Just like getting your first business cards printed, having branded packaging does wonders for making you feel like your company is “real.” The true benefit, though, is being able to present your brand in a more professional way and build a better unboxing experience, which can increase brand recognition and help with sales.
But when you’re small, custom-branded boxes, bags and mailers can feel out of reach. Large retail-packaging suppliers often require minimum orders of thousands of pieces, meaning you have to lay out lots of cash for ribbon or hang tags that you’re just not sure you’ll use up. (Never mind that you’ll have to find the space to store it.)
Luckily, there are options to help you graduate from printing out tags on your home printer and using plain off-the-shelf mailers. You can start out with something as simple as a sticker or rubber stamp of your logo added to a plain box, or go for a fully customized printed piece. To help you get a professional look, we want to share a few Canadian suppliers with low minimum order quantities (a.k.a. MOQs). Your packaging is going to look so good!
There’s nothing like a custom-printed e-commerce mailer to make your company look bigger than it is. The Packaging Company offers short-run printing of front-lock boxes, poly-envelopes and more in any size you need. Your logo and branding can be front and centre before your customer even opens their mail.
Products: Boxes, tape, tissue paper, bubble and poly mailers, labels, stickers
Good to know: The 3D preview tool shows an animation of how your chosen box assembles and closes, while a fit guide lets you know whether it will fit into standard community mailboxes and parcel lockers.
Based in Vancouver, Jukebox offers high-quality printing and the ability to take your branded assets to the next level with premium paper stocks and finishes, as well as techniques like embossing and foil stamping. Their online order interface is easy to use and provides plenty of mix-and-match options, displaying the cost as you adjust size, quantity and paper stock. If you want something more specialized, ask via the chat and staff will create a custom quote for you.
Products: Stickers, hang tags, mini boxes, tissue paper, wrapping paper, rubber stamps
With minimum orders as low as 50 pieces for standard sizes, Newprint allows you to get custom-printed boxes without committing to a print run of thousands. Pick your size, paper stock, quantity and other details, and the price adjusts as you make changes — no waiting for a quote. An interactive preview lets you see your design from every angle.
Products: Boxes, hang tags, labels, wrapping paper
Good to know: Not only can you choose from plenty of standard sizes, you can order custom-size boxes for made-to-fit product packaging. Download your personal template and create your own artwork, have Newprint’s experts do the design for you, or use the online designer tool.
No Issue’s big selling point is that all its custom packaging is eco friendly, falling into at least one of its three “circular material framework” categories — everything they sell is compostable, recycled and/or reusable. Many products use FSC-certified materials, acid-free paper and soy-based inks, too. They also plant trees for every order placed and are aiming to become 100 percent carbon neutral by 2022.
Products: Tissue paper, stickers, stamps, envelope mailers, packing tape, cloth totes
Good to know: Connect with designers and illustrators who can design your packaging for you, or you can shop their templates.
Want quick and inexpensive? Vistaprint’s got you covered. This global company is one of the first to have offered the ability to order business cards and marketing materials in small batches via the internet. For many products, you’re able to see a mockup of what your design will look like in real life, and you can save them in your account for easy reordering.
Products: Labels, stickers, hang tags, paper shopping bags, cloth totes and drawstring bags, packing tape
Good to know: If your graphic design skills are lacking and you can’t afford to hire a designer yet, Vistaprint offers plenty of templates you can customize with your own company info.
An excellent source of off-the-shelf retail packaging, Creative Bag also offers the option to customize much of its stock with a hot-stamped logo.
Products: Bags, boxes, ribbons, gift wrap, tissue paper, labels, stickers
Good to know: Order a single in-stock item to test it out and see the quality before committing to spending your money on a customized version. And if you live close to the Toronto location, you can visit the store and look at many options in person.
Your local printer
Across Canada you’ll find print shops of every size and capability. If you’re looking for packaging that’s a little more custom than what you’ve been able to find online, a local printer should be able to help you.
Products: Depends on the printer, but many are able to supply hang tags, boxes, tissue paper and stickers
Good to know: A local printer can be your best friend, a partner to help you figure out what you need and what’s actually possible. Nothing beats being able to talk to someone face-to face and have them answer your questions about what might work best for your particular situation.
Illustration by Corinna vanGerwen