THEODOR Advent Calendar: Choice between Content/Container - Explanations

On 20 December 2017
[] Le calendrier de thé 2017

In 2016 already we had asked ourselves the question in the designing of the product itself.
In 2017, the same question came up to us, how to find the right balance between our values and our intrinsic approaches and the fact to offer a product entirely meeting our tea consumers' expectations?

Until last year, failing to have found an appropriate answer, we didn't release any advent calendar.

What were the reasons?

- Advent calendars in their 'standard' or existing design on the market destabilize the Packing/Product ratio (as it happens tea for what concerns us) in a way, in our view, very abusive and are very greedy in 'packaging';
. Multiplication of cardboard boxes,
. Wrong optimization of spaces,
. Used cardboard boxes/tea ratio,
. Integration into the retail price for the consumer of essentially marketing elements compared to the real product price, etc, etc...

Indeed, their conceptions are either based on:

. Cardboard double-sided 'envelope' types, with thickness and large size, which will "only" contain '24 teabags' in order to meet the needs of the individual boxes and to ease the opening remaining 'clean' in the end, but leading to a unit price per teabag simply 'displeasing' and 'disproportionate' in our view... for the consumer
. Cartons containing themselves a multitude of small cardboard boxes (square, rectangles...), of different sizes, containing the product and unfortunately often "half empty" or proportionally ill-adapted because the boxes' size must be standardized.

As a responsible tea house, we have always registered ourselves in an eco-friendly approach which must do everything possible to favor in the design of a product:

- as much the use of products based on recycled and/or recyclable matters,
- as much to minimize the environmental impact of the packaging in relation to the product, in its presence or its mass (as well as those of invisible matters such as inks / % of inking...)
- and to always favor a final product cost for the consumer, optimizing more the product cost to be consumed than the purchase of a packing or packaging cost.

The only rule we allow ourselves to bend regarding this principle answers to guarantee and hygiene standards for the consumer, of a product perfectly healthy where all possible risks of eventual outside contaminations are reduced at the maximum.

That's why, for instance, all of our teas in individual teabags are individually overwrapped, because you don't know it but inside a kitchen, a teabag WITHOUT overwrapping is a great carrier of germs due to its exposition to air, to the daily contact (such as its repeated handling when picking the teabags - our hands not always being clean), etc, etc...
In this specific case, consequently, we try to reduce the ecological and environmental impact in the teabag's overwrapping, by not using any aluminum based complex (which is not biodegradable in nature) for example... or protection films complexed by 2/3 layers of different barriers preventing from all recyclable possibilities after...

Between a large selection of teas and a pretty permanent product until December 24th...?

What is the link with our large size version tea advent calendar?:

It's pretty simple, we accept the idea that our advent calendar does not look like much, speaking of the outside part, the more you are getting closer to the end of its opening, that is to say to 24th...

1. We have to tear up the boxes from the used mono-cover which sometimes reveals the content of the nearby box,
2. We lose the precious and important picture of the whole calendar for the same reason,
3. Some of the boxes do not tear up well, if you don't use a cutter for instance, because too close from one another, etc...

And this one flaw, we were not able to solve it and have accepted that it is that way.

- To increase the room between each box would imply for us more cardboard, more uses of raw materials,
- To use an 'envelope' calendar would imply for us to reduce for the consumer the content in tea and suprises, like to only have one teabag (impossible to share for a tea time), like having a retail price/quality ratio too much important...
- And to create a perfect airtightness of our boxes, we could have/would have needed to then use individual cartons...
And to tell you everything, we also favored to reuse a packaging from on of our products for a great part of its design (the inner insert) in order to optimize the use of a matter already existing for us to avoid a new creation of another container...

So YES, we took the risk, to the detriment of the final product's image, full at the beginning and totally empty as we go along but each of whose spaces were optimized to contain the most products possible, the most teas possible, the most small pleasures possible.

Our advent calendar is to be destroyed and nothing remains of it ;) That's the idea.

We are still trying to improve the conception of the product itself while preserving the magic and the content but we admit that we accepted this/these small imperfection(s) for our products, hoping for your adherence to this philosophy, so that even a product that we can see under a marketing or mercantile aspect, remains for us above all a product of discoveries, of teas, of magic where no one has to feel guilty of its substantial impact on the environment or others. (Even if there is still one, we must not hide it). 

And if you are not numerous to write to us about these little flaws, we know that they exist and, we promise we won't stop working on it to improve for the next ones.

So of course, either positive or negative, your reactions in comment below this article are welcome! What about you, what do you think about that?