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Haberdashery: High performance corrugated ecommerce shipper

Matt Dobson: Last Updated 17th February 2022
Posted In: Case Studies xx 31179

Corrugated Transit Packaging

Designing and manufacturing a solution for high value and delicate products

Haberdashery is well known in design circles for their focus on innovation and creativity, without neglecting the functionality of their products and installations.

Tying in particularly well with GWP Packaging’s own values and strengths, when they approached GWP to create a high-performance ecommerce shipper to safely transport a new delicate and high-value product the resulting outcome proved particularly successful.

The major innovations of the final pack, therefore, included the use (and structural design) of corrugated fittings that not only eliminate the need for foam or EPS, but also create fresh air around an exceptionally fragile / expensive glass pendant, without increasing the overall volumetric size of the pack and maintaining customer experience.

Quick Reference / Contents

01: About Haberdashery

London based design practice / light manufacturer

Founded in 2007 Haberdashery is a London based design practice that utilises light to create landmark sculptures, innovative products and inspired R+D for ambitious architects, interior designers, brands and institutions globally.

The company’s ethos is to approach every design opportunity with passion and attention to detail. This has seen Haberdashery build up a wealth of experience (subsequently put into each bespoke sculptural commission) gained from over 450 successful installations in 35 countries over the past decade.

Their goal is to delight and surprise their audience, through taking an artistic approach at the outset of a project, which is then replaced with a design focus for the delivery stages.

As a result, Haberdashery aims to discover new ways of captivating their audiences through light & form, whether expressed as unique sculptural commission for Foster + Partners, Selfridges & Co or British Land, or as Products & Editions that embody the same attention to detail and imagination in a take away form.

02: The Challenge

Problems that Haberdashery were facing

Haberdashery, already being well known for creating bespoke lighting sculptures and large-scale installations, decided to launch their first commercial lighting product – Canopy.

This product takes the form of an LED pendant light, which casts dappled light reminiscent of sunshine filtering through leaves.

The light source in Canopy consists of a custom array of LED pixels developed in-house by Haberdashery, which displays a looping animated gif to create movement. The light then passes through a lens and a filter to create the full effect.

Canopy, being the studio’s first commercially available product, will eventually form part of a future collection called Evoke, which draws on memories triggered by light.

The obvious challenge this immediately raised was relatively simple – how to protect an expensive and fragile item safely during courier and transportation networks.

However, upon defining a brief, a number of more intricate and more challenging requirements were realised, taking in environmental sensitivities, customer experience and brand positioning.

Haberdashery canopy pendant
The Haberdashery canopy pendant product has an RRP of approximately £1,000

03: The Brief

Main objectives of the design process

As a result, the brief raised 3 main objectives – protection, minimising environmental impact and customer experience.

As the pack was to be used for shipping ecommerce orders of the highly fragile and expensive (approx. £1,000 RRP) glass pendant, protection through the supply chain was essential. This also meant a requirement to keep all individual elements of the product separate within the pack.

However, to reflect Haberdashery’s brand ethos and environmental policies, only recyclable materials were to be used. The obvious choice for such a pack would be to use foam, but with this option ruled out the structural design had to provide a similar level of protection.

As with all e-commerce orders of valuable items, the “unboxing” was also of the upmost importance. Therefore, customer experience when revealing the product was a key consideration.

Even having highlighted these 3 key points, however, there were a number of additional factors to consider.  This included the cost of the pack needing to come within a relatively tight budget, the volumetric size / weight needing to be kept to a minimum (to minimise shipping costs) and ease of assembly were also highlighted.

Finally, GWP also realised it was important from a manufacturing perspective to keep production processes to a minimum and make suitable use of print and graphics.

Haberdashery boxes
The Haberdashery boxes had to fulfil all of the functionality of a standard ecommerce pack

04: The Solution

The packaging GWP proposed

To successfully meet this brief, without using foam or EPS, an engineered structural design utilising interlocking fittings was created, with recyclable EB and B flute used throughout.

This, whilst satisfying the environmental considerations, provided protection during transit by locating and housing all products, minimising contact with fragile elements and creating fresh air all around the product. This ensured no contact was made with internal walls of the outer carton.

