Tag Archives: bubble mailers

Northwestern University: Big Ten Conformer Fan

While I love both my children equally, occasionally one of them will do something that deserves an extra squeeze.  As far as Conformer fans go, Northwestern University gets an extra squeeze from me today.

The Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern started using Conformer folders last year, and not just in admissions.  As America’s #1 “marketing school,” they understand that a folder in the hands of prospective students, recruiters, alums and CEOs represents their brand to everyone coming through their doors.  Prior to Conformer, Kellogg used a laminated, reinforced folder that was as eco-friendly as a diaper in a landfill, and their need for durability came at a high cost.  Kellogg’s new Conformer folder is FSC-marked, and its strong construction eliminates all expensive reinforcement features.

Enter the Northwestern Alumni Association.  They liked the fresh look of
Kellogg’s new folder and its versatility for alumni functions.  It holds an NAA pen gracefully, and organizes multi-sized literature that used to slid around the old folder when opened.

Kellogg, Part 2.  Now using an eco-friendly folder campus-wide, Kellogg used a Conformer folder to kick off their capital campaign for a new eco-friendly building.  Conformer won a PEAK Award of Excellence for this execution.  It’s a real beauty.

Northwestern Development jumped on board as well.  Traveling many miles to meet with alums, the development folks liked the fact that a Conformer folder would arrive alive with them.  Folders looked great off the press, but were they durable enough to withstand the rigors of actual usage?  You bet!

Recently, NU’s famed Medill School of Journalism ordered the Conformer paperboard mailer.  Those smarties know that their correspondence to newly admitted students could mean the difference in converting an admitted candidate to an attending student.   Even an NU scarf fits inside.  Goodbye, ugly bubble mailer!

So extra hugs to Northwestern University today for totally and completely getting the value proposition of Conformer Products — durability, versatility, brand-friendly, and eco-friendly.  Go, Wildcats!

-Sari McConnell at smcconnell@conformerinc.com

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The Conformer Mailer: How It Works

Ever since Canvas Magazine mailed its August issue in a Conformer mailer, the phones have been ringing off the hook.  Obviously, Canvas publisher Mark Potter did a good job calling attention to the unmet need in the marketplace for smart packaging solutions.

This week, the question we kept fielding was “How does it work?”  At Conformer, we are probably guilty of overlooking this reasonable question.  How does the construction work? In other words, why believe the Conformer construction is superior just because we say so? We owe you this answer.

At a glance, a Conformer product looks like a bunch of score lines since that’s probably its most noticeable feature.  But if you take a close look at a Conformer mailer, you’ll notice three key features:

  1. Score lines on all four sides, on both the front and back face.
  2. Inset vertical seams that are glued almost, but not quite, to the bottom of the mailer.
  3. Overlapping, unglued flaps at the corners
These three features create uniformity throughout the mailer so that its corners have just as much capacity as its center.   Traditional mailers and envelopes do not have uniform capacity – the corners are always a serious limiting factor, which is why we have to make do with an oversized envelope or bubble mailer.  The bottom corners are dead space.

The Conformer construction has corners that are free of glue, plus the score lines triangulate at the corners to create a nice open space (sort of like the corner of a box).  This is what enables Conformer mailers to boast a maximum capacity that outrivals the marketplace, without having to rely on the convoluted folds of a gusseted mailer (no uniform capacity there either… just a lot of oversized, excess material.)

[FYI, when I say the word “oversized,” read “expensive”.  Using an oversized package has a lot of hidden costs, especially at the post office, your fulfillment center, in storage, in freight, in damages, and the environment.]

In addition, the score lines enable the mailer to conform uniformly around your material inside so that the Conformer mailer snugly holds a little or a lot.  This gives you a lot of flexibility in one mailer, doesn’t it?   And, that snug fit is pretty important in protecting your contents.  You don’t want shift inside your package.  You want a snug fit, and the Conformer mailer, well, “conforms”!

There are other hidden bonuses to the Conformer construction.

  • We’ve moved the vertical glue lines towards the strongest part of a mailer, its center.
  • The score lines, when they conform to your stuff and triangulate at the corners, create a nice 360° perimeter of protection around your contents.

  • The perimeter is exactly where documents in particular need protection, not the top and bottom face of a package, which is what you get from a bubble mailer.
  • Those overlapping flaps at the corners?  Think of them like air vents.  They release the air trapped inside a paper envelope when you seal it tight, eliminating the #1 stress point inside an envelope.  (This dynamic, along with Conformer’s uniform capacity, makes our envelopes a particularly smart choice for a high-speed insertion environment, but that’s for another time…)

These features make the Conformer construction strong, which then begs the question… “So why am I paying a premium for a Tyvek(R) envelope?”

And finally, the fourth unsung hero of a Conformer mailer is paperboard.  It prints exceptionally well, enabling our clients to present their brand and their marketing message as it should be – beautifully and immediately – without forcing you to dig through an ugly bubble mailer, or cut open a small corrugated box full of fill to get to the good stuff inside.  And the paperboard is sustainably harvested, recycled, recyclable, and the smallest footprint possible.

And that, my friends, is how the Conformer construction works.  Let me know how it works for you.

Sari McConnell at smcconnell@conformerinc.com

Hall of Shame #1: Another Reason to Banish Bubble Mailers

Welcome to the first installment of our monthly “Hall of Shame.”  We receive mailings that frequently make us scratch our heads. Basic errors, packaging failures, over-spending, under-spending… You get the point.

Our first entry into the Hall of Shame is a classic. News flash, folks: bubble mailers do not protect paper. They are too flexible. They are expensive. And they always arrive looking like they were run over by a truck.

As you can see from this example, the presentation folder was crumpled, and the sides are heavily damaged.

Sales Kit that came in a bubble mailer

Sales kit mailed in a bubble mailer

Expensive mailing arrives damaged

Expensive mailing arrives damaged

Note: To protect the anonymity of those involved, we have made our best efforts to disguise the identities of our Hall of Shame nominees.

by Bob Makofsky bmakofsky@conformerinc.com

USPS Investment Puts Money in Your Pocket

About a year ago, the U.S. Postal Service put out a detailed report on exactly how its investment in technology has “revolutionized the way the USPS processes flat mail.” It was such an important operational shift that the USPS moved to shape-based postal rates two years ago to help influence the packaging choices made by its customers.

This article spotlights the Flats Sequencing System (FSS), which sorts flat mail “in the precise order that postal mail carriers walk their route.” It’s a massive improvement in postal efficiency – each machine can process about 280,500 pieces per day – because it eliminates manual handling. And the money for this equipment is already spent. So each parcel that can be converted into a flat and run on the FSS is greater profit for the USPS.

The USPS has lost $7.9 billion in the past two years, and serious cuts are being considered. We have a huge opportunity to lower our own postage costs AND help the U.S. Postal Service stay afloat at the same time. How? By converting to Conformer mailers and envelopes, which work beautifully on the FSS equipment and lower the USPS’s processing costs. Do something for the greater good – abandon manually processed bubble mailers, small boxes, Tyvek and gusseted envelopes – and you’ll be putting money back into your own pocket.

–Sari McConnell smcconnell@conformerinc.com