Packaging!! So…initially I assumed that my packaging would come from China. And this was purely a monetary decision. A friend of mine who owns her own business and has packaging made in China indicated that Shenzen was the packaging capital. And was she right. Alibaba is China’s — and by some measures, the world’s — biggest online commerce company. Alibaba is essentially a wholesale marketplace for buyers looking to purchase large quantities of products at the lowest price. They allow you to source and negotiate directly with manufacturers through their online platform. There are hundreds if not thousands of packaging companies and all of them state that they can meet your packaging needs. So that’s where I started.
I drafted up a serious looking RFQ (thanks to my gov’t work chops) and waited for responses. And I got A LOT. And upon first inspection I felt certain that one of these companies would be a fit. So I asked for samples, which I learned they really don’t want to do. But I pressed, and I paid up for the samples to be shipped to me at the not so cheap cost of $200 - $400 depending on manufacturer. Five different ones. And I’m SO glad I did. Every single one of them came back just a little off from what I had wanted. Whether it was the color of the foil stamp, the cream texture that looked a little too yellow, or the ribbon holes of the bag that looked like hand cut slits on the top of the bag. It was just…not the one. And once you started adding up shipping costs on MOQs of 500, things were looking like $8-10 all in a box. This was NOT what I assumed people were paying for high end packaging (And now I know why my mom is so attached to boxes and gift bags).
And after two rounds of samples, I was out about $2k and left with a bunch of cheap looking stuff. This is not to say that I KNOW there are great companies out there that can produce great products. There are. But there was a language barrier. And there was a shipping barrier that was costly. And there was a time barrier. From the late night communication due to time difference to the time it took to ship each sample via mail from overseas, it was just too much for too little in return.
So back to square one. I had to be able to see packaging in person, and make decisions on materials that I could see and hold. And that’s where JCK came into the mix. One of my three main to-do’s in Vegas was to look at packaging. I had a short list of about 5 package companies. One was in Italy (Stretch goal), one was in Lewisville (So close to home), and the others were in the US at least. And I met with each of them. Cold intros were painful for me, but I could pretty quickly tell were just part of the process for them. Not painful, and every single person was nice. And - every single one of them followed up with me after JCK. I figured I’d have to chase them. SO glad I didn’t for once.
So where did I land? On my stretch goal of course. Once I was in Vegas looking at the best and most beautiful packing, I couldn’t go back. Was it more than I wanted to spend? Yes. But not by much. As Mr. Ty said ‘It’s a marketing cost too’, and so that’s the story I’m sticking to. The company is To Be Packing (Check them out - https://www.tobepacking.com/) and they supply packaging to some of the most sought after jewelry brands out there. If you can think of a high end jewelry line, there’s a good chance you’ve seen their packaging. After picking exactly what I wanted in Vegas, I knew exactly what I was going to get, and it’s worth every penny.