Now... About the box...
Recently I began adding some new gourmet teas to our catalog I’m calling it, The Connoisseur Collection. These are gourmet level teas, grown organically and/or wild grown. They are amazing teas, each one hand picked by yours truly. I hope you love them.
If you haven't tried them yet, What are you waiting for?! Here's the link,
But, that’s not what this post is about. More than the teas themselves, I’ve been getting lots of emails about the boxes the tea comes in. A LOT of time and thought went into this box and I’d like to share some of my thought process.
Here was my criteria for the new packaging going in,
- It should be an environmentally sound choice. I defined environmentally sound as 100% recyclable, low carbon footprint and reusable just as they are.
- It should help keep the teas fresh
- Should be beautiful and convey instantly that the teas inside are special.
I started by looking at what my competition is doing. There are some really great packaging designs out there. But they quickly fall into some basic broad categories, tins, pouches and boxes.
I thought hard about a tin. It’s a classic and classy choice, keeps the tea reasonably fresh short term and people save them, reuse them and even collect them. I decided against a tin because significant energy and resources go into the manufacturer and the weight for shipping is costly and leaves an energy footprint I’m uncomfortable with.
Pouches have served me well for years. They do a great job of keeping the tea fresh. But they don’t get reused. They don’t recycle well because the best ones are made from several layers of different materials and they don’t convey the quality of the teas as well as I would like.
I finally decided on a box. They are fully recyclable and lightweight. With the right design they’ll keep the tea fresh on a short-term basis. But, I knew we’d need something special to make them something people would reuse just as they are and to communicate a gourmet tea experience.
I’m not a designer. I knew I needed help. So, I sponsored a design contest. We had 92 designs submitted by great designers from all over the world. But this design (by an Italian designer) very quickly won my heart. I love that it conveys the idea of a gift. I like that it incorporates the colors and modern style of our new logo. Each box is partially hand crafted.
Once I had the completed design samples in my hand I wasn’t completely happy with them with regard to objective 2, “keeping the teas fresh”. I’ve seen boxes that made a pretty tight seal. These are ok. Good enough to keep the teas fresh for the typical time needed to consume 100 grams or so of tea. But I want to make sure the teas stay fresh in our warehouse also. So, we took the extra step of vacuum sealing most of the teas in a small foil pouch inside the box. (There are a few teas for which vacuum sealing is not possible because it crushes the leaves. In those few cases, they are sealed but not vacuumed.)
In brief that describes about a 6 month process. I’m delighted with the result. I have the boxes sitting on my desk and keep picking them up and admiring them. I guess that’s my proud-father complex. Looking forward to hear what you folks think. Please do drop me a line or post a comment on my blog.