Would Your Wine Brand Be Missed?

Mike Carter

Editor’s Note: We are excited to have Mike Carter guest blog for us today! For more than a decade, Mike has helped wine companies manage their new product development process. He is also a published author, with articles appearing in the magazines Practical Winery & Vineyard and WineLand. Mike earned his MBA at Bond University and lives in Somerset West, South Africa. You can read more of Mike’s writing online at Serious About Wine, his wine packaging blog, and at South African wine.co.za.

In their book Mavericks at Work, William C. Taylor and Polly LaBarre include a very powerful question every brand owner must ask themselves. And given the current state of the global wine industry and its uncertain future, it’s a question every wine brand owner must answer today to better prepare for tomorrow.

That question is:

“If your company went out of business tomorrow, who would really miss your brand and why?” Continue reading “Would Your Wine Brand Be Missed?” »

Itchy-O Marching Band of Denver, Colorado

Itchy-O Band Sticker

Lightning Labels recently printed up some custom made stickers for Itchy-O Marching Band, a marching band project based here in Denver, Colorado. The 25-member band describes its sound as a unique “industrial brand of trance-like drum corp music.”

Two things set Itchy-O apart from other marching band projects:

1) All brass instruments have been replaced by battery-powered electronic devices such as theremins. That’s right, this marching band has no trumpets, trombones, nor other shiny gold instruments with mouth pieces and horns. And its music has an electronic edge.

2) You never know when nor where they will show up. Itchy-O plays when and where it wants, often right on the street in front of crowded musical venues and unannounced at special events in the Denver area. Performing by the seat of their pants means that Itchy-O finds its audiences. In other words, you can’t buy a ticket to go see Itchy-O. They have to find you.

The crowds Itchy-O brings its music to display a wide range of emotions when they unexpectedly encounter Itchy-O rounding a bend on the street, from curiosity to pure delight to shocked amazement that freezes the spectator in a state of confusion.

Performing on the fly gives Itchy-O a huge amount of freedom. Because there is no need need for the band to deal with the politics of booking and promoting, they have more time and energy to focus on what they do best, making music.

Lightning Labels loves printing band stickers almost as much as it loves music. If you need custom made stickers printed for your band, give us a call at 1-888-685-2235 or send us an email.

TheDieLine.com Launches Sister Site Devoted to Wine Packaging

TheDieLineWine.com Logo with Images of Wine Bottles

Anyone who reads this blog regularly knows that I love, love, love the packaging design blog TheDieLine.com. You can imagine, then, how excited I am that they have launched a sister site dedicated to showcasing the best designs and trends in the wine packaging industry. That’s right, I am doing the happy dance this week.

So who else is excited about TheDieLineWine.com? Check it out and let me know what you think.

LL Great Resource for Small Businesses Competing for Shelf Space, Customer Says


Here at Lightning Labels, we take great pride in producing professional, high-quality labels. And because our digital printing technology allows us to keep our prices on small orders affordable, we attract a lot of young businesses that are producing some truly  innovative products.

Betsy Wallace is one such customer. Betsy owns The Baby Foodies, a company that makes seasoning mixes designed specifically for infants so that parents can safely introduce new flavors to their children without worrying about loading them up with salt, sugar and preservatives. Here’s what she had to say in a recent email about how our labels are helping her grow her business:

Hi (Lightning Labels),

Just wanted to let you know that we just got our spices into our first natural foods grocery store- the merchandising manager absolutely loved the quality of the labels.  It was definitely a tipping point in his decision making and he commented several times re: how professional the product looked because of the “high end” labels. A great resource for small businesses trying to compete for shelf space. Hopefully business will be booming and I’ll be putting in a re-order soon!

Betsy Wallace
The Baby Foodies

Watching our customers go after their dreams is one of the most rewarding aspects of what we do here at Lightning Labels. And knowing that our labels and stickers are helping small businesses go toe-to-toe with the big boys is even sweeter.

Learn How to Achieve the ‘Flash for Cash’ with Chrome Labels

Newsletter Image

The summer edition of our newsletter is now available online! Download the Lightning Flash as a printable copy of our popular quarterly newsletter. Or, read individual newsletter articles online in our Lightning Flash archive.

