Can a Luxury Product be Packaged in 'Non Luxury'?
When Armcandy was first discussed the business side of me was keen to work out the figures to make sure it was viable, the girly side of me conjured up images of a tidy white desk featuring freshly sharpened pink pencils, a Mac, a soy latte in a Nordic House Eva cup and a never ending supply of peonies and ranunculus from flowerbx. When it came to packaging I imagined crisp sheets of tissue paper scrawled with a curly Armcandy Bag Co logo, white lidded boxes and pink grosgrain ribbon.
Then I started to contact packaging suppliers and in the months that followed the decision of should we keep our logo in pink... or change to grey... or mustard... or green... seemed like a lifetime before.
The truth is I don't waste. I recycle. I don't like to throw away and so I regift, I give to charity shops, I give our old shoes to the stores that recycle them and I did a little dance when the UK carrier bag charge made everyone stop and think. Am I an eco warrior? No. Do I occasionally put half a mouldy pitta in the bin? Yes.
But I am eco conscious. And so we came to the crunch question, in a luxury industry, where we are selling a luxury product, where you the buyer are parting with more than 50 quid, is luxury packaging a requirement or is there an alternative, to reduce the environmental cost?
The brown boxes your armcandy arrives in is called envirobox. It is the strength of a double wall box but uses significantly less materials, which in themselves are 80% recycled. They are designed to be folded to different sizes so that they don't need ridiculous amounts of filler inside to protect your bag.
The filler we use is recycled paper and features the same Der Blaue Engel ecolabel as our envelopes. I'll be honest, when I first received them I was unsure if they were suitable for our product, worried that they 'cheapened' the brand. But you know what, why shouldn't a luxury product have the sales receipt inside a recycled envelope?!
Our dustbags come from a Fairtrade accredited, ethically audited, carbon neutral factory. Unfortunately the business acumen of the company did not match their product and once our stock is used up I will have to begin the long trawl to find a new supplier. But until then you can rest assured that the mother/sister/daughter that made your dustbag works in a safe and fair environment.
Am I saying that we're the most eco business out there? Not yet. Do I want Armcandy to be accused of greenwashing? No. Armcandy is a new business and it costs £££ to save the planet.
I just want you to know that where we can, we do.