In our latest case study we speak to Yiyang Wang, the founder of plush toy and accessories company Noodoll. In 2019, social media strategy is the key to achieving success as a predominantly eCommerce retailer. Yiyang tells us how Noodoll got started, and how noissue custom tissue paper proved a great addition to their social media feeds as well as their sustainability efforts!

Small business ideas can come from the most unlikely of places. For Yiyang, the plush soft toys which make up the Noodoll brand came straight out of the pages of her illustrations. Rather than its appeal being based solely on cuteness, Noodoll has always had its focus on great design. Back in 2009, Yiyang was aware that there was very little in the market catering to something between expensive collectibles and toys for children. It was this space that she sought to fill by bringing the characters of Ricetown to life:

"Ever since my early childhood, I have been fascinated by characters! The idea for Noodoll came about during my MA at Central St. Martins, when I decided to create my very own series of characters and tales of their imaginary world. There were two towns - Ricetown (where the characters lived in a rice bowls) and Noodletown (where they lived in takeaway noodle boxes). Noodoll grew quite organically, and we now feature our happy Ricemonsters as plush toys, stationery, and accessories - sending them to all over the world!”

Custom packaging as product promotion online and offline

Noodoll toy lying on custom tissue paper

Having its origins within illustration and storytelling, designing their custom tissue paper proved to be a straightforward creative process for Noodoll. The aesthetic style of their characters is already well-loved by their customer base, making them the perfect motifs to build brand recognition as an integral part of their social media strategy. It also serves as a fun and clever way for them to market the diversity of their toy range, giving their customers a tacit reminder of the other Ricemonsters out there waiting to be collected:

“At the heart of Noodoll’s design ethos is playfulness and uniqueness. My vision is to create a world where everyone embraces their differences, making people feel content with themselves through the company of our Ricemonsters, as they come in all kinds of shapes and colours, just like us!”

In an offline context, receiving a purchase with custom tissue paper wrapping is a welcome, value-added extra to the brand experience for your customers. For your social media strategy and content, it’s a point of difference that you have a lot of freedom to get creative with!

Noodoll toy tucked up in custom tissue paper like blankets

By using their custom tissue paper as bedsheets for their plush toys in their product imagery, Noodoll accomplishes a clever piece of social media marketing. They don’t just promote their product range, but their entire brand ethos within the one image; to be imaginative, playful, and above all, fun1 In short, custom packaging doesn’t just have a purpose as packaging - it’s an engaging way to tell a story about your brand.

“We love collaborating with other brands so when we were approached by noissue for a collaboration we said yes right away! However, once we discovered more about the ethos behind the products, as well as how great the products were, we ordered more custom tissue for our shop!”

The takeaway? There is a very successful marriage at work between custom packaging and social media strategY. For more on this topic, check out our blog on the subject!

Marketing your sustainable efforts

Noodoll toy lying on custom tissue paper

Noodoll have taken some fantastic steps to lower their impact, such as going plastic-free, using eco-friendly paper tape, and reusing cardboard boxes (efforts they have recently detailed over on their blog - along with a mention of yours truly!). For Yiyang, sustainability isn’t just about surface-level changes; it’s also a core part of how Noodoll approach their business operation:

“As a small business, we are conscious of the environment and the unnecessary waste that we can sometimes generate. We do what we can do on a daily basis. Little things like bringing our own packed lunches, drinking tap water from our re-fillable bottles, recycling boxes from our neighbourhood to re-use for wholesale orders, and using our custom tissue paper to wrap our toys. We also run a Noodoll surgery, where we fix any damaged toys for free, meaning that our Ricemonsters can last longer and be a friend for life!”

By making an effort to publicize their sustainable ethos in their social media strategy, Noodoll are letting their customers know that they are making an eco-friendly purchasing decision, and are supporting a brand who is actively working to lower their footprint. This is something which many small businesses overlook in their social media marketing. Being eco-friendly is fantastic, but it only has a fraction of the effect in can have if your customers don’t know about it! Ensuring that your customers know your brand can help them with their own efforts at being green is the key to communicating your sustainable image with authenticity.