I was having a chat the other day with someone on the importance of branding and packaging. They are just at the very start of their business and didn't seem to see it's importance. This got me thinking about the evolution of my own branding and how it has changed over the years.
Even though I come from a graphic design background when it came to my own business I can now see looking back that I had a very lax attitude towards packaging. This was mostly to do with budget, and that my products all evolved organically. Because of the nature of selling at a weekly market I found myself selling new designs before I ever gave myself time to think how to display them. I had an attitude that it would work itself out in the end.
Thankfully I eventually copped on, and since starting at the Milk Market there has been an extra onus on being more professional. Since this transition I can really see how my identity has developed. Most notably one major factor was having readily available labels to make at home. About 2 years ago I bought a printer and a laminator, this added to the fact that the €2 store started selling good quality printable stickers. This has meant that I can play around with label design on my own time to suit each product. I've also started to add my logo to a lot more items, like my cards. This simple step has really increased my card sales, as it states on the back that they are handmade in Ireland. I had always made the assumption that it was obvious that I made them, but apparently I was wrong.
I've also invested in a range of jewellery boxes that match my blue colour scheme, I got them in various sizes for my different items, and they have really helped to market them as gifts. The little bit of extra investment in these display boxes has meant a boost in sales that i wasn't expecting.
I'm more than a little embarrassed to show you one of my original display boards and packaging from back at the very beginning. See how the brooches are lost inside the plastic bags? Also having them on a black background looks terrible and kills all the colour.
By contrast this is a more recent display, notice how I put the brooches on cards so people can touch them and appreciate the texture.
Getting stamps made for your bags is a great way to reinforce yor brand, although without a large stamp pad it can be quite labour intensive. For the shop we will be getting stickers for our bags which was much more affordable than I thought. I think I'll invest in some Nice Day Designs bag labels for my Christmas sales!
I'm not afraid to admit when I'm wrong. What I had thought the reserve of big businesses actually applies to everyone no matter what their size. Consumers are used to and demand a high level of branding and packaging, during our shopping lives we make millisecond decisions all the time. Why add any more barriers to the shopping process? If people have to search for a price, figure out what something is, or how it works they'll probably decide to walk on instead. Good packaging and branding is about sending a message and trying to make the buying process more attractive. I can see that the small investment of time and money has really helped me, and has encouraged me to look for ways to keep on improving.