Branding + Marketing
Created on:
December 16, 2019

The Best Packaging Resources for your Fashion Brand


At N.A.bld, we’re all about helping brands do more with less and, aside from managing production, nowhere is that more true than for packaging solutions.

Packaging is a huge part of branding as an e-commerce company and it is often the first item that brands tackle as they think about sustainability as it is one of the larger contributions to immediate waste in the delivery process. So how can you juggle your brand’s style with sustainability?

Luckily, many suppliers are already thinking about this and, combined with some tips on how to wow in your packaging, you’ll be on your way to your winning branded solution in no time.

Below are our tried and tested packaging tips and resources along with some additional vendors for those looking for more options.

If you try them out - let us know what you think!

Tip 1: Understand dimensional shipping and weight

Unless you ship things often, you may not realize that for the majority of shipping handlers, the cost to ship your product is largely based on your DIM weight which means that the size of the box (length x width x height) that your item is in can greatly change the cost of shipping that item. This is a big reason why you see apparel products being sent in polymailers which are  malleable plastic envelopes.

If you are just starting out we recommend exploring polymailers. They are waterproof and often re-usable for returns. Some are even made of recycled content or are compostable (more on that below!). Boxes may be easier to recycle if they are cardboard based but they will often be much more expensive to ship and harder to store in large quantities.

Tip 2: It’s all in the details

Winning in packaging is about nailing the details for your customer. Even the smallest branded moment can have a big impact on how your item is received. You can pay to have branded packaging with embossed or printed logos, but even tiny details like custom stickers can provide a nod to your brand without breaking your budget.

Tip 3: Design for scale

If you go from shipping 10 products a week to 100, your packaging can turn from a joy to a nightmare. Before you start hand labeling every item, consider design hacks that make your packaging more scalable like purchasing hang tags that come pre-strung or avoiding tough to handle materials. The more steps and manual work you can take out of your packaging process, the less stressful the pack-and-ship process will be!

Tip 4: Think waste

Don’t make unboxing your item into a giant trash experience for your customer. Remember, one more piece of packaging is likely one more item going into the trash. Basic trash aside, the materials you are using for your packaging should be thought through to see how you can reduce your brand’s environmental impact. Consider items made of recycled content or recyclable content (see more options below) and don’t forget to let your customer know they can reuse and recycle as it may not always be obvious!

Tip 5: Always include a receipt of purchase, any instructions, and your social!

This may seem obvious, but no matter who you are using for order management, always be sure to print out your customer’s order receipt and provide instructions for how to return or get in touch with questions and, of course, how to engage with your brand going forward.

Here are some packaging resources to help get you started:

noissue

Great design tool for tissue paper and stickers and has compostable polymailers. They can do branded polymailers but very high minimums for custom branding. Eco-friendly options include 100% Compostable bag and corn starch stickers.

Minimums: Low for stickers and custom paper. Branded polymailers have higher minimums in the 10,000s.

Delivery: 3-4 weeks to USA

N.A.bld tested? ✅

Discount for N.A.bld Brands ✅

Moo

A bit pricey but great design resources and great quality printing almost always. Their customer service is good as well when an issue arises. Eco-friendly options include recycled Cotton paper made of 100% cotton from t-shirt scraps.

Minimums: Low depending on items

Delivery: Different shipping options

N.A.bld tested? ✅

Vistaprint

Vistaprint has many good options and sales!

Minimums: 100 units

Delivery: Different shipping options

They have a recycled matte paper option and have a sustainability initiative.

N.A.bld tested? ✅

Earthpack

Custom printing and branding options and printing with water-based inks made with recycled materials in the U.S.A.

Minimums: 5,000 for polymailers custom

Delivery: ~4 weeks from design approval

N.A.bld tested? ✅

Greener Printer

100% Biodegradable & Recycled options available. Soy based inks & carbon offsetting.  We like their pre-strung hang tags. Eco-friendly options include recycled silk, matte, felt, and kraft paper,

Minimum: 50 units for tags

Delivery: 3-7 Day turn

N.A.bld tested? ✅

Botanical Paperworks

Producer of eco-friendly seed paper products that grow into wildflowers, herbs or vegetables.  Nice source for biodegradable paper made of post-consumer materials.

Minimums: 100 units

Delivery: Standard is 5 business days from proof - additional design fees can apply

Banana Paper

Made internationally with domestic distributors, the name says it all.

Minimums: 100 units

Delivery: Free shipping in US over $75

Paper made from Bananas

Eco Enclose

They have polymailers of various % recycled materials that can be printed in one color (no edge to edge printing). Some Polymailers have two adhesive strips. This makes it even easier for customers to reuse them.

Minimum: 250-1,000 units

Delivery: 1 week for stickers

Various % Recycled materials and stickers

Elevate Packaging

Better for small items like accessories. Trusted experts in creating eco-friendly brand experiences with recycled, compostable, and recycle-friendly packaging. Read more about sustainable options.  

Minimum: 250 and up depending on item

Delivery: Free shipping on orders over $300

Compostable options and uses vegetable ink and wind energy in some production


If you need any additional help, N.A.bld provides packaging design and sourcing services to help brands meet their goals and add a little practical magic to their D2C experience!