March 15, 2017

For Photographers | Client Gift Pre-Package System

I’m Stephanie, a wedding + lifestyle photographer based in Destin, Florida and Warrenton, Virginia. Whether I’m by the mountains in Virginia or the ocean on the Florida Gulf Coast, my soul feels at home, surrounded by rural living and the raw beauty of nature. I genuinely love what I do, and feel so passionate to share the enthusiasm and joy of these celebrations with you!

light chaser, dreamer, go-getter.

@stephaniemessickphoto

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Client Gift Pre-Packaging System

Some of you might have expected a decorating post, like the chair upholstering tutorial I hinted last week (that’s coming next week!!!), but I have something different for my photographer/creative friends! Every artist should have a system to everything and systems are GOOD. Today, I’m sharing one of my FAVORITE systems that seriously save my booty throughout the year! This post isn’t just geared towards photographers, but any creative that utilizes client packaging! 🙂

Before I get too ahead of myself, let me explain what this “favorite system” is! 🙂 Most wedding photographers (unless you live in a warm place all year long), will experience a “slow season” during the winter time. This is a crucial time to plan and strategize for the upcoming year. I love to make a list of things to do before the wedding season kicks into gear, from taxes to updating my website/marketing materials to redesigning my client gift packages.

Designing packages are FUN, but not for everyone. That’s where supporting other creatives who specialize in client gifts are great! If you want to be personal with your packaging and design everything yourself, then that’s great! There are ways to utilize creatives in some details, without giving up your special touch. For instance, if you love the look of beautiful calligraphy, but would rather leave that to the pros, connect with a calligrapher! There are ways to bring your vision together. 🙂

Client Gift Pre-Packaging System

During the winter season is the most ideal time to tackle this project! If you have been following me on Instagram Stories, you saw some behind the scenes work with these photos below. 🙂 First, figure out your client gift packages every step of the way. Create an itemized list and determine an average amount of customers you will take on for the upcoming year, and purchase all supplies. I try to not buy more than a year worth because your package design might change the following year! It’s important to also note that you should not purchase a year’s worth of chocolate/goodies because they have an expiration date and you don’t want to give your lovely clients expired food. Haha! I purchase a half year’s worth of goodies around February and then purchase the remainder of the goodies around July/August.

After you have all of your supplies, take the time to pre-package! Cut all ribbon to the appropriate length, print all labels and apply to boxes, cut wrapping paper, stamp all boxes and envelopes … Basically, get everything prepped so when it comes time to ship out a gift, you just have to throw it together!

Let me tell you, over two years ago, I implemented this system and it was the best thing for my business! Last year, between the moving, taking the time to travel and planning the first annual Runaway Brides 5k Fun Run, I completely failed to put this system in priority. Believe me, I felt behind allllll year long! When you create an assembly line and do everything at once, you are actually SAVING time!!! Every other week last year, I was running back and forth to the computer/printer for labels, taking out stamping supplies to stamp individual envelopes and boxes, cutting out a small piece of lace fabric from a huge bolt for the inside of the portrait boxes, figuring out how much ribbon to cut … Basically, it was too much, and I honestly dreaded packaging day! It stole the joy of creating this personal experience for my couples. I want to prevent this from happening to you by sharing this system with you! 🙂 Because I took the time to pre-package my client gifts, I’m feeling prepared for the 2017 year, and I want to help you get on the right track!

Here are a few things I worked on this winter season:

Redesigned and printed all Wedding Guides, and cut/tied all ribbon around each magazine. 🙂 I currently store them on a shelf in my office ready to go!

Client Gift Pre-Packaging System

I purchased all little details for my wedding client gifts, cut the ribbon, created little “It’s Movie Night” tags, attached them and sealed them in bags.

Client Gift Pre-Packaging System

I stamped all portrait boxes, cut the lace to appropriate size and stuffed the boxes with supplies!

Client Gift Pre-Packaging System

When you open the box, I have all of the ribbon cut and a USB box filled with crinkle paper ready to go! I store all of these pre-assembled boxes on the top shelf of my office closet!

Client Gift Pre-Packaging System

This isn’t necessarily a “pretty” photo, but I wanted to share that I keep these unassembled boxes under the guest bedroom bed! Perfect! If I were to assemble them, they would take up too much room. Instead, I prep them by printing out ALL labels and sticking them on each box.

Client Gift Pre-Packaging System

This part takes time, but I REALLY love a good embossed envelope! Create an assembly line, and it will save you SO much time instead of doing it week after week! The first Monday of every month, I sit down and draw out my wedding couples’ names so that’s done!

Client Gift Pre-Packaging System

If you were to design your own tags, whether that is calligraphy or printed, do them ahead of time! 🙂 Again, I created an assembly line with the “enjoy” tags and got them taken care of for the year!

Client Gift Pre-Packaging System

Like I was saying above, every first Monday of the month, I like to take care of “monthly chores” and wood burning is now a part of that chore list for my wedding couples. This will be more efficient instead of taking out the wood burning kit every time I have to ship out a package. 🙂 Also, I go ahead and pre-package these wedding boxes as well so it’s ready to go!

Client Gift Pre-Packaging System

I hope you found this client gift pre-packaging post helpful!!! I’ll share what a completed package looks like in the near future! 🙂 🙂 🙂 This might look messy above, but this system is efficient and powerful throughout the year! If you’re a photographer or a creative, I encourage YOU to do the same before the wedding season arrives!!

  1. Catherine says:

    Love this post!! Thank you so much for sharing. I was wondering if you’d explain how you create the embossed names on the envelopes? is that a stick? Also, do you have a label maker or do you just print on premade labels? 

    • Thanks so much!!! I have a Martha Stuart embosser for my logo! 🙂 I use a calligraphy pen for my couples’ names on the envelopes. 🙂 And I created a design and printed them out on a premade label! I hope this answers your questions. 🙂 Haha!

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