Roastar 101: Custom Packaging & How it Works

February 08, 2023
Roastar 101 Part 1-06
  1. Blog
  2. Process

Welcome to your custom-printed packaging journey.

Let’s start at the very beginning.

You’ve done a lot of work to bring your product to market — high five for that! But now you’re faced with the final hurdle of figuring out exactly what to put your product in. We get it. There’s a lot of choices and a lot of technical mumbo jumbo out there when it comes to packaging. You may have even Googled something like “where to buy packaging bags”, or even “where to find product packaging that won’t drive me to tears?”

We’re here to help.

Allow us to introduce ourselves.

Are you used to packaging that’s made overseas? Bags that take forever to ship? Pulling your hair out every time you have to reorder? That’s not how we do things at Roastar.

If you're looking for custom-printed packaging that's made in America, you've come to the right place. Getting retail ready has never been easy for the little guy — until now. When you work with Roastar, it’s about more than getting awesome, custom-printed products; we want you to have the best possible experience, top to bottom. That’s what we’re about.

Why Roastar?

Glad you asked! We know there’s a lot of packaging options out there. So while we’re pretty darn proud of our product lineup, we’re mostly concerned with meeting the needs of our customers. Chatting with customers, learning about their frustrations, and finding creative improvements is how it all started for us.

For over a decade, we’ve kept a laser focus on creating the easiest, smoothest online account experience to make top-shelf packaging accessible to everyone. We’re committed to delivering quality and innovative packaging, made exactly to suit your needs — that’s a little something we like to call The Whole Package.

We’re on a mission to empower the dreamers, go-getters, and rebels of retail with custom-printed packaging that makes a big impression. We understand the passion you’ve poured into your product; it’s our job to match that passion with awesome packaging.

Small business. Big story.

At Roastar, we believe that every small business has a big story to share — and we’re honored to play a part in bringing your product to market. We’re here to support your packaging decisions with easy online ordering, designer connections, and unparalleled customer service. Because your needs are different than that of a large corporation, we offer short runs and quick turnaround times to keep you nimble. Looking to grow? We’re equipped to support you at every phase of your business.

At the end of the day, it’s the success of our customers that makes us tick. Packaging is cool, but achieving your dreams makes it infinitely cooler.

What’s so special about digital printing?

No shade to Guttenberg, but we’ve seen a few advances to printing techniques since the invention of the printing press. We’re big fans of digital printing. Here are a few reasons why:

  • Fast. Because we don’t use plates, we can print and ship your custom packaging in record time.

  • Cost-effective. There are no additional set up fees, tooling fees, or plate charges with digital printing. We love multiple designs with tons of color and different artwork, so go nuts — you can even bundle different designs together to meet our minimum order requirements.

  • Full color. If you’ve ever tried to limit the color in your designs (sad) to avoid pricey die charges, we’ve got great news for you. Digital printing can achieve thousands of color options and intricate details at no extra cost. Full color, full style.

  • Adaptable. Going digital allows for variable data printing. Get creative with serial numbers, scannable barcodes, or different images.

  • Small volume. Digital printing allows us to scale down just as easily as we scale up. Order as few as 500 custom-printed gusseted bags or 100 tin cans for limited runs.

Here’s what you can expect from us.

There are a few things you’ll need to know about the Roastar project process (and don’t worry, we’ll cover them all throughout this series). We’ll start with some of the basics.

Product minimums that make sense.

By this point, you may have encountered enough packaging websites to wonder, what does MOQ stand for? MOQ is industry speak for minimum order quantity, and it’s an important point of distinction.

Our competitors might say we’re infamous for our low minimum order quantities on custom-printed packaging. We like to think of it as giving our customers what they need: the flexibility of small orders without compromising on the customization. Our low MOQs allow you to start ordering custom-printed packaging at a rate that reflects your needs and budget.

We’ve worked with enough coffee roasters, pet treat bakers, and gourmet snack enthusiasts to know that packaging inventory requires a certain amount of flexibility to meet consumer needs. Our custom-printed packaging, coupled with quick turnaround and low MOQs help you stay adaptable to the market.

What are the minimums?

Here’s where things get interesting. We don’t have one minimum order quantity; we have several. Because every product in our lineup has different manufacturing requirements, it wouldn’t make sense to issue a single blanket minimum order quantity. Where we can go lower, we do.

