Frequently Asked Questions
+ Do you produce or design packaging?
We do both! We’re proud to work with brilliant packaging designers and a network of packaging manufacturers, and boast a formal partnership with the incredible Studio Millie. We’re here to bring your packaging visions to life, from the earliest concepts to the final product you hand out at your storefront. If you are already working with a packaging designer, we're still happy to work with you to manufacture your packaging with one of the many factories in our network.
+ What products do you make?
We mainly specialize in paperboard, but we can also provide packaging solutions for
+ Can you work with my distributor?
Yes! We work with several distributors in the US and Canada, and are happy to work with distributors you have an existing relationship with. Simply let us know if you’d prefer to work through a distributor, and introduce us to your distributor contact! We’ll take it from there - less hassle, less stress.
+ What businesses do you make packaging for?
We're most commonly known for our packaging for the food and beverage industry, but we work with companies across a wide range of industries. If you're ambitious and in need of a paperboard box, we're here! We are well positioned to work with clean beauty companies and other businesses that make environmental concerns a priority. We also work with swimwear, cannabis, tech, and various retail brands.
+ What countries do you sell to?
We primarily work with businesses in North America. If you’re outside of North America, we’re happy to provide packaging solutions for you! We just ask that you arrange your own shipping if you’re beyond these borders.
+ Where is your packaging made?
We primarily manufacture in North America. Our paperboard boxes, pastry bags, handle bags, tissue and wax paper, rigid boxes, and the majority of our cold cups are made in Canada or the US. Our hot cups are primarily made in China.
+ Is the ink you print with food safe?
Yes! All of the inks that we print with are soy-based. The ink is FDA approved, which mean that it’s safe for indirect contact with food. However, we don’t recommend printing on the inside of a box or bag, or anywhere where food will be directly in contact with the ink for a prolonged period of time. Our glue is also vegetable-based, and our coatings are water-based.
+ Help! It's my first time ordering branded packaging, and I have no idea how this works!
We've got you covered. This is our area of expertise; or wheelhouse, if you will. Georgette has built a team of packaging gurus, including consultants who have assisted with packaging projects for countless clients just like you, and an amazing design partner with a wealth of experience in packaging design. Our job is to guide you every step of the way and make the best recommendations based on our experience. Whether it's deciding on the dimensions and construction of your box, or choosing the perfect Pantone for your cups, there's someone on our team who would love to help you. You can call us, email us, text us, slide into our DMs, send us a letter via carrier pigeon, etc. You get the picture. One-on-one contact is kind of our thing.
+ How do I know I’m ready for branded packaging?
You're spending or poised to spend a minimum of $10,000 a year on branded packaging. You care deeply about your brand and marketing efforts, and know the importance of adding your brand to all of your business's most common touch points.
+ Can I get packaging samples before I place an order?
Absolutely. We will mail you samples of any product you’re interested in! You can order samples online right here, or chat with your packaging consultant about what you’d like to see. We charge a fee for samples to help cover our shipping costs, and take this amount off of your total when you order branded packaging with us!
+ How can I get a quote/pricing?
Great question. The cost of custom packaging is dependent on many different factors, including size, board type, complexity of design,etc. To get pricing for the items you’re interested in, please contact us. We will provide you with a custom quote (and a few different pricing options to compare) on your items.
+ How long does a custom quote take?
Generally speaking, we ask for 5-7 business days to turn around a custom quote. This timeline can be shorter (or longer!) depending on the intricacy of the packaging you’re looking for. During your first consultative call, your packaging consultant will lay out an expected timeline for you, so that you know when to expect your quote.
+ What information do you need in order to get a custom quote started?
For boxes: the board type (white or kraft), exact dimensions, number of colours you will be printing with, box type (corrugated, rigid, or paperboard), and the order quantity. For cups: the cup type (single or double wall for hot cups), sizing, number of colours you will be printing with, and the order quantity. For most other packaging types: the dimensions, final artwork, and order quantity. Your packaging consultant will give you a list of the information they need in order to quote, and help you with any items you’re unsure of.
+ What are your minimum order quantities?
Our manufacturing minimums are as follows. Paperboard boxes and rigid boxes: 3000 units. Corrugated boxes: 3000 units. Handle bags: 6000 units. Hot cups and cup sleeves: 10,000 units. Tissue paper and wax paper: 25,000 units. Cold cups: 24,000-45,000 units, depending on cup size. Pastry bags: 50,000 units. For other item minimums, contact us.
+ These minimums are too high for me right now. Do you sell anything at lower quantities?
Yes! We have a collection of plain stock boxes which you can purchase directly from our website in quantities of 100.
+ What's the difference between standard sizes and custom sizes?
The only difference between standard and custom paperboard boxes is that we've already purchased the die for our standard sizes. You can see a full list of standard box sizes here. If you're looking for a size/style of box that isn't on this page, it will be considered a custom size. You have the ability to customize the dimensions, construction, whether or not you have a window, etc. The sky is the limit!