In this issue of the Lightning Flash:

• One of our customers, Joshua B. Smith, founder of NRG-X, tells his story of building his business from $50 to over $15 million and being named as one of Inc. Magazine’s Top CEOs in America under 30.

• Why Joshua B. Smith only trusts Lightning Labels to print his award-winning chrome product labels.

• What chrome labels are, and how to leverage them for your business.

• Plenty of tips for creating your own stunning chrome label designs from Josh Tocko of Premiere Designs who designed the labels for Joshua B. Smith.

• Information you need to plan ahead for the holiday season.

To read past editions of The Lightning Flash, visit our newsletter archive.  To get an instant quote for your label order online, visit the Lightning Labels website, or call us toll-free at 1.888.685.2235.

Bob’s Your Uncle!

Bob's Your Uncle Wine in a Beer Bottle, Front Label

If you can’t decide between wine or beer for your picnic, just choose a wine in a beer bottle. This will probably only work if you live in South Africa, though, where the red wine in a bottle Bob’s Your Uncle is sold. Bob’s Your Uncle is the first and only example of a wine packaged in a beer bottle that I have run across. If you know of others, please let me know.

I am still trying to decide if this concept is pure genius or just plain silly. On one hand, I wonder if a consumer shopping for a red wine will simply pass over a bottle of Bob’s Your Uncle, thinking that it is beer that has been misplaced in the red wine aisle. I have always thought that  good packaging (gift wrapping excepted) clearly communicates what the product insidWine in Beer Bottle, Back Labele is. I find this message of this packaging confusing. Yes, the front label says “Wine,” but also adds the slogan “The Red Brew.” And it is, as I have already pointed out, in a beer bottle. Say what?

On the other hand, this design does address the practical issues that sometimes arise when one is debating whether or not to purchase a conventional bottle of wine. As the wine’s packaging designer firm, Fanakalo, put it in an interview with Lovely Package, wine in a bottle is, “Perfect for picnics, people who don’t want to drink an entire bottle of wine in a restaurant… or just perfect for drinking straight from the bottle!”

I’m not going to argue with that. Or the clever incorporation of the bar code into the design on the back label (see right). Also, I adore this packaging’s tongue-in-cheek sense of humor.

Lightning Labels GM Discusses His Business Philosophy in WhatTheyThink Video

WhatTheyThink Logo

WhatTheyThink, a  leading online news source for the printing industry, released this video interview today with Lightning Labels General Manager James Lowry. WhatTheyThink filmed James at the DSCOOP conference in Dallas earlier this year as he discussed his business philosophy, which is based on keeping business practices simple and standardized. Watch the video online here.

Safe Cosmetics Act Would Create Package Labeling Nightmare

Clearly the sponsors of the Safe Cosmetics Act of 2010 have never had to design a packaging label for a personal care product. Otherwise, they would realize that requiring cosmetic makers to list almost every chemical (yes, chemical, not just ingredients) in a product would result in a package labeling nightmare.

Section 613 of H.R. 5786 would require all chemicals, including “detectable” trace elements, to be listed on the ingredients label of a personal care product. That means that a product containing water, for instance, would be required to list water on its ingredient label, as well as every other trace element found inside the water. This might include trace elements such as as copper, nickel, lead, and silver, depending on the source of the water and how it has been filtered. Water, like most natural ingredients used in personal care products, contains dozens of chemicals. Many of these chemicals are trace elements.

Lela Barker of Bella Luccè regularly orders labels for her all-natural, non-toxic bath and body products line from us. In a fantastic blog post about her recent trip to Capital Hill to voice her opposition to opposition to H.R. 5786, she gave a perfect illustration of how this bill would affect product labels in her industry. If Lela was to put a  massage bar on the market tomorrow made with just three ingredients, she wrote, the label would look like this:

Olive Oil, Cocoa Butter, Lavendar Oil.

