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Monday, September 21, 2015

Bottles

Over the weekend, I attended our annual local arts & crafts festival. One of the vendors was a beekeeper from Valley View Acres in Westfield, Massachusetts. Of course, we chit chatted for awhile, and he generously gave me lots of great advice about selling honey and told a few bee jokes.



The thing that drew me to his display was the bottles of honey. Usually, I see honey in plain jars, hex jars, or queenline jars. All of these are quite lovely, but it was fun seeing some unorthodox bottling choices like bunnies and violins. I can't say that I loved all the bottles, but I appreciated their novelty. The sun was my particular favorite.

A relative of his is a potter and made the lovely honey crocks. Sadly, I didn't come prepared for the festival as it was a spur of the moment decision to go, and I'd already spent all my cash on some things for the kids. If I hadn't, though, I would've bought the dark blue crock on the top shelf. I loved that one as well as the all-blue one on the bottom shelf.


As the list of people wanting to buy honey from me continues to grow (and as I can actually foresee having enough to sell next year), I'm giving more and more thought to packaging and how it can bring value to my honey. His display and our conversation definitely gave me a lot to think about.

6 comments:

  1. Very cool bottles and crocks. I've always used mason jars (since I just give my honey away at this point), but have been thinking about which bottles will work best for sales. Single lid jars (as opposed to the lid/band of a mason jar) are the way to go. I also think an 8 or 12 oz (fluid) bottle is best for small crops. Pints are too big and the 4oz jars are great for novelties/gifts/samplers, but not practical for actually having any honey to use for a while.

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    1. Those are good points about sizing. I think we're thinking along the same lines for bottling. I've also been thinking about restricting bottles to 2 or 3 sizes, too, for labeling purposes. Also, I'd like to restrict containers to 1 or 2 styles so that I can just resize the label design rather than having to come up with a new label shape. I don't want to have to print up labels in a zillion shapes & sizes.

      This year, I'll use mason jars to give honey away, too, since I have a whole pantry full of them for canning. I like using the plastic lids, though, when I give things away in jars. They come in wide-mouth and regular sizes, and I pick them up at my local Walmart or Ace Hardware. Much easier to deal with than the lid/band, and I think people are more likely to reuse them (though I usually ask them to give the jars back if they're just going to toss/recycle them.) http://www.amazon.com/Set-Ball-Storage-Caps-Regular/dp/B00OAKGLC2/ref=sr_1_2?s=home-garden&ie=UTF8&qid=1442844904&sr=1-2&keywords=ball+jar+plastic+lids

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    2. One of the experienced beekeepers here said you should always use new glass for bottling honey, so I always buy more each year just for that. I think the idea is that you don't want to put honey in a jar that had grandma's pickles in there last time. ;-) And they come with new lids! But that's great to know about the plastic lids - thanks for the pointers!

      As for labels, I've been handwriting my labels for the mason jars and use the dissolvable labels from Ball. Not very pretty, but practical for free honey. But I really need to get someone to design a label for me. I made one for the lip balm I make, but it's not very artistic. It's much like my hive painting skills - boring. But I'm sure you can create a wonderful label given your talents! But I agree sticking to one or two sizes is good for labeling as well.

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    3. Good point about using new jars! I imagine that apple-lemon marmalade honey might be very nice. Chutney honey could be interesting. But dill pickle honey... blech! Sounds like a disaster!

      The fact that you add a label to your free honey at all is nice. I doubt I'll get around to labels at all this year. People who get free honey from me will just have to settle for jars that are mostly not sticky. ;-)

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  2. Throwing in my 2 cents. I've been meaning to check this website out but just haven't had the time: http://www.stickeryou.com/2/products/honey-labels/581/

    Meanwhile… Easily found at office supply stores, Avery labels come in sheets of round, oval, square and a plethora of other shapes. Avery provides templates (Word docs) which is helpful. If you want more than just type, you can insert an image. I create mine in Adobe Illustrator (or sometimes PhotoShop) and save as EPS. Word can be persnickety but this method is a lot less expensive than hiring a graphic designer. My best year, I harvested 30lbs so label design and production is definitely an in-house job for me. My only warning about Avery labels is they don't stick well on EVERY surface. I used the oval ones on a coated box, and they just kept popping off, unfortunately after I'd delivered them to the client. The squares have an edge where it's designed to be easy-peel off of the sheet, but essentially it's an adhesive-free strip so the edge of the sticker sticks up if you're applying it to a curved surface.

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    1. You just described my concern about the Avery labels perfectly.

      I've been playing in Photoshop, but you're probably right about Illustrator being a better design program. My understanding is that it creates vectors, so they would look good scaled to any size.

      Looking at the website, and those labels could be very promising! Thank you for sharing that with me!

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Thank you for your comment! I can't wait to hear what you think!