Chic and customised giftwrap helps set independent retailers apart from the masses. Here we show you how to make your store’s packaging as ubiquitous as the blue Birk’s box. by Erica Kirkland

Giftwrapping a customer’s purchase in a beautiful fashion is as much a part of selling as merchandising and advertising. Done right, a stylish packaging program can reinforce your brand in the eyes of your customers, add perceived value to purchases and help solidify the image you’re trying to convey to the world. The old adage, ‘Presentation is everything,’ certainly rings true!
First, choose two to three colours that reflect your store’s image and merchandise mix, and use these colours all of the time and for everything you do (signage, business cards, etc.). They’ll soon become synonymous with your store and your brand. Select colours appropriate to your style. For example, if your merchandise mix is higher-end, select a tone-on-tone colour palette. If your store is more urban and edgy, go for contrasting bold hues. As Lana Lang, marketing manager for Gunther Mele, says, “The colours you choose should match your store image and what you’re selling. If your image is promotional, go with red, yellow or orange. If you’re an upscale boutique, choose softer colours such as mushroom, sage and cognac.” and body boutique that promotes well-being, look for serene colours and translucent materials. If your store is classic and traditional, look for velvet and satin ribbon. If you’re playful, consider stripes and polka dots. You get the idea!

Further reinforce your brand by using dressed-up packages in your window and interior displays. It also shows the customer what awaits them when they buy from your store.

Make sure everything – the ribbon, boxes, bags, paper, etc. – coordinates. It doesn’t necessarily have to come from the same supplier, but it should look like it did. The people behind British Columbia-based Creative Packaging say, “It doesn’t have to be all matchy-matchy, but the colour, design, texture and style should be in keeping with your product line and business image.”
Bags, ribbon, tissue and boxes from Creative Packaging

Ensure the type of paper, ribbon, bags and boxes you choose reflects your style. If your store is a bath

L-R: Berwick Offray’s Lady Chiffon, Brilliance and Gatsby ribbons from Custom Paper.



Many store owners feel that adding a sticker with their store’s logo to a package or pre-printing logos on ribbon further reinforces their brand. Surprisingly, pre-printed logos and store names on bags, ribbon and boxes can be relatively inexpensive. Industry estimates have a complete customised packaging program running between $1000 and $5000 annually for a small to medium-sized giftware retailer in Canada. It’s well worth the effort to investigate the costs of such a program. You could also consider personalising just one or two items such as your ribbon or bags.
Presentation is Everything
Printing your store’s logo on bags, ribbon and boxes is a great way to reinforce your brand.

Personalized packaging by Gunther Mele.

Personalized packaging by Gunther Mele. Personalized packaging by Luv2Pak.

During the holidays (Christmas, Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, etc.) consumers expect seasonal wrap. Don’t disappoint them; just make sure it coordinates with your store’s colours and style. When developing your tailored wrap program look for ribbon, tissue and wrap that also comes in seasonal colours and styles. This way you can spread holiday cheer while reinforcing your brand at the same time.
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Clockwise from top left: Willow and Light Blue Westbrook ribbon; Pink, Blue, Yellow and Mint Grosgrain ribbon; Red and Pink Westbrook Ribbon (all Berwick Offray), Shamrock Gift Wrap available from Custom Paper.



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If you’re a new retailer just starting out and you can’t afford a full-fledged wrap program, here are some budget savvy ideas for you! Because ‘presentation is everything’ you can’t afford to overlook a giftwrap style for your store, but you can do it on the cheap and chic. The key is simplicity. Just as we reviewed in The Basics section, choose your colours and style. Use inexpensive paper shopping bags in one hue and coloured tissue in the other. Top it off with a more expensive and showy ribbon.
White shopping bags and coloured tissue from Gunther Mele.

Berwick Offray’s Pearlised Wraphia ribbon from Custom Paper.

Cheap and Chic If you can’t currently afford a personalized wrap program, look for inexpensive ways to add punch to your packaging!

Berwick Offray’s San Marino ribbon from Custom Paper

How much does a personalised giftwrap program cost? A coordinated giftwrap program, including ribbon, wrap, bags, boxes, etc., runs between $1000 to $5000 a year for a small to medium-sized independent gift retailer in Canada. (We asked!) Set up meetings with a few different suppliers to get an understanding of what your own costs will be like. Do most retailers charge for giftwrapping? No! Independent retailers look at free giftwrapping as a valueadded service and offer it no matter the size or dollar amount of the purchase. That being said, it’s important to calculate the cost of giftwrap into the selling price of your products or build it into your marketing and advertising budget. On average, store owners spend between 2% and 10% of annual sales on marketing. Other retailers report that giftwrap represents up to 5% of their annual costs. Who can help me pull together a stylized giftwrap program? Sales reps! The representatives who work for giftwrap suppliers are well-versed on the ins and outs of packaging. Rely on them for information and to help you develop a personal style.
For more information on these companies see Supplier Listings on page 45.


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