Why we chose envelope mailers in the first place?
When we started Driftaway, we were very aware of trying to minimize the impact of our business practices on the environment. We tried to stick to natural, recyclable and environment-friendly as much as possible while maintaining a strong design aesthetic. We also wanted a really light-weight solution that would keep shipping costs down, and a package that could fit in the mailbox.
The original envelope mailers were a lot of work to put together, so we started looking for suppliers who had the same eco-mindedness as we did, and were able to provide a sturdier product.
We found Ecology Packaging and the-friendliest-rep-ever Aliece (who we still love working with). They supply to many eCommerce companies, especially in the apparel space. They are really good people, who live their values.
We then switched over to the Dura-bag envelope mailers – they were easy to pack, still fit in the mailbox and simple to customize. And working with Aliece has been a real pleasure!
Feedback … or what we thought was feedback.
We were doing fine with the envelope mailers for many many months, then in late 2016 and early 2017, we started seeing some photos of the envelope mailers and the coffee bags inside with crumbled edges.
Photos like this one stuck in my head.
We thought, surely, if this customer had this happen to their mailer, then it must happen to everyone else too. We began to re-think our solution of sending the coffee pouches in envelope mailers, and started thinking about sending them in sturdier boxes.
So we took on a project to switch away from the mailers and to boxes. Working with Aliece and another manufacturer, we designed the boxes, proofed and tested them, and started shipping them out to everyone in June of this year. One thing that we missed doing was to ask our customers before we went down this road!
Getting real feedback from customers (and from our packers!)
Instead, what we saw were people saying that they missed the old envelope mailers – they fit in the mailbox!! And that the new packaging seemed wasteful, and less environmentally friendly, even though it was 100% recyclable. The new boxes are being left on front porches, lobbies and in open areas outside of the mailbox, and in some cases, they were not being collected until a few days later (which starts to defeat the purpose of freshness!).
Last week, we decided we really need to put our ear to the ground, and ask our customers what they thought. We sent out a simple survey with 3 questions…
And the feedback has been overwhelming! Here’s a quick snapshot of what you all said …
The plan going forward was really easy to figure out.
We have a few thousand boxes to finish up (we don’t want to create more waste by just disposing them), then we’re moving back to the envelope mailers. There are a few new options to solve the original problem of crumpling (like thicker paper, inserting a cardboard sleeve etc) that we will look into. For now, welcome back, envelope mailer!