Labels, Packaging and Design

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

Thinking about starting a business? Is there an entrepreneurial flame in you that just won’t die? Are you wondering about what the nitty-gritty of this packaging journey might look like?

Well, obviously, we are labels and packaging people. So, we can tell you exactly what the labels and packaging part of starting up and growing a business would look like. In this series, we’re going to do just that, using the (fictional) story of Alana Marshall and Jacob Franchi, co-founders of a small cocktail mix company. We’ll cover their whole journey, including their big idea, their start-up experience, their partnership with retail, their rise to success, and their expansion.

Look, we love for entrepreneurs to express what they have inside of them. If demystifying the labels and packaging aspect of creating and growing a new business helps you to make your big contribution, it’s the least we can do!

Introducing Alana and Jacob, Co-Founders

packaging journey with alana and jacob
A Packaging Journey: From Spirited Start-Ups to Serious Distribution – Meet Alana and Jacob

Alana is the General Manager of a distillery who has big entrepreneurial ambitions. Jacob is an accountant who really doesn’t like what he does. Both are in their mid-30s. They have been friends since high school, but they became quite a bit closer when Jacob started frequenting Alana’s distillery.

Both Alana and Jacob have a history of getting into things that they don’t feel 100% sold on. Alana started (and dropped out of) dental school because she thought that’s what her parents wanted her to do. Jacob had no idea what he wanted to do with this life when he graduated from high school. He just picked accounting because it seemed like a stable occupation. Alana, at least, eventually got into an industry that she loves through bartending. But Jacob hasn’t yet found a way of realizing his secret dream of starting a business. He watches his young daughter express herself freely and bides his time, building a sense of inspiration.

That inspiration finally finds an outlet when Alana shares an idea with him one Tuesday evening at the distillery.

The Big Idea

 Alana wants to create a cocktail mix brand featuring natural, quality ingredients and less than half of the sugar of conventional pre-made mixes. The idea came to her while she closed up after a hard day at work. She had been struggling with the new mixers her bar was using for their happy hour menu. They were packaged in hard-to-open bottles with leaking caps. So, not only were the pre-mixes on the market sickly sweet but they were also packaged in such a way as to test the sanity of consumers? Unacceptable!

Alana had that moment all entrepreneurs have (sometimes many times over). She thought, “I could definitely come up with something better.”

Jacob agrees to partner with Alana. A cocktail mix that tastes good because it has great ingredients—not a surplus of sugar—packaged in an attractive and functional way? Heck yes. His dream of creating a successful business has never felt so close or real. Alana has found the right partner in him. She has the product experience; he has the business experience. And both of them have massive amounts of enthusiasm.

packaging journey outline sketch
A Packaging Journey: From Spirited Start-Ups to Serious Distribution – Brainstorm Sketch

The two brand-new co-founders ride this wave of enthusiasm, choosing three flavours to focus on: Old Fashioned, Gin Fizz, and Whiskey Sour. Alana likes the look of maple syrup bottles, so they source a small supply, and the partners get to work. The end result is a bottled mixer with an eye-catching, unique profile.

With the first batches of the product bottled, it’s time to figure out step one of packaging: labels and E-Commerce packaging. That’s where we’ll pick up the story in Part 2.




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