Inside Sustainable and Branded Packaging

Industry News and Perspectives

03 Nov 2015 Earth Turns Finds Value in Globe Guard® Custom Printed RSC Boxes

Earth Turns 2 colors on Kraft RSC boxEarth Turns is one of our oldest and dearest customers in the natural products and supplement space. They continue succeeding and growing in a market that has seen many others come and go.

What Makes Them Successful?

The people at know once a potential customer finds you on the internet, the second challenge is to keep them. So in addition to great prices and selection, they provide customers with outstanding customer service.

Their packaging is consistent with their approach and products and is kept simple, eco-friendly and easy to recycle.

Why RSC boxes?

Most of the e-commerce people we work with utilize die cut mailers but Earth Turns chooses RSC boxes because they are:

  • Lower in cost to purchase, ship (inbound) and store because they occupy less space.
  • They may be lower in cost to ship out bound as well (lower shipping weight), depending on what they are being compared to.
  • They are easier and faster to assemble.
  • They are 100% recycled content and can easily be recycled with paper waste by the consumer
  • If custom printed, print plates are generally less expensive

RSC insulated cooler boxes also availableAre custom printed RSC boxes right for you?

They may be the best product solution for you but a good answer requires at least a minimal review of your specific application. There are many factors to be considered including annual usage, what you are shipping, how you ship it and even product weight.

We can quickly help guide you to mailer boxes, RSC boxes or any one of a handful of different mailer envelope options we have to offer. There is no cost or obligation to speak to one of our experienced packaging experts so email us at Salazar Packaging or call us at 630-551-1700.

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29 Oct 2015 Reducing the Cost of Shipping E-Commerce and Subscription Boxes via USPS

shipping costRecently we have received several inquiries regarding USPS tier shipping which is their version of UPS’s “DIM (dimensional) Weight” rate program. Essentially it means that the larger a package is, the more it will cost you to ship it, and that package weight and shipping distance are no longer the only factors determining shipping costs.

We have worked with hundreds of companies shipping an endless variety of products, and the one thing they all have in common is their need to minimize shipping costs. In almost all cases the shipping cost is likely to exceed the cost of the packaging being used and in some cases, it can even exceed the cost of the product being shipped. That is why managing your shipping cost has quickly become the single greatest objective for everyone in the e-commerce or subscription box markets.

How Is USPS Tier Pricing Calculated?

Cubic footage of any box being shipped is determined by multiplying the OUTSIDE (rounded DOWN to nearest ¼”) length x width x height and dividing that total by 1,728. That typically results in a digital number less than 1.

Example: Our stock 7-7-2 box has actual inside dimensions of 7-1/8” X 7” X 2-1/4” and the outside dimensions are 8” X 7.375 X 2.75”. We round them down to 8” X 7.25” X 2.75” and when we multiply them and divide them by 1,728 the result is $.0923. That is a GREAT box size because it is just under the .10 tier limit. You can read more about the brackets and calculations at this USPS web site link where you will find this chart:

Priority Mail Commercial Plus—Cubic

Large Envelopes (flats) & parcels


Cubic Ft. Range Up To Zone1,2
Local, 1 & 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
0.10 $4.58 $4.65 $4.74 $4.99 $5.23 $5.47 $5.82 $6.98
0.20 4.99 5.12 5.28 5.50 5.70 5.91 6.30 7.56
0.30 5.22 5.61 6.12 7.64 8.39 9.09 9.96 11.94
0.40 5.40 6.31 7.24 9.13 10.73 11.77 13.26 15.91
0.50 6.18 7.21 8.35 11.50 13.41 14.82 16.97 20.36

BTW, for your convenience, we have added exterior cubic footage to all of our stock die cut mailer boxes on our store.

Engineered and Designed for minimum shipping cost

designed to be under .1 and .2 cubic feetCheck out the link below to see our new Min-Weight™ boxes we just created for Universal Yums. Not only has the weight been reduced, both were sized and designed to fall under a specific tier limit. Tell us the objective and it is very likely we can help you accomplish it.

