Subscription Box Basics with Julie Ball

Branded boxes on a budget

January 24, 2022 Julie Ball Episode 110
Subscription Box Basics with Julie Ball
Branded boxes on a budget
Show Notes Transcript

#110 - In this week's episode of Subscription Box Basics, your favorite subscription box coach talks about how to dress up a plain box into a beautifully branded box. If you are on a budget or are the DIY type, you'll love this episode!

As we take the journey of being a subscription box entrepreneur, we always think of things that would  make our product stand out, and one of the things that will play a big role in our business is the packaging of our boxes. Julie will share to you ways that will definitely elevate your plain boxes and can make a great impression to your subscribers.


  • Color of the box (3:39)
  • Ways to dress up your plain box (4:42)


Julie (00:01):

So you wanna launch a subscription box and don't know where to start. Girl, you are in the right place. I'm Julie Ball, a subscription box coach, and your host here at subscription box basics, a podcast for new and aspiring subscription box entrepreneurs that want to avoid overwhelm, grab a coffee, some pen and paper, and let's have some fun. Hey everybody, Julie Ball here, your host and your subscription box business coach. Today, we are talking about how to dress up your plane box. So many of you are launching a subscription box in the new year, and many of you are on a budget. I get it. I was too. And so one of the choices that you need to make at the very beginning of your subscription box business is what are you gonna ship in? So last week we talked about different box sizes and how to choose the right box size for your subscription box.

Julie (00:59):

Today, we are talking about the DIY side of making that box unique and making it stand out from the rest. So we're not really talking about custom print boxes here. We're talking about plane boxes, and many of you are gonna buy them on places like U line paper Mart, Amazon, but when they arrive, they're boring. So boring. You need to take the time to figure out how to brand it and to make it pop because your box is a key element of your branding and your customer experience. And think about this. When a box looks beautiful and someone experiences opening the box and finding all the goodies and excited, and it's just absolutely delighted, it sells itself. They are gonna take that, take a picture of it, take a video of it and share it on their social media and share it with their friends and family.

Julie (01:53):

And it needs to be able to sell itself. And that's why I'm dedicating an entire episode today to talk about how to di why your sub box to dress it up and make it look amazing. So I saw the stat on a crate joy blog, and they said that in a survey subscription box business owners said they averaged about a dollar 61 per box for their packaging. Now packaging can really add up depending on the size of the box and the quantity that you order, cuz the more you buy, the more you can save, but what are you gonna do to that box to make it branded? And so that people know that it's your subscription box. There's a lot of different ways actually. And I'm gonna talk about quite a few of them, but I just wanna preface this right now and say, pay attention to the cost of all the added things because in the end it might be equal to, or even more than what it would've cost to custom print it.

Julie (02:52):

So make sure that you are paying attention to that before we get started on how to dress up the box with different branding elements. I wanna take a minute to just talk about the color of the box. So when you buy your plain boxes from wherever you buy them, typically you're gonna have only a few options. It's typically going to be white craft color, which is kind of that like brown craft, um, looks kinda like cardboard colored. And then sometimes depending on the vendor, you buy it from, there's going to be a small assortment of colors. So think about one, you know, what's the pricing difference. And two, how is it going to incorporate with your branding? Keep in mind a white box can and get dirty during transit. And that might impact the experience, but we have shipped plenty of white boxes for different things and they turned out just fine.

Julie (03:50):

So don't overthink it, just be aware. And you know, you can always change down the line. If you use white boxes at first and you get complaints, or if you just don't feel good about the way they're showing up, then you can always switch it to a different color. So let's talk about some of our favorite ways to dress it up. The easiest way to do that is through stickers. There's lots of different types of stickers. You can use lots of different vendors. We love sticker mule, and we have a link for you for some additional savings in the show notes, but you could do circle stickers, which is a great way to just, you know, slap that sticker on the box and voila it's branded. So you can get large ones. You can get, um, customized ones, but circle stickers are probably one of the most popular ways to do it.

Julie (04:41):

There's rectangle stickers, square stickers, oval stickers, sticker with your logo is a fantastic way to dress it up. One of my favorite stickers that serves a dual purpose is a bumper sticker. So, you know, like a traditional bumper sticker is kind of like this long skinny rectangle. So you could use that with envision, envision your box in front of you think about a big bumper sticker that on the top of the box will have your logo. And then it wraps around to the bottom of the box, serving the dual purpose of seal your box as well. So it's not only branding it, but it's seal it. We have used this in the password to, from types of boxes. I've seen it used beautifully in with other subscription box business owners. So don't discount the bumper sticker. That is a great way to use it. Not only to brand the box, but to seal the box.

Julie (05:36):

Okay. So we talked about all kinds of stickers that you could use. So if go to sticker or use the link in our show notes to get that special deal, you will see all of their stickers, just click on the sticker tab and you'll see how many different ones that they have. I really like the rounded corner stickers too. They just feel like they're a nice, um, almost, almost remind me of like a postage stamp. So that might be a good way to brand it. I will say too, while you're ordering your stickers on sticker, mul, it might be fun to order some with just your logo as well as ones that like individual ones that you can just toss in the box. We do that from time to time with our shop orders or just to toss them into the boxes as a little bonus and in hopes actually that they would then put those stickers somewhere where someone else is gonna see it.

Julie (06:30):

It's just kind of like a, a little part of marketing. So anyhow, I digres back to branding. So we talked out how you can use stickers there's standard sizes. Obviously you can always do custom sizes. I actually have seen, um, people do full size sticker sheets, like almost an entire page of, you know, like an eight and a half by 11. Of course it depends on what size your box is, but full size stickers sheets, or even like half eats and print their logo and their website and stuff like that. And put it over the entire top of the box. So for example, if you use the same size box as me, six by nine by three, the top of the box would be six by nine. And so you could print out an entire box topper and maybe you do that. If you have a color printer at home and you just get some, uh, labels from staples or office Depot or whatever, and you print your color printer, there, it's a way to get started.

