A New Way of Looking at Wrapping Paper
Interview with Vancouver-based Nana+Livy
In the increasingly popular world of handmade body and bath products, Nana+Livy stands out not only for the quality of their food-based bars, but also for their monochromatic branding focusing on clean lines and simple design.
Jukebox spoke with Amelia So, founder of Nana+Livy, about her business and the inspiration behind the Jukebox wrapping paper she designed to package her shampoo bars. Amelia has always been a crafty person, and when her second baby was born she took on the ambitious project of making soap during her maternity leave. Armed with nothing but a creative and persistent personality, she taught herself how to make soap, while her background in accounting helped her to turn a hobby into a small business. In March 2018, she opened an Etsy store and launched a bath and body brand selling bath salts, soap and shampoo bars. She named it Nana+Livy, a nod to her daughters Natalia and Olivianne, now three and a half and one year old.
Tell us more about your business!
Amelia: The concept of Nana+Livy started with food. All the soap that we make is food-based. I wanted to make soap as if I were cooking, using the freshest ingredients. I handpick my ingredients – for the orange soap, we put orange peel in it and for the blueberry soap, we use ground seeds of real blueberries. I do a lot of research about what ingredients are good for your skin before I formulate my soaps, and I have come up with nine different formulas for my soap blocks: coffee, rose, blueberry, lavender, rice milk, orange, matcha, lemon and charcoal. The shampoo bars are made of rosemary and tea tree oil. They are carefully formulated for different kinds of skin or skin problems, using all-natural ingredients. Part of the reason I started making handmade soap in the first place is to know what’s in the soap, and to know all the ingredients will be beneficial to my kids’ skin. It all ties back to cooking: when you are cooking, you know what you are putting into your meal and it’s the same thing for making soap – I like to know what kind of ingredients I’m using.
What makes your products unique?
Amelia: Minimalism is something that we really value at Nana+Livy, and so is craftsmanship. We try to handmake everything from beginning to end, including handmade packaging, which is why we use wrapping paper. And we try to be as green as possible, to be plastic-free and use recyclable packaging whenever we can.
We believe in transparency. On our new website we have information about each soap. We don’t use SLS (sodium laureth sulfate) or any other chemicals. We are cruelty-free, not even using palm oil because it’s not sustainable.
We also value creativity and innovation. When I formulated these soap blocks, it took several tries to get the colours and the formula right and to get the whole feeling right. We try to push boundaries, we experiment a lot and we know it’s okay to fail, and then we just get back up. In a nutshell, that’s what Nana+Livy is about.
What was the inspiration behind the design of your wrapping paper?
Amelia: I designed the wrapping paper myself. It’s a very simple yet powerful design printed with our logo. Our theme colours are white and black, because we figured that’s the most minimalistic colour combination and yet it’s very classy, timeless.
Why did you choose white kraft paper for your project?
Amelia: The white really matches our minimalistic theme and clean look; it really defines who we are and what we value. I had never used white kraft before and every time I look at it I’m amazed by it! It’s 4 pt so it’s light and easy to fold. A lot of wrapping paper has a coated base that makes it shiny, but I wanted it to be uncoated so it could be recycled. I also needed it to be good quality, durable, something that doesn’t wrinkle easily, and crisp white.
How do you use your wrapping paper and how has it helped your business’ packaging needs?
Amelia: I was actually debating between using wrapping paper or boxes, but in the end I just felt that wrapping paper has a very nice touch to it. When you hold it in your hands it feels like a present. We only wrap the shampoo bars and not the soap blocks, because our bars are very simple and minimalistic. We use eight different carrier oils, as well as rosemary essential oil and tea tree oil, so the shampoo bar is very powerful by itself and I don’t think it needs any extra decoration to make it look attractive. It even smells nice through the wrapping paper!
Amelia has big plans for Nana+Livy. This is just the beginning of a prosperous business, and we can’t wait to see what’s in store. You can find Nana+Livy products online at www.nanaxlivy.com.
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