Iron Bean Coffee Company, a unique coffee company out of Toledo, Ohio, is run by husband-and-wife team, Fred and Chanell Dedrick. Their dream to start a coffee company began after finding a cozy coffee spot that made them want to build their own space for people to come, feel welcomed, and enjoy great coffee.
In 2016, Fred left his job as a train master to follow his brewing dreams. Today, the coffee is sold at the Iron Bean Coffee Co. website, as well as a limited selection on Amazon. The Iron Bean Coffee roastery is open to the public, and the team sells its coffee around town from a coffee truck.
A Bean Beginning
When the company started, Fred and Chanell were running the full coffee production in their garage, from roasting to packaging. To package the coffee initially, Fred Dedrick says he purchased generic pre-formed bags and labels, and the team hand-labeled each bag.
“As we got busier, we knew we couldn’t keep doing this― it was taking too long,” said Dedrick.
As the brand grew and larger orders came in, he knew he needed a better way to package the coffee, as well as better quality bags.
“Our desire for new bags was two-fold: increase speed of packaging and to look better. The labels looked nice, but we were limited to label shape, and couldn’t fit much art on them. And sometimes the labels didn’t lay flat on the bag. The packaging didn’t look as nice as I wanted them to,” said Dedrick.
He also said he was trying to get the coffee into retailers and knew that custom printed bags were the way to go. So, Dedrick placed a large order for custom coffee bags from a packager overseas and faced a big disappointment when the bags came in.
“Right before ePac, I found a company and we ordered 10,000 bags. The pallet showed up and the bags were half the size. It was really bad customer service, and no care in the finished product,” said Dedrick
They were forced to scrap those bags and move on, but Dedrick luckily found the solution to his problems delivered to him right in the mail.
“ePac sent me a sample in the mail in a hand-written package. The bags were really nice,” said Dedrick.
So, he gave the ePac team a call and learned more about how the company could fix his packaging problems. A big bonus for the Iron Bean Coffee team was that ePac had recently opened an office in Cleveland, within the same state. The two companies formed a partnership in March 2020.
Choosing Stand Up Pouches
Today, the 16 SKUs of coffee are packaged in stand up, soft-touch matte, resealable pouches from ePac. The pouches range from black to colorful stripes, and each has artwork and graphics all over the pouch for an all-over impactful design. Customers, both new and old, are taking notice.
“People have been complimenting the new bags! People always liked the art but when we got the new bags, people commented on the soft touch feel and the overall look,” Dedrick said.
Working with ePac allowed the brand to tap into its artistic side, fulfill orders faster, and gave Iron Bean Coffee the shelf presence it needed to further expand the brand name.
“The quality of the bag is amazing. The printing is amazing and the ability to do small runs or large runs with no plate fees is too…. I can get 10 of one bag and 10,000 of another in one run. It’s really good for small businesses,” said Dedrick.
ePac’s digital printing technology allows brands like Iron Bean Coffee to place small orders, or large, run various SKUs, and make quick changes to the design.
“Digital printing is great―we are able to change the design in an email, and it’s no problem. It’s not a whole process since there are no plates. It’s so flexible,” said Dedrick.
The Value of The Right Coffee Packaging
After the ups and down of his packaging journey, Dedrick says he has learned the importance of the right package.
“In the beginning I would have said it’s half the battle. Now that we are further into it, I’d say it’s much more than that. I think the first buying decision is all based on packaging,” he said.
In fact, Dedrick shared a story about the importance of packaging that he learned firsthand.
“We ran out of a particular flavor and had to go back to hand labels since we had a lot left over and needed to fulfil these orders,” he said. “One customer got an old bag and noticed it didn’t look the same as the picture online, so he complained. He sent us a message, disappointed that he didn’t get the bag featured, and wanted a refund―he simply bought it for the packaging.”
Part of securing the right package lies in both the package’s shape and functionality. From the start, Dedrick has been a big proponent of stand-up pouches for his coffee.
“We have been using stand-up pouches from the beginning,” he said. “They look different, they display nicely. But the major reason for stand-up was the ability to add the zip lock for the customer. Freshness is key!”
ePac also produces rollstock for the brand, which is used for their 2.5 ounce sample packs.
Coffee Flexible Packaging Supplier
For the coffee industry, an airtight package is key to maintaining product freshness. At ePac, we offer various types of coffee packaging with reseal closures, degassing valves, and high-barrier films to keep oxygen and moisture out, while protecting the beans inside. We manufacture side gusset bags and stand-up pouches for whole bean and ground coffee, as well as rollstock for fractional packs, filter packs and stick packs. We can create flexible packaging in a plethora of sizes, plus we offer sustainable options like recyclable and post-consumer recyclable films.
ePac makes printing custom packaging for coffee affordable, with low minimum orders and design flexibility, while providing quality materials and aesthetics to set your brand apart. Ready to get started on your next coffee project? Call us today for a free quote.