Canadian start-up The Packaging Company™ transforms the way businesses send product, while also redefining what it means to collaborate

Canada’s own The Packaging Company launched in August 2016 to help businesses, large and small, send packages and deliver orders in creative, custom and speedy ways. The company’s goal is to collaborate with businesses to help them work efficiently and effectively, leaving long-lasting impressions with the material they send to customers and clients.

We connected with Olivia Pietersen, the E-Commerce Business Manager at The Packaging Company, to learn more about the brand and how local businesses could benefit.

Part of Olivia’s job involves ensuring customers have what they need to be successful in their packaging efforts. “Being able to connect with business owners, helping them create packaging solutions, and seeing The Packaging Company grow has been the best part of what I do,” Olivia says.

Read the full interview below:

  1. What sparked the idea for The Packaging Company?

The packaging industry mostly runs on volume, meaning customers must buy in minimum quantities and seriously consider buying in bulk if they want to take advantage of tiered pricing discounts. We saw the opportunity to make packaging (and custom packaging) more accessible to all businesses, by enabling them to order in smaller and short-run quantities, all without the tiered pricing schemes.

  1. If The Packaging Company were a person, what type of person would they be? Why?

The quintessential go-getter, passionate about their chosen path, and always on the lookout for ways to work smarter, not harder. They understand the power of selling, branding, and—to borrow a well-used phrase—thinking outside the box. They’d also wear nice shoes. I think you present yourself better in smart, attractive shoes.

  1. What is the largest company you’ve worked with to help create packages? The smallest?

We’ve been fortunate enough to have been instrumental in the packaging efforts of a large national retailer, while also helping to dramatically improve the packaging of several smaller businesses. Our TPC Stories series on YouTube highlights some of the smart, interesting brands we’ve been lucky to interact with. Tune into that, here.

  1. What was one of the most challenging parts about opening this business?

We’ve found one of the biggest (and most interesting) challenges has been brand awareness. Even though we’re filling a need for affordable and accessible packaging, it’s still vitally important to get our name out there. Thankfully, with every new customer we gain, we find we’re being talked about more and more.

  1. The Packaging Company operates in both the U.S. and Canada. Why is this important for your brand and your customers?

More and more e-commerce businesses are operating in both countries. By proudly being on both sides of the border, The Packaging Company can service both arms of a business and ensure consistent packaging across the board. While the U.S. e-commerce industry is well-established, Canada’s is still growing, and it’s revealed areas that are sorely underserved—namely, its packaging needs. We’re able to fulfill those needs, and as Canada’s e-commerce potential grows, so does ours.

  1. What services does The Packaging Company provide for businesses who ship products?

We enable businesses to package their products properly by significantly reducing minimum order quantities and eliminating tiered price breaks. This means they don’t have to cut packaging corners because they can’t afford volume pricing. We’re also able to help businesses make their packaging look unlike anyone else’s. Our custom packaging offerings, which are continuing to grow, help to brand shipments and create memorable unboxing experiences. That used to be difficult for smaller businesses to take advantage of, thanks to high volume and price-point barriers.

  1. What type of customer do you currently attract? What methods do you use to retain these customers?

Our customer base is largely other e-commerce businesses, as they’re the type of business most in need of quality, custom packaging options. We’re very customer-focused, ensuring we get to know exactly what our customers need, and making suggestions that will not only protect their products and showcase their brand, but save their operation some money while they’re at it. As a nice bonus, we provide reliable and fast shipping.

  1. Who do you think the future customers of The Packaging Company will be?

E-commerce businesses, for sure. As their shipping volumes can change with the time of year, the products they’re currently promoting, and even the frequency of their shipping efforts, they need packaging options that won’t blow their budget or overload their stock rooms. We can provide that better than the larger packaging suppliers out there.

  1. In addition to packaging and shipping supplies, you also sell moving supplies. What kind of success have you seen with those kinds of products?

