Packaging Change

Alesya Bag BoxFor the Fall 2012 line there will be a change in packaging.  Since I’ve received so many comments on the way the bag is boxed, I wanted to tell you what is going on and why.

I love my original packaging.  Stitch Design Co. created it with my initial direction and totally exceeded my expectations.  I wanted the box to be very high end – something you would keep.  My mom likes to keep ribbon and wrapping paper in old retail boxes and I had visions of Alesya Bags clients using their boxes again and again as well.

The packaging was VERY well received.  People raved about it to me…they even Pinned it.  It was exactly the response I wanted.

Alesya Bags Tissue and TapeAt the beginning of 2012 my father (who handles my accounting) and I closed out the books for 2011.  It was an interesting exercise because it was my first year in business and we’d just had a flurry of sales from the holiday season.  While I came close to breaking even, I most certainly did not.  I’m still operating this business in the red.

My dad looked at my major expenses and started reciting them off to me.  “Cost of Goods Sold (the bags themselves), Marketing (logo creation, design, photography, etc.), Internet Expenses (website creation, upkeep, online sales platform) and hmmm…Packaging.”

Crap.  Packaging.  I knew it was expensive, but had no idea it would make my top five line items.  That wasn’t good.

A lot of companies add the cost of packaging into their final retail price.  I had not.  The price of the bag is only related to the actual cost of the bag.  Looking back, perhaps this was a mistake.  Or perhaps I just wanted the high end packaging so badly that I didn’t care.

Even Penelope Trunk's cat loved the packaging!

But I have to care.  I can’t run this business in the red!  And now that I have the start-up costs behind me it is really obvious what my ongoing costs will be.

The boxes are purchased in quantities of 500.  Each box is $8.50.  Once you add on the tissue paper, card and shipping box the cost goes over $10.  Plus the cost to actually package the bag which is around $5.

I couldn’t stomach the thought of changing the packaging.  The box was part of my vision for the brand.  My marketing ego was getting the best of me.

But then then I got some hints.  A client in New York City said she saw another Alesya Bags box when she was going to throw hers out.  (She thought it was a good thing – “You are taking over the city!”)  I had one of my own boxes rip and had to get rid of it.  And one of my best friends Charlotte said “I kept the box for several months and finally had to throw it away because I just didn’t have room for it.  But it made me sad!” (I know, she’s too kind.)

The evidence was clear.  As much as people liked my boxes, they ultimately had to throw them away.  Sigh.  That’s not good for a Top 5 expense.

Final Alesya Bag Box PurpleThis time around the box will be different.  As you might have guessed, that is the rendering above.  This will be strong enough to ship the bag so I won’t need two boxes.  Tissue will still be included, along with a dust bag.

My overall packaging costs will be cut by more than 50%.  This is a VERY good thing for a new business.  Cutting costs means you can stay in business!

But what do you think?  Will you miss the high end boxes?  Should they return for Christmas?  Do you think clients would be willing to pay more for gift boxes?  I’d love to hear your thoughts on my packaging saga.

 

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24 Responses to “Packaging Change”

  1. Seadanes says:

    I haven’t bought a bag yet, but I found you through Penelope Trunk’s Blog and have been following your Blog with interest since. Anyway, I would think you could charge for the high end box as an optional gift wrap option. I often pay more to have something gift wrapped if I know it will be special. Good luck. Your bag is on my gift wish list. Can’t wait to see the new ones.

    • Alesya says:

      Hello Seadanes! Thanks for following along from Penelope’s blog. That’s fantastic!

      Thank you for your input. I believe that is a great idea – now the question comes, when do I need to invest in those boxes and how many to buy…

      I’m so happy to hear the bag is on your wish list. I can’t wait to get the news ones out there either.

  2. Emmie says:

    As someone who raved about your packaging also, I was at first a little bummed to hear the packaging would be changing. That being said, my Alesya box is sitting in my closet collecting dust, and I fear it may meet my recycling bin sometime soon unless I can find a way to reuse it. That being said, the dust bag is something I’ll always have, so I think having it in a sturdy box with a dust bag and tissue paper is more than adequate. The bag stands out on its own with or without the really expensive packaging.

