When you offer a quality product, it’s important to create an experience that matches.
So when Smart Owl Coffee started shipping orders, the packaging had to be just right.
The company – launched in September 2020 – is a little different than others serving coffee: It’s both organic and supplement infused. So, how’d this idea come to be?
“My husband, his brother and sister-in-law are doctors,” said Faith Valenti, partner and operating manager of Smart Owl Coffee. “And my husband has been putting supplements in my coffee for years, because I don’t like taking pills. He was just measuring it out every time we made a pot of coffee. He would use these powders he has or break open a capsule and just sprinkle it in.”
The infused coffee was just what she needed back then. With young children running around at home, it became apparent to Valenti how low her energy levels were.
“I noticed a big difference when I drank the coffee with the supplements in it versus regular coffee,” she said. “And that’s why I was able to get behind it as a business.”
The timing was right, too. Her kids were grown enough that she would have the time to dedicate to aspects like product development, website design and bag design.
Valenti’s husband dove into the research.
“My husband is really into supplements, and he spent a lot of time listening to podcasts and educating himself about the best sources for supplements, and which ones are the most effective and beneficial and how,” she said. “There’s a lot to know.”
Not only did the coffee need to be effective, but it needed to taste good.
“Some tasted better than others, and the ones we’ve chosen have a flavor that’s either not noticeable or enhances the coffee,” Valenti said. “People ask if it tastes like medicine. No, it tastes like coffee. It’s really good.”
Once the flavor was right, it was time to get the business off the ground. Since the supplement infusion makes the product unique – and that it’s organic – it can be a little pricier.
“We really wanted people to be able to try our coffees without committing to a 12-ounce bag,” she said. “We thought having samplers would be the best way for people to introduce themselves to the blends, see that they taste good … that it might make someone decide to try our coffee versus another one that’s less expensive.”
Working with BoxUp to Create Custom Packaging
To send out the samplers, packaging was needed. At first, Valenti was putting the coffee in brown paper bags for delivery. And when she started shipping, the samples were loose in the packaging.
“It just didn’t feel very professional presentation-wise,” she said. “We decided to wholesale more, and we needed a professional way to package the samples together.”
Valenti turned to the place where most people start gathering information: Google.
“I just started searching,” she said. “We looked at [a few competitors], and we looked at whether it would be better to just buy boxes and then have labels printed and stick them on.”
And then they found BoxUp.
“We found BoxUp’s website, and we ordered a sample box so we could get it in our hands and see how we liked it,” Valenti said. “We were really impressed with the vibrancy of the color, we liked how sturdy the box was and the price point was good for us.”
Four factors convinced the Smart Owl Coffee team to move forward with BoxUp:
- Based in the U.S.
- Size options
Valenti had a very specific box size in mind for shipping out the coffee.
“There weren’t a ton of options out there that were able to make that size box and also print it for a reasonable amount,” she said.
It also was important that Valenti be able to speak to someone when she needed to. She cites the online chat as essential, allowing her to ask the questions she needed when she first worked with BoxUp.
The packaging has been a hit.
“We get compliments regularly on the boxes,” Valenti said. “I have affiliates in the area that are small business owners, and I oftentimes have them asking me where I get my boxes from, because they do like the quality and they like the full-color print.”
The fact that others want to know where she orders boxes strengthens her opinions about BoxUp.
“I think, generally, this is such a professional-looking product that reflects on our business and makes people feel more secure in making the purchase and trusting our brand,” she said. “Being able to have the whole box printed, have our logo, colors we like – and then having a pretty box sitting on the shelf, it captures the eye and it helps bring people in. If you buy something and it feels or looks cheap or unprofessional, that’s not going to help your business.”
It’s why Valenti stresses the importance of understanding both cost and quality.
“Cost matters, so you have to make sure you’re looking at pricing your product to include the cost of packaging,” she said. “We found BoxUp’s pricing to be very reasonable for our needs. And then having the quality, the sturdiness of it, so it’s not going to get smashed when you’re shipping large wholesale orders out. You want something that’s not going to get broken down and hold up during shipping.”
Valenti highly recommends BoxUp to small businesses with packaging and shipping needs.
“Every part of the process has been easy,” she said. “That’s not been the case for us with any other components of this business. We appreciate working with companies that make our lives easier.”