Sustainable Branding on a Budget

When I first started making jewelry, I had zero budget for packaging, even if my heart desired something akin to Tiffany’s. As time grew and my following grew with it — with the blood, sweat and tears of building a brand from the ground up, I slowly began to hammer out a look for my packaging.

It wasn’t the same as designing for someone else, because it was closer to me and also I had very little money, which I understand now, how difficult it can be as a client of a graphic designer. I was standing in the same shoes as an entrepreneur and in this case, I am my client. My first iteration was a recycled paper cream color box that I filled with kraft krinkle shred. I purchased apple green color crepe paper ribbon, which unfortunately was discontinued, so I bought up the whole lot. Rice paper washi tape was not as ubiquitous as it is now, and I found Little Happy Things on Etsy, that had a gorgeous assortment. I settled on a brown/beige painterly one and finished it off with twine. Eventually I switched to gradated hemp twine discovered on one of my 2:00 a.m. research reconnaissance missions. The linen bags were a compromise as I had originally hired my niece to make bags for me out of polishing cloth that I purchase by the yard. She did around thirty and then grew bored of the gig and let me down easy. I needed a nice, natural bag and found wonderful linen ones made in the U.S., which are now discontinued! Next came rubber stamping elements onto both the washi tape and the linen bag. I had been to the Norton Simon museum with family and scored an assortment of Love Rubber Stamps that were for sale in the gift shop. This collection has grown and now I am making my own as you can see in the 5th image below, now available on my Janice Art Creative Etsy shop. I had also purchased tiny leaf shaped paper punches for a jewelry technique called Keum Boo and decided to incorporate one of these when I created a little care kit for my etched jewelry work.

Various printed pieces in 2015/16 era packaging. At this time I began Trees for the Future partnership that I call “Tree Rings Project”. Each ring that goes out has a number of trees pledged through this non-profit company that addresses poverty and environment through forest gardening. The paper shipping envelope is from EconoEnclose.

My move back home to Canada in 2017 left me with challenges for getting materials because of the lack of variety in Canada as well as the taxes/duties/expensive shipping that would be imposed on me and not being able to pass those on to the consumer, so I struck another compromise and ordered flat pillow boxes instead. I just carried over the same style to those. I have since discovered a company that makes pillow boxes from seed paper, which will be my 2021 branding project as I enter a new phase of eco sustainable branding which will bring me closer to my cradle-to-cradle mission statement.

“I love to have fun and play with the elements.

One of the most fun endeavors on my packaging journey is print on demand water activated paper packing tape, which I designed from scratch with my own hand-painted art and photo compositing, with the intended use of cutting the roll up and experimenting with bits and pieces of it, like a giant roll of washi tape. You can see all of my various tools and materials I use when I am shipping out my work in the photo below. I love to have fun and play with the elements. No two are exactly identical because of the randomness when creating the final packaging. And the bonus is that everything can be composted or tossed in the recycling bin.

This is my latest iteration with a double sided gift hang tag and thank you card made from the paper packing tape.

You can find my jewelry designs at or in my Etsy shop.


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