BUDGET + PRICING
+ How much should I expect to spend on custom packaging?
When you invest in custom packaging, you should expect to spend a minimum of $10,000. Custom branded packaging is a spend that falls into both the categories of necessity (you can’t sell coffee without anything to put it in) and marketing (it helps display your product in a visually pleasing way, and ensures that your brand is in the hands of every customer that walks out your door).
+ What quantity of custom packaging should I be purchasing?
Great question. It really depends on your business, and the quantity of packaging you typically go through! We generally suggest purchasing enough to last 4 months at minimum, and a year and a half at maximum. The higher your order quantity, the better your unit cost, so it’s great to take advantage by placing large orders when possible.
+ What is a custom die, and how much does it cost?
A custom die is basically a cookie cutter. Seriously, that’s the best way to describe it! It’s a big metal instrument that cuts up paperboard into the exact custom dimensions and construction you require for your packaging. If you’re ordering a custom box you’ll have your very own custom die made, and it will literally last you a lifetime. Custom die fees typically range from $1000-$1500. That’s part of why using one of our standard box sizes is so appealing; no die fees apply.
+ How do I budget for branded packaging?
The easiest way to come up with a reasonable budget for branded packaging is to use a percentage of the cost of your products. For example, Starbucks spends 2.5% of the average cost of their hot drinks on branded hot cups. As an international chain, Starbucks has the ability to order their packaging at huge quantities, which helps them achieve this very low unit cost. Comparatively, a business with somewhere between 1-5 locations should expect to spend around 5-10% of their product cost on branded packaging. That’s the kind of simple math we can get behind.
+ What is the difference in cost between branded and unbranded packaging?
Let’s put this on the table right away: if you are currently using unbranded packaging, you will never be able to purchase branded packaging for the same price. Unbranded packaging is a necessary purchase, (kind of like coffee filters, paper towel rolls, bin bags...) whereas cups, boxes, and bags with your custom design and logo are a strategic marketing spend. You should enter the custom packaging conversation expecting to pay more - and for a good reason, because your return on investment is far greater!
+ What are my payment options?
We accept credit, cheque, and wire transfer. For normal payment plans, we require a 50% deposit before going into production, with the remaining 50% due before we ship out your products. If you’d like to spread out your payments, we offer 3, 6, and 9 month split payment plans, with a low upfront deposit and a monthly 1.6% fee. You can learn more about our split payment plans from your packaging consultant. book a consultation
+ Do you do design?
Heck yeah. Well, our design partners do - we have a formal partnership with the amazing, (Canadian!) design agency Studio Millie. Check them out right here.
+ What if I want to work with my own designer?
No problem. We’d love to design for each and every person who walks in our door, but we understand that sometimes people are already working with a designer they know and love. We won’t be offended! Send those lovely designs our way, and we’ll turn them into reality.
+ How much does design cost?
It depends on what you’re looking for. If you already have a logo and simply need it to be placed in the center of a dieline and facing in the right direction, you won’t be looking at much of a spend. This is considered to be prepress work, and is charged at a rate of $75/hour. However, if you’re looking for a proper, professional design, you should expect to pay approximately $175/hour. Our formal partner Studio Millie has a page dedicated to this - take a look here
+ How long will it take for me get a custom design?
If you're working with Studio Millie, the average design turnaround time is 2 weeks. If you're working with an external designer, we've seen these projects vary from 3 weeks to over a year. In an effort to combat these overly drawn out turnaround times from external designers, we have introduced a policy requiring you to submit your artwork 8 weeks after you sign your initial contract, at the latest. This policy change is also due to the fluctuating cost of board and packaging materials - if you do not submit design within this timeframe, we will need to re-quote your items. That's why we encourage our customers to only work with designers they know and trust with packaging design specifically, or to make use of our knowledgeable and experienced design partners.
+ Can you help set up my artwork files if I already have brand elements?
Absolutely. We offer pre-press services to ensure that you have dotted every “i” and crossed every “t” before your packaging goes to press. We include 2 hours of pre-press free of charge with every single packaging order. Should you require additional pre-press work beyond this amount of time (highly unlikely), this is charged at a rate of $75/hour, with a minimum billable time of 15 minutes.
+ Will I receive a proof before production?
Yes, you will receive a final PDF proof for review before going into production. Once your artwork is submitted, our pre-press team will check over your files to ensure that they’re press ready. Because the dieline is two dimensional (and packaging is not) it can be tricky to visualize where everything should be situated. Our pre-press team will be on the hunt for anything that looks misplaced, or potentially upside down logos (eek!). If anything looks off or we have questions about your artwork, we’ll be in touch asap to sort it out. Once everything is squared away, you’ll need to sign off on the PDF proof. The signed PDF proof is the final artwork that’s sent to the factory for production, so please make sure to review it very carefully!
+ How do I set up my files and ensure that they're press ready?
