Great Things Come in Small Packages: How to Select the Best Packaging for Your CBD Skincare Brand

Updated: Jul 19

Product packaging is pivotal in how you present your product and brand to your consumer. The look and feel of your packaging allows you to capture your consumer’s attention, convey expectations, and provides space for you to communicate with your customer at the point of use.

With packaging playing such an important role in your proposition, it’s not surprising that one of the most common questions that new customers ask us is


“Can I choose my own packaging?”

The short answer to this is “Yes, of course”.


However, that doesn’t mean you should necessarily dive right in to the endless world of packaging options. Whilst custom options are always available, they require a lot of consideration and expertise to find the right balance between things like sustainability, ease of use, cost and minimum order quantities.


It’s always tempting to go the bespoke route, but If you’re looking to get to market quickly, our carefully selected white label packaging already ticks a lot of boxes in terms of usability, sustainability and cost. Not to mention they look great too!


For a new brand looking to enter the skincare market, choosing our white label packaging can save a lot of time, money, and frustration. With the white label options we have already done the work, so you can focus more time on developing your branding, marketing and no doubt a whole host of other things you will need to prepare for your launch.


And fear not! Using our standard packaging options doesn’t prevent you from creating a unique end product. You will still be able to convey your messaging on bespoke packaging elements such as labels, and cartons and inserts. There are many high-end, luxurious materials and finishes that you can use to elevate a simple bottle and closure and given the growth in the CBD industry, both local and global suppliers (such as GPA Global), now have established teams that specialise in the sector. The overall presentation of your brand depends on a lot more than just your primary packaging.


White Label Amber Glass Packaging
White Label Amber Glass Packaging

Key benefits of our white label packaging


When we developed our white label range, it was important that we identified packaging that was cost effective, could be easily recycled, looked fantastic and allowed customers to get to market with speed.


We decided that amber glass packaging was the best suited – and we use it for all our products, with the exception of our Massage Candle.


The below points summarise our key rationale, noting that, as with all choices, an element of compromise is required between the range of requirements:


Environmental Credentials: Minimising the environmental footprint we leave on our planet is important to us, our customers and their consumers. Our standard white label packaging range is 99% recyclable and protects our amazing natural environment, the source of all our powerful ingredients!


Product protection: First of all, our glass packaging is robust and suitable for shipment through international supply chains. But why amber glass specifically? Well CBD is photosensitive which means it can degrade in sunlight. Therefore, to maintain product quality and efficacy we wanted to make sure that our packaging offered maximum protection. Amber glass has stronger light protection properties than clear glass, especially on light with short wave lengths.


A great 'blank canvas': One of the reasons that amber glass has proved so popular in the skincare industry over the years is that it acts as a great canvas. This means that this primary packaging can act as a backdrop to label and carton designs that are simple, complex, contemporary or classical. With the right designer you can create labels and cartons that really 'pop' with an amber glass backdrop.


Cost: The abundance of amber glass means that it is low cost, relative to other options, which allows us to pass this cost benefit to both you and your consumers.


Low minimum order quantities (MOQs): The packaging options we use are stock items with our suppliers, as opposed to 'make to order' packaging. This means we can order the components in relatively small amounts. Furthermore, as the components are generic across multiple production runs, we do not need to factor in packaging MOQ considerations when establishing minimum order quantities of our white label products. Where some packaging options may have MOQs of 3000, with ours we can go much lower.


Continuity of supply: The fact that amber glass packaging is widely available also means that we can source from multiple suppliers. This reduces the risk that a customer order is impacted due to a component shortage at our primary supplier. This contingency served us well during the initial disruption caused by COVID in 2020, our dual sourcing options meant that production was not impacted, despite our primary supplier being temporarily out of stock on some components.


Aesthetics: The opacity that the amber glass offers, also means that jars of half used product look much better than, for example, a clear glass with 'smears' of cream, which can appear unsightly if not masked by a label. it's also our opinion that whilst also being more environmentally friendly, amber glass gives a more premium feel and weight to packaging than plastic options.