Julie (07:29):

It is probably not the most professional, but it's a way to get started. And you guys, I always say at progress over perfection, play around with some different idea is play around with, with some different size stickers and know that when you order, um, from somewhere like stickermule, you can order very small quantities. So I'm looking at this as we speak and I just click through the rounded corner stickers and you can order as few as 50 of those. And there's when you click through on their website, they show you all kinds of, um, different examples of how other businesses have used them. Same thing with the circle stickers. I just click through to see, and you can order as few as 50. So there's not a ton of, um, commitment when you want to try this out. So, and the fact is too, if you don't end up using them for your labels, you can use them for other, other like marketing things.

Julie (08:26):

Like I said, dropping them in shop orders or, you know, passing them out at an event. The next way I wanna talk about that. You can DIY your box to make it look beautiful is through a stamp. Now I'm gonna be honest about this one. This one's gonna take you a little bit more time because you are going to hand stamp each box. But if this fits your brand, maybe it's a craft box. Maybe it is a DIY box. Maybe it's something that it fits the entire look of the branding, then go for it. What you'll need to do is find a vendor. That's gonna create a custom stamp for you and make sure you think about the size of it. You don't want this to be tiny because you want this to show on your packaging and easily be re when someone sees it.

Julie (09:16):

And a good example of this. I don't know if she still does this. Um, but leave from mother snacker. She used to hand stamp her boxes. So if you go back on mother snackers, Instagram, you could probably see some really beautiful designs. She used a black stamp on a craft box, and then she ended up tying a ribbon around it and, um, putting it in a poly mailer. It looked very, very beautiful. A lot of her boxes were going to be used as gifts. So she actually did put some of those in poly mailers. If I remember correctly, nonetheless, her stamp looked so clean and classic and just the way it looked. So you wanna make sure that you get custom logo put on a stamper and you're gonna have to have plenty of ink to stamp those. Now a pro tip here is stamp the boxes when they're flat.

Julie (10:06):

So if you listen to the last week's episode, I talked about buying your boxes and bulk. When they arrive, they're gonna show up flat packed and you're gonna have build each box. It's gonna be much easier to apply a stamp and the pressure that you need to spread the ink evenly. If that box is still flat. So before you build the boxes, stamp them and allow them to dry, then build them. Okay? We talked about the color of the box. We talked about stickers. We talked about stamps. Now the last one I wanted talk to you about is custom tape. Now we love this idea. This is such an easy way to brand any type of box, whether you're a subscription box or just shipping a product to someone custom tape works incredibly well. We love the water activated tape from sticker mule. Yes, sticker mule.

Julie (11:00):

They do tape as well. And so water activated tape, as you can imagine, needs to be moistened to actually activate the tack, like the, the stickiness. You have to apply water and you can do that with a sponge or you can get a special type of dispenser. You can get them on Amazon. You can get them on U line where you put your role of water activated tape in there. And there's a little area where you can put water in and it's gonna automatically apply it for you. If you go the water activated packaging tape route, I highly recommend that it's going to make your life so much easier so that you don't have to hand moisten each, each little like piece of tape so that it sticks. But what I like about it is it's a reinforced gum paper tape. Okay? So that reinforcement in the tapes think of it as like little strings, like fibers that run in it and you can't really see it once your design is applied.

Julie (12:03):

So it just is there to make sure that things stay shut. You've probably seen this with all your Amazon on prime packaging. This is the type of tape that they use for their packaging, highly recommended. There's other vendors too, that do a thinner custom tape, similar to like a, uh, what shipping tape would be like your regular clear shipping tape. You can have that also custom, um, printed, but I haven't found the perfect vendor for that yet when I do, I will definitely share that with you guys, because I think that would be a good route as well. But if you're looking for the water activated tape sticker, mul got it. You can order it by the foot as low as a hundred feet. And at the time of this recording, you can get a hundred feet for only $19. So again, this is like a low commitment way to test out some different ways to dress up that, that boring box and to make it pop with color, make it pop with your brand.

Julie (13:03):

So what's it gonna be guys? What color box are you gonna get? How are you going to dress it up? Are you gonna use stickers, stamps, packing tape? What's it gonna be? Whatever you do, just remember that this is that key element of your branding, make it unique, make it professional, make it so it pops and creates excitement. When someone receives that box, think about how that might translate into a social media post, where someone's sharing it via photo or via video. Think about all those things. Okay. So what I want you to do now, though, if you haven't already tried out these different ways, get some samples, mock up some boxes, share it on social media, see what people think, let your subscribers or your followers help you make these decisions. We do that all the time at sparkle house grow. If I don't know the answer to a question or have to make a decision choosing between a or B or C, I always ask our subscribers and I ask our email list.

Julie (14:06):

What do you think? Not only does that get them to buy in to your brand and make them an active part of your journey, but it also helps you make the decision. So go, I'll get some samples, make some mockups and have fun with it. I would love to see any of your mockups or any of the branded packaging materials that you have for your box. Make sure you tag us at subscription box bootcamp so we can share it as well. We're on Instagram. You find me in the DMS all the time in and say hello, or share your DIY hacks. I'd love to share it with the rest of our community. I love supporting you in your subscription box journey. If you would like to give back, all I ask is for you to subscribe, rate and review this podcast. And if you know someone who's interested in starting a subscription box business, share this episode with them or share your favorite episode with them, I would be so grateful. Thanks for listening today. I hope it was helpful. I cannot wait to see the DIY boxes that you put together. So don't forget to tag us at subscription box bootcamp, and I'll see you in the next episode.