Your Deck is Done – Time to Think About Packaging


There’s a lot I enjoy about creating new decks but my absolute favorite part of the process is dreaming up the deck packaging. It’s like some unique little holiday for your deck where you decide how best to wrap it and tuck it under the proverbial tree for your potential deck buyers. It may seem like a simple subject but there are all manner of tiny details that go into thoughtful packaging of your deck that start at material costs and work their way up to how well your deck is protected during shipping.

For me, I get a little crazy with packaging. I think it’s the comic book person in me. I used to love the special packaging or special editions of my favorite titles. Come to think of it, I was enticed to purchase cds I already had because I just had to have that special box set. As a result I am very particular about how my decks are packaged. This is something I’ve come to through trial and error over the years though. I had to learn the process of matching my packaging desires with my actual budget. So your budget is a good place to start.

What is your budget? Think about that and be very honest about it. Being hopeful about what you think you might be able to spend isn’t helpful. Set your budget and go by it. Some of you might have the resources to truly invest in the publishing expenses of your deck, while others have little to no budget and are just hoping to figure out a way to get it to market. So it’s important to know realistically what your budget is so you can decide what you can actually spend on your packaging costs.

What are your packaging costs? Make a list of everything that is going to go into your deck packaging per deck (break it down even to the cent) so you know what that expense is going to be. And I mean list everything. If you use a sticker to seal the end of deck box know the individual sticker cost. It might sound nick-picky but those little expenses add up over time. The more little expenses you have like that with your packaging, the more they collectively add up as well. I’ve made that mistake in the past by overlooking things like the shrink-wrap to seal up my decks, the labels for the boxes, etc because they were so small, only to find there was about a dollar worth of overlooked expense per deck. With a hundred decks that was one hundred dollars I was not expecting to have spent.

What all will be in your packaging? I usually divide this between limited edition and open edition decks. I worry more about what all is in the packaging for the open edition since those are budgeted for better sales. Generally speaking this includes a box for the deck, labeling, and a companion book. This is if you’re going plain. It’s your packaging, you can do what you want. If you want to make your own boxes to make the decks more collectable do it! Keep in mind the expense of the box materials and the time it’ll take to make them. Or maybe you just want to keep it simple, that’s great too. At the end of the day the thing that is most important is the deck itself, but it never hurts to have some nice packaging.

Where are you going to get your packaging materials? When you’re a DIY deck publisher the keyword is wholesale. You can find neat things at the craft store to aid in your packaging needs but ultimately that’s not cost effective. Often times many of those things you find at the craft store for retail price can be found through the same wholesalers they get them from. I’d advice looking into different wholesalers too. Places like Papermart.com are wonderful for supplies and seem like a place where you can get everything, but doing a little price checking per item you might find uline.com is cheaper on some things. If you’re doing plain boxes or custom deck boxes check your printer’s price. I love my printer but their custom box printing is a bit steep compared to other places, this is why I make my own.

Do you have a budget to have your packaging custom printed? Congrats! That is the easiest way to put some clothes on your deck. I’m currently working towards that goal myself as I move towards the ability to offer my decks wholesale for international distribution. Bulk rules apply here. Typically the more your order at a time the cheaper your per deck price will be.

So those are a few things to think about when you start to approach your deck packaging. We’ll chat about the many ways to get creative with your packaging another day. Till then, keep on keeping on. No, I don’t like that one. Stay calm. Enjoy autumn. That’s better! 🙂