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Shari’s Berries | Brand Experience Project

by Jamie Sanford on February 13, 2014

Click here for all posts in the Brand Experience Project.

I purchased a Shari’s Berries voucher from LivingSocial late last year and had not used it yet, so last week, I decided to use it on myself. I will work on a longer post about the shopping experience later, but today I wanted to focus on the packaging and presentation of my berries.

The total for my 12 strawberries was $44.97, which included shipping.

The box is large for what is inside, but that makes more sense when you see the inside.

I am really into the box branding.

Here’s another side of the box.

This side is my favorite. I do have an issue with the social callouts though – I like the hashtag, that’s fun, but there’s no indication of the username for all of the social channels, which is less helpful. Sure, I will assume its sharisberries, but I think adding that would make it that much easier for someone to tag the brand in an Instagram post or tweet.

You find out quickly that they aren’t kidding about the packing on their product.

The next layer is a piece of cardboard with an ice pack on top. This is where the later trouble comes in, I think.

However, I have to give props for the branded ice pack. I think Shari’s Berries probably benefits from shipping what I assume is only a few sizes of berry boxes, so they are able to invest in heavily branded packaging.

Under the box are some messages from the brand family, and berry instructions.

The actual berry box is lovely, with an elastic band to keep everything closed.

Not pictured is the wrapped foam layer that lies on top of the berries in the box. However, even with that, you can see that I received berries that had obviously been through some stress. The box insert was bent in the center (you can see the crease), and some of the berries were a bit overturned. In addition, there were nuts and mini chocolate chips scattered throughout the box (although that seems like it would be almost impossible to avoid, so that gets a pass).

I will say though, that they do not look like these from the Shari’s Berries homepage:

I am not one to complain about there being too much chocolate, but I have to point out that there’s a definite difference between the presentation on the website and what I received.

In terms of the issues with my box, I’m not sure what happened there. It is obvious that Shari’s Berries has put thought and money into their packaging, but my box was a bit jacked.

There was a lot of open space in the ice pack portion of the box, I wonder if that heavy ice pack was flying around in transit? They did come all the way across the country.

The Shari’s Berries did completely deliver for me on taste, but I would be slightly concerned about using their service for a gift, because I was not super impressed with the state of my berries when they arrived.

Have you ordered from Shari’s Berries? What was your experience? Please share in the comments.

UPDATE: Shari’s Berries responded to this first post, and part 2 of this brand experience project can be found here.

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5 Tips For Jumpstarting Holiday Gift Shopping

by Jamie Sanford on September 9, 2013

Thanks to Alexandra Franzen for the prompt.

I officially started my holiday shopping last week. Yes, I have 4 gifts purchased already.

A few years ago, I realized that I was absolutely killing myself with stress around the holidays, trying to find gifts at the last minute, resorting to gift cards way too often. I started shopping early and I haven’t looked back since. To help you get started, use this list of what to do before you start!

1. Make a budget!

I wrote about my holiday gift tracker spreadsheet in 2011, and I have not changed it since. It’s so easy to use (available to download in the post), and really keeps me on track, especially when buying multiple gifts for a single person.

2. Start noticing the little things about your friends and family.

Your friends and family probably drop hints about their likes and interests all the time. Make notes in your phone or datebook when you pick up on this, it will make for a starting point to finding the perfect gift.

3. Maximize opportunities for savings.

If you haven’t already, join flash sale sites and start trolling for gifts. No shame in saving some money! You will have to work hard to not start shopping for yourself though, believe me. Look to the right column on this page for links to invitations to all of my preferred flash sale websites. Black Friday may also be another opportunity for something special – last year, I purchased amazing Lorac palettes online from Ulta, for $11 each! I will have a Black Friday shopping guide up on the site closer to the date.

4. Don’t forget about host/hostess gifts!

You will inevitably have a few events to attend where a gift for your host or hostess will be appropriate. Shopping early for non-perishables is an easy way to avoid the stress of having to stop and find something on the way to the event (and don’t try and tell me you haven’t done that before). Now is the time to shop for giftworthy bottles of wine or champagne, which you can generally get a discount on when buying in bulk. You can also check out a lovely selection of gift baskets on Amazon, which provide a lot of options for contents and price. Buy a few of these with some gift bows (like these ones that have fiber optics!), and stick one on before you leave.

5. Enjoy the process. Have fun!

Unfortunately, I see more often than not that people see their holiday shopping as a chore, and not as the joyous experience it is meant to be. The holiday season is meant to be lovely and fun, and a time to get together with your friends and family, and drink egg nog and have a wonderful time. Gifts are traditional, and they should also provide a joyful experience for all involved. I promise you, starting your shopping now will definitely make the process more enjoyable. No one ever likes being rushed, and you KNOW you will be holiday shopping each year, so take the time to think about it early, save yourself the drama, and all will be delighted.

If you have early holiday shopping tips, please leave them in the comments!