How to Beat Tier Priced Shipping Costs

Here are a few suggestions that will enable you to minimize your shipping cost while maximizing its effectiveness:

  1. Understand the way the system works for your specific carrier of choice. Know the rules and make an informed decision on which one you choose and what level of service makes the most sense for you, your customers, and the products you are shipping.
  2. Right size your box. Avoid the “I want a larger box, just in case” approach. We understand for some subscription boxes the items being shipped vary from month to month, but set an affordable size limit and stick to it. If the volume or size requirements change, adding a second or different size box may be the most economical choice.
  3. A custom size MAY make sense for you. A custom size cutting die is usually one time cost of around $800 but if you can save $2.00 per box and you ship more than 400 boxes in one month, the die will pay for itself in one month.
  4. Consider packaging options other than boxes. That may sound strange coming from a company that specializes in branded shipping boxes but we will admit that sometime a mailer envelope is less expensive to buy and ship.

As always, when in doubt, please ASK us because there may be a style, or board grade that can dramatically reduce your shipping costs. Resist the temptation to self-diagnose when our decade’s long expert advice is free for the asking.

Please feel free to visit our gallery to see examples of some of our custom printed packaging. You can contact us at Salazar Packaging or call us at 630-551-1700.

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16 Oct 2015 Danone’s New Nutrimom Program Selects Salazar Packaging for their Mailer Boxes

Three Nutrimom boxesWe have been fortunate to create hundreds of beautiful shipping containers for a variety of products for e-commerce or in subscription box applications. However, none have the long term positive impact potential as the series of boxes we just made for

Nutrimom is a brand of Nutricia Early Life Nutrition, a part of Danone (Dannon, Evian, etc.) and their new program is designed to provide nutritious products and guidance to expectant mothers and babies, as their needs change from early pregnancy through post-delivery. It is a terrific, new program and they wanted their packaging to be every bit as unique.

The Packaging Challenge

The Nutrimom program requires over twenty different product variations and combinations shipping at different times, to the expectant moms with varying needs. Our objective, as always, was to create as few packaging SKU’s as possible for the client to minimize inventory and maximize the customers’ purchase quantities, dramatically reducing their cost. Remember, buying more of fewer box sizes will always result in greater savings and remarkably we were able to reduce the number of shipping boxes to just four sizes.

The other potential problem was the variety of shapes, sizes and weights of the products being shipped within the boxes. We needed to avoid product to product damage but because of the number of combinations being shipped, we were not able to use traditional die cut inserts. So the best solution was to create simple, low cost dividers that would be easier and quicker to pack, reducing labor costs as well.

Positive and reverse print fine linesThe Graphic Design Challenge

The team at Danone and their graphics people created a beautiful design, but it included a combination of thin lines that are positive printed as well as reverse printed (see photos). With a little tweaking of their initial design and utilizing the right print plates for the job, we improved printability on the exterior of the box. They also wanted bright colors inside the box so we managed the board and ink combination for the perfect end results.

If you are looking for a gift for a mom-to-be you know, a subscription to Nutrimom would be perfect. If you are in need of expert guidance to design, or redesign your e-commerce or subscription box, contact Salazar Packaging or call us at 630-551-1700 for a no cost application consultation.

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09 Oct 2015 Litho Labels for Exceptionally Attractive E-Commerce Shipping Boxes

SAM_0017A quick visit through our gallery will show how we have helped many customers create great looking e-commerce and subscription boxes. So our people are used to seeing a lot of eye catching, unique boxes. Every once in a while we make that one that makes our entire staff respond with resounding, “WOW”!

Utica Labs Decides to go Litho Label

Utica Dental Laboratory is a terrific sixty year old company in New York who wanted to create a great looking box that they could ship or hand out to a customer. They also had very clear vision of what they wanted it to look like which included a delicate graphic design and a glossy finish that would stay clean when handled.

Probably 95% of the shipping boxes used in this country are “direct” printed on a flexographic press which offers a number of advantages, especially a lower per box cost, but it can be limited in the types of designs we can print with it. It also requires one print plate for each color and that onetime cost can add up.

As I often say, flexographic box printing is an imperfect process on an imperfect substrate which is high recycled content corrugated board. That is why in some situations, the best and perhaps only way to print an intricate or complex design is print the design on a better grade of paper, using a better print process and then laminating that design onto board, rather than attempt “direct” printing.