We’re pleased to offer a wide variety of moving products, from standard items like moving boxes and blankets, to items customers may not always consider needing, like floor runners and shoe covers. Our most unique product is our Moving Starter Kit. It has the basics you’ll need to start packing up a room, and we’ve had great feedback from our customers—more than a few have told us it’s exactly what they needed to kickstart their moving efforts.

Olivia Pietersen, E-Commerce Business Manager at The Packaging Company. Photo by Stephanie Schultz.
  1. Your brand is active on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube and Instagram. What type of social media strategy does The Packaging Company use to get the message out there about the services you provide?

We’re a group of people who love packaging and its potential, and we want to share that passion with other people and their businesses. Whether we’re showcasing some great packaging we’ve come across, or promoting the sales we’re running on our site, it’s all about interacting with our customers and letting them know we’ve got the packaging supplies their products or possessions deserve.

  1. What social media platform do you find to be the most effective? Why do you think that is so?

Facebook, hands down. It has the widest audience of any platform, whether that’s someone in need of mailing tubes for selling vintage movie posters online, or a monthly subscription service interested in creating custom boxes for their shipments. Facebook’s ability to target the right groups, and its variety of posting styles (pictures, blog links, videos) makes it invaluable to us.

  1. What lessons has The Packaging Company learned since opening day that other new businesses might find beneficial?

Your site will never be completely perfect. It’s a work in progress that will shift and change with your product offerings and your target market’s interests. If you stay flexible, passionate and excited about what you’re doing, the possibilities of your site will be endless.

  1. You’re located in Toronto, one of Canada’s most diverse cities. It’s also a city that has a buzzing entrepreneurial/small business space. How does The Packaging Company stand out in Toronto?

Toronto is full of small, unique businesses, all of whom need packaging solutions that are just as unique. Larger packaging supplies often cannot cater to their needs in just the right ways, thanks to their volume-based practices. But with our focus on short-run and custom packaging, we can and do cater to those unique packaging needs.

  1. What makes The Packaging Company stand out in the packaging industry? What makes you different than more traditional packaging suppliers?

Sometimes smaller is better—both in business size and business focus. We provide access to stock and custom packaging supplies in reasonable quantities and prices, something the larger suppliers aren’t willing to do. Our commitment to bringing proper, custom packaging solutions to both physical and e-commerce businesses without breaking their bank (or their stockroom) is what makes The Packaging Company stand out from everyone else.

  1. How many people are currently employed at The Packaging Company?

We’re a team of just under 10 people. Though we all bring specific skillsets and experiences to the table, we’re multidisciplinary in how we approach and pursue our projects. A good marketer knows how to write for their audience, a good writer knows how to design for that audience, and so on.

  1. How would you describe the office culture at The Packaging Company?

It’s a welcoming, creative and fast-paced atmosphere. There are always new projects on hand, and everyone is constantly learning from each other.

  1. How did you get involved in The Packaging Company?

I was working with a smart group of people, and we took notice of a short-run and custom packaging need in the ecommerce world. Our interest in the idea of filling that need, and our varying professional backgrounds, helped up create the project that turned into The Packaging Company.

  1. Describe the types of jobs available at The Packaging Company, should our viewers be interested in joining your team one day in the future.

The worlds of e-commerce and packaging are varied and always changing. People who are passionate, curious, neurobic, and excited to contribute to our project’s success will always fit in well here. More specifically, customer service skills, a love of packaging, and a creative eye are big pluses.

  1. What do you think the future has in store for The Packaging Company?

Growth and potential. Custom packaging is absolutely the way of the future, and it’s our biggest focus going forward. We’re aiming towards a day when we can look at every part of a customer’s branded, custom packaging and say, “we made all of that.”

Recently, The Packaging Company was awarded the distinction of Most Disruptive Start-Up at the 2017 Canada Post E-commerce Innovation Awards. “It’s a phenomenal honour to be recognized for changing the way our industry does business. It’s a title we’d like to continue being worthy of as time goes on,” Olivia says.

To see how you and your brand could work with The Packaging Company, visit thepackagingcompany.com! Special thanks to Olivia for sharing her story with us and the A Quarter Young community. We can’t wait to see what your future will deliver, next.

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