For a new brand like ours, and consumers like you, packaging is important. Hold on, don't go! Let me explain.
It informs purchase decisions, it catches your attention, it can provide an experience, and it has the potential to create a lot of long-lasting waste. It looks great on the shelf but ends up in the garbage bin a few minutes after you open it. Many companies are looking at ways to reduce waste like Amazon’s awesome Frustration Free Packaging and REI pushing their vendors towards the most sustainable packaging possible.
It is easy to recognize that the big players out there have whole departments of people focused on sustainability. In Aleck’s case, we’re in a dogfight trying to get our brand out there and with a very small team. We have the #1 helmet audio system in North America, and yet most people are still unaware of who we are. Staying in business means we have to focus on ways to break through the noise; enticing shoppers to pick up the box and learn more (yes, we’re exposing our marketing secrets!). We’re aiming for a positive brand and educational experience, but the charter over the past years has been to increase the use of sustainable materials.
A bit of our packaging history…
The first year was a struggle to just get a product launched. The “team” consisted of our founder Stephen and some part time help. Producing quality packaging is a bigger effort than most people realize, and was not something Aleck had bandwidth to do.
Year two we were able to focus more on improving the retail presentation and first stage sustainability goals. We succeeded in getting rid of the huge PU foam internal trays, but through a series of late issues had to settle on an ultra-weird black paper grass. While it was ‘sustainable’, customers had to dig for their products, which wasn’t the “experience” we were hoping for.
Baby story time… We had a pretty massive retail buyer (who shall remain unnamed) take our product out skiing to test. Unfortunately he unboxed it with wet hands (on the snow), and the paper grass leached black ink all over his hands. When he returned home later that day, his wife refused to let him hold his newborn because of the mystery ink! Needless to say, we carry a little guilt.
Now in year three, the evolution of the Aleck brand and packaging has gone from green to pink colorwise, but more importantly, from pink to “green”. Starting now, 100% of all our packaging is plastic free.
Gone are Polyurethane foams, plastic hang tags, even accessories that most people didn’t want or use! Now every element of the retail box, including molded pulp trays and hang tabs, are plastic free.
We even addressed the unseen. Typically bulk packaging from factories arrives with tons of additional plastic being used for protection in transit. Each Aleck product used to arrive individually packed in a plastic poly bag to protect the vital outer sleeves.
The solve? Super thin tissue paper separating each piece.
The impact? Over 57,000 plastic bags were saved this year alone! This is a big win for a small company in this short amount of time.
We love to play in the riches of Mother Nature. In all her generosity, she gives us snow to shred and dirt to rip. We’re happy to be at a point in our brand’s journey where sustainability can take a front seat.
Thanks for letting us geek out on packaging. Now back to your regularly scheduled programming.