You can always check the current MOQs for our product lineup — and we’ll remind you as you go through the quote and project processes.

There’s one more important thing to know about our minimum order quantities: our MOQs break down further into artwork file minimums. You’re thinking, wait, more minimums? Yes, more minimums! And that’s a good thing. Let’s look at a high-school style math equation to understand the value of minimums.

Patty wants to place an order of gusseted bags for her new coffee business; she’s just starting out, so she decides to go with the minimum order quantity of 500 bags. Patty makes different blends, some ground and some whole bean — so she wants to split her order between the different categories. Given that Roastar’s artwork file minimum for gusseted bags is 100 per design, how stoked is Patty that she doesn’t have to commit the full MOQ to one design?

Artwork file minimums help you make the most of your order. While you’re always welcome to stick to one design per order, feel free to divide your order into as many designs as the artwork file minimum allows for. You may want to take advantage of this feature for different flavors, limited edition packaging, seasonal items, testing new designs, or regional considerations.

Like our minimum order quantities, our artwork file minimums vary by product. You’ll see the full breakdown when you select a product in the quote process.

Lead times that defy the laws of physics.

Think the speed of light is fast? You haven’t met our lead times yet. Other companies measure their lead times in weeks — we measure ours in days. And yes, we’re talking custom-printed orders.

We know what you’re thinking: there must be some sort of dark magic that makes us work so fast. But it’s actually pretty cut and dry. Other manufacturers ship their products from overseas; on top of the inflated turnaround to ship from the other side of the world, they’re also subject to global shipping disruptions. And we all know we’ve seen a lot of those in recent years.

Roastar is proudly headquartered in the USA (Wausau, Wisconsin to be precise). Because our packaging is made and printed stateside, we’re not subject to the same delays that slow down the other guys. Plus, we like to keep production where we can maintain a close eye on quality.

What kind of lead times are we talking about here?

Just like our MOQs, our lead times vary depending on the product. We update our production lead times weekly, so you always have the right information when you’re ready to order. Once we have approved artwork and proofs, your bag is out the door, in the mail, and in your hands.

The best sample pack this side of the Rio Grande.

Listen. We know there’s a lot of moving pieces when it comes to building the right packaging for your product, especially if you’re designing a bag or pouch. For something so seemingly simple, there sure are a lot of decisions to make — and that’s before you even hit the artwork stage.

We’ll give you the full rundown of our materials and special features in a later installment, but we encourage you to start getting familiar with these elements now. Future you will thank the you that’s currently reading this guide. After all, your packaging is an investment; that’s not something we take lightly.

We want you to be happy with the size, material, and finishing of your final product. To help you on your way, we offer free sample packs (you only pay for the cost of shipping) so you can get the hands-on experience you need to make the right decisions for your business.

Our sample packs let you examine all of the details that go into building your packaging. From the variety of materials, to clear windows, special effects, and assorted features — the best way to learn your preferences is through a little quality time. Try the bags out, see which zipper works best for your product, contemplate the difference between hang hole styles, call your mom and ask which bag she prefers. The works.

We encourage you to take full advantage of your sample pack by testing for product fit and capacity requirements. We’ve picked up some interesting tid bits over the years — did you know that light roast and dark roast beans are different sizes? Not a fun surprise to learn after you’ve placed a large order. We’re all about a good test drive! Fill your bags with product, and take them out for a spin. That way, you’ll know that whichever you choose fits the bill. Once you’ve gotten to know your options, you’ll be ready to cruise into the quote process.

In the market for something other than bags and pouches? We have a tin can sample pack for our retro aficionados. We’re always dreaming up new customer experiences, so keep your eyes peeled for more sample pack options in the future.

Ready to hit the ground running?

We’ve given you all of our wisdom about how to get started, the only thing left to do is to actually get started. And fortunately for you, getting started is the fun part (we think it’s all fun, but we may be biased). We’ll be covering some of the ins and outs of custom packaging, as well as walking you through the quote process, in part two of this series — but for now, all you have to be concerned with is playing with samples. Order your sample pack to start exploring your options.

While you’re waiting for your pack to arrive, don’t forget to keep in touch via our newsletter. We share tips, new product information, offers, customer spotlights, and the occasional packaging meme. You’ll find the sign up waiting for you in the footer!

Click here to read part two of our Roastar 101 series. If you need help at any time, feel free to reach out to our customer care team with questions.

posted February 08, 2023