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Sonhab makes thoughtfully sourced bean to bar chocolate, handmade by two passionate people in limited release small batches.
Kristen Blue, the founder of Sonhab chocolate, focuses on wellness through cacao, chocolate making, meditation, and pure ingredients with the help of her partner in life and business partner, Cody.
This unique chocolate brand spends a week just on the labor of turning raw cocoa beans into their beautifully hand crafted chocolate bars.
With a significant focus on the sustainable nature of hand crafted products, Sonhab works with thoughtful importers and provides detailed information about the farms that the bars originate from.
Their chocolate bars also include “adaptogenic herbs in some of the chocolates in order to provide additional benefits, reduce inflammation, and help customers relax”.
Such a unique chocolate bar surely needed packaging that complemented its beauty.
Sonhab Chocolate is a small company that initially handmade, hand cut and printed their packaging in-house for their unique chocolate bars.
“It was very painful and made it impossible to scale. While it looked good, it didn’t convey the messaging we wanted it to, such as information about how our cacao beans are sourced and how they were grown.”
Kristen and Cody knew their packaging was an important asset to their branding and product but quickly discovered that it was hindering them from boosting sales due to a lack of time efficiency.
“Hand cutting, printing individually, and hand wrapping – 100 bars took us over 11.5 hours in just labor and time spent wrapping – as a cost exercise if an average wage is $15 an hour, that’s $165 in just labor costs to wrap bars, that doesn’t even include the cost of the wrappers, printing ink, the week-long production process for chocolate, or the thoughtfully sourced ingredients we use”.
They decided their packaging needed to be streamlined in order for them to focus on scaling their business.
Sonhab Chocolate spent a year developing their branding ideas and experimenting with different packaging types to figure out what exactly their product needed.
While they had a good idea of what they wanted, the big challenge was finding the right packaging company to work with that would meet quality, budget and time expectations.
“We spent a month calling tons of packaging companies, learning about packaging and printing techniques, and scoping out costs. We called super expensive factories, chatted with suppliers on Alibaba, and eventually found PakFactory”.
Kristen had actually worked with Nick Steinhardt, a designer, prior to contacting Ken Lo, a product specialist at PakFactory in order to have a clear idea of the design and expectations for production.
This provided Ken Lo with the capability to produce 3D renderings of Sonhab’s desired packaging solutions and work closely with Kristen to refine details and ensure the best quality results possible.
“After you work with your designer, you are then dependent on a factory executing in expert detail to provide results. This is risky – you could run into printing issues, delays, hidden costs, and sloppy work. This is where Ken Lo from PakFactory played such a critical role. She advocated for me throughout the process, paid attention to all of the fine details, and kept me updated on the progress”.
Ken Lo ensured the measurements of their packaging were accurate and provided different paper and printing options for Kristen to consider.
Kristen and Cody spent a great deal of time learning all about printing, materials and finishes throughout their own packaging process, making it an extremely efficient design process for Ken Lo.
PakFactory saved Sonhab Chocolate from spending extra on reprints by paying close attention to the design and catching errors before production.
Sonhab Chocolate’s final design features an envelope style box with a latch for locking and sealing the product without the use of any adhesive.
This style of box saves a ton of time in the packaging process and leaves enough room for extra promotional inserts and information for customers to enjoy.
It was important for Kristen to continue offering that handcrafted feel by leaving enough room on the artwork design to hand write notes and information.
The kraft paper material offered an optimal surface for printing and writing, while still being sustainable and authentic.
Since introducing the new packaging to their supply chain and market, Sonhab chocolate has seen immense growth for their business.
Kristen and Cody were able to pursue wholesale, which was a huge game changer in boosting their sales and reach.
“As soon as we posted our new packaging, we had stores following up asking to stock us. We have a list of shops right now on our waiting list”.
With the handcrafted nature of their products, time is money and finding a way to reduce labor-intensive processes was critical to the survival of their business.
While Kristen still chooses to handwrite on their new and improved packaging, “it is much faster for us to put together which saves us so much time and results in cost saving as well.”
With new opportunities for Sonhab Chocolate, followes handful of new challenges.
Since their new packaging was such a big hit in the wholesale market, it still takes about a week to produce their chocolate from bean to bar.
Sonhab is having trouble meeting the influx of demand for their brand.
More and more stores are looking to stock their product and Kristen is currently working on scaling up their machinery and acquiring more space for production to meet this new increase in demand.
Their new packaging has offered them the opportunity to grow and scale as a business, while still remaining authentic to the origins of their brand.
Kristen is thrilled to have worked with Ken Lo on their packaging and grateful that Ken took the time to understand their vision and really bring their packaging desires to life.
Kristen and Cody have invested their own hard earned money into the business and were glad that Ken Lo paid such close attention to their design, requirements, specifications and budget.
“This was a huge decision for our business, but a critical one in our evolution. We are so grateful for PakFactory and look forward to working with your team (especially Ken Lo!) again in the future”.