Under the proposed legislation, the ingredients label for the same exact massage bar would look like this:

Olive Oil (Tri-Glycerides of Palmitic, Di-Glycerides of Palmitic, Palmitoleic, Stearic, Oleic, Linoleic, Arachidic Acid, Linolenic Acid, Squalene, Beta Carotene, Campesterol, Methylenecholesterol, Stigmasterol, Sitosterol, Fucosterol, 28-Isofucosterol, Stigmadienol, Brassicasterol, 7-Cholestenol,Ergostadienol, Avenasterol, Triterpene Alcohols, Tirucallol, Taraxerol, Dammaradienol Beta-Amyrin Germanicol, Butyrospermol, Parkeol, Cycloartenol, Tirucalladienol, 4-Methlene 24-Dihydroparkeol, 24-Methlenecycloartanol, Cyclobranol, 4-Methyl Sterols, Esters of Tyrosol, Esters of Hydroxytyrosol, Vitamin E (Tocopherols), Carotenoids, Oleuropein), Cocoa Butter (Tri and Diglycerides of Stearic Acid, Palmitic Acid, Lead, Oleic Acid, Linoleic Acid, Isoleic Acid, Beta Carotene, p-Hydroxybenzoic Acid, Vanillic Acid, Ferulic Acid, Syringic Acid, Phenylehtylamine, Theophylline, Aliphatic Esters, Aromatic Carbonyls, Caffeine, Theobromine, Diketopiperazines and Alkylpryazines), Lavender Essential Oil ( Cineole Octanol, Octanone, Alpha Bisabolol, Alpha Cadinol, Alpha Humelene, Alpha Phellandrene, Apha Pinene, Alpha Terpinene, Alpha Terpineol, Alpha Terpinyl Acetate, Alpha Thujene, Alpha Thujone, Beta Bisabolol, Beta Pinene, Beta Thujone, Borneol, Bornyl Acetate, Camphene Camphor, Cineolealpha Terpineol, Carvone, Caryophyllene, Carophyllene Oxide, CIS Alpha Terpineol, CIS Alpha Bisabolene, CIS Carveol, CIA Linalol Epoxide, CIS Ocimene, Citronellal, Citronellol, Coumarine, Cuminaldehyde, Eugenol, Furfural, Geraniol, Geranyl Acetate, Geranyl Butyrate, Hexanol, Hexyl Tiglate, Isoborneol, Lavandulol, Lavandulyl Acetate, Limonene, Linanlol, Linalyl Acetate, Methyl Heptenone, Myrcene, Nerol, Neryl Acetate, Oleanolic Acid, P Cymene, Rosemarinic Acid, Sabinen, Terpinenol, Terpinolene, Trans Carveol, Trans Epoxy Linalyl Acetate, Trans Linanol Epoxide, Trans Ocimene, Ursolic Acid).

Currently, the largest die we have in stock cuts labels that are 10.25 by 16.75 inches, and we can custom order dies for labels up to 11.5 by 17.5 inches. Even though this means we can print labels larger than a sheet of legal size paper, that wouldn’t be large enough for many of the personal care products we currently print ingredients labels for under the proposed legislation. But a letter size label, 8.5 by 11 inches, would be large enough to list the ingredients for Lela’s hypothetical massage bar. There would even be room to list information about how to use the product, list its name, and maybe even squeeze in the company logo and some fancy artwork as well. Isn’t that great? Well, it would be … if there was a market for massage bars as big as sheets of notebook paper.

And this is just the beginning of the packaging nightmare … don’t even get me started on how many of our customers will end up throwing away product labels they can no longer use and deplete their resources finding new packaging containers big enough for the labels they will have to have redesigned and reprinted in order to meet the proposed ingredient labeling requirements.

If the Safe Cosmetics Act of 2010 passes as written, however, all this talk about being forced to perform packaging design acrobatics will be a mute point. You see, we won’t have to worry much about producing ridiculously oversized ingredients labels for our many wonderful customers who produce natural bath and body products and safe cosmetics if this bill becomes law. Because most of them, sadly, will not be able to afford to stay in business if this bill becomes law. That, my dear readers, is the true nightmare that will be experienced by small business owners who maker personal care products if HR 5786 is passed.