The rules of thumb are: 1) Your artwork is built in layers in Adobe Illustrator. 2) All colours in your artwork are built into the swatch panel and correctly labeled. 3) All artwork needs to be in vector form including logos and shapes. 4) All type needs to be "outlined" (made into vector shape form). 5) Raster images (.jpeg) need to be embedded into the file with a minimum resolution of 300dpi. 6) Artwork is sent to us as .ai or .pdf files. You can access our artwork checklist right >here!
+ What should I expect when I'm receiving a large packaging order?
Expect the good, the bad, and the ugly. Make sure you have a team of friends/staff/mules mobilized and ready to help you receive your packaging when it does land. Unfortunately, trucking companies aren't like couriers - they give us a rough idea of the day they expect your shipment to land, and then our logistics department follows up with them repeatedly until we know your packaging has landed. 97.6% of truck drivers will not help to bring your packaging into your storage unit, they won't carry it up to your attic, and they won't call you to let you know they're half an hour away. They will show up in a flurry, probably without warning, and start unpacking (time is money). They will typically have a tailgate, which they will use to get your packaging off the truck... period. We recommend thinking of the whole experience as a mix between Crossfit, emergency coastguard duty, and a workshop on building patience.
+ What are the turnaround times for custom packaging?
From artwork approval, our packaging types have the following turnaround times: paperboard boxes - 6 weeks, wax paper - 4 weeks (short run), 8 weeks (regular), hot cups/ice cream cups - 4-5 weeks (short run), 4-5 months (larger orders), cold cups - 8 weeks, pastry bags - 5-12 weeks (depending on bag construction), handle bags - 8 weeks, corrugated boxes - 3 weeks, rigid boxes - 6 weeks, notebooks - 3 weeks. Keep in mind that these timelines are after artwork approval - they don’t include time spent on design!
+ What's the difference between a residential and a commercial address?
Residential addresses are designated as living space, and commercial addresses are for business / commerce. Residential shipments are possible but typically the cost is higher as a specialized truck has to used instead of a large tractor trailer. We strongly suggest that shipments be sent to a commercial address to help keep your costs down.
+ How is everything shipped?
We ship most things on 40x48" wooden pallets secured with saran wrap (unless it's small enough to go by courier). The number of pallets that we use to ship your packaging depends on the items and quantities that you’ve ordered. Our operations manager, Sarah Thomas, will be in touch with you prior to your shipment release to go over the number of pallets, weight, and size so that you know exactly what you’ll be receiving and when. We offer outside delivery, which means that you’ll need to manage it once it comes off the truck. Make sure you have some friends (preferably strong ones) to help get everything from the truck into your shop or warehouse on delivery day!
+ Can you help with storage?
Absolutely. We’ve been around the block once or twice, and we know how to find storage solutions that work for you, whether you need to store at multiple warehouses close to your various locations, find more affordable options for a central downtown location, or simply don’t know where to look.
+ What if I’m working within a timeline?
If you have a timeline for your custom packaging, please let us know right away! We will advise you on whether we can reasonably meet your deadline, and come up with a schedule to keep things moving.
ENVIRONMENT + CARBON NEUTRAL
+ Do you offer recyclable and compostable options?
Yes! For the long answer to this question, please chat with your consultant. The short answer is, we offer as many environmentally friendly options as we can. Our boxes, hot cups, and cold cups are available in various options, including recyclable and compostable. However, all recyclable/compostable packaging requires the proper municipal facilities in order to be properly disposed of! Check in on what facilities are available in your municipality to make sure your packaging is going where you expect it to.
+ How can I make my packaging more environmentally friendly?
We have a ton of suggestions for this! First of all, kraft over white. Kraft board is 100% recycled, and requires fewer resources to make. For every person we see eschewing kraft board, we see a superbly designed kraft box that blows us away! Secondly, when it comes to hot cups, single wall and sleeve wins over double wall. Sleeves are easily recycled, whereas hot cups can be tricky - plus, one sleeve=less material than a doubled up cup. We’ve got suggestions on some kind of obscure things too: for example, you shouldn’t use black lids if you’re in Toronto. Their municipal system won’t recycle them! If you’re wondering about making your packaging eco-friendly, ask your packaging consultant for tips. We’re always happy to chat about different environmental options!
+ What is carbon neutral packaging?
Great question. Essentially, making something carbon neutral means purchasing "carbon credits" which go toward projects aimed at reducing CO2 emissions. We cover this in more depth on our carbon neutral page
+ Who do you purchase your carbon credits from?
We're partnered with Pachama, a fellow Y-Combinator-backed company developing the world's first carbon offsetting marketplace. You can read more about them right here
+ Why is there environmental information on my packaging dieline?
We believe it makes sense to be transparent about what can and can’t be recycled, composted, or otherwise disposed of. We like to tell people what material their packaging is made of, and we want your consumers to know if the cup they’re holding is going to end up in a recycling plant, or if it will only serve to contaminate the recycling, and should (sadly) be tossed in the bin. This transparency helps hold municipalities responsible, keeps consumers informed, and reduces recycling bin contamination!