Category Archive: Label Solutions

Beauty Box Subscriptions and Product Sample Pouches Gain Popularity – Have You Tried Them?

Around the web and across social networks, it’s increasingly common to find companies and sites devoted to distributing free product samples, or selling monthly beauty box subscriptions. The idea is that by allowing consumers to “try before you buy,” brands can gain more exposure for their products. This is especially common for personal care items, including shampoo, conditioner, lotions, and other cosmetics.

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The products come in convenient sample pouches, or sachets. They can be attached to a full size product on display (such as a packet of conditioner hanging from the neck of a shampoo bottle); they can be mailed directly to interested prospects; or they can be included in subscription boxes that contain samples of different products according to a person’s interests. Sometimes, you’ll even find tandem sample pouches that are attached side-by-side, which is common for new lines of shampoo and conditioner.

But a product sample can only go so far without proper branding. Without recognizable colors and logos, customers might forget which product samples they preferred by the time they get to the local store. For this reason, it’s important to maintain consistency between regular-sized products’ labels, and their smaller sample pouch counterparts. At Star Label Products, we not only print traditional product labels; we also supply flexible packaging options. We print company branding onto flat film, and then send it off for co-packing, where it is formed, filled and heat sealed into the finished pouch. By having a co-packing partner, we’re saving our customers’ time and taking one more task off their to-do list.

To learn more about our production capabilities, please visit us online or contact uswith your specific requirements. We look forward to hearing from you!

Instant Redeemable Coupons Benefit Shoppers, Retailers, and Brands

As you browse through the aisles of your local supermarket or convenience store, you’re bound to see at least a few products with a special bonus attached – an instant redeemable coupon (IRC). These coupons can be removed from a product at the time of the sale and discounted right from the register.

For consumer brands, IRCs are appealing because they can be used for product promotion as well as moving out old inventory. If a food or beverage lot is approaching expiration, rather than risk the loss of that entire group, attaching IRCs motivates shoppers to buy those specific items while they are still fit to be consumed. Other products that must be used within a certain time-period, including disposable contact lenses and medical supplies such as diabetes testing strips, can also benefit from IRCs that get them off shelves and into shopping carts.

For products that can pose a challenge for common adhesives, such as frozen and refrigerated goods, special low temperature, moisture-resistant adhesives secure the carrier to the product. And when a coupon is removed from the carrier, the coupon itself doesn’t have any sticky glue attached, making it easy to handle and store for retailers that then send the coupons back to a processing center for reimbursement.

Another benefit of having the IRC carrier still attached to the product packaging is that when the coupon is removed, brands can have special messages or logos printed in the carrier. This can enhance brand recognition, and can be used to direct customers to other company assets, including web sites and social media accounts.

For more information about instant redeemable coupon printing and applications, feel free to contact Star Label Products and request a quote.

A Recap of the Natural Products Expo East This Fall

This year, as in many years past, Star Label’s VP of Sales Irv Magill attended the Natural Products Expo East in Baltimore, Maryland. As always, the show featured all natural and organic food, healthcare products, cosmetic and personal care brands, cleaning supplies and more. This year, there were many new companies eager to demonstrate their wares. And Irv was on hand to discuss how best to package them.

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Digitally printed pressure labels and pouches seemed to be the major packaging trends this year. By attending the show and visiting exhibition booths, we were able to see which packaging methods are currently being used by emerging companies, and suggest alternatives that might better serve their needs. For example, digital printing offers us the opportunity to create very high quality graphics in an inexpensive way compared to other options.

In addition to networking and building connections, the Natural Products Expo also featured numerous events for attendees. There was an Organic Harvest Festival, the Natural Products Association East’s annual meeting, a New Products Showcase Award, The Women in Naturals Networking Event, and much more.

The event also included informational sessions for new brands as they continue to navigate the hurdles of maintaining an organic consumer product business. There was even a packaging component that centered on how to leverage branding and packaging to grow sales, along with an opportunity for companies to have their current packaging reviewed and critiqued.

All in all, it was a successful natural product event that exposed our brand to many new prospects in the organic product industry. You can learn more about the event online, or follow up with us on how to improve your current packaging for natural products.

Why Supporting American Manufacturing is More Important Than Ever

With Manufacturing Day finally here, and Manufacturing Month continuing through October, there’s no better time to reflect of the importance of Made in America products and services. Keeping jobs onshore, and reshoring ones that have left are making for a stronger economic recovery as more people are able to get back to work.

Additionally, by keeping production within our borders, we’re better able to ensure that products and materials meet certain safety requirements. This is especially important for areas like food production. Having close access to facilities means that managers can frequently make trips to inspect equipment and shop conditions, while making sure that food is properly prepared and safe for consumption.

When most people think of manufacturing, they might first think of heavy machinery like cars and airplanes. But just look in your pantry and imagine all of the work that went into getting that food onto your shelves. The food itself was likely weighed, sorted, and cleaned by high-tech instruments. Then, it was moved to a filling station (the packaging containers were also produced somewhere, after all) before being labeled, sealed, and sent off for shipping. Each step plays a vital role, and together we all represent American manufacturers working hard to put quality products into the hands of our customers.

