation inside as well as out. PDF patterns don’t get shipping attention of course, but when I carve crochet hooks, I like to wrap them in things like lacy handkerchiefs. To me, my customers are investing in high end, heirloom quality work done by an expert in the field, so their items should be handled with class. However they are also investing in a piece of me and my romantic yet quirky sense of the world, so there has to be an element of fun as well. My goal is always to give someone a grin and a light-hearted memory.
I also personally feel that if you’re really into vintage and handmade as a business, then consider coming across more personal, clever and unique even in your packaging and less like trying to copy mass productions. Let your personality through on an individual basis. After all, what’s handmade and the season about? Customers don’t buy handmade because it’s their only choice, so definitely keep in mind that your edge is that personal touch and that customers desire to invest in you – someone that’s real.
Oh, I do have one other little secret when it comes to my wrapping needs: My daughter, Jack, can wrap and tie the prettiest bows like no one’s business, so I do often get her help!
So what do you think? How do you approach gift wrapping or packaging? Share your tips with us below!