DTC Kitchenware

Eco-friendly packaging for products that connect people through home-cooking
The direct-to-consumer kitchenware start-up works with communities across the world to create functional, handmade products. They turned to Zenpack to design sustainable packaging that could be assembled locally, protect fragile materials and represent the company’s core values and brand identity.
The Problem
There’s nothing like this brand’s all-in-one pan. Designed to cook just about anything, the multi-functional pan comes with a steam basket and spatula nestled inside. They also offer glass drinkware and porcelain dinnerware for a complete table. As a community- and environmentally-focused company, the company relies on skilled artisans in China and Thailand, which requires packaging that incorporates strong, post-consumer recycled materials designed for global manufacturing and logistics.
The Outcome
The company and Zenpack developed packaging that is unique to the brand and serves the needs of a rapidly evolving, international company. Zenpack facilitated the brand’s ability to communicate across languages and cultures to manufacture durable, eco-friendly packaging locally, resulting in a global reach while saving money on production and shipping.
Challenges
Cookware and dinnerware require packaging that can withstand the bumpy road of international shipping. Usually, these fragile products require foam or excessive filler materials to keep them safe. Caring for the environment is a top priority for the DTC company, so Zenpack had to find a way to transport heavy yet breakable products using sustainable, easily recyclable packaging. The material also needed to be suitable for printing the brand’s earthy, warm colors and inviting logo.

Since the company works with local communities across the world to create their products, they needed packaging produced locally as well, eliminating pollution caused by excess shipping. Additionally, each final package design had to be intuitive across multiple languages for easy and efficient assembly. It’s a complex challenge that must be taken into consideration at the first stages of packaging design.
As a young startup, the company is constantly modifying their designs to achieve cookware perfection. For example, their team improved the all-in-one pan’s built-in nesting spatula design, which led to packaging adjustments. The brand needed a company like Zenpack who they could build a relationship with and who understands that design changes are part of the process.
Solution
Zenpack’s engineering team responded to these challenges with a simple, versatile packaging material: corrugated cardboard. Biodegradable and recyclable, corrugated cardboard allows the brand to practice their commitment to using thoughtful and responsible materials while keeping their goods secure during shipping.
After multiple rounds of prototypes and samples, Zenpack landed on a package for the
all-in-one pan, which included cardboard inserts to protect the nesting accessories within the multi-layered cooking device. From there, the materials were easily adapted for the company’s line of glassware and dinnerware, and will be easily extended to future products.

In the first production run, Zenpack incorporated a minimal tear-strip for a simple opening experience without excessive flaps or distractions. Through extensive testing, Zenpack found issues with this tear-strip in addition to some bowing in the box lid. They added discreet locking flaps and increased the size of the tear-strip, resulting in a more consistent unboxing experience and much cleaner overall package. No glue required, and no sharp objects needed when customers open their box.
Zenpack chose kraft paper substrate to highlight the brand’s earthy tones, understanding that the material would require several Pantone print samples to determine the right colors. The final color palette naturally blends with the familiar kraft paper texture, providing an inviting physical introduction to the company’s culinary collection.

During the prototype process, Zenpack also tested the packaging for mass production capabilities and simple assembly. After minor adjustments, the packages passed the test, resulting in designs that balance effortless on-site assembly, product safety and a refined brand identity.
Result
The DTC brand has stepped into the digital spotlight becoming one of the most beloved companies in kitchenware. From Instagram to the New York Times, the emerging brand has been praised for their innovative designs that celebrate local artisans while incorporating
eco-friendly materials. Zenpack embraced their mission by designing easy-to-assemble packaging for their global network of workshops and factories, reducing cost and environmental waste while elevating the unboxing experience. Most importantly, the packages protect fragile cookware on its way to a new generation of home chefs.
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