Entrepreneur Hacks for all of my Mom Bosses: Part 1 - Packaging

One of the hardest parts of running a small business especially when you’re first getting started is determining how to best use the limited funds you have where they can make the biggest impact on your business.  I’m sure you’ve heard the saying it takes money to make money and this is 100% true!  So what do you do when your have more things you need for your business than what you can afford to pay for?!?!?!?

You get creative and find hacks!  

Small business owners have to wear many different hats!  You're often production, customer service, fulfillment, content creator, marketing, accounting and more so having hacks make your life so much easier!

I'm titling this post Entrepreneur Hacks for all of my Mom Bosses: Part 1 because I probably won't be able to share everything in this post and I want to keep you guys updated as I find more hacks (no gatekeeping over here) so make sure you're subscribed to the website so you don't miss a post!  Also as I'm typing this I'm debating if I should categorize the hacks...hmm?!?!?  Let's just see how things flow as I type!

I've always been the type of person that when I have an idea and I decide I'm going to do something I want to go BIG!  Go big or go home right?!?!?!  When I first launched Dipology in 2020, I wanted to launch all the colors, dip liquids, have all custom packaging, the best jars, nail tools, have the best website...literally all the things!  As I did more research and talked to manufacturers and learned about MOQs I realized I needed to slow my roll and go back to the drawing board.  Even with going back to the drawing board and adjusting my expectations I still made mistakes and found areas where I could hack and do things differently to make the best use of my investment.

Ok guys…as I’m typing I made a decision that we are talking about packaging!  I'm starting with packing because this is an area of my business I still stress about CONSTANTLY!!!  First impressions are everything and I love attention to detail, but custom packaging is really expensive!  When I use the term packaging I'm referring to two different things...the actual packaging that the product comes in and the packaging you use to mail your products in if you're an e-commerce business.

Let's start with product packaging!  Depending on what it is you're selling you want to consider aesthetics and legality when designing your product packaging.  If you're selling something like clothes or a novelty item aesthetics is your only concern.  If you're selling something that's in the health and beauty/cosmetics industry or the food and beverage industry there are FDA (Food and Drug Administration) regulations for product packaging that you must follow. Learn more about cosmetics packaging here

Ok let's get to the first hack!  I found it was most cost effective for me to create my own labels.  I learned this the hard way when a manufacturer messed up my labels and I ended up changing package sizes very early on in my business.  When you're a new business you're still figuring things out and making changes so committing to ordering a lot of labels from a manufacturer can be a costly mistake.  If you decide that the DIY route is not for you I suggest keeping your packaging very simple so that it can be repurposed if things change.  What I mean by this is just get the packaging printed with your custom logo or leave off super detailed information so it can be used multiple ways.  Here are some examples of what I decided to do for my redo of my nail polish launch and revamping my nail soak packaging.

A little background...my first nail polish labels arrived and they weren't as expected.  My nail soak went through a name change and the original packaging was super DIY so it needed an upgrade!

When I designed my nail polish bottles I decided to have it printed with just my logo on the front.  When I made this decision I knew I was considering changing my nail polish manufacturer, wanting to mix some products myself and offer other types of polishes that might have different ingredients so I didn't want to commit to anything, but I knew I wanted an elevated and professional look.  I’m sure your question now is how do you meet the FDA requirements for cosmetic products if you only have your logo on your bottle?  Well thats where my handy DYMO LabelWriter 450 comes into play!  I literally use this for everything!  I actually think I may need to do a whole blog about what this thing can actually do!  DYMO has a wide variety of labels in different sizes, Amazon also has several brands of dupes and I recently discovered an alternate brand, DuraReady that makes unique label sizes in different materials that was completely a game changer for me!  I was able to create the exact labels I ordered from a sticker website for my cuticle oil for a fraction of the cost and have the flexibility to make changes when I launch seasonal scents without stressing about wasting money ordering too many labels to get a better price per piece.

When I was designing my packaging for my nail soak I also decided to just have the front of the bag printed.  The front design of the bag is pretty detailed but I still chose vague wording because I knew I was still tweaking my recipe.  Also once the bags arrived from the manufacturer I realized the sizing was off!  Originally my Nail Rehab Soak was being sold in a 12 oz size, but the bag looked too empty so I increased the size up to 16 oz and it was no problem because that info wasn't preprinted on the bag.  I've changed the back label several times and have used both my regular printer with labels I found on Amazon and labels from my DYMO printer.  As you can see in the picture below, the DYMO printer is great for printing things like lot numbers & expiration dates that change frequently. 
More about the DYMO in another post...let's move on to packaging for mailing your products.
If you're a big company like Amazon what your package is mailed in doesn't matter...at all!  Paper or plastic it doesn't matter one bit!  I have literally received an Amazon dress that was left at my door in only the plastic bag that directly protects the clothing.  When you're a small business thought your first impression makes a huge difference!  People love receiving a package in the mail that aesthetically pleasing…it makes them feel like they’re getting a gift even though they likely purchased the item for themselves.  Custom mailing supplies are really expensive though.  I have searched and searched the internet for the afford custom packaging and I came across Sticker Mule!  They sell more than just stickers and if you sign up for an account every couple of weeks they offer a new promotion on different products that sale.  My two favorite making items are their custom bubble mailers and their custom paper tape.   The bubble mailer I catch on sale and stock up from different emails while they’re on sale.  Depending on the size regular price starts at 50 for $91, but if you catch the sale you can usually score 50 for $29.  It such an incredible deal!  They also do the same with their poly mailers if those work better for your business.  The paper tape is another great product that is super affordable without a deal, but when it does go on sale it’s a great time to score some extra savings.  You can get 300 ft of custom tape for just $29 and this makes a great custom addition to a plain Kraft box.  You can get $10 towards your order if you shop this link and I get $10 also!
My last packaging hack is getting super creative with your package inserts!  I love creating postcards for cute notes, or information about my products, the options are really endless if you play off the niche of your business and have with your logos/business colors.  Staples always has great same day service to print postcards and every now and then they offer discount codes for savings!  I design all of my package inserts on Canva and it’s super easy!  They have 1000s of templates you can tweak to your liking or create your own.  The options are really endless!  Get creative and have fun with it!

Just kidding I have one more packaging hack from Amazon.  If you’re not looking for custom mailing options, but you just want something fun and cute that fits your business and adds a little something we’ll Amazon is the answer ans RUSPEPA is one of my favorites!  They have great poly mailers and boxes that people would think you created custom for you business.  Check them out!

I hope you found this post helpful and check back for more because I have so much to share!  Leave any questions you have in the comments and make sure gig sign up for Sticker Mule’s mailing list so you can start catching the deals!
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