I look forward to reading packaging articles written by JoAnn Hines – she always has something of interest to say. Here’s an excerpt of an article she recently wrote that applies equally to the wine industry.
This will probably be one of the hardest tasks you have associated with getting your product to market. Many packaging manufacturers simply don’t handle small quantities so it’s important to find a supplier that works with minimum quantity or small quantity orders at the very beginning. Fortunately there are now many resources available to someone starting the process of packaging their product.
First you need to decide the absolute minimum quantity you can order. Chances are you may end up ordering more but what you don’t want is a lot of excess packaging that you paid for and can’t use or packaging that ends up not being what you were expecting. Your packaging will evolve too so don’t be concerned if you can get exactly what you want the first time.
Start by asking your existing resources or vendors who they know and who they use or recommend as a packaging supplier. Believe it or not sometimes you can find the name of the packaging manufacture on existing packaging too. See what you like then try to find out who made it and give them a call.
Keep it simple to begin with. I know you have visualized fantastic or exotic package designs and as your business grows you will be able to order custom packaging for your products. But in the beginning you may need to decide to keep it relatively simple and use what is readily available.
Today there are many great options available in small quantities. Suppliers have finally recognized that there are many small business clients out there too.
Before you spend a lot of time and development creating a package you can’t afford or can make you need to determine what’s available at the right price and in the right quantities. I know your product is fantastic, but you still may need to start out on a smaller scale than you envision.
Lastly don’t overlook current suppliers. They have existing relationship lean on them to help you find appropriate resources. Designers, graphic artists, product producers all have sources. You may be able to open a door to a relationship even if your quantities aren’t quite large enough. Don’t wait however till you have a product then end up in a bind to get a package made. This process should start at the very beginning.