A Guide to Sourcing Custom Wholesale Packaging

5 min read
March 15, 2024
A Guide to Sourcing Custom Wholesale Packaging

As a packaging provider, when working with brands your main goal is to deliver value to your clients with custom packaging solutions that solve their business challenges and grow sales. However, there are times when your current capabilities might not cover all their needs.

Perhaps you are a manufacturer of flexo-printed packaging but you lack your own digital print equipment. Or, you may be a distributor or print broker who relies on strategic partners to obtain custom packaging for your clients. Thirdly, you may be a creative agency that designs packaging in-house but requires a third-party for print production. This is where sourcing wholesale packaging from a trusted manufacturing partner can make a huge difference. The right partner can help you expand your product offerings and satisfy client needs without requiring a change to your existing business model or in-house capabilities. 

Yet, finding and choosing the right supplier comes with its own set of challenges. These include aligning production capabilities with your business needs, the ability to meet tight deadlines, and finding a partner who upholds the same standards of quality that you have for your own clients.

This article will address these challenges and guide you through the custom packaging sourcing process step by step.

Bluewater distilling packaging lineup

Client: Bluewater Distilling


Understanding the Challenges of Sourcing Packaging

In the quest for finding custom wholesale packaging, you will encounter numerous obstacles that demand careful navigation and consideration:

Aligning Production Capabilities with Client and Business Needs

One of the primary hurdles when sourcing packaging is the difficulty in finding manufacaturers with production capabilities  that match the needs of your clients, as well as those of your business. You need a partner whose equipment and product mix compliment your own, and as a result allow you to expand your product offerings. This may mean finding a partner who can offer new products, formats, or materials beyond your existing mix, or who can expand your services with structural design and graphics support.

Time Constraints

Meeting client deadlines is a non-negotiable in today’s competitive business environment. Whenever you are sourcing a product like custom wholesale packaging for your clients from a third party, it opens the door to the potential for delays and missed deadlines. This can pose a significant challenge for businesses aiming to maintain punctuality without compromising on quality. From design revisions to production lead times, every step in the packaging procurement process needs meticulous management to ensure timely delivery. A quality packaging supplier will operate seamlessly in the background, delivering promised product on time, while you take center stage - delighting your clients with a broader range of packaging solutions.

Quality Assurance

Ensuring the quality of wholesale packaging is another significant challenge. Packaging not only needs to meet industry standards but also meet or exceed client expectations in terms of durability, functionality, and visual appeal. However, achieving this balance can be tricky, especially when dealing with multiple suppliers or complex packaging specifications. The risk of subpar quality not only affects client satisfaction but also damages your reputation.


Steps to Sourcing Custom Wholesale Packaging

When you’re ready to source custom packaging for your clients, here are the steps to follow to put you on the path to a successful outcome for you and the brands you serve.

Step 1 - Define Your Needs

Start by figuring out what you need from a packaging partner. Consider what your clients are asking for that you currently can't provide. Think about their brand, packaging goals, business goals, and what products or services they need to effectively pack and promote their products. This includes details like size, material, design, application, and how their products are sold.

For example, if your clients care about sustainability, you might need eco-friendly packaging solutions. If theyre in the luxury market, they might want high-quality materials and unique structural designs or print effects.

Understanding these needs will guide your search for the right packaging partner.

Step 2 – Find the Right-Fit Partner

Once you know what you need, its time to find the right-fit supplier. Look for someone whose capabilities match your requirements. Check out their product offerings, past work, and production lead times to make sure they can meet your deadlines.

Its essential to find a partner you can trust and work well with. Ask for samples to see the quality of their workand for references from current clients. Consider price, but remember that the cheapest option might not be the best value.

For years, The BoxMaker has provided custom corrugated boxes, retail displays, labels, and more to support our Trade Partners and their clients through our Trade Partner Program. Our success has been built on our obsession with serving our clients reliably, and our commitment to investing in industry-leading equipment and manufacturing solutions. We proudly operate two manufacturing plants with a combined 100,000 square-feet of best-in-class digital print and finishing equipment between our two locations in Seattle, WA and Lowell, AR.

If you're searching for a premium packaging supplier to partner with, you can learn more about our program and capabilities here.

HP C500 wide shot

HP PageWide C500 Press

Step 3 – Run a Small Project

Before committing to a new supplier for a major order, start with a smaller test project. Experience the entire ordering process, from requesting a quote to providing or developing your packaging design, to production and delivery. This lets you see how well you can collaborate with them.

Pay attention to how responsive and reliable the supplier is, and make sure they can deliver the quality packaging your clients need. This initial project will help you decide if they're the right fit for a long-term partnership.

Step 4 – Build a Strong Relationship and Lean on Their Expertise

Once you've found a suitable supplier, focus on building a strong relationship. Keep communication clear and open, check in regularly to address any concerns, encourage feedback from both sides to improve collaboration, lean on their expertise to come up with innovative packaging solutions, and visit their facilities to understand the manufacturing process behind the scenes. 

Step 5 – Build Out Your Bench

They say that “two is one and one is none.” In other words, have a backup plan. If your business’ success relies on third party manufacturing for wholesale custom packaging, having multiple suppliers on your roster is a must-have. You never know when an unforeseen circumstance such as a supply chain interruption, major weather event, or some other unplanned business disturbance could interrupt a supplier’s ability to serve you within your timeframe or budget. Networking and building your relationship with multiple suppliers, or choosing suppliers with multiple strategic operating locations, strengthens the supply chain for you and the clients you serve.

By following these 5 steps, you can build a strong relationship with your packaging supplier(s) that meets your clients' needs and helps your business grow.


Add The BoxMaker to Your Wholesale Packaging Supplier Roster

Put us in coach, we’re ready to play! The BoxMaker Trade Partner Program specializes in supporting box manufacturers, packaging distributors, print brokers, and creative agencies by offering a variety of custompackaging solutions that enable our Trade Partners to expand their product offerings and deliver greater value to their clients, all without the need for additional equipmentinvestments of their own.


Our expertise lies in digital print and finishing. We provide a range of custom wholesale packaging solutions, including digitally printed corrugated boxes, retail displays, point of purchase displays, printed sheets, custom labels, and more. Additionally, we further support your sales success by offering exclusive educational resources, training, and web-to-print ordering to our Trade Partners, maximizing your efficiency with fast quoting and online order management.

If you're sourcing custom wholesale packaging for your clients, check out our program and learn how to become a Trade Partner today.


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