    • Alesya says:

      Hi Emmie! Always fab to hear from you.

      Love your honesty here. That is so helpful. I was bummed to think about it too!

      The dust bag continues to be a MUST have for me. I keep all of mine on other handbags and feel it really helps protect the bag.

  3. Katie says:

    I can see your dilemma from both points of view, so hopefully it will help you to hear that you are making the right decision.

    While I am still saving up for my coveted Alesya bag, I too have yet to see this beautiful packaging in person. But being from Charleston as well, I know Stich Design Co. puts out some absolutely wonderful designs. But as a small luxury biz owner myself, I’ve had to make the these tough calls as well. The bottom line is the bottom line, and I think you did a great job in selecting an alternative that is just as high end in look and appearance. Sure, bring back the old ones for gift wrapping or special requests – if it’s not too much of a cost and hassle – but overall, I think you made a great decision in not letting your “marketing ego” take over and finding affordable packaging that still represents your brand – smart and sophisticated!

    • Alesya says:

      Hi Katie! Thanks for understanding my issue.

      Oh you KNOW Stitch only does beautiful things.

      Thank you for your vote approval. It means a lot to me that a fellow business owner understands the problem and agrees with my solution. Hooray!

  4. charlotte says:

    i was very sad to throw out the box but am a pro at purging and had to get rid of it. i think cutting your packaging costs is a great idea! but don’t be sad about the time you spent with stitch to create your tissue paper! you can still use that for very special clients (nordstroms) or other professionals who promote your work…maybe order a few smaller boxes and some tissue paper to always have on hand so you can give out special presents…then its not such a lost cause.

    • Alesya says:

      I’m a pro at the purge too…so I get it!

      Yes, I agree about it not being a lost cause. Plus I had to go through the exercise to figure it out or myself. It was just one of those things no one could tell me.

  5. Alison Kowalski says:

    I think you are making the right decision. I love beautiful, high-end packaging but it does always end up sitting on a shelf and eventually getting thrown out. The bags are what everyone really wants . . .and the new packaging looks like it will be beautiful too!

  6. Jeanette says:

    I think cutting costs is great, and necessary to keep growing. However – 1) yes, I think it’s nice to have the gift option as an add-on, especially around the holidays; and 2) I didn’t keep my packaging at all (I used to keep tons of that kind of stuff, and it just takes up too much space) BUT the luxurious packaging made the bag feel special and made receiving it in the mail a great experience. I think for repeat business, and for building a high-end brand, you want to associate yourself with quality and have people enjoy the unboxing – Steve Jobs always talked about the packaging mattering so much for all his products – so, I think it’s worth it to include some packaging costs in the overall price of bags as a cost of business. You’re not selling cheap bags at a low-end store. The new box seems to achieve that though – it looks very nice. Not sure how it plays in person, but still very visually appealing from what I can see online. Perhaps it’s the best of both worlds.

    • Alesya says:

      Hello Jeanette! Thanks for all your thoughts!

      I hear what you are saying – 100%. Part of my reasoning for the packaging is that I’m always a little/a lot disappointed when I order something from a retailer like J. Crew and I’ve agonized over it and then it comes in a brown box and a clear plastic bag. It loses a lot of it’s “special”.

      That’s what I’m trying to avoid. Hopefully I can strike that balance.

  7. Rosanna Appelt says:

    I must say — your packaging alone was the reason i came to your site originally. i am a SUCKER for someone who truly “gets” the customer experience.

    the original website i saw your bag on showed the pictures of the process of opening the bag, and i told my husband, “I don’t care WHAT is inside that box.. i wanna give that woman all my money so i can have a box, too!

    i intend to buy a new bag when your line comes out — can you please give us the option to PAY for the gift box option??

    • Alesya says:

      Rosanna! I love this comment! Thanks for your rave review of the packaging. I can just hear the conversation between you and your husband now.

      Let me know when you order a bag – alesya@alesyabags.com – and I’ll do my best to see that you get the original packaging. There are some extra boxes floating around and I’d love to see you get one.

      • Rosanna Appelt says:

        How amazing! I’m just now seeing this because we’ve been getting ready for a family trip. i will be sure to hit you up about one of the original boxes when I place my order.