Great Graphic Design with Some Potential Problems

An initial review of their design shows the following potential issues:

  • They wanted a white, glossy finish and we can’t do glossy or varnished finishes using flexographic presses and inks
  • The design features digitally created color gradients; though we can screen flexo to deliver different intensities of the same color, it is not subtle or smooth enough to accomplish fine changes in a design like this.
  • There is a second color, a gray (also a gradient) that is overlapping the blue in the logo. Flexo printing would create a shadow or ring in the ink trap area that would be objectionable.

Unless major modifications were made to the design, flexographic printing would not create the look our customer wanted, so we recommended a litho label, offset printed that could satisfy all of their requirements. The results are obvious in the photo!

What is the Best Printing Option For You?

Many factors are considered during a free, no cost, and no obligation application review including quantity and if the job will repeat. For example, printing 1,000 boxes for a one time promotion or situation requiring 10,000 boxes per month is likely to result in very different recommendations from a variety of print processes we offer. Call us at 630-551-1700 or contact Salazar Packaging for a confidential analysis of ALL your branded packaging needs. Keep in mind that shipping boxes is just one product we offer so if mailer envelopes, or branded tape are the best solution for you, we will not hesitate to make that recommendation to you.

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01 Oct 2015 New Oversized Die Cut Mailer – when great things come in large packages

New 18x12x6 die cut mailer sizeWhen you want to make a great impression on your customer but your product is large and bulky, what do you do? You can ship it in an RSC style shipping box which does not require any tooling but is not the “presentation” container you might prefer. You can have someone like us create a custom size cutting die for you but that could cost as much as a thousand dollars which is tough to justify for low to medium volume applications that may also be seasonal.

Or you can use one of our many oversized, available cutting dies that create die cut mailers with an attached lid and are impressive (compared to RSC style shipping boxes) whether they are printed or not. We have a new size available that may satisfy your needs. It is 18-3/4” long X 12” wide X 6-1/16” high. It is a front lock design and features side dust flaps for security and cleanliness. It is ideal for countless applications including the packaging and shipping of:

  • Wearing apparel
  • Bedding and towels
  • Toys and stuffed animals
  • Full size snack portions
  • Prepared food and ingredients

printed version of our 15x10x10 mailer boxMOQ and Custom Printing

This new available size is currently NOT a stock product so the minimum order quantity, printed or unprinted is 1,000 boxes. It can be produced in white board inside or outside or of course, in standard natural Kraft (brown). We can print it inside or outside, but your print plates will be an additional onetime cost.

Other Available Oversized Box Sizes

In addition to this new size, we do have other extra-long, extra wide or extra tall die cut mailers sizes we can make. They include:

  • 24” X 15-1/2” X 5-1/4”
  • 21” X 11” X 11”
  • 15” X 10-1/2” X 10-1/2”
  • 14-1/2” X 9-1/2” X 6-1/4”
  • 13” X 13” X 6”

These boxes are also non-stock, but can be run with the 1,000 MOQ in white or brown, and custom printed.

Please contact us at Salazar Packaging or call us at 630-551-1700 to discuss your specific needs. We also invite you to visit our gallery where you will see what we can do to help you deliver your brand to your customers.

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25 Sep 2015 Canadian Subscription and E-Commerce Companies Find Savings in the USA

USA-CanadaNot that long ago, moving business “south of the border” meant moving production and packaging to Mexico. Today it is more likely to be e-commerce or subscription box operations and the border they are crossing is the one between Canada and the USA.

We noticed a sharp increase in the number of Canadian based companies that are considering or have moved their packaging and fulfillment to the USA, and of course, we became interested in what might be driving it. We asked a few of our Canadian friends and customers and received answers we can all learn from.

Variety of inside and ouside custom printsWhere the Customers Are

The USA obviously has a larger overall population with many large geographic consumer markets to offer. Unless the product being shipped is exclusively of interest to Canadians (which is not usually the case), it is likely if not probable that the majority of the subscriptions and customers will be in the USA.

Inbound Shipping Cost Savings

Setting up a fulfillment operation in the USA can save a lot of money in terms of inbound shipping whether the suppliers of products and packaging are in the USA or even in Canada. LTL common carrier shipping is all about “lanes” and the more companies and trucks that go there, the more likely you are to find a competitive situation that produces real and in many cases, substantial savings.

