The reason I have been so absent from posting on my blog is because I have been trying to come up with a way to ship items without them getting squashed AND complying with Swiss Post’s 2cm thickness rule. It’s quite limiting to work with a thickness only up to 2cm. Swiss Post increases the postage price from CHF3.80 to CHF20 for anything over that thickness. Seems quite ridiculous!
Anyway, I have been receiving comments recently, from customers that have received crushed parcels. It’s really not my fault, but since then, I have been so worried that every package I send will arrive in bad state. There’s no way any customer would pay CHF20 for posting small amounts in a tough box, so I had no choice but to come up with something else. I started searching for affordable local packaging solutions, but came up empty handed. I think most Swiss people just prefer to pay CHF20 and be done with it, but I need to have an affordable option. I looked everywhere for plastic containers, boxes… anything that would protect my jewellery but still remain less than 2cm. I found some containers online, but only in Germany. Yet another problem — German companies don’t send anything to Switzerland, and if they do, they charge ridiculous amounts, rendering that option unaffordable. Okay, to make my long story short — I found nothing I could get in bulk that didn’t cost hundreds of Francs/Euros.
I started experimenting with paper folding to make boxes. There is an easy way to make square gift boxes, but not much way to control the height. The box is always square, and size was limited to the sheet of paper. Largest I could make was 7.3cm with A4 paper. I needed something broad but flat, and I also wanted something I could make with ordinary sized A4 paper or card, so I ruled out this technique.
The only way to go was to try making rectangle boxes. This involved lots of cutting and gluing. A lot of work, but I managed to get decent results. First, I got hold of a pattern and modified it to suit my needs in my vector editing program. Printing a pattern onto a sheet had its pros. I could add my logo and other information to the box. I also managed to find thick 160g/m² paper in A4 size from my local Migros supermarket. I could print my pattern on those thick sheets. Each sheet had one larger pattern and one smaller. I need two sheets to make one box, but two sheets make two boxes. I put covers on one sheet, and bottoms on the second. I couldn’t fit both on one sheet, so this way, I make two box sizes. Box 1 is 10.3cm x 8cm; box 2 is 8.9cm x 7cm. The smaller one is still large enough to hold my jewellery cards, so I will use them for single orders.
I got a nifty bone folding tool and some PVC glue that really help get the job done quickly. The bone tool wasn’t necessary, but I could score fold lines for a more professional look — and it also helped me fold it up really quickly. I use the PVC glue to secure the folds and here are photos of my boxes! The logo on the front was easy, I just flipped the card around to print the design.
They are quite sturdy and only 1.5-1.7cm in height. I have to change one thing about my mailing envelopes. I can’t use padded envelopes any more, since that increases the overall thickness. I ordered a roll of ‘Schaumpack-Folie’ (I think they are the thinner foam padding sheets you find with electronics). I have no idea what they are called in English, I just call them thin sheets of padding foam! 😛 They are 1mm thick, so they may help reduce dings on the boxes I send… I can’t have it both scratch-proof and crush-proof, so I guess I choose crush-proof. Who cares if the box gets dinged, right? I’m hoping customers feel the same.