by Gina Angie on 02/01/2012 | 4 Minute Read
While browsing Etsy the other day, I found these lovely all natural products packaged by hand. More photos & an interview discussing the sustainable packaging after the jump!
"Phoenix herbal balms and butters are moisturizing and therapeutic. Each has unique healing and aromatherapy benefits. My products are vegan with the exception of those which contain beeswax from kind local beekepers (the way I see it, without beekeepers there would be a lot less bees around!) And of course, tested on human animals only."
Gina Angie: Do you have any background in graphic design or packaging?
Irina: I have an art background, have loved drawing and making things as long as I remember. I earned a BFA in Fine Arts with a concentration in Photography. In college I learned Photoshop and this has been my main designing tool along with other Adobe programs.
Gina Angie: Is your etsy shop your full time job?
Irina: Two months ago, in November, I ended my 9-year job as an Ethnobotany Research Assistant. My business was taking off fast. At the moment Phoenix Botanicals is my main job. I have also been teaching classes in herbal medicine making and local plant walks, and selling my items in retail to shops including Anthropologie.
Gina Angie: It seems like sustainability is important to the brand. Can you describe how you promote this idea through your packing?
Irina: Mindfulness and stewardship of the Earth and its resources is key to Phoenix Botanicals. In packaging I use all recycled-paper materials - padded envelopes, recycled beige tissue-paper. Three years ago I discovered the wonders of Washi tape- paper tape originally from (and still mostly made in) Japan. I started using this paper tape instead of shrink-wrap, to keep my containers closed in stores and during mailing. They are beautiful, come in all different colors and have become a big part of my design as well. It is a very thin paper tape that has a strong but removable adhesive. So much better than shrink wrap!
I would like to reduce plastic from my line as much as possible. The idea of packaging organic sustainable products in containers that are toxic to our environment is heart-breaking. Plastic ends up in our oceans, where sea animals and birds mistake it for food. I may never forget a photograph I saw of seagull remains, with a belly-full of plastic lighters.
I make a point to package my products in recycled and re-usable materials, including the muslin bags. I also educate about their alternative use as reusable teabags. These muslin bags are a great way to make an herbal tea with loose herbs. They are sold at a local herb store for that purpose. The muslin bags are also ready-made gift bags- no additional packaging needed to gift to others!
4. I have never seen a lip balm packaged in paper like that. Can you explain how and why you chose this type of package?
Irina: I chose this packaging because I was looking for alternatives to plastic tubes. I found them in a local store under the name of Organic Essence lip balms (also called EcoVison for their packaging). I contacted them the next day and became their first customer for just the tubes. This company has a lot of integrity and is revolutionizing eco packaging.
The makers have told me that a mass production machine is in the works (which will lower the cost and speed up the process), but currently they are still being hand made in California.
Gina Angie: Is there anything else you would like to share with The Dieline readers?
Irina: On the topic of packaging, it is important to see what is really going on. If a sustainable product is packaged in a non-sustainable material - is it really sustainable? Also in terms of the contents- if a beneficial plant material is added to to a skincare product that contains petroleum ingredients which are damaging to skin... Will this product really be good for your skin?
Designed by Irina of Phoenix Botanicals