Fashion has a notorious reputation when it comes to wastefulness. In fact, the textiles industry ranks as one of the most polluting on the planet. But increasing consumer awareness is turning sustainable fashion into the norm rather than the exception. This platform alone is home to hundreds of innovative fashion brands, transforming the narrative through new production techniques and supply chain transparency.

Packaging is a vital but often neglected part of this equation. Your packaging design is one of the places that customers are most likely to look for evidence of eco-friendly practices. Why? Because in the post-purchase phase, packaging helps to create a customer’s final impression of your brand. It also speaks to every level of consumer knowledge about sustainability. So, it needs to be as sustainable as everything else they have encountered during their buying journey. Otherwise, you are missing an important piece of the puzzle!

However, many fashion brands aren’t sure where to start when it comes to sourcing sustainable packaging solutions. For new operations, cost and high MOQs can be a massive hurdle. But there is another option that ensures you will get better bang for your buck – going custom with your sustainable packaging. 

Here are some reasons why:

It allows your brand to channel luxury in a responsible way

Traditionally, customized packaging has been the domain of luxury fashion houses. This makes it a great strategy for independent boutiques who want to channel a more high-end image into their own branding. But in 2019, using too many packaging materials can look excessive and wasteful to what is a more environmentally-conscious consumer market than ever before. Whilst a more minimalist approach is better from the environment, brands also don’t want to lose valuable branding opportunities. When using customized, sustainable packaging, you don’t have to choose! It allows you to revitalize traditional perceptions of luxury with contemporary ideas of responsible fashion.

It brings sustainability into your brand image

If you are shipping products domestically or internationally, packaging is already an expense that you need to factor into your budget. You’ll also want this to stretch as far as possible in terms of the value it gives your brand. To achieve this, you need to think about more than just practicality. If your current design ships your products efficiently but contains no brand story, it has limited value. But what if your design was both eco-friendly AND reflected your brand aesthetic? By catering to these needs simultaneously, you can forge a powerful link in your customers’ perception between your brand image and sustainability.

It helps you stand out in the competitive online space

In the age of Instagram and instant gratification, there is an intensely crowded field of fashion brands vying for attention. Everyone is fighting to outdo each other with curated and glossy social media feeds. But a side-effect of this is that sometimes, NOBODY ends up standing out. Why? Because endless product photography doesn’t necessarily provide prospective customers with memorable content. To really garner attention, you need to be talking a lot bigger than just your product range – you need to show what it is that you represent. 

Custom-branded packaging provides brands with an eye-catching value proposition in the social media space. ‘Unboxing’ is a powerful marketing tool for all kinds of consumer goods, but pairs particularly well with fashion. The industry is aspirational, and so are social media platforms. An image of a clothing garment is just that. But what about an image of a garment wrapped in bespoke packaging? Even without a caption, this sends a clear message; it shows your followers that you offer an experience, not just a product. It’s this kind of value proposition that will give your fashion brand a competitive edge!

For all of these reasons, noissue has worked with a variety of brands in the fashion space to help put their sustainable commitment front and center in their branding:

Mini-Cycle

“Mini-Cycle is an extension of ourselves, and not a name to hide behind in an attempt to diffuse responsibility. One way we do this is by targeting a goal of zero waste throughout all of our business operations (i.e., packaging, shipping, customer service) to limit our impact on the environment.” Jad Robitaille, Founder

Mini-Cycle doesn’t just create kids clothing that is sustainably made; they also offer a solution to the issue of fast fashion. When children grow so fast, parents understandably don’t want to splash out on expensive clothing which will only last a few months. Jad Robitaille wanted to publicize a business model that could address this problem, and so launched her Montreal-based boutique with a unique ‘buy-back’ guarantee. Customers can sell their purchases back to Mini-Cycle once they are finished with them, and the boutique has a goal of each clothing piece being worn by six different children over its lifetime.

“One of our first challenges was sourcing affordable, sustainable packaging, looking specifically for a 100% compostable solution, and that’s how we found noissue! We chose noissue based on their compostable mailer solution – we were looking for a way to have more sustainable packaging and reduce our shipping footprint. After thorough research, 100% compostable mailers proved to be the ideal solution for our needs.”

For Mini-Cycle, sustainable packaging is a vital ingredient in their branding strategy. For any brand that puts sustainability at the heart of their mission, you need to make sure that you practice what you preach! For lightweight items such as clothing garments, compostable mailers offer an eco-friendly and cost-effective way of getting your goods out to your customer!

Yala Jewelry

“At its core, Yala is built on social values; to improve the lives of others by creating financial opportunities for skilled artisans, demonstrating their talent, all the while maintaining a low environmental impact. Sustainability for Yala means that everything we make and do needs to support these values, to allow the company to endure and continue benefitting all those we work with.”  Audrey Migot-Adholla, Founder

Audrey Migot-Adholla started Yala Jewellery as a way to give economic opportunity to skilled artists in her home country, and to reshape mainstream perceptions of Africa and its people. Her brand works with skilled craftspeople across Kenya to ensure safe work practices and fair wages. As well as being socially responsible, her operation keeps its environmental footprint low by keeping production local, with a focus on reclaimed materials. For Audrey, her packaging design isn’t just about being eco-friendly, but about providing her customers with a memorable experience:

“We created a unique repeating version of the logo design specifically for the tissue paper, and it came out perfectly! We wanted to give our customers a great “unboxing” experience, and also do something totally different than my competitors in terms of packaging. When a customer receives their Yala piece, every step of the unboxing adds another layer of delight, but most importantly, the jewellery is completely protected. We want our customers to understand the care and attention that we put into every order, and to feel special when it lands on their doorstep.”

Custom packaging is about the opportunity to do things a little bit differently. Consumers are used to orders arriving in generic cardboard boxes with no brand story attached, so making some effort in this area goes a long way. If you add eco-friendless into the mix, you have a winning formula to impress your customers with! noissue’s custom tissue paper is 100% recyclable, acid-free and FSC-certified, ensuring that your branding efforts will have the lowest environmental impact possible. 

Beth Owens is the Content Strategist and resident unboxing expert at sustainable packaging company noissue. Their premium custom tissue paper is acid-free and FSC-certified as being socially and environmentally responsible in its production. Their low minimum order quantities and quick turnarounds mean that they are suited to help everyone, from small independent businesses to Fortune 500 companies.