The holiday season is by far the most profitable time of the year for retailers - and it’s growing rapidly. Holiday eCommerce sales in 2018 pulled in $126 billion worldwide, up 16.5% on 2017.

But more sales also means more competition. For small brands especially, standing out from the crowd can be very challenging. For this reason, creating a fun and festive holiday packaging design is a brilliant way to grab people’s attention and gain a competitive advantage.

We speak to one business owner who has done exactly that! Erin McManness, the founder of paper goods company Paper Raven Co, as put her eco-friendly outlook first and foremost in her approach to holiday packaging. She tells us about her commitment to protecting the planet through conscious design and reducing packaging waste.

(In Erin’s own words):

“My name is Erin, and I am a professional illustrator working in Atlanta, GA. I started Paper Raven Co. in 2014 after graduating with my MFA in Illustration from the Savannah College of Art and Design. In 2015, I took Paper Raven Co. full-time and have been having a ball ever since! I started Paper Raven Co. because I always wanted to run my own business, and had a deep love of paper products and illustration."

"These two passions merged very organically for me, starting with a small Greeting Card Line that now includes over 75 products. Paper Raven Co. also enjoys licensing for some wonderful companies, including Macy's, Publix, Aldi, Trader Joes, and Minted, to name a few. My vision for Paper Raven Co. was initially to simply put beautiful, sincere products out into the world, but has evolved to include a focus on helping the planet and fighting to combat Climate Change.”

“A few years ago, as Paper Raven Co. was growing - and as our global conversation was turning to address Climate Change - I was having a hard time sleeping at night. I knew that I was contributing to deforestation because of the type of products I made. I wanted to have a company that was sustainable and eco-friendly, so that I could do what I loved, and it could also sit right within my soul on an issue that is critically important to me as a human and as a business owner.”

“So, I made the decision to switch to printing all of our cards on 100% Recycled Paper. Since then, I have been transitioning as many products as possible to Recycled Paper. While this may incur a few more cents to our production costs, to me it is well worth it to be a good steward of the planet.”

“Sustainability is very important to me and is at the heart of Paper Raven Co. Our first step was to start printing all of our cards on 100% Recycled Paper; but I also scaled down the physical size of my cards, to use less material in general. In 2017, I discovered the wonderful non-profit, One Tree Planted, and became a partner. Utilizing their $1 = 1 Tree model, I have pledged to donate One Dollar from every sale we make to help plant trees in critical regions of the world.”

“Last year, we opted to plant trees in California to help restore communities affected by the wildfires. And this summer, we directed our trees to the Amazon, after the devastating fires there. At the Paper Raven Co. studio, we recycle every scrap of cardboard, paper and plastic that passes through our business, and we give on a monthly basis to The Nature Conservancy, a non-profit that helps protect endangered ecosystems, habitats and animals. (And, on a personal level, we use Tree-Free Toilet Paper from Who Gives a Crap!) In 2020, I will be swapping to Recycled Plastic Sleeves for all of our products.”

Holiday packaging doesn’t just dress up a product - it also has a strong influence on consumers’ purchasing decisions. In fact, Dotcom Distribution’s study shows that ‘gift-like’ packaging makes customers:

More excited about receiving a package
More likely to see a purchase as high-value
More likely to make a repeat purchase in the future

Moreover, it shows customers that your brand is dynamic and interesting to engage with, and that you care about creating a memorable experience for them. This is the key to building long-term loyalty that makes your brand thrive!

Even better, noissue makes trendy holiday packaging accessible to every size of business. Our MOQs start at just 250 units for custom tissue paper, which is also acid-free and FSC-certified, so that you can start packaging the stylish and sustainable way!

“I wanted to give my customers something really beautiful and special for the holidays. With an illustration-first aesthetic and my love for creating patterns, I felt that investing in beautiful and special holiday packaging to elevate my customer's experience was the next best step for me, and was something I had been wanting to do for a while. I also encourage my customers to reuse their tissue paper to wrap gifts!”

“A few friends - notably OanaBefort and ClareThereseGray - were showcasing absolutely gorgeous noissue tissue paper designs, and I was so inspired by that. I had had custom tissue on my mind for a while, and noissue not only made beautiful products, but I felt they were affordable for my small business and a sustainable product that I could feel good about. Since then, I have had customers email me after receiving their orders, commenting on how beautiful the packaging is, and how they are planning to reuse the tissue for their gifts! It's a great feeling to have a truly delighted customer.”

“For this tissue design, I wanted something very holiday-specific, as a way to surprise and delight my customers at this time of year. I chose to illustrate a pattern of holiday items like trees, gifts, cookies and cakes, candy canes and snow. It looks so festive and fun! I also wanted to illustrate something that my customers would love to reuse during the Holidays. I hope they love it!”