By supplying labels to numerous industries in the United States, Star Label is doing our part and contributing to American production. Separately, we each make a difference to our local economies and workforce. Together, we’re building up an entire country, one job at a time.

Labeling Tech – The Flexibility of Digital Printing: Part 2

In “The Flexibility of Digital Printing: Part 1” we looked at conventional printing, weighing the greater upfront cost and setup time against the faster printing speed. Now that we have an understanding of conventional printing, we’re ready to explore the benefits of digital printing

Digital printing does not require the use of printing plates, which eliminates the cost and time required to produce those plates. What’s more, there’s no need to setup the plates in the press before printing. All of this means that you can go from finalizing your design to printing labels in less time for less money.

This all adds up to one thing: flexibility. Companies can make small changes to their label design without worrying about an initial investment. So for Breast Cancer Awareness month they can add a pink ribbon to their label. Or for the Super Bowl they can add on a special design. The same goes for holidays. Customers can print small label runs without worrying that they’re not making the most of an initial investment.

Digital printing is an ideal choice for product launches. Let’s take, for example, a beverage company looking to introduce five new flavors. Unfortunately there’s no crystal ball that can predict what will be a hit and what will flop. So after a few months on store shelves the company finds that there just isn’t a market for flavor number 4, but flavor number 2 was a bigger hit than they ever could have predicted. With digital printing, they’re not sitting on a stock of 200,000 flavor 4 labels that they printed to get the lowest price per piece. Instead, they were able to place those initial orders in much smaller quantities, and can now adjust numbers for future orders with ease.

As we mentioned in Part 1, the limitations of digital printing are being pushed further and further at a remarkable speed. There’s a common misconception that digital printing is only cost effective for very small print runs, a misconception we’ve disproved with our new HP Indigo WS6600 Digital Press. We’re evaluating every job to determine the best option for our customers. There’s a crossover point where conventional printing becomes more cost effective than digital printing. That crossover point is being pushed further back every day.

Every product has a life cycle. Making changes to your label design and taking advantage of holidays and special events can help extend that life cycle. Digital printing also allows you to easily incorporate something new into a tried-and-true design, such as adding social media icons to a label, a request we’re receiving more and more often. Digital printing gives you what you want, how you want it, when you need it. Our new HP digital press has enhanced our digital printing capabilities, allowing us to offer our customers labeling solutions that take advantage of the very best the technology has to offer.

Labeling Tech – The Flexibility of Digital Printing: Part 1

We recently enhanced our digital printing capabilities with the purchase of a brand new HP Indigo WS6600 Digital Press. Digital printing is a technology that continues to evolve. With this new press, we’re astounded at the jobs we can print digitally, jobs that would not have been cost effective to run on a digital printer even a year ago.

Before we talk about what digital printing can accomplish, we first need to talk about conventional label printing. And before we begin that discussion, we’d like to make one important note: digital printing and conventional printing each have their own benefits, but neither is a replacement for the other. Both processes have a place in offering a comprehensive array of label solutions.

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Conventional printing involves an upfront investment in printing plates. Let’s examine a hypothetical label. We’ll say that this label has three separate items. These items can be anything from a star or a swirl, to a picture of a basketball. We’ll also say that each of these three items is comprised of four process colors (cyan, magenta, yellow and black). To print this label, we would need to make a photopolymer image printing plate for each of the four colors. That brings us to four plates, each with a one-time cost to manufacture. Now multiply that by 5 product variations, each with its own label, and suddenly you’re up to 20 plates. Once the plates are made, they’re yours.

Conventional printing takes more time to setup than digital printing. But once the process is up and running, conventional printing is faster. One element of a project’s cost is the time it takes to print. So for a large run, the time saved outweighs the initial cost of plates, making conventional printing the more cost effective choice.

Check back for Part 2, where we’ll take a look at how digital printing differs from conventional printing, and go into some applications that are ideally suited for the digital press.

What Goes into an Ineffective Private Label Design?

In striving for an effective private label design, it is also important to consider what makes for an ineffective private label design. The number one misstep to avoid is making the label too busy. This can  result in confusion, and can cause customers to question what exactly your product is. There’s a fine line between intriguing and confusing, and it’s the difference between stopping busy shoppers in their tracks and sending them in the other direction.

It’s also important that your label designer be aware of all necessary regulatory requirements. There are rules governing everything from minimum font sizes for pharmaceutical and food items, to the proper way to lay out a nutrition fact label. These regulations are ever changing, and it’s inherent that your designer always be knowledgeable on the most up-to-date requirements.

Lastly, it’s imperative that your label be printable. A design may look great on a computer monitor, but if it can’t be manufactured then there’s not much you can do with it. At Star Label our production graphic artists are excellent designers, and they’re experts at achieving the best results with our printing processes. Even if our customers supply their own designs, we’ll preflight the design files to make sure we can print them. If there are elements that don’t work, such as a font that’s too small or a logo that’s too close to the edge of the label, we’ll work with our customers to modify the design and make it printable. If you’re curious about how to prepare an art file, visit our website: https://www.starlabel.com/how-to-prepare-an-art-file.html.

