Small Business Packaging Strategies That Work: Volume One


When running a product-based business one spends so much time on the product itself, the packaging and the way the products are delivered often take a back seat.  That is not the case with the brands below, who understand that a successful small business tells its story and interacts with customers from packaging to shipment to delivery and beyond.  Though they produce items including cheese, panties and jewelry, their strategies can and should inspire any type of business hoping to make a lasting and long term impact on current and potential customers as well as brand ambassadors! 


We could talk for hours here at Tin Shingle about how yummy and addictive Palmetto Cheese is, but let’s talk instead about the clever strategy they use in their packaging and delivery that encourages their customers share the cheesy love on a local retail level.  Though this tactic is used for food goods in this situation, it can easily be modified for other types of products.  Every time you receive a shipment of their cheese you also receive the insert pictured here, giving you step-by-step directions for sharing the brand with your local grocery store.  This means they’re able to satisfy customers while spreading knowledge of and interest in the brand to new locations around the United States.  Happy, gratified customers (who in this case have no doubt just devoured a tub of their cheese, or whatever else you're selling) are often your best advertising, and Palmetto Cheese smartly strikes while the iron is hot, and the belly is full, having these customers be their ambassadors and pseudo sales reps, connecting them with stores they might not have been on their sales radar.  


Empowered By You
is a collection of high-tech, stylish panties that are infused with seamless design which prevents slippage, imparts smoothness and ensures steady wear.  The lingerie is produced in Sri Lanka at a UN Women's certified factory and 20% of all net profits generated from sales are donated to The Seven Bar Foundation, that provides women with loans that enable them to start or grow their own small businesses, breaking the cycle of poverty for their children via micro finance.

So how does Empowered By You make their packaging work for them in an innovative way? The panties are sold as single units in clear, zip-closure, reusable and reseal-able packaging.  For starters, the pouch package they ship in can be reused as it is perfect for securely holding and storing small items such as jewelry or money.  But that is only the beginning.  What we find is most impactful about Empowered By You’s packaging is that the customer immediately learns about the larger impact the brand is making in the world with each purchase, making said customer more likely to return, and feel like they are part of something much bigger than a pair of powerful panties!  Each package includes an insert with a personal testimonial from a woman who has received a loan to start her own business from the Seven Bar Foundation, which the company donates to with each purchase.   

To date, Empowered By You has donated $437,000 to date and given loans to over 3,000 women worldwide through the Seven Bar Foundation.  Thanks to their packaging, their dedication to something bigger than their brand is clear and visible to all who purchase from them, or see their packaging in person.


We love the packaging strategy that the Bijouxx Jewels team uses because it is simple, straightforward and encourages repeat, future sales.  What does the team do?  They send 20% off promotional codes with every package (in the form of flyers), which keep their customers coming back, turning them into long term, dedicated members of the Bijouxx Jewels family!  Does the tactic work?  You bet it does.  It’s helped ensure a high repeat customer rate, and is also a great “thank you for your support” that they can immediately give to those who purchase from their brand.  I’m a big fan of promotion codes in retail and business because it’s a win-win for the business and the shopper.  The customer is getting a great deal, and if and when it’s used, the business is getting another sale.  Everybody is happy, all thanks to a strategic packaging move when shipping out products.

SHOP PRIMADONNA.COM knew they wanted to be more than a fashion and accessories e-commerce site, and one of their business goals from the beginning was to create an atmosphere based on consumer interaction. They knew they wanted their customers to feel like a part of their PD family.  After all, customers who feel authentically involved and included in your brand are more likely to be customers you retain.  One way they ensure customers feel this way is via the packaging and delivery of their orders. Since the inception of their site, the team includes a personalized message thanking each individual customer for their support, with each order!

How is it working?  They told us it's a great way to engage their consumers while making them feel special. They’ve gotten quite a bit of positive feedback on their Shop Prima Donna "love notes".  In fact, people “go crazy” posting them on social media showing their appreciation.  All of that love they receive in return goes to show that a little bit of extra TLC certainly does go a long way.

As the founders say, “We love our customers and we want them to know it. Plus, who doesn't like getting a handwritten note splashed with words like "showstopper", "fashionista", and "hot to trot"?”  The Prima donna team was kind enough to share one of their personalized notes (that a customer posted on Instagram) above.  The excitement and image say it all: #happyrepeatcustomer.


Dogeared Jewelry
is a great example of a business letting their packaging speak for them and delivering tangible "brand feelings" when they cannot be there to do so themselves.  It’s one thing to ship beautiful jewelry in a stylish or classic box, it’s another thing to turn your packaging  into a thing of beauty itself, and Dogeared does just that.  The innovative accessories brand puts extra effort into creating inspirational packaging (all of which they design and make on their own, in-house) which is beloved not only by clients, but by their retailers like Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom and Bloomingdales, who carry the brand in all their doors.
Each accessory is displayed in packaging with cards that include everything from personalized messages to inspirational mantras, which differentiate them from the pack.  It’s small changes and strategies in packaging like this that contribute to their customers - as well as big box retailers – returning again and again!