Labels, Packaging and Design

From Spirited Start-Ups to Serious Distribution: A Packaging Journey, Part Three

This is Part Three of a series telling the (fictional but familiar-to-us) story of Alana Marshall and Jacob Franchi, co-founders of a small cocktail mix company. We cover their whole journey, including their big idea, start-up experience, partnership with retail/distribution, rise to success, and expansion. (Here’s Part One and Part Two!).

We decided to create this series in order to help potential entrepreneurs with one of the most important steps on the road to launching a business: learning. Part of learning how to pull off an exciting but overwhelming venture is imagining what the process will be like. Once you start imagining the nitty-gritty aspects of entrepreneurship, you always become aware of your knowledge gaps.

Well—as far as labels and packaging goes—we’re happy to fill in the blanks. This story follows brand-new entrepreneurs Alana and Jacob as they create and launch their pre-mix cocktail business. They go from business novices to successful co-founders with an expanding business. At every step, there are different label and packaging problems to solve. By reading their story, you’re going to have a much better idea of what your packaging journey will look like.

We love entrepreneurs, and we’ve worked with thousands of them! We’re hoping that if you have the potential to become one of them, this series will help push you into taking that first scary but oh-so-rewarding step. (And feel free to reach out if you do!)

Now, back to Alana and Jacob.

Cartons and Sleeves

Distribution: Folding Carton Packaging holding a glass bottle
Distribution: A Packaging Journey – Folding Carton Packaging (Front)

So far, long-time friends Alana and Jacob have created their product: a low-sugar, high-quality pre-mix cocktail in functional and attractive bottles. They’ve made labels for their uniquely-shaped bottle and an eye-catching e-commerce box for customers that order online.

Now, they’re thinking about distribution. Fortunately, they have a few small local bars and stores that are excited to become their first customers. It’s thrilling to think about dropping in for a visit and seeing their product on the shelves. But how can they get their bottles there safely?

The answer: cartons to hold the bottles and shipping boxes to get the products to their customers without breaking.

Distribution: Back of the Folding Carton Packaging
Distribution: A Packaging Journey – Folding Carton Packaging (Back)

First, Great Little Box/Ideon Packaging (GLBC) designs and creates custom folding cartons to house the bottles. A tuck-top auto-bottom folding carton with a window seems to make the most sense. It is super-easy to assemble and fill, looks clean and elegant, and the window helps the product inside pop. After all, Alana and Jacob want to seriously impress their first customers. And then GLBC suggested something else: a sleeve printed with seasonal versions of their branding that they can slide over the carton. After all, why not look ahead to the future when holidays happen, and keep upping their WOW factor for customers?

Distribution: Seasonal Folding Carton Sleeve
Distribution: A Packaging Journey – Seasonal Folding Carton Sleeve


Distribution: RSC Shipper
Distribution: A Packaging Journey – RSC Shipper

Next, the GLBC team makes shipping boxes that fit 6 upright cocktail mix bottles like a glove. They create a variation of the RSC or “regular slotted container” that provides maximum product protection with minimal materials. Plus, the team has a bright idea—why not introduce a tear-away feature? This means their customers could receive the box, tear away part of it, and then the box could act as an on-shelf display in a retail setting. A two-in-one!

RSC Shipper with glass bottles
Distribution: Packaging Journey – RSC Shipper with Tear Away

Once again, why not plan ahead for Jacob and Alana’s eventual growth beyond a handful of bars and stores? They can already taste success.

At this point, the product is bottled, labelled, boxed for e-commerce, and packaged for shipping to customers; next up are counter displays and POPs. We’ll talk about that in Part Four.

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