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Top 5 Things You Must Know Before You Meet With a Packaging Pro

This article was contributed by our exhibitor Packaging Chic. Learn more about their business here!

You've entered the Twilight zone - that place where packaging people and packaging websites speak their own language. It's up to you to figure out and understand that language so that you get the packaging you’re dreaming of for your brand.

You may have found yourself asking:
- What if I don't ask the right questions of a packaging vendor?
- What are the things I need to know when working with a new vendor?
- What's the best way to compare apples to apples when it comes to packaging?
- What's the best way to find a packaging vendor?

Meet Michelle, she’s an esthetician who wants to start her own skincare line, she is the expert in formulations, technique and her clients love her work. She has branding and concepts in mind for graphic design, but isn’t familiar with what she needs to know about boxes for her line.

We met for the Discovery Call and she asked the very same questions shown above. While all of these questions are important, she needed to start with the basics!

As a brand owner, she needs to keep in mind that her investment in packaging is critical to her brand’s success. Hey, it’s tough out there! It’s competitive trying to get your client’s attention. Her packaging can make her products stand out and share her brand’s message.

Here are the top five questions Michelle (and you!) must ask yourself before you can get to the other questions. Then, a packaging professional can give you pricing for your boxes.

What's your quantity?
Typically, the higher the quantity, the lower the unit cost. Many companies have minimum order quantities or minimum order costs. Be sure to inquire what those are to help you plan your launch and ongoing budgets. Even if you think you want 5000 pieces, you might as well get a range of pricing just to have it on hand. Requesting several tiers of quantities is usually better than going back several times for updated quantities. Note: don’t drive yourself crazy with a million options. Remember, keep it simple!

What’s the Structure?
In order to get pricing or discuss your project, come with an idea of the packaging style you want to produce that fits your brand. Pictures are worth a thousand words, so if you have inspirational photos, those will do! Because, maybe at this point, you don’t know the packaging terminology.

What’s The Size Box Do You Need?
Measurements are key and there's a universal way to measure a box and refer to dimensions. You've probably seen it before: L x W x D. Length by Width by Depth. It’s a thing! Stand your box upright with the opening at the top. Length is measured from left to right across that front panel. Width is measured from front to back and Depth is measured from the top of the opening to the bottom.

What Graphic Design Do You Want On The Boxes?
Bring your idea of the graphics you’re planning to use. Show us how this box will be decorated. A safe bet, if you really don't know yet, is to request four color process (CMYK) for printing. Your quantity and your print specs combined give us an idea of how your boxes will be produced. Will you want anything extra like foil stamping or embossing?

What Kind of Material Do You Want To Use?
Think about your brand’s presence and personality. You can start with a color like white or kraft for the basics. There are also plenty of specialty papers in lots of colors and specialty finishes, but the basics are white and craft. These materials, white paperboard and kraft paperboard, are typically kept on hand at the box factory giving you assurance of quality and knowledge printing on these substrates. Using a paperboard that is on hand helps you get a fast estimate and lower pricing. How thick does the material need to be? We can help you figure this one out, so at least have an idea of color and we'll go from there.

Those are the top 5, but there are lots of things to have in mind when you are buying packaging. Please stop by our booth (#7054) at White Label Expo. We’d love to meet you and answer your questions!

Sharon Eucce
Packaging Chic LLC