Quality and service: We have an established relationship with our primary packaging supplier and have visited them face to face and undertaken a tour of their facility. They are also ISO accredited. This means we have a high level of assurance that they will consistently deliver product that is in line with specification. Where we have had any issues with packaging they have supplied, they have always been quick to act with us to identify a solution, reducing the risk of impact to our customers. They also handle our delivery of materials with less than a week's lead-time which optimised the agility we can pass onto our customers.


Product compatibility: All our products have been tested with our standard amber glass packaging to ensure that it is suitable for dispensing the product and that it doesn't leak. We can of course help you explore any option, but in some cases compatibility testing can add lead time and cost.


Whilst the above “pros” of our standard packaging mean that we can provide customers with an off-the-shelf solution that is proven, costed and ready to go, we do understand that your brand might need to go with a different ‘look and feel’ to realise your vision, or does not complement existing products in your brand’s line up. It may also be that you want to provide the product in a different size from our brochure packaging.

To that end, we can also work with customers to explore other packaging options from our suppliers or in some cases use packaging that you have sourced for yourself. The key challenge here is managing all the different trade-offs to find the perfect fit for your brand.


White Label Packaging Options
White Label Packaging Options

Sourcing your own packaging? Our top tips to consider:



Start early


Our experience shows that identifying suitable packaging always takes longer than people expect. There are multiple variables (some of which are touched on below), and finding a packaging solution that fits all of these can take several iterations, especially if you are looking at matching a container (ie jar / bottle) and closure (ie lid / pipette / pump) from different suppliers. Things can get quite complex, quite quickly.


The reality is, you’re unlikely to tick every box you’re hoping to. Along the way, making some compromises is inevitable. Hopefully this guide will help you approach sourcing unique packaging knowing the most important variables to consider.


The goal? To save you time and avoid some of the pitfalls.



Choose your supplier with care


Selecting a supplier should be looked at holistically.


Whilst the range of packaging components available is obviously a key consideration, it is also important to look carefully at cost, leadtime and minimum order quantities (MOQs).

It is not uncommon for suppliers to set MOQs of 5000 units (especially for more bespoke packaging) so what can initially look like a low unit cost can equate to a significant upfront cash investment to cover the spend required for the MOQ.


Another important consideration in supplier selection is “service”. Under this banner we would collate a variety of considerations – component quality, adherence to ETA’s on delivery, continuity of supply, responsiveness and their ability to support you with growth at short notice, if required.


Think about your supplier’s location carefully as well. You may well get an amazing solution at an amazing price from somewhere like China, but does it take 6 weeks for them to arrive? Have you accounted for these lead times as you scale? What about the CO2 impact of sourcing from far afield?


The last thing you need once your brand starts to take off is to be held back by your suppliers. Great opportunities don’t always give you multiple bites of the cherry, so you want to know your suppliers can support you when the time comes.


Going viral should accelerate your business, not make it fall over!


Product / packaging compatibility

It is critical that product and packaging are not looked at in isolation. Whilst some of our products are more straight forward in terms of packaging selection (eg our balms), identifying the correct pump dispenser for some products can often be more challenging.

For example, some of our richer creams are not suitable for dispensing via a treatment pump, as to be dispensed they need to be “pushed” out of the container (which requires an airless pump, using a piston at the base of the container) rather than being “sucked” out by a treatment pump.


Conversely, placing a pump on a less viscous product, such as an oil, should be tested to ensure that the force of the pump is not too vigorous for dispensing the oil in a controllable manner. You don’t want to create the latest ‘Super Soaker 3000’.


Again, there are always lots of options that will handle our products with no problem, but it’s a key consideration because the last thing you need is to find the packaging with the right look, feel, price and MOQ only to find out it wont actually dispense the product properly!


Sustainability

Increasing consumer scrutiny over packaging means that understanding the environmental credentials of your packaging is critical.


A recent report showed that 71% of UK consumers thought that brands and retailer aren’t doing enough to make their beauty and personal care purchases more sustainable.

Cannafull places a strong focus on producing products with robust sustainability credentials, such as ensuring raw ingredient are sourced ethically and committing that our products are never tested on animals.


By selecting packaging that is as environmentally friendly as possible, you can maximise the green credentials of your brand and products.


See restrictions as an opportunity

Whilst this sounds counter intuitive, when looking at packaging options there is almost too much choice.


