D2C Beauty Brand Dip Shares 5 Tips to Make the Unboxing Experience a Memorable Event

As costs for supplies, shipping, and just about everything else continue to rise, D2C companies are striving to find creative and cost-effective ways to better connect with their customers from afar. The main goal? Make customers feel special, like they’re in on something cool – almost as if they’re part of a secret club – through the unboxing experience. 

To delve into the details that create a memorable unboxing experience, we sat down with a D2C founder who’s hitting the mark with clever add-ins and share-worthy presentations.

Beauty industry veterans Kate and Johnathan Assaraf have spent their careers building beloved beauty brands for companies and celebrities you’ve absolutely heard of. (Does the name Kim Kardashian ring a bell?) And while they love making magic behind the scenes, their greatest thrill is launching their environmental awareness company Dip and growing it at their own pace through their “damn good” sustainably-made shampoo and conditioner bars.  

“We’ve lived in the beauty world for a long time, but we also think it’s very silly. We’re using Dip to drive awareness about its silliness, and have a good time in the process,” Kate explains. From unexpected social posts featuring Nacho Libre to a visual identity system inspired by the 90’s teen book series Sweet Valley high, Dip ventures beyond the typical beauty boundary lanes. Through its cheeky yet bold approach and superior products, Dip makes its message of “buy better and buy less” (in other words, “dip out” of mainstream materialism) more accessible to its customers.

“Dip encourages you to buy less, and we know no one will change their habits to better the environment just because we say so,” Kate says. “We need to give them something good and fun, rather than this finger-wagging environmentalism that makes people feel terrible and scares them into buying our products.”

In addition to the goodness and fun Dip delivers through their premium sustainable shampoo and conditioner bars and poppy social media posts, Kate and Johnathan have invested in the unboxing experience to bolster their customer experience, communicate their brand message, and build a community that supports their mission. Here’s how this team of two successfully approaches unboxing at a time when inflation is soaring, supplies are limited, and postal prices continue to rise. 

5 Tips for Building a Standout Unboxing Experience

1. Put Yourself in Your Customer's Shoes

“Remember how it feels to open something?” Kate asks. “The days of free shipping are going to be over soon, so you should reward your customers for paying the shipping costs.” 

Kate insists that the main intention behind unboxing should be making the customer feel valued, as opposed to marketing to them. “The worst thing is getting that envelope full of coupons for other brands, and you’re like, ‘Great,’” she says. “I much more appreciate when a brand sends me something and it has something special to it.”

2. Champion Your Brand Values

Be intentional about the add-ins that set your unboxing experience apart. Rather than random items you hope will make customers happy, choose things that encourage them to develop a relationship with your brand.

“Every brand saying that they’re saving the ocean by selling you shampoo and conditioner and bars is very silly. The oceans, lakes, and waterways aren’t filled with shampoo and conditioner bottles. They’re filled with plastic and waste due to fast fashion,” Kate explains. “Fashion is the most toxic thing out there, and from our product to our unboxing experience, we want to shift consumer habits and create awareness as a brand.” 

Dip celebrates its brand values with an envelope labeled “Extra Credit.” Inside, customers find a patch that says, Out with the new and in with the old. “It’s intentionally provocative because it causes people to take a second look at how they’re consuming,” Kate explains.

Dip’s tissue paper features the art of Geo Rutherford, an artist, Great Lakes educator, and TikTok star who pulls invasive species and plastics from the Great Lakes and creates beautiful lithographs. 

“This addition draws attention to fresh water because while the ocean gets so much attention when it comes to pollution, fresh water is much more scarce,” Kate says. “The visually engaging tissue and punchy patch allow us to draw awareness through osmosis, rather than ‘Did you know?’ statements that make you feel horrible and helpless. Instead, we want our unboxing experience to intrigue customers and invite them to join us in ‘dipping out’ of today’s consumerist mindset to enjoy a more free and sustainable lifestyle.”

