Packaging is vitally important to building a brand. Being easily recognisable to differentiate your product from others is a key step when developing a business. It’s essential to have an identity that your customers connect with and grabs their attention. Branding isn’t just the physical aesthetics, like colour schemes used, but also the ethics and motivations behind the business. For OnlyWillow, that means supporting handmade products here in the UK, backing other small creative businesses, following dreams and promoting self-expression, sharing joy and spreading love through gifts and treats.
As OnlyWillow is currently based solely online again, the packaging is the first physical interaction many of our customers make with our products and a lot of thought has been put into those layers of wrapping. For starters, it must be sturdy enough to travel, sometimes globally, before being delivered, yet maintain a delicacy that reflects the product. Every care is taken from the start to protect the items whilst in transit. The latest boxes include cushioned padding inside. It also has to be simple enough to be used across all the various sized pieces we make, to ensure we have uniformity throughout the range.
Like many aspects of business, the OnlyWillow packaging has changed and grown more sophisticated since the company first started over 6 years ago. Part of the learning process is to try something, see if it is successful, then adapt when suitable. Not only has the product developed, as Olivia explored creatively and established her style, but the packaging had to reflect this also. Looking back at where OnlyWillow started is a great tool for boosting motivation, seeing how far it has come is an inspiration, but can be a little embarrassing too. Yet it’s important to remember where you start and how far you have come, personal and professional growth is something everyone experiences and being able to take pride in your hard work and success is essential.
Something you may not realise is that the early packaging was all decorated by hand. Blank brown boxes were transformed using ribbon, stickers and branded card on the lid, and inside, to create the final parcel that held the item. This added a touch of individuality to every package, as all products are also handmade and therefore unique. However it was a very time-consuming aspect of the making process, and eventually necessitated the upgrade to the current packaging, where the boxes are pre-printed with the OnlyWillow name and logo. The time saved is well worth the extra investment, the new boxes are beautifully elegant and add another level of professionalism.
The boxes are then carefully wrapped in specially printed OnlyWillow paper, tied with ribbon and decorated with stamped wax, sometimes with a sprig of something from the garden. As an added detail, on request, personalised handwritten notes can be added to gifts.
If you have received a parcel from OnlyWillow through the post, you know that the gift wrap opening journey starts at the envelope. Uniquely printed address labels are attached to padded envelopes with various decorative Washi tapes. It has to be one the happiest envelopes to fall through the letterbox and guaranteed to start the unpacking experience with a smile.
We hope you love receiving our packages with the same joy we put into them, and we hope it shows the level of care and thought we take with every piece, person and parcel.
We want to also add a massive thank you to everyone still working within the postage and delivery industry during this time. Without those individuals continuing their work, we wouldn’t be able to continue ours, so we are incredibly grateful.
Stay Safe and Shop Local where you can.
Written by Siobhan Green