Sending packages and gifts can lead to scrounging for boxes, sometimes several boxes, plus an extra to hold all the other boxes — a situation that led Corona del Mar resident Lindsey Kath to create an award-winning product.
“I’d buy a gift for someone back home in Minnesota,” she said. “Then I had a to put it inside a box. Then I used wrapping paper. Then I put it in another box. There were so many steps. I was always looking for a cute little box.”
Besides, she said, boxes would crush the wrapping paper, making the gift ugly by the time it arrived. There had to be a better way.
“Pillow boxes,” she said, describing flat envelopes that pop up to create a small, slender box.
Last year, Kath began designing pillow boxes using sturdy material with fun, pretty patterns. For awhile, the boxes were for her own personal use. But other customers at the post office and UPS store commented on them, asking where to purchase them. And an employee at the print shop she used told her she’d get a better deal if she ordered in bulk.
Branch + Cotton was born.
The gift box collection includes 20 box designs in two sizes, and each box includes a gift tag and two clear enclosure seals. The boxes are made with heavy, recyclable card stock and coated in soft finishes. The boxes are easy to collapse and reassemble, making them easy to store or to travel with during the holidays.
“It took me awhile, figuring out sizes, playing around, finding a cool coating,” she said.
Kath launched Branch + Cotton in August 2011, working on it part time until earlier this year when she introduced her products at the National Stationery Show in New York City.
The line was a hit, and Branch + Cotton was named a 2012 Best New Product Award winner. Kath began selling not only online, but in shops and stationery stores in the United States as well as in Japan and Canada. Locally, the boxes are sold at Francis-Orr in Corona del Mar, Where’s the Party in Costa Mesa, Newport Stationers on San Miguel Drive and the Newport Colony Company in Fashion Island, Kath said.
Kath grew up in Minnesota, attending the University of Minnesota and working at 3M. She lived in London, then four years ago moved to Corona del Mar. Eventually she began working with a neighbor who had a home-based stationery business — a perfect fit for her current business.
The rapid success of Branch + Cotton has been overwhelming, she said.
“It’s really hard to keep up,” she said. “It’s a little daunting at the moment. But things are really good.”
Photo courtesy of Branch + Cotton.