Archive for the ‘Penny Pinching’ Category

So you only need 100 labels?

Saturday, May 7th, 2011

At Custom Label, we cheer for small businesses and start-ups! Sure, we love our big customers too, but it’s great to see a new company knock it out of the park. We were all a “small fry” at one point, right? With Custom Label’s digital printing capabilities we ar often approached by pre-market start-ups wanting to produce their first labels. Each week we are approached with the question “How much for 100 labels?” Or 50, or 10, or…. This blog entry is devoted to answering the question: “When is an order too small?”

At the risk of answering with a question, “How much can you spend per label?”. We can print an order of just 1 label, but the cost for that 1 label will be very high. At Custom Label, we have state-of-the-art digital printing cabilities, very economical for printing small runs. That press, however, is not a simple machine. For all of our orders we must “prep” the art, obtain customer approval of the proofs, calibrate the press, print the labels in roll form, and die-cut and laminate them in a second machine. You can see how the labor hours add up even on a small order. For that reason it is common that the total order cost doesn’t vary much for orders under 1,000 labels. The chart below shows this concept. Buying 500 labels only costs an extra $15 versus an order of 100!


For this hypothetical label, the pricing for 100 Labels is $3,600/M (per 1,000 labels) or $360 for the order. Most of the cost is set-up of the machinery. For 500 Labels, the cost is $750 /M or $375 for the total order. Once the machine is setup and running, it doesn’t cost that much more for 5 times as many labels. As quantities grow, however, the setup costs are “amortized” and the material costs and run labor become more important. See how the 5,000 Label run drops to $ 130 / M, or only $650 for the total order?

What do I do if I really only need 100 Labels?

It all depends on the goal of your label. If your label is going to the boardroom to show your CEO a mock-up of your product, by all means a professional label is needed. Custom Label can produce a 1st Class prototype label for you. But what if you only need 100 labels to test our your new product at a local Swap Meet or Famer’s Market? Here are some less expensive solutions:

Desktop Printer Label Sheets: The major office supply stores all carry label sheets in many sizes for printing on your desktop inkjet or color laser printer in both paper and film versions. The printing will sub-professional and the materials will be inferior, but may be fine for your simple requirements.

Specialty Label Printers: Office supply stores also sell simple inkjet and thermal printers from manufacturers like Dymo and Brother, that plug into your computer. They are limited in the size of label media they can print and most only print with Black. Many simple printers like these are under $150 - but the consumable costs can be very expensive.

Industrial Thermal Transfer Label Printers: If your label requirements are significant and black printing is acceptable you can purchase an industrial thermal transfer machine. These high-end desktop printers plug into your computer, and are controlled by specialty software. Up to 1200 dpi printing can be obtained, but be ready to spend several thousand dollars on hardware and software.

Give us a call at Custom Label and we can help you decide the best path for your labels. Even if you use one of the alternatives above to get started, Custom Label will be ready to jump in when your quantities climb and you need a High Quality label solution!

It Just Makes Sense

Sunday, February 20th, 2011

For many of our customers the retail store is their battleground. As a consumer approaches your product’s aisle the vast majority of shoppers do not know what brand of product they will buy that day. Oft-quoted marketing research claims that 70-75% of consumer packaged goods buying decisions are made at the shelf. That’s a scary statistic if you are a small business owner or entrepreneur, trying to gain sales momentum through retail distribution. Jane or Joe Consumer doesn’t realize how hard you’ve worked to develop your recipe or formula. They have no idea that you spent endless hours with a designer until your package design and product label conveyed the perfect brand message. In the blink of an eye, that consumer will make an impulsive decision whether to choose your product or Product X. It’s not fair! Why doesn’t the consumer see how much better your product is?

food11Fear not. Thankfully, your product is not defenseless against a whimsical and fickle consumer. Consumer buying behavior has been studied and analyzed by a multitude of researchers, scholars, and consultants. We can learn from their work to get a glimpse into the consumer’s mind. So what influences a shopper as they stare at the options? As you know, human beings have many senses. Some of our basic senses are sight, hearing, touch, smell, and taste. All five basic senses can influence a consumer to say “I am going to buy Product X!” But which of our senses is the most important? At the risk of sending perfume testers and food samplers to the unemployment line, I’m pretty sure it’s the sense of Sight. Research has determined that 92.6% of consumers put the most importance on visual factors when purchasing products (source: Seoul International Color Expo 2004). In a separate study, they claim that people make a subconscious evaluation about a person, environment or product within 90 seconds of their initial viewing (source: CCICOLOR ¬†Institute for Color Research). Not much time for your packaging to give it’s silent sales pitch!

So as a packaging engineer, entrepreneur, or small business owner what can you do? I have a simple, albeit biased, suggestion: Focus on your product’s packaging. Look through this checklist and honestly evaluate your packaging:


Does your package evoke an emotion that stimulates a purchase?


Your labeling should communicate the benefits and effectiveness of your product.


Even iconic brands must be changed regularly to stay fresh


Does your brand stand out on a me-too shelf?


Make sure your label gives the consumer the info they seek

Give us a call today at Custom Label. Let us help you build the optimum packaging for your brand and product. That’s why our tag line is: