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Crown Affair

Elevated packaging for a new kind of hair care brand.

Handcrafted from the cleanest ingredients and materials, the Crown Affair brush, combs, hair oil and towel are a complete set of tools for healthy hair. Such a refined haircare toolkit needed an elegant variety of packaging that maintained brand continuity across materials and printing methods.

The Problem

Crown Affair presented Zenpack with beautifully-crafted products, a strong graphic design language and a distinct color palette. The next step was to create a cost-efficient packaging system that showcased the hair care regimen while presenting a cohesive brand story across a variety of product sizes.

The Outcome

Precise, bold and designed for longevity, Zenpack developed new printing methods to create packaging and carrying pouches that are as luxurious as the products. Zenpack also created a set of cost-saving shipping packages designed to evolve with the rapidly growing company.

Challenges

For Crown Affair, hair care is more than a daily practice, it’s a meditative ritual to spark joy. The direct-to-consumer company understands that everyone has a personal relationship with their hair and cares deeply about the objects and products they use to care for it. Crown Affair’s products are formulated with the cleanest, most effective ingredients and materials, including combs made using 100 percent plant-based acetate and brushes made from beechwood. Along with brushes and combs, they make hair oil, towels and other products; various sizes but the same level of refinement. This haircare ritual required packaging that encompassed all of these products, a system with unified materials, colors and textures.

When Crown Affair engaged Zenpack, their graphic design team had already decided on a specific textured paper and color palette. They also had an idea of how their logo would come alive on the package, which given the nature of the textured paper, would require specialized raised UV printing and extensive testing. This look and feel needed to extend seamlessly to the carrying pouches for the combs, from logo printing to fabric finish. Zenpack would need to account for time to source materials, perfect the printing processes and discuss samples with Crown Affair. Fortunately the young brand values precision and high-quality materials.

Due to the size variation between products, Zenpack was also presented with a potentially costly shipping challenge. Crown Affair customers could purchase anywhere from one product to the entire set. The company is fully direct-to-consumer, so during the design and development phase, it was essential that Zenpack focused on the unboxing experience to reduce costs while maintaining the brand’s reputation for accessible yet luxurious products.

Solution

Zenpack met with Crown Affair’s graphic designers to better understand their mission, brand aesthetic and packaging goals. In anticipation of the January 2020 company launch date, Zenpack spent over a year working closely with Crown Affair to develop a packaging system that embodied Crown Affair’s “less is more” philosophy.

Much of that time was spent ensuring brand continuity across all materials and printing methods. The textured paper provided a tactile, pristine quality, but standard UV printing proved to be quite challenging. Zenpack improved the printing process and engaged in many rounds of print testing, ultimately achieving a precise, raised UV logo that offers a smooth contrast to the canvas-like paper. The same paper is used for The Set box and hair oil package.

Tapping into Zenpack’s fabric knowledge and experience, Crown Affair asked Zenpack to produce carrying bags for their brush, combs and towel. Crown Affair was striving for a luxurious bag to match the handcrafted hair products they would carry, something the customers would actually use. The cloth also needed to complement the packaging paper, so Zenpack sourced a textured cotton that was both durable and soft. Once the fabric was chosen, Crown Affair then challenged Zenpack to print their logo within the standard 3mm tolerance. Zenpack’s printing experts spent many hours researching, developing and testing, resulting in an entirely new precision printing process for luxury-quality bags.

Throughout the design and development stage, Zenpack approached the products as a single, evolving system. They designed three shipping packages to accommodate the entire line of products, including The Set, the all-in-one healthy hair kit. Each of the three shippers has special inserts to provide custom fitting for each product, and can hold any combination of products. The shippers equip Crown Affair with the ability to quickly adapt to new products without drastically changing the packaging system. And upon delivery, customers are treated to an elegant unboxing experience.

Result

Since January 2020, Crown Affair has amassed a devoted home hair care community rooted in daily ritual. A testament to the quality of their products, the company has been featured in beauty publications across the web, including Vogue and Allure, and recent sales are backing up their press. Crown Affair has been instrumental in transforming the direct-to-consumer landscape by listening to their customers, valuing their feedback and providing a truly personal experience, from their innovative approach to hair all the way to packaging.

On Instagram, customers love the packaging as much as the goods. Photos of boxes, bags and textured paper are featured in the website product listings—a testament to many months of collaboration and development with the Crown Affair team. Designed for more than just shipping, the packaging has style and longevity. The boxes rest on bathroom vanities and the cloth bags travel with their customers keeping the contents secure. As the company expands, Crown Affair has a fluid packaging system to seamlessly respond to their devoted customer community.

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