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Smart Supplement Shipper is Letterbox-Friendly, Sustainable

Short Description: 
Brain health company Heights launches its D2C supplement product in a unique bottle and shipper made from bio-based materials that together measure less than one inch deep.

Brain health and mental wellness supplements company Heights has pioneered a new dimension in e-commerce packaging—and it’s only 25 mm, or 0.9 in., deep. The impossibly thin shipper, with an even slimmer, 23-mm bottle inside, was designed by the London-based company to easily fit through a U.K. letterbox-style mailbox. Being unique is not new for this start-up company; its distinctive supplement uses “capsule in a capsule” technology whereby the dry ingredients are in one capsule that is suspended in an outer capsule of Omega 3 oil. Says the company, “Most vitamins need to be taken with food or a fat-soluble substance. Because ours comes ready-made inside Omega 3 oil and dissolves slowly in your lower intestine, you get more of the nutrients reaching your bloodstream than in traditional pills, which break down too early to be effective. An added benefit to this—no nausea.” Specifically designed to give the brain the fuel it needs to improve its health and performance, the easy-to-swallow “smart capsules” are made from natural ingredients—among them, B12, blueberry extract, and 16 other essential vitamins—in the most biologically active form and are augmented with educational content for consumers on how to optimize brainpower. Says Heights co-founder Daniel Murray-Serter, “We use all natural nutrients and no synthetic fillers or caking ingredients and track your journey with us from day one, sharing insightful content from the world’s leading experts to help coach you on your journey to mental wellness.” Heights began working on the package design in early January 2019 with design firm Pentagram. The project was led by Pentagram partner and industrial designer Jon Marshall. Explains the firm, because Heights is a D2C brand, the design of the bottle was driven by two factors: It needed to be highly distinctive in order to launch the brand, and it also needed to be less than 25-mm thick to fit through the letterbox for efficient delivery and a great customer experience. Adds Murray-Serter, “We were 100-percent committed to fitting through the letterbox for environmental reasons, accessibility, and the ability to send internationally as a large letter. That was the starting challenge for the design project in general.” Foregoing the usual cold, science-like design language used by supplement brands, the clear 60-ct bottle for Heights’ supplements has a soft, asymmetric “thought bubble” shape and is flat on front and back to reveal the distinctive capsules inside. A narrow neck tapers into the main body of the bottle, making it easy for consumers to remove the daily dosage of two pills at a time, while still ensuring the bottle can be easily filled during the packaging process. According to Pentagram, the design team used a combination of software simulation and extensive development and prototyping with the (proprietary) blow-molding manufacturer and with the bottle filling line to achieve the distinct bottle shape. In order to minimize the shipper’s carbon footprint and stay within the 25-mm overall package thickness for economic delivery, Pentagram engineered the special shipping box so that it adds just 2 mm to the thickness of the product. The package comprises a hinged tray fitted with movable inner trays that securely hold the bottle and product literature and can be swapped out for future Heights’ products. Besides being letterbox-friendly, the entire package is also very eco-friendly—a must for Heights. “The packaging had to be best-in-class for sustainability because we have always planned from day one to qualify as a B Corp,” explains Murray-Serter. While the initial bottle design was tested and pre-launched using PET plastic, the final, commercial-scale version uses biodegradable, bio-based polylactic acid (PLA). The shipper is constructed of sugarcane-based pulp, and the information inside the package is printed on recycled paper. Heights launched the e-commerce product in the mail slot-compatible shipper in November 2019. Says Murray-Serter, “The response has been phenomenal. We’ve had customers tagging themselves in places like the Alps, on beaches, and as far as Easter Island, just to show off the amazing bottle design.”