Luxury eCommerce packaging
Cardboard "letterbox" packaging that is both luxurious and eco-friendly
Shortly after launching their business in late 2019, Russell and Atwell began working with GWP to produce their letterbox packaging used for their eCommerce fulfilment.
However, the business shot to prominence after a successful appearance on BBC1’s Dragon Den programme, with packaging demand spiking after the increased exposure of their products.
The sudden popularity meant that besides the packaging having to reflect the luxury of their products and the natural ingredients used, but also meant that manufacturing schedules had to respond to a significant increase in usage volumes.
Quick reference / contents
About Russell & Atwell
Innovative and unique fresh chocolates
Russell and Atwell is a partnership between chocolate experts Steve Russell and Giles Atwell.
Steve and Giles have over 30 years of experience working in chocolate on world-famous chocolate brands like Mars, Cadbury and Godiva, and with Giles having an additional 100-year family history in chocolate, the pair joined forces to launch the business in late 2019.
The company offers five varieties of hand finished, fresh chocolates that should be kept chilled because they contain fresh organic cream. This unique selling point provides a taste far superior to what they call “long-life chocolate”, which you would find in a typical supermarket or retailer. They also use no palm oil or preservatives in their chocolates.
In less than 18 months, the business went from a Kickstarter funding programme to a well-received appearance on the popular TV show Dragon’s Den. Russell & Atwell chocolates are now available in delis and independent shops around the country.
The business also runs a successful eCommerce site, allowing you to order fresh chocolates online (www.russellandatwell.com). You can even subscribe to their products, receiving regular deliveries via post.
Sourcing suitable eCommerce packaging
While the business sourced jars and pouches for the primary packaging their chocolates required, the company knew they needed packaging for their planned eCommerce operations.
Besides having little experience in sourcing this type of packaging before, it was essential that it reflected the luxury nature of their products, and was cost-effective (being a start-up).
However, after their TV appearance, the business soon encountered another challenge – the rapid scaling up of their operations and packaging requirements.
Main objectives of the design/manufacturing processes
The initial brief detailed three main objectives. The aims were to protect items in transit, minimise postage costs, and reflect Russell and Atwell’s brand values and ethos.
From this initial brief, it was clear that corrugated letterbox packaging was the most suitable option.
The chocolates, when in pouches, obviously needed to reach customers in a presentable condition. Similarly, when supplied in refillable glass jars, these also required suitable levels of transit protection. The protection levels required meant that stock sizes of “off the shelf” boxes would not be appropriate. Custom sizes, however, would reduce the movement of the products during shipping, preventing damage.
The use of custom size packaging was also required to ensure that specific packs could fit through letterboxes. The sizing should also help reduce shipping rates according to Royal Mail Pricing in Proportion (PIP) guidelines. It also ensured that customers were not required to be home to receive their deliveries.
And finally, the packaging had to convey luxury and provide a premium unboxing experience, while also highlighting the company’s environmental focus, which included refillable jars and not using palm oils, preservatives etc.
04: The solution
The packaging GWP produced
GWP created a custom-designed eCommerce pack in the FEFCO 0427 style, using a recyclable E flute material.
Whilst the design itself was relatively standard, the bespoke size meant a perfect fit for the various pouches, jars and combinations of products. This, in turn, helped keep them safe during transit.
Whilst the design is also a fairly common choice for eCommerce packaging, a brown kraft material – left unprinted on the outside – was chosen.
This had two main benefits.
Firstly, the natural appearance of the box reflected Russell and Atwell’s unique selling point of only using natural ingredients (and the environmentally friendly nature of their products). It also meant that the boxes did not advertise their contents during their journey through delivery networks.
However, the inside of the box was printed in a rich, deep black-brown colour and included the Russell and Atwell branding in white ink. This design provided the premium unboxing experience for the consumer, it also made a great branded backdrop for consumer photos/posts on social media and to their friends and tied everything together with their website and products (ultimately ensuring a consistent brand identity).
05: Additional considerations
Logistical challenges of significant brand exposure
Whilst the business experienced a good level of sales and success immediately after its launch, the exposure of appearing on Dragons Den during the primetime BBC1 schedule saw sales skyrocket.
This newfound fame required an urgent ramp-up in producing both their chocolates and their packaging.
GWP’s modern production facility and high capacity printed die-cutting capability ensured that the required levels of packaging were manufactured and delivered promptly, allowing Russell and Atwell to respond to the surge in demand.
Feedback / Dragons Den
Well earned success
Russell & Atwell – and the packaging GWP produced – shot to fame when featured on Dragons Den.
The business initially received investment offers from all five of the Dragons on the popular show. However, the duo eventually secured £90,000 in funding from Peter Jones and Steven Bartlett for 20 percent of their business.
The Dragons all raved about the chocolates they tasted. The entrepreneurs also seemed impressed with the packaging and commented on the quality of the branding.
Giles Atwell commented:
Since the show we have been blown away with the number of orders we have received through our website. The response has been truly exceptional! The forecasts we had worked so hard on were blown out of the water. We sold out of all the stock we had boxed up and ready-to-go within 16 minutes (150,000 chocolates, if you’re interested). Within 90 minutes, we’d sold all remaining stock (150,000 more chocolates), and within two hours, we had sold two years’ worth of fresh chocolates!
Steve Russell added:
“GWP has been excellent in supporting us since our launch, and we would like to thank them and the handful of partners who have helped us over the past 18 months. We are both incredibly grateful and excited that more people will be able to discover what chocolate should really taste like!”
Jay Daggar, Sales Manager at GWP Packaging, commented:
“We have been involved with Russell and Atwell since they launched their online shop, and they have been a great business to work with. We are pleased to be supporting them with the surge in demand after their impressive pitch and several new projects they have in the pipeline.”
“We are obviously delighted that these unique and high-quality products get the packaging they deserve. And I can confirm that the chocolates are every bit as delicious as the Dragons said they are, too!”