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Gift Wrap from the Container Store

by Jamie Sanford on December 9, 2011

I would love to think of myself as someone who takes hours and hours to wrap gifts to perfection. Unfortunately, I’m not as coordinated as that would require, so I end up using gift bags a lot. This year, I am boxing up gift bags and tissue paper on the bottom of boxes, which are then filled with gifts to send to my family.  I will put everything in its proper bag when I get there.  Not too exciting.  I got a catalog from The Container Store though, and it has inspired me to want to try harder…next year.

Let’s start with cute wrapping paper.

Tiny Ornament Collage Paper, 12′ x 30″, $8.99.

Festive Felines Gift Wrap, 10′ x 30″, $7.95.

Ooh, this wood grain one is so chic. Wrap Sheets Woodgrain Pkg/2, 22″ x 34″, $7.49.

I have to post the deer one, naturally. Fab Deer Gift Wrap, 10′ x 30″, $7.95.

This is cute, even though it does look to me like one of those pictures to test color-blindness. Very Merry Dots Gift Wrap, 8′ x 30″, $9.95.

Cute boxes that don’t require wrapping are perfect for making you look like an amazing gift-wrapper with minimal effort.

I could put something in here, close it up, label it and I’m done! Set of 3 Rectangular Boxes, $24.99.

For tinier gifts, themed takeout containers are perfect. I also love that boxes like this can be re-used. Peppy Mints Takeout Container, $3.50.

If you must resort to gift cards…

Holiday Kaleidoscope Gift Card Pouch, $1.95.

Perfectly Plaid Gift Card Pouches (set of 2), $2.95.

Loot from the Hoot gift card holders (set of 2), $2.95. You can also check out the entire Owl Item Collection on Not So Basic Black here.

Finally, the labels!

Lace Gift Stickers (36), $2.99.

If you want everything to match, you can get that at The Container Store. Very Merry stickers (36), $2.99.

I love the idea of that wood grain wrapping with a cute little sticker featuring some of our arctic friends. Arctic Friends stickers(36), $2.99.

Tell us about your gift-wrapping style in the comments!

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Track Your Holiday Gift Spending

by Jamie Sanford on November 10, 2011

Let’s get into some holiday preparation ideas for the holidays!  I am going to revisit some of my gift-giving tips soon, but in the meantime, I wanted to share the spreadsheet that I use for tracking all of my gift purchases.  If you are like me and try to buy holiday gifts all year, the tracker is the best way to remind yourself that you already bought a gift for Cousin Sally, back in February.

So, here we go.

So, it’s a spreadsheet, it isn’t rocket science.  However, as simple as it looks, it took me a while to get all of the columns and formulas that I wanted, so here it is.  Let’s break it down.

The first columns are the very basics.  I think that filling this in early in the calendar year will create a little mental reminder that you’ve committed yourself to shop for gifts all year and not just at the last minute.

In addition, defining an absolute budget will help you stick it it.  One of the biggest problems with early shopping is that there is a possibility that you will find something else for someone after you’ve spent your budget.  If you can return something you have already bought, then fine.  If you can’t, then you need to remember the item and go back for it in the next calendar year.

There are 3 columns for gifts to purchase for each person(s).  In this area, you describe the gift, list the price, and note whether or not it has been purchased.  As you can see here, the cells are blue.  Once I have a gift that is “done” (i.e. in my possession), I go ahead and make it another color so I can gloss over it.  When I have completely finished with obtaining gifts for a person(s) on the list, the whole row gets a single color.

And of course, the budget tracking portion of the spreadsheet.  The columns will automatically add up in the “total spent” column, and “remaining in budget” will show you what you have left, if any.  It will show a number in parentheses if you have a negative remainder!

I would love to hear if anyone ends up using my little creation to track their holiday gifting and spending, but mostly, it is designed to use all year, for birthdays, anniversaries, baby gifts, Hanukkah and whatever other gift-giving happenings are in your life.

Track your holiday gift spending here with the spreadsheet in Google Docs.

Good luck!

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Owl and Phoenix Cookie Jars from Anthropologie

by Jamie Sanford on January 27, 2011

Can I just say that I love Anthropologie?  The collection of items that they carry is really well curated and fits into their developed aesthetic.

Of course, we know that I am drawn to owls, and now I get to feature 2 of them!


The Winking Owl Cookie Jar is available for $68.


Phoenix Cookie Jar is available for $69.95.


Wise Owl Cookie Jar is available for $128.

These are more decorative than anything else, putting cookies into something like this will probably result in a lot of broken cookies and crumbs.

Speaking of cookies, I totally cheated on making holiday cookies this year and used the fabulous pre-made dough from Pillsbury.

I can’t find it online but you can pick it up in the grocery store for a few dollars.  You open this up, slice into little discs, add sprinkles and whatnot and then bake.  They are quite delicious and since you do add a bit of yourself into the process, they let you cheat in the best way.

If you have time and the desire to do the real thing, AllRecipes.com has a massive cookie recipe index.

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