An effective private label design will entice your customers to pick your product up off the shelf. By working with a designer that helps you avoid common pitfalls and adhere to all the necessary regulatory requirements, you can rest assured that your design is working for you and not against you.

What Goes into an Effective Private Label Design?

When it comes to retail products, there’s limited shelf space and a whole lot of competition. With dozens of products that seem to do the same thing, how do you get a shopper to pick up yours? Different labeling effects and decorating techniques can help do the trick.

The ultimate goal is to get a shopper to pick your product up off the shelf. One way to accomplish this is by using tactile varnishes on your label. Whether it’s raised dots of varnish that look like braille, or soft touch plastics that feel like suede, interesting textures will help intrigue customers and encourage them to grab your product and feel it for themselves.

Iridescent and holographic films are also effective. By changing colors as customers walk by, they can catch customers’ eyes and cause them to look in the direction of your product. Your entire label can be made of these light bending films, or they can be used sparingly as one element of the overall label design.

Another strategy that many private label manufacturers have employed with great success is the inclusion of IRCs—instant redeemable coupons—with their products. These are separate labels that easily peel off of your product, offering shoppers instant savings. Many times this technique is used in conjunction with bundling, whereby a manufacturer will package one product with another related product. Often times this is done to promote a new item, such as shrink wrapping a new shaving gel with a package of razors, or a small stick of deodorant with a bottle of body wash.

Be sure to come back for our next blog, where we look at what goes into an ineffective label design.

Challenges in Label Design – Shampoo Bottles

One of the most challenging products to label is, believe it or not, a shampoo bottle. The beginning considerations are pretty basic: What kind of plastic is the bottle made of? Is it a fully squeezable bottle? Semi-squeezable? Fully rigid? This lets us know how flexible the label needs to be.

The real challenge comes from silicone. You know those sticker sheets you used to get as a kid where the stickers would peel easily off of that smooth, white paper? The reason the stickers came off so easily is because the paper was silicone treated. Plastic shampoo bottles are typically made through a process known as plastic injection molding, where liquid plastic is injected into a mold hollowed into the desired shampoo bottle shape. To get the finished bottles to release from the molds faster, shops often coat the molds with a silicon release agent, similar to the one used on sticker sheets. This release agent winds up coating the bottles as well.

As you can imagine, a coating designed for easy release makes it difficult for a label to adhere. Some bottles are flame treated, a process that burns off the silicone without melting the bottle. Flame treated bottles are much easier to label. Sometimes however, the silicone release agent is actually mixed into the plastic itself, so flame treating it away simply isn’t an option.

Don’t get us wrong, we can supply a label for each of these scenarios. It’s simply a matter of knowing what we’re up against so we can provide a label that’s up to the task. That’s why we ask the questions we do. Most companies don’t know how their bottles are made, but a quick inquiry to their manufacturer can save rounds of failed label designs.

The Tough Questions

In our last blog we walked you through the basics, the questions we ask to get things moving. But on the way to crafting the perfect label solution, there are more questions to be asked, questions that change with the application. Here are some examples:

How is the product packaged? This can entail many aspects of a project. Are we providing a label for a bottle? If so, what type of line is it filled on? If it’s wet and messy and liquid is likely to spill over onto the area where the label will be applied, that calls for a different solution than a label that goes on in a dry environment. What is the application temperature? The service temperature? A label could be applied in a 35°F environment, but then the product could go on to be used in a -20°F environment. That has to be taken into consideration. Will the label be applied by hand or by an automated machine? If the label will be applied by a machine, more factors come into play. Orientation becomes critical. We have to know exactly how the label feeds off the roll. Does the side, top, or bottom of the label have to roll off first? What are the requirements of the machine? If the machine can handle a roll with a 20 in. outer diameter, and we provide a 10 in. diameter roll you’ll be stopping your line twice as often as you need to.

What conditions will the product be subjected to? The label solutions we provide need to withstand the same conditions as the products they’re being applied to. In the case of outdoor recessed lighting for example, UL safety labels are required that need to last the life of the product. Knowing the conditions allows us to provide solutions that are up to the task.

Are there any concerns with current labels? If past labels have failed, we need to make sure we provide solutions that won’t. We once worked with a customer who sold packs of baseball cards. People would peel price labels from cheaper card sets and place them over the price labels of more expensive sets. We were able to provide a tamper-resistant solution that put an end to this.

Does the label need to be removed? If you’re supplying fine crystal ware, you want your end users to be able to remove the labels from your products, but you don’t want them to remove those labels in the store. We can employ special label adhesives that break down when exposed to a certain temperature of water. This way customers can’t peel off the labels in the store, but with a wash cloth and some hot water at home the adhesive dissolves and the labels are easily removed.

The goal is to understand what an end user experiences once they have the product in their hands and to work backwards from there. We put those considerations together with the concerns of our customers, and provide a custom label solution that takes care of everyone’s needs.