Thursday, June 18, 2009

Wrap it up.

I really love packaging. A lot. It's definitely one of my favourite parts of having our shop, getting to bundle up people's purchases in pretty paper and write them a little note. It is really important to me that everyone who receives something from us loves it from the moment they get it. I know that for me, I'm always a bit bummed when I get something in the mail where it is just the item and that's it. I always do the sneaky look back in the envelope for an extra treat, but furtively so that it doesn't actually look like I'm searching for more stuff and being a wee bit greedy. So, thinking there is likely other people like me out there...or just people who deserve to get something nice, I make sure that every package we send out to people is like a present for them to unwrap.

On the other hand, I really dislike waste. Often I see something really beautifully wrapped and fall in love, only to start to wonder if there really needed to be 10 sheets of ridiculously expensive tissue paper + even more expensive wrapping paper + various ribbons (ok, maybe needed) + flowers + etc, etc, especially when I know most if not all of this is going to be thrown out. This isn't even counting the bubble wrap and envelope or box! So I've become a saver. When I was younger and friends Mums or an odd Aunt would save wrapping paper ('Don't rip it!!'), carefully peeling the tape off and folding up the pieces to be kept for later use, I thought this was a little bit funny and definitely embarrassing - but I am now that Mum! We keep all the padded envelopes and boxes we get in the mail so that we can reuse them for the store, and we also try to use as much recycled materials in our wrapping as possible.

I actually also just really enjoy doing it this way, as well as it being better for the environment (and our overly disposable tendencies as a society in general). There are so many fantastic ways to wrap goods without having to buy fancy wrapping paper, even (and some, including myself, might say especially) newspaper can look really beautiful. Here are a few of my tips...

1. Stamps. I love stamps. Hand stamping cards, addresses and wrapping paper (I love it on brown paper) is such an easy way to customize your packaging. My set of Muji alphabet stamps is something I use all.the.time. They make everything look cool. We also have a bunch of other picture stamps that we've collected or made ourselves. Making your own stamps is surprisingly easy, and it enables you to create stamps that reflect your style or brand if this is for a business-y type thing. Talk Crafty To Me has a great post with lots of tips on materials and making your own stamps here.

2.String/Yarn/Ribbon/Lace/RicRac. Again, you don't need to buy the fancy stuff to put the finishing touches on your gift wrap. Aside from string (which you can find really cheaply in Chinatown!) I thrift pretty much all of my other tie-ing supplies. These are the things I would often be buying for other crafting purposes, or because I have some kind of obsession where I cannot walk past these things. Having something pretty to tie your gift up not only makes it look fancy (and complete, I think. Even a brown paper package with string is so very sweet), but if you're careful can mean that you can use less or no tape, making it easier for the recipient to reuse the wrapping paper.

3. Old cards & postcards. I still really love to keep the cards that people give me, but in my earlier teenage years I kept every piece of cheesy correspondence I received. Going through it all (shoe box after shoe box) when I left home was both heartwarming and cringe inducing. Anyway, I've now learnt to let go and (sometimes*) reuse. I realise that some people may think cutting up the card someone sent you is a terrible thing to do, but...I'm over it. Obviously I keep the important ones! One of the best ways I've found to reuse cards is with the help of index cards (we had a BUNCH of these left over from our Spanish lessons, as we kept forgetting that the other person had bought them already). The blue card in the pictures above is actually the front of our wedding invite. We had some left over and really, what on earth do you do with unused wedding invites?? I love that image so much, its actually a linocut that Richard carved and printed (can you imagine the level of patience needed?!) which we then sent to the printer. I wanted to have cute note cards to write to people on, and so I cut the front off and pasted an index card on the back, cutting off the excess index card with an exacto/craft knife. Perfect! You can do this with old cards or images you have, and you can even sometimes find these thrifting if you're lucky! Doing this means you can save money by not having to buy or get note cards printed, and it also saves paper.

Right, now I actually have some wrapping to do so I best get to it! I hope this was helpful, and perhaps a little inspiring!

*I say sometimes because I don't think you should feel like you have to reuse everything just for the sake of reusing. For example, dolphin wrapping paper? You will be recycled.


Kate Bruning said...

What a beautiful post and YES, I am inspired!

Urban Environmentalist said...

I'll have to buy something from your store so I can have the joy of recieving a beautifully wrapped item via mail! Glad to hear your business seems to be going well.

Bird Bath said...

great post - thanks! Your packages are so pretty. Those extra touches do make it seem extra special.

Lili said...

Wow! Richard's linocut work is amazing!

Lovely post!

mine... and now yours. said...

and all those vintage thrift store/op shop sheets we keep thinking we'll make a dress out of (but never will).

oh, hello friend. said...

ohmigoodness i just love packaging as well! and yours is SO lovely! i'm actually going to be hosting a 'pretty package summer swap' on my blog, i hope you'll think about participating! :)


Cindy said...

You are such an inspiration! I've just spent the last hour reading your blog. Thank you for this post, btw. Love it! :)

becka said...

Oh wow Cindy, thank you for such a lovely comment!

everyday inspirations said...

I got your package on Friday and blogged, ironically, about ALL your beautiful packaging touches - you can find the post here:

I've told about ten people already about my new favorite addition to my studio...just LOVE it. I'll try to remember to shoot you some pics of it actually hanging. Thanks again - I LOVE my new piece :)

catherine s.