Related Posts

Safe Cosmetics Act Threatens Future of Small Businesses – Lightning Labels

Indie Beauty Network Opposes HR 5786 Safe Cosmetics Act of 2010 – Indie Beauty Network

A Hot Date with HR 5786 – Sweet Libertine Mineral Cosmetics

Official Position on the Safe Cosmetics Act of 2010 – Handcrafted Soapmakers Guild

The Safe Cosmetics Act of 2010 is Not the Solution – The Grapeseed Company

Social Activists Use QR Codes to Promote Gulf Coast Cleanup


As a byproduct of its Be the One campaign to build  public support for restoring the weary Gulf Coast Region, a grassroots organization is raising awareness of the QR code among the general population.

Women of the Storm, a non-partisan organization based in New Orleans, partnered with mobile scanning technology maker ScanLife to create a QR code that drives people to sign an online petition as part of its Restore the Gulf effort. The organization is putting the QR code on everything from web sites and posters to tee shirts with the URL of its Restore the Gulf website and the slogan “Scan the tag. Sign the petition. Be the one.”  Last week, an enormous version of the Be the One QR code was displayed on a billboard in Times Square. It was impossible to walk through Times Square without noticing the QR code. If New Yorkers didn’t know what a QR code was before, they do now.

To scan the QR code, you need a mobile scanning application on your smart phone. I downloaded the free one that ScanLife makes onto my Blackberry so that I could scan a Be the One QR code for myself. When I opened the ScanLife application, the camera was activated on my phone. I then centered the QR code that I had printed off from the Be the One website in my viewfinder and pressed a button to capture the image. Sure enough, the default web browser automatically opened on my phone and took me straight to the mobile version of the Be the One petition.

It will be interesting to see how many people sign this petition as a result of the integration of the QR code into the campaign. As for myself, I am definitely going to be more likely to scan a QR code with my phone the next time I run across one in public now that I know how easy it is. As this technology becomes more widely adopted, I look forward to seeing more QR codes printed on product labels. I would never stand in the middle of a grocery aisle and take the time to type in the URL of a product I was interested in. I would, however, consider taking five seconds to pull up the same website by scanning a QR code printed on a food product label.

I am also interested to know if you are currently using QR codes. And if so, where are you running across in them? Are you leveraging them for your own business or nonprofit organization and if so, what results are you seeing so far? What ideas come to mind for incorporating QR codes into your own promotions? I would love to hear from you.

And remember, we can print QR codes on your labels here at Lightning Labels. If you have any questions, I would be happy to speak with you.

Related Posts & Articles

What Are QR Codes & Why Are They Used?

Popular Skincare Brand Incorporates QR Code Into Magazine Ad

More Wineries Adopting QR Codes

QR Codes Are Coming to Packaging

New Labeling Requirements for Light Bulb Packaging Win-Win for Consumers, Environment


New labeling requirements will make it easier for consumers to conserve both energy and cash when it comes to buying light bulbs. It will also enable them to more accurately compare the brightness of different types of lighting. The Federal Trade Commission’s ruling that requires new labeling on light bulb packaging will go into
effect mid-2011. It means that front-of-package labels will be required to feature the estimated annual energy cost for that particular type of bulb as well as indicate the brightness of the bulb in terms of lumens.

Currently, most consumers rely on wattage measurements to compare the brightness and costs in terms of energy use when shopping for light bulbs. Even thought the wattage measurements of light bulbs have been indicated on front-of-package labels for decades, watts are actually a measurement of energy use, not brightness. The new labeling will make it easier for shoppers to compare traditional incandescent bulbs with newer high-efficiency compact fluorescent (CFL) and light-emitting diode (LED) ones.

lightbulb_label_factsThe new back-of-package “Lighting Facts” labels (see example at right), which are modeled on the “Nutrition Facts” labels on food packaging will provide information on the bulb’s life expectancy, appearance, and wattage. The labels will also indicate if bulbs contain mercury. The Lighting Facts labels will repeat the information on brightness and energy cost found on the front-of-package
labeling. Lumen measurements and mercury disclosures (where applicable) will be required to be printed directly on light bulbs under the new ruling.