Q: When packaging up a purchase, I use cheap plastic bags. However, I’ve noticed other artists using the more expensive craft paper bags, bags with their brand name embossed on the front or even cloth bags with their names printed on them.

Is expensive packaging really necessary in the consumer’s eyes? Are there any added benefits to spending the extra money for better packaging? I just can’t see spending $3 to $4 dollars on a bag the customer is just going to throw away. 

What you need to know is that the customer doesn’t throw away the well-designed and constructed bag. In a 2007 edition of The New York Times, Michael Barbero wrote at length about the no-longer lowly shopping bag in his article, “Never Mind What’s in Them, Bags are the Fashion.”

He wrote, “Retailers are engaged in a heated competition to make the most durable, fashionable shopping bags. They are investing millions of dollars in new flourishes like plastic-coated paper and heavy fabric-cord handles. Behind the battle of the bags is a significant shift in behavior that has turned consumers into walking billboards for stores. In cities like New York, Chicago and Los Angeles, customers have begun treating shopping bags as disposable purses that can be reused for weeks, if not months, to carry laundry to the cleaners, books to the beach or lunch to the office. But only the best bags make the cut.”

I rest my case.

headshot - donald clark1Donald Clark is the author of Making a Living in Crafts and was a partner in Ferrin Gallery for 25 years. In addition to writing, he is currently a consultant to artists, a personal property appraiser, and a collection manager. He also continues to create his constructions that have been shown extensively and collected internationally.

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