In addition to the patch and custom tissue paper, Dip sends a dye-cut postcard along with a note that encourages customers to store it in their car’s glove box and hold it up to frame scenery they love and take a picture of it.

“There are lots of places in the world that are outside of Miami and Malibu that are worth celebrating, and when you take a moment to treasure those natural spaces that are special to you, it’s easier to see the value in preserving them.” Kate says.

3. Avoid Add-Ins That Conflict With Your Values

Just as you’ll look at your brand values for what to include, you should also use them as a barometer for what to leave out of your unboxing experience.

Kate shares that the item she won’t add is one that customers want. “People ask for vinyl stickers for their water bottles and skateboards because they like our logo, but I can’t justify producing them as a brand that’s dedicated to environmental awareness.”

But she doesn’t leave her customers hanging. Instead, Dip has created logo patches to include with orders that do the same job in allowing customers to proudly sport their logo, just more sustainably.

4. Embrace Community-Building Opportunities

Your unboxing experience can be a successful conversation starter and effective relationship builder. The trick is to plan that next step. What do you want to happen after the unboxing is complete? 

Even though people tag their unboxed goodies in photos, Dip resists reposting. “We want these items to be a secret calling card among customers,” Kate says. “We’re in this age of marketing where everyone is blasting stuff out all the time, and customers are fatigued and there’s no specialness or excitement about stuff anymore. So while I’m ever-grateful for people sharing about what they receive in their packages with us, I like to leave a little mystery as far as what we share on our brand account.” Instead, Kate keeps the love for Dip strong in other ways. 

Being a small brand has its benefits in community building. Kate receives and responds to messages from customers daily. She loves when customers write to tell her they’re gifting Dip bars to their friends and hearing from Black women who are thrilled to have finally found a sustainable brand specifically formulated for their natural hair. And as a small business owner, Kate is delighted to join in those moments with them.

“You know that feeling when you find a pair of jeans that fit perfectly?” she asks. “And then you tell all of your girlfriends? That’s how I believe people shop, and it’s why I don’t spend money on digital marketing,” Kate explains. “I just think it’s way cooler that new customers find out about Dip from our community members instead of just another lather video on Instagram.”

5. Continuously Invest in Your Product

Kate’s number one piece of advice when it comes to unboxing? “It always starts with the product,” she emphasizes. “It doesn’t matter what your unboxing experience is if the product sucks.”

Kate doesn’t take the concept of investing lightly. From going platinum blonde just to test her products’ effectiveness on damaged hair to dyeing her hair every shade of the rainbow to ensure it wouldn’t fade vivid color, Kate has put her heart, soul, and yes, even her hair into perfecting her product through 40 iterations. Dip’s commitment to superior quality has saved them lots of overhead in the long term, as Dip doesn’t need to lean on expensive advertising campaigns because their happy customers spread the word on their own.

“Our bars last a long time by design. It’s just another way we encourage customers to buy better and buy less,” Kate says. “But that doesn’t negatively impact us because we see repeat orders from the same people and orders from customers who send Dip bars to their sisters and friends. One person wrote to me and said that they bought Dip bars for every single person in their office. And when people love our product enough to give it to people they love, we know we’re on the right track.”

Key Takeaways

Kate’s number one piece of advice when it comes to unboxing? “It always starts with the product,” she emphasizes. “It doesn’t matter what your unboxing experience is if the product sucks.”

Kate doesn’t take the concept of investing lightly. From going platinum blonde just to test her products’ effectiveness on damaged hair to dyeing her hair every shade of the rainbow to ensure it wouldn’t fade vivid color, Kate has put her heart, soul, and yes, even her hair into perfecting her product through 40 iterations. Dip’s commitment to superior quality has saved them lots of overhead in the long term, as Dip doesn’t need to lean on expensive advertising campaigns because their happy customers spread the word on their own.

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