Friday, 27 December 2013

Packaging, Branding, Logo Placements and Strap-lines.

We have been working for the guts of a year on a new website.  Thank goodness for the patience of saints! We have been blessed with great friends who have lovingly and patiently guided us through to what I think is going to be a great site that we can only aspire to do justice to.

The process has really challenged us to hone in on our logo, our branding, our strap-line and our packaging. Getting something that works across all platforms, epitomises who we are, what we are about and engages people in the story of what we are trying to do.

The business cards were ironically one of the first important things to get out of the way.  Getting it finalised, thanks to +Nigel Smith  we have managed to get the logo, the brand colour and a strap-line.

The scent, all lower case with the white 'c' emphasises the meaning to us as a business.  The angel encompasses our desire to be messengers of change and blessing and the strap-line adequately conveys the fact that we make cleaning products that are ethically made and guilt free.

All this is portrayed on a pale blue background which is clean, neither too feminine or masculine, and reminds us of water.

Having this has helped us in getting the right background colour palette for the website.  The colour themes for each product line/range will carry on to our packaging (eventually - when we have the money) and the angel and word "scent" are, as we speak being transferred into stamps which we can then use on our soaps. Thanks to +Luciana Teixeira Gomes and her new stamp-making business.

Which leads us to our packaging.  Its been long disputed and hours upon hours of my life have been spent on this one thing alone.  We have looked at paper, fabric, glass, wood, plastic, aluminium, cardboard, ribbon, scrap-booking.  I've pursued labelling companies, made my own boxes, cut glass bottles, talked to designers and still, we have been missing that essential ingredient.  I've considered boxes, parcels, bottles, jars, kilner jars, cosmetics jars, bamboo, banana leaf and starch packaging for that ever so evasive product that is natural, organic, sustainable, fairly traded, enironmentally freindly and yet crucially fit for purpose.  Don't believe me?  Take a look....

And, did I mention cheap?  Having own-brand products have been so incredibly expensive for a start up such as ours that we have had to come up with solutions without the important advice of designers and their help in personalising our packaging to suit our brand.

So, I am truly delighted to be looking at a possible end in site.  We may well have the solution....  Having got frustrated at paying too much for plastic boxes I eventually sought the courage to enquire about a direct supplier.  If I am able to standardise all our soaps into a limited array of packaging options I thought it might just be possible to purchase in large enough quantities to permit us buying from manufacturers.  Plastic boxes - sorted.

Next up was for the bars of soap and cosmetics.  This, is perhaps a much more difficult challenge as we need to ensure it ties in with our desire to reduce, reuse, recycle, be sustainable, environmentally friendly and ethically traded.  The cold process soaps don't sweat as much as glycerin - so we have opted for some fairly traded lokta paper from Nepal to cover the bar and the more and more I thought about the high-end luxury market, the more I started to fantasize about wood.  It is ink free, which paper packaging rarely is, sustainable, reusable if nice and virtually unheard of for a bar of soap.

Which leads me to introduce a possible new venture for us in 2014.  Now it is fair to say that it won't look much like these - the logo is all wrong and the angel image is in the wrong place but it does give an idea of where we are heading.  Subject to feedback and prices.  It may even be the appropriate time to look into a crowd funding venture as a way to finance it.  It is fair to say that I, Garreth am quite excited by this new little possibility.  The hope is for something that looks high-end, luxurious and ethical.  The thing for us to avoid is the pitfall of it becoming too tacky or unnecessary.

Time will tell.

Wednesday, 25 December 2013

Christmas Scrapbook Play-Time

Just a quicky as we run up to Christmas.  I thought I would show you a little of some of the scrapbooking Carla has been up to recently.

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

And... Breathe!

It's been a long time since we notified the launch of the social enterprise.  I think it was the 2nd Oct in fact. My how time flies!  My absence from blogging is simple - we have been up to our eyes in work.  Good work, fabulous work in fact!  We have been busier than than a bee in an ocean of nectar.

The moment we launched we saw orders start coming in over the internet.  It could be the social slant or the move into organic skin-care but beyond a shadow of doubt it is certainly to do with favour because within just weeks of launching the new product lines we also received a letter from Consumer Safety to inform us that we are permitted to continue selling our fruit soaps.

THIS WAS ABSOLUTELY FABULOUS NEWS and was received with an somewhat embarrassing leap for joy and yelp of relief  (photo of Evan Rock on his travel blog)  We were free to trade.  It may have been 6 months of waiting and it may have left us in a mad dash in the run up to Christmas - but the news was in.  We could continue to sell and it leaves 2014 wide open to sell to retail internationally which we have been unable to commit to for much of this year. Infact, within just days of this news we had four wholesale orders.

Some of the fruit soaps being made now that we can sell again.
To top the year of a tumultuous business year - there was no greater feeling than being able to give our first donations to the four different organisations we support at the beginning of December just 6 weeks after we launched.  Finally ScENT felt purposeful.  We were making a difference and whilst perhaps still being a long way off from being profitable and earning a living wage, we were definitely on the road to being able to live generously again and that for us is life-giving.