Show Me Sunday – Eco Packaging with Rebecca Anderson of Songbead

This week as promised, I have been looking into eco, green, recycled and upcycled packaging. Ways of loving the environment – our world – whilst protecting our handmade beads and jewellery. And making it look pretty at the same time! 
Your comments on the manner in which you like your goodies packaged were really diverse, and made a really interesting read! I would encourage you to read through last week’s comments if you have a moment, it is fascinating, useful and insightful to hear everyone’s views. Especially if you are a seller yourself. 
The majority of you mentioned that you like to receive things wrapped in a nice, attractive manner.
‘Beautiful packaging is definitely one thing that makes me smile’ 
says Shyme. 
Heidi Post believes that:
‘It definitely shows that the sender cared enough to make that extra effort’
And Diva Designs Jewelry (who shared some really fantastic ideas) states that:
‘It is important to me that the package look as professional as possible. I think it lets the customer know they are important to me and that I care about their first impression, because after all, you never get a second chance to make a first impression.’
However, there are a few of you who feel quite differently. Mackin-Art says:
‘I know I’m in the minority, but I really prefer plain, functional, protective packaging – the fancy stuff is just going to end up in the trash and seems like such a waste.’
And Malin, who is always worth listening to, shares:
‘I am mostly concerned with the safety when it comes to the shipping of things. Beads AND jewelry. And both as a seller and a buyer. For a period I felt that so many sellers put so much extra work into the packaging of what I bought, so it has happened that I even have left a message that I don’t wish for any fancy wrapping… We use up natures resources on not really necessary things….I like all kinds of recycled thinking.’
This really makes me think, as a seller. How do we satisfy and fulfil the needs of both sides here? I’ve got to say that reading through everyone’s comments was real food for thought for me. Really, I could have just republished ALL of your comments here and it would have made a fantastic, interesting and thought-provoking post!
Upcycling seems to me to be the answer. Reusing and repurposing are ideas that really do appeal to me. I’ve even begun rethinking some of those ideas I shared with you last week – can I use rubber stamps rather than tape on my jewellery boxes? Can I use shredded paper rather than jewellery foam? I also love the idea of using scraps of old fabric and turning them into drawstring bags – you’ll spot a couple of sellers doing just that in my treasury. In selling beads, I already decided against those little plastic baggies – we get so many through the post; if anyone has an idea of how to reuse them, I’d love to know; I know almost all of mine hit the bin straight away! – in favour of recycled tissue paper. But are there other steps I can take to be kind to the environment when posting beads out? 
A lot of us reuse jewellery boxes which we receive which is a great idea, but Heidi has a unique idea for packaging:
‘Depending on the size and shape of the item, I’ll ship things in Altoids tins. My dad eats them like crazy, so he often give me a bunch of his leftover tins. I figure the items are very safely protected inside, except for the one time I didn’t wrap a delicate ceramic piece in enough tissue, and it arrived broken. Still though, it’s recycling, and I think kinda cute.’
I agree – definitely cute!
Ann Schroeder also shared a few ideas:
‘One way sellers make their packaging materials recyclable is to package with something I can reuse. For example, I recently ordered some sari silk and the package was tied with a small piece of a different color. I incorporated that into a necklace I made. I loved to be able to do that because it worked out beautifully, and I didn’t add anything to the landfill!’
And Diva Designs again shared some really wonderful upcycling and repurposing ideas:
‘Every jewelry purchase in my shop gets delivered in its own little sewn paper gift bag I create using vintage dictionary and sheet music pages, vintage plastic buttons, colored hemp twine and cutouts from digital images of vintage, usually Victorian, greeting card illustrations.

I’m recycling by using the vintage dictionary pages and buttons, so I I’m green on the inside, but my outside packaging is always, always fresh and new.’

I’ll leave the last words with Kristina though, as I am sure they will ring true with many, as they do with me:

‘People assume that to be so would mean plain packaging, but that really isn’t true. You can recycle ribbons you get from gifts or old clothes. You can even dye light colored ribbon or string with a vegetable scrap solution to make the color more vibrant. Really, being earth-conscious is just another way to express creativity.’
And which of us doesn’t welcome another way to express our creativity? 

‘Eco Packaging – as seen on Art Bead Scene’ by songbead

Some eco packaging ideas!

50 Large Recycled Tags- 3.75…


Recycled Sari Silk Ribbon Ya…


50 Eco-Friendly Stickers:Vin…


Hand Dyed Vintage Cotton Bia…


Small Rustic Handmade gift B…


Eco Cotton Tape – Ecru color…


10 Yards Eco Friendly Lemon …


Shredded Brown Kraft Paper f…


10 Brown Kraft Labels – Full…


50 Eco-Friendly Stickers: Om…


6″ x 10″ Burlap Ju…


Eco Friendly – Unmounted . H…


20 Double Sheets – 100% recy…


SALE Destash Recycled Fabric…


15 Yards of Elegant Brown Tw…


50 Sheets 15 x 20 inch Kraft…

There are also a couple of brilliant links to places to pick up your eco-friendly packaging – Carol Bradley shared Nashville Wraps via our facebook page, and I personally often use Tiny Box Company over here in the UK. Both look to be great resources.
Don’t forget to share your packaging ideas here in the comments and on facebook, I’m sure this post will have provided much to think about – I know it has for me!
And now for the Bead Blogger links.
A Bead A Day 
Looking for a way to remember your furry friend? How about making a doggie for your wrist? 

About.com Jewelry Making 
A little bit of red can go a long way in any jewelry design. 

Beading Arts 
Cyndi has finished up her second e-book, “Some Assembly Required”! Yay! Finishing a big project is always a relief. 

Carmi’s Art/Life World 
A love for Downton Abbey has resulted in this statement necklace! 