        I’ve been checking your website and following you on fb, just waiting for the new line!! :-)

  8. Christy says:

    The new box looks very nice and I love the idea of keeping the gift box option with the beautiful tissue paper for an added charge. It’s always strange what grabs people (and I can offer that opinion guilt-free as someone who still has my box! ;o)

    • Alesya says:

      Hi Christy! Great to hear from you again.

      You still have your box! That’s fantastic. Enjoy it for as long as you do.

      Glad you like my idea. I’ll see what can be done!

  9. Beth says:

    I must say that I gasped out loud when I opened my package, and even took photos of it. Gorgeous box, gorgeous ribbon & tissue – definitely a keeper. Too bad I don’t have a cat to pose in it!! It is stiting in my closet, and I think I will store Christmas ribbons & doo-dads in it. It’s just too pretty to toss out, although storage space is at a minimum.

    I like somebody else’s idea of offering it as a gift wrap option. But that might still be too cost-prohibitive for you. The new boxes look lovely! Very classy and elegant. Just like the bags themselves …. loving my bag. :-)

  10. Shannon says:

    I agree with most comments. My bag was a gift and I still have the beautiful box. Opening it in such gorgeous packaging made it that much more special. The option for people to pay for the original box would be ideal.

  11. Cynthia Opelt says:

    Hi,

    Interesting dilemma, and without giving away too much, perhaps your “new collection” is also ready for a revised look in packaging? I’m not sure the question is one of “better or worse” but rather one of “feel” or “match” to the brand. I think that can still be accomplished and remain true to your image. Ultimately the bag says it all!

  12. nitcha says:

    I’m a little sad to see that you may be changing packaging, though I can understand, you need to be cost effective. I personally would accept the offer to pay a bit more for the original box. I LOVE packaging, the entire tactile experience really excites me, I even have kept most of the beautiful gold boxes that my formal china and crystal came in from a high end china shop here in Toronto and that was 12 years ago. I think it may be a good option for gift-giving, as long as you can work it financially.
    So looking forward to purchasing your bag in the summer, just found out I am accepted to teachers college, yes, going back to school, and I will be styling all the way!

  13. Vanessa says:

    Hi Aleysa,

    My boyfriend Jude bought this bag for me the holidays. It is now May and I only now *just* recycled the box. I kept the box (because it was oh-so-beautiful) in my downstairs storage. I used it to move this month…but wasn’t able to find a use for it afterwards. I too, had a hard time giving it away. I even kept the beautiful satin pink ribbon all this time. My initial visit to your website today was because I received another compliment on my bag this morning while waiting for my coffee close to work. We were talking about it over dinner and decided to check back. I wear my bag every day, with laptop in tow. I absolutely love it to pieces. It is functional, stylish and perfect. I am SO happy to see a wait list for your items. This is truly a classic piece that I know Ill have for years. My boyfriend completely picked this out himself after I was looking tirelessly for a work/computer bag. Beautiful. I will always be back to see what you’re up to!
    Love,
    Happy Customer

  14. Teresa says:

    Teresa come lately… :-)

    It’s funny, when I order high-end bags from Nordstrom, Nordstrom never thinks twice about sending something in a beautiful box. My last bag came a few weeks ago wrapped in its dust cover which was wrapped in a plain plastic bag which was in an ordinary flat shipping box. I didn’t think twice about the packaging, I was all about the handbag inside.

    Your packaging (former/latter) is lovely, but I say skip it. How about printing the tissue paper design on one of those reusable Tyvek grocery store bags (Uline.com does that) and have your web address front and center.. then wrap the bag in that: BAM! free advertising and something they are guaranteed to use again around town. I’ve never seen that done.

  15. Jenny Schu says:

    Aleysa,
    I love your packaging, but as a small busness owner myself, I have learned that very few people care about the box. So I keep fancy boxes on-hand for clients that request them (normally for gifts), but otherwise I recycle a lot of packaging and make it cute and creative when I ship. You could keep some on-hand for those who want to pay extra, but then they’re sitting around waiting to be sold and at a 500 box order, you may get sick of looking at them, and it’ll still be a huge cost.
    Cut the cost, I love my purse no matter what!
    -Jenny

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