Outbound Shipping Cost Savings

As most subscription box and e-commerce shippers discover, the cost of shipping the product to the customer is usually the single greatest cost and can make the difference between making money or losing it. One of our Canadian friends shared that shipping to some USA customers from Canada can cost as much as three times more. Few margins can support that type of shipping cost differential.

A Larger Supplier and Service Base

The three things any packaging buyer seeks are quality, service and of course price; and the USA will typically offer more potential sources to choose from. More options will usually result in better quality and service, but it will always result in greater savings due to the larger, more compettive market.

An Exchange Rate that Currently Favors the USA

Unlike a few years ago when the USA dollar was weak compared to that of our Canadian neighbors, the current exchange rate has shifted dramatically in favor of the USA. Buying USA products and services with Canadian dollars is not as favorable as it used to be so at least for now, setting up a USA based operation makes a lot of sense and money.

At Salazar Packaging and Globe Guard Products we study and learn from the market and these are the current conditions. Everything is subject to change but for now, setting up in the USA might be beneficial to many Canadian based companies. I think everyone will agree that this is smart business whether you are just starting out or have thousands of subscribers.

If and when that move is made, we hope you will consider us when looking for a great supplier of beautiful e-commerce and subscription boxes. Please contact us at Salazar Packaging or call us at 630-551-1700.

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18 Sep 2015 Two New Globe Guard® Mailer Sizes in Stock and On Sale

6.25 x 4.125 x 2 lock front mailer in stockIt always thrills us to identify new sizes our store customers need so we can add them to inventory. Both sizes are now stocked in Kraft (brown) and also available in white with a 1,000 minimum order quantity.

From now through November 30, 2015, these two new sizes will be on sale at

Two New Mailer Box Sizes

6-1/4” X 4-1/8” X 2” – front lock, die cut mailer. We think this is going to be a popular size for everything from jewelry, to E-juice. They are made of very popular B-flute board and are made of a minimum of 60% recycled content. They are also 100% recyclable, repulpable and even compostable. They also feature the Globe Guard logo on the bottom of each box so your customers know you are using one of the greenest shipping options available.

9-1/2” X 6-1/2” X 4-1/2”- front lock, die cut mailer. Given the popularity of our 12-1/4” X 9-1/4” X 4” box and our 10” X 8-1/2” X 4” sizes, we think this is going to be ideal for customers who want a slightly smaller box to reduce shipping costs. It could be a great size for snack samples, socks, and even personal care product, E-commerce and subscription boxes.

New 9.5 x 6.5 x 4.5 box also available cusotm printedAlso Available Custom Printed

Like all of our stock boxes, these two new sizes are available custom printed with your colors and brand in a very low, 1,000 MOQ. You save at least $800 by NOT having to buy a cutting die and only purchasing your print plates for a onetime cost that is usually between $400 and $600 per color.

What Box Size Do YOU Need?

We have grown tremendously in the last eight years by being responsive to our customers. These two new sizes are a direct result of customer feedback, so if there is a size you wish we had available, let us know. If you use it on a regular basis and we believe others will also be able to utilize it, we will consider adding it to inventory.

We are always willing and eager to discuss your specific needs and application. You can contact us at Globe Guard Products or call us at 630-551-1700.

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14 Sep 2015 ALL stock Globe Guard® labels on Sale through October 31, 2015

LABELbox_6982WEBOur stock labels are 100% recycled content and are available in six popular sizes and configurations. They are one of the greenest labels available and complement our Globe Guard eco-friendly boxes beautifully.

Now though the end of October we are pleased to offer them on sale, with a discount no less than 15% plus FREE SHIPPING! was one of the very first web sites offering eco-friendly products and seven years later, we are still going strong. If you have not been there lately, check out some of the new products we’ve added including our Reusable Box Sealer™, our variety of unprinted e-commerce and subscription boxes.

Please contact us at Globe Guard Products or call us at 630-551-1700 if you have questions on any of our stock (unprinted) or custom size, custom printed packaging.

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03 Sep 2015 Why Use Globe Guard® Stock Mailer Boxes?

Globe Guard Stock Unprinted Subscription BoxesIf you are pre-launch or just getting started on your subscription box or e-commerce program, there is no better or more eco-friendly way to begin shipping your customers’ orders. Globe Guard® boxes are always at least 60% recycled content, as well as 100% recyclable, repulpable, biodegradable and even compostable.