You will be considering variables including size, material, colour, shape and finish and when all of these are overlain the plethora of results can be somewhat daunting. You might find the perfect container, in the perfect colour at the right price, only to find that the closure you wanted isn’t compatible.


Whilst this can feel frustrating, in our experience, the best way to view this is as an opportunity to help narrow down the options rather than a restriction. With such a vast amount of choice, some of these enforced filters will help you find your solution faster.


You're not looking for "the one" - the "one for now" may be the better choice

When launching a brand, range or line there are always unknowns to a greater or lesser extent. Which product will consumers like the most? Will the price point be right for the target demographic? Do they use the product the way I anticipated them to?


Whatever you launch is likely to be tweaked and refined after introduction based on customer feedback. (Hint: If it isn’t, you either hit an unlikely home run first time, or you’re not asking for enough feedback).


Making a decision and moving forward with packaging that is 95% right, will allow you to get your products into your consumer’s hands more quickly. They will help you hone the final 5% and will remove a lot of the guesswork for you.


Is it better to spend 3 more months hunting the elusive ‘perfect packaging’ or getting to market and growing your brand?


Cannafull Bottling Machine
Cannafull Bottling Machine

I've found the packaging that is the perfect fit for my brand, what's next?



Once you’ve found the custom packaging you love, the next steps are for us to assess feasibility and cost. As you’ll be creating something bespoke, your pricing from us will be as well.


Trials:

Before an order is placed, we would ask to see both technical drawings and physical samples of the product so that we can confirm that we are able to manufacture with this these components and that they are suitable for the products to be stored in.


We also ask for some samples to be sent over so we can do some testing. We want to flush out any potential issues before you start building out the rest of your packaging and branding.


Handy Tip: - Always ask suppliers upfront if they can provide samples and adequate technical information about the packaging. The more info you can get, the better!


Pricing:

Based on a successful trial outcome, we would then be in a position to develop a custom quote for your orders based on your new custom packaging. Things will now likely start diverging from our standard White Label pricing and this can be for a variety of reasons:


o Unit size: It may be that your chosen packaging differs from our brochure sizing. If the size goes from say 50ml to 75ml of a chosen product we will need to price this up to reflect the change.


o Unit cost: It may be that you are using different packaging from our White Label brochure but are still sourcing through us and our suppliers. In this case prices can change because the packaging option you prefer may have a different price per unit and we will requote to reflect this. The MOQs we can offer may also increase due us having to order bespoke packaging, just for your orders.


o Free of charge (FOC) issue of packaging: You may decide to buy packaging yourselves from your own supplier and get it delivered to our facility for us to fill: we term this “free of charge issue”. In this case, we no longer need to include the cost of packaging materials in our costs and will reflect this in new pricing for you.


o Inclusion of an Acceptable Quality Limit (AQL) inspection. For any custom packaging you provide to us FOC from external suppliers, we will mandate a sample inspection of the materials on receipt to check that they are correct, in both quantity and quality and this is a process we do charge a small fee for.


This process is critical to identify if there are any issues with the components prior to them being staged for production. With the AQL process, materials are inspected the week prior to filling to allow any issues to be identified ahead of time with results of the inspection being shared with customers. If there are any defects identified, photos are taken to allow you to take up the issue with your supplier.


o Storage costs. Depending on the quantity of components being delivered, relative to the order quantities, we may charge a small fee for storing the materials.



Hopefully the above information outlines the different options Cannafull has available for our customers. The route you choose to follow will likely be determined by factors such as how quickly you want to launch or whether you are wanting CBD skincare to act as an extension to a pre-existing brand, whose look and feel is already established.


Want to make sure you make the right decision?


Our advice would be to do some market validation and ask the most important people what packaging they want.


Who are these most important people?

Your potential customers! Remember that packaging is a pass-through cost. Whatever decisions you make, your customers ultimately pay for. Probably best to ask them first. You might even find they would prefer a lower RRP and more simple packaging. Market validation is a powerful tool for creating the perfect offer to market – we have a blog with some great guidance here.


Whichever option you choose, we will support you through the selection process and help you find the optimal packaging to ensure your brand looks great, feels great and delights your customers.


Looking to get your project started? Book a call with us!