This was proven with the packaging facing real-life transit tests during development, all of which were passed.

The fittings also allow for an excellent un-boxing experience, with the customer clearly seeing the product on initial opening, with secondary items initially hidden.

Satisfying the other requirements, the pack came within budget and actually offered a cost saving of 70% compared with foam alternatives. Assembly speeds were minimised due to the simple roll up fittings and interlocking fitting locations, whilst the volumetric size did not increase against the foam alternative (and was kept to a safe minimum for transit purposes).

The EB flute outer also allowed for maximised flexographic branding impact whilst maintaining transit protection and structural integrity. The case-maker and die-cutting processes used for manufacture of the components also ensured minimal waste.

05: Additional Considerations

Other crucial points to consider

Unusually for a product of this value and fragility, foam, polystyrene and other “non-recyclable” materials could not be used. This would have been the obvious solution due to way in which it cushions items from shock, impact and vibration during transit.

With this option ruled out, the opportunity was to find a way in which corrugated could be used to cushion the product through UK and international courier networks.

Haberdashery canopy pendant shipper
The Haberdashery canopy pendant shipper was created to reduce size, whilst also eliminating foam and plastics

Unusually for a product of this value and fragility, foam, polystyrene and other “non-recyclable” materials could not be used. This would have been the obvious solution due to way in which it cushions items from shock, impact and vibration during transit.

With this option ruled out, the opportunity was to find a way in which corrugated could be used to cushion the product through UK and international courier networks.

Utilising B flute, a structural design was created to mimic the way that foam would “encase” the item (in this case with fresh air instead) to insulate it from any potential forces it would encounter.

To achieve this whilst also maintaining an equivalent volumetric footprint was a key part of the challenge, but doing so still left space for the supporting products and components.

With Haberdashery’s requirement for the wow factor, this design process also led itself well to the customer experience when opening. When shipping valuable items usually protection is the only consideration, but the space surrounding the product ensured a striking visual impact as soon as the package was opened.

Finally, using corrugated instead of foam also ensures easy disposal / recycling for the end user.

Haberdashery lighting
To date, there have been no reported cases of transit damage to the products

It must also be noted that the above would not be possible without a strong focus placed on design innovation and R&D.

This is where GWP and Haberdashery values and processes aligned strongly, allowing the creation of a technically and structurally advanced pack that also reflected a brand message and enhanced customer experience.

06: Feedback / Starpack Awards

Recognition of the packs success

The pack proved to be such a success that GWP proposed to Haberdashery the potential of entering it into the 2017 Starpack Awards.

Starpack sustainability award winners
Members of the GWP team collect the Starpack "Packaging Sustainability" award at the 2018 event.

With Haberdashery in full agreement, the pack was entered into the B2C “home delivery” category.

Following an extensive judging process, the pack was presented with a Silver Award at a glittering ceremony held in London on February 22nd 2018.

The Starpack Awards have been running for over 50 years and are widely regarded as the industry-leading competition for packaging of all types.

Adrian Vrabie, the GWP designer that worked on the packaging, commented;

It was good to work on a design where the clients themselves placed so much emphasis on design as well – both in terms of usability and aesthetics. Whilst this was initially a bit daunting, Haberdashery were very receptive to the ideas we put forward, and were a pleasure to work with. I’m delighted the pack has been awarded a Starpack Award.

Julie Aparicio, Graphics and Service Designer at Haberdashery, also said;

The pack has worked remarkably well. There was obviously some concern that using corrugated alone would protect such a high value and fragile item, but to date we have had zero returns due to transit damage. GWP have done a great job.

Find Out More

Further information on GWP and Haberdashery

For further information about the GWP design process and the custom corrugated transit packaging you can source, or to discover more about Haberdashery and their Canopy product, please view the guides section of our website, or get in touch.

Related Guides / Articles

About the Author

Matt Dobson

Marketing Manager | GWP Group

Matt has worked in the packaging industry for approximately 9 years, having joined GWP Group as Marketing Executive in 2012. [Read full bio…]

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