Professional packaging look/ Small Investment

The most important benefit they provide a startup company or product is the fact that only a minimal investment is necessary. You can select a stock, popular size from our mailer box section of our store and order a bundle of as few as 25 or 50 boxes. Adding a custom printed label provides the initial branding and you are on your way!

A partial group of subscription boxes we've runWe know many have been dreaming for weeks, months, or even years about the way their custom printed box is going to look. Some sadly discover their vision is not practical or in some cases, even printable. Using a stock box can help a company get started until the business and volume can help justify the vision.

Additional benefits of using a stock box in the beginning

Above and beyond the minimal investment mentioned above, and saving money at a time when you may have zero or little cash flow, there are other advantages of using a stock, unprinted Globe Guard ® box:

  • They make it easy to implement a packaging “plan B” if necessary. 

What if your initial box ends up being too short, to narrow, or too tall? You start out with no history about products, customer preferences or volume, so everything is essentially a guess. If you guess wrong, changing sizes is so much easier and less expensive if you haven’t already invested possibly hundreds or even thousands of dollars in a cutting die, print plates, or a minimum order quantity (MOQ) of 1,000 boxes.

  • Custom printing is inflexible. 

I often tell people the true story of how we rebranded our company six months after we officially launched. Customer feedback indicated the name was too long and our tag line and logo confusing. So before we had too much invested in our initial brand, we chose to re-brand. The less you have invested the better until you gain some of that all important customer feedback.

  • Converting to custom printed boxes is a breeze, when you are ready!  

If you have been using one of our stock, unprinted boxes, and the size is working perfectly for you, and your volume and cash flow grow, we can easily begin custom printing that specific box size for you. We can grow as you grow with a basic one color design to get started, maybe you add a second exterior color later, and then possibly you add inside print as your brand grows and you are ready to eliminate some more manually applied stickers and labels.

When is the right time to switch to custom printed boxes?

The answer varies from one situation to another mostly focused on affordability and how sure you are that you will not be making any other changes soon. Print plates cannot be modified so the goals are no regrets and no unnecessary expenses. I usually suggest waiting at least 90 days after launch or when you get up to 300 to 400 shipments or subscribers per month

As always, if in doubt, email us at Salazar Packaging or call us at 630-551-1700. We will be glad to discuss your specific needs with you.

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28 Aug 2015 Adding inside print to an existing subscription or e-commerce box

Inside of lid - great place to add logo or tag line

We are proud to have helped hundreds of people create packaging for their new, start-up companies. One thing most have in common is that they typically do not have deep pockets. Even the ones that are crowd funded understand that limited available funds have to cover a lot of different and often times unexpected expenses.

Inside Prints – now or later?

Printing inside of any die cut mailer is very effective. No matter how beat up the exterior of the box becomes in shipment, the interior is always free of scrapes, dirt, tape, and labels. That can make the inside a great place to place additional artwork or graphics.

The problem is that printing inside can be expensive when you are just getting started, It typically adds about 30% to the cost of any die cut mailer box, plus of course, each inside color requires an additional print plate. These costs and expenses come at a time when you can least afford them and cash flow is minimal or non-existent.

Mailer inside print made easyUpgrading and updating your boxes’ branding.

As soon as you have hundreds of subscribers and customers and some cash flow, you may be able to add inside printing to your box. This is not only done for enhanced appearance, in some cases it can eliminate insert and/or labels being manually applied.

We recently added inside print for a customer that was spending over $.25 each (PLUS LABOR) for a manually applied label. In addition to the cost, his concern was that the labels were rarely applied straight, and never applied the same way twice. Adding inside print can reduce material and labor cost and deliver brand consistency and a more professional look.

What is involved to add inside print?random repeat print dresses up mailer box interior

Just like the outside, you will need a print plate for each color. We can print virtually anything on white or Kraft board, from simple text to a rich flood coat, a random repeat print, or reverse print logo or text. Printing inside is an additional step and does add cost per box, but not as much as you may think. On a typical $.70 mailer, it would only add approximately $.20 per box

See the examples shown on this post and on our gallery and let us know if you have any additional questions. Whether we are currently running your boxes or someone else is, please contact us at Salazar Packaging or call us at 630-551-1700 for a confidential review of your specific needs.


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