Resin Crafts! 
An experiment with quilled paper has resulted in several stunning resin filled bezels. 

Snap out of it, Jean! There’s beading to be done! 
Jean writes all about her cool bead partner for the 7th BSBP hostessed by Lori Anderson! 

The Writing and Art of Andrew Thornton 
Featuring the Pantone color of the year, Andrew creates a peyote stitch bracelet with a NEW button from Green Girl Studios.
Rebecca is a Scottish jewellery designer, currently living in Manchester, England. You can read more about her and her work at her blog, songbeads.blogspot.com and see more of her jewellery at songbead.etsy.com. She also has a supplies shop at thecuriousbeadshop.etsy.com.

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14 Comment

  1. Lesley
    February 17, 2013 at 12:25 pm

    A very interesting post Rebecca. It's a great idea to think about packaging from an eco viewpoint and there are lots of little things you can do. I recycle padded mailers whenever possible (I state this in my shop policies and the customer can request new if they prefer)as long as it doesn't compromise the safety of the package. I've never bought bubble wrap as I get plenty from my own purchases. I use Kraft boxes for my jewellery and tie them with scraps of leftover fiber that I collect for this purpose and I no longer stick labels or tape on the boxes so that they can be used again. I think my packaging is still attractive but it's making use of resources and of course more economical.

  2. Claire Lockwood
    February 17, 2013 at 12:33 pm

    I use Tiny Box Co recycled boxes tied up with waxed cotton cord and tuck a Moo eco business card under the cord bow. I think I might shift to some of that eco twine next time I buy a reel. Then I'll be doing pretty well, green-wise!

  3. Amber Bramlett
    February 17, 2013 at 2:45 pm

    I just started a small bead-making business and I looked to your blog for guidance. It is so wonderful that you cover every aspect of the craft, including packaging. The old dictionary pages have given me a great idea…I have old, worn copies of books like Pride and Prejudice and The Great Gatsby…I think I'll use pages from those books to wrap my beads when I deliver them.

  4. Ann Schroeder
    February 17, 2013 at 2:48 pm

    Great post. I love reading the comments too. I really thought about Malin's comment from last week. I noticed this week that I received a package stabilized with a telephone book page instead of tissue, and that didn't make it any less beautiful to me. I loved the idea of how many packages this seller could get out of one old telephone book, and I can still recycle that page!

    Also, if a seller talks about wanting to be eco-conscious on their post for the product, I like and respect that. Then If they say they don't use such and such packaging, but the beads still arrive safely, I didn't expect lots of extraneous packaging. A simple stamp on a kraft envelope stabilized with a recycled piece of paper can be beautiful too.

  5. artistic rejuvenations
    February 17, 2013 at 3:42 pm

    being an eco friendly artist, packaging is very important and where i can (with out things looking all trashed out) i re-use. i purchased paper board tags from a shop out of ireland and love the look of the funky colors from different packages against my jewelry. paperboard boxes are also a good idea to keep jewelry from being smushed. great blog post!

  6. Ann Schroeder
    February 17, 2013 at 4:31 pm

    Here is a great post about how to make pillow boxes out of paper towel rolls. That is great recycling! http://www.jewelschoolfriends.com/search?q=pillow+boxes

  7. Marie Cramp
    February 17, 2013 at 5:50 pm

    Love the variety! Some may be too pricy for a business, but to include as a part of a gift they would be perfect! 🙂

  8. Saturday Sequins
    February 17, 2013 at 6:45 pm

    I'm so happy that there's a discussion about eco-friendly packaging going on! I haven't started selling yet, and one of my reasons is that I haven't come up with a packaging plan yet.

    A few thoughts are earring cards made from old playing cards, and toilet paper tube pillow boxes, which look really cute.

  9. Kathy Lindemer
    February 17, 2013 at 8:13 pm

    I think I am going to sew some little bags out of pretty paper and use my large stash of buttons with string. Great ideas!

  10. Diva Designs Jewelry
    February 17, 2013 at 8:48 pm

    Lovely article, Rebecca! I found several new ideas to add to my packaging, and also wanted to say that as a buyer, I really appreciate the seller taking the time to add a "thanks for your business" and including my pcaking slip or copy of the order with my item, instead of finding it rattling around in an otherwise empty box.

    Bravo to you for putting this important issue in the spotlight at ABS!


  11. m.e.
    February 18, 2013 at 11:27 am

    Love this post ! Interesting ideas and opinions. I think how you pack may also depend on what you sell.I only sell components, so I like to use boxes that can be re-purposed to hold the buyer's finished piece.However,I like jewelry to come in a more "gift wrapped " type package.Either way reuse ,recycle is a great way to go. Word of caution…a dirty hunk of cereal box randomly strapped with fuzzy scotch tape is not my idea of how to go green ! Yes I have actually received a purchase wrapped like this ! My rule of thumb… send it the way you would like to receive it 😀

  12. Angi
    February 18, 2013 at 2:21 pm

    Thanks for the informative post. I am a new designer, and packaging is at the top of my "To Do List". I love the idea of green packaging, and have been collecting ideas for a while. Thanks for the insight!

    Angi Mullis [email protected]

  13. maryharding
    February 20, 2013 at 12:37 pm

    These are wonderful posts on packaging and eco friendly materials. When I was searching around to find a material that was recycled to replace the bubble wrap I had been using I found Uline's Wadding (www.uline.com) which is made of 100% recycled content and itself can be recycled. It is soft and protects my ceramic components very well.It comes in rolls like bubble wrap with perforations every 12 inches.

  14. Chelsea Smith
    March 8, 2013 at 6:29 am

    Excellent post! I found several new ideas to add to my packaging. I have several jewelry gifts and I don't know how to put them on package. Thanks for sharing.


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