The packaging the MBD Private Brand team creates is often the workhorse of a retailer’s private brand. To keep costs down and value high, retailers don’t spend huge amounts of funds on advertising their own brands. Instead, private brands ask customers to trust the retailers to find great deals and pass the savings on to them.

In a large retailer like BJ’s that carries more than just their own brands, the packaging we create has to work even harder than national brands’ packaging to win customers’ attention and tell a compelling story. With only a few seconds to tell that story, the main plot points usually have to focus on high quality and good value- not fun or whimsical origin stories.

But every so often, we get to tell a story that not only benefits our client, but also is a blast to tell. This was the case with Wellsley Farms Spirits, a line of premium spirits that launched in select BJ’s clubs just in time for the 2019 holiday season.

The artwork for Wellsley Farms American Vodka, Irish Whiskey, and Canadian Whisky was a labor of love that started with copious amounts of research and mood boards in January of 2018. We looked at the “traditional” brands for each spirit, but also dug deeper than that, researching the heritage, sourcing, and manufacturing processes for each type of alcohol and brainstorming how we could represent those on bottles. We also looked at ways we might tie these very different products together to create a premium spirits line that could be endlessly expanded.

This project also gave us a chance to play with textures and substrates that aren’t available for many private brand packaging projects. With specialty products come specialty materials, and although it’s fun to think outside the box, these special substrates require a higher level of industry knowledge to use them in design. Luckily, we have a huge number of both designers and production artists who are experts in their fields, and their broad knowledge base helped us at every turn.

The most rewarding projects are often the toughest, and require a joint effort between agency and client. Wellsley Farms Spirits was no exception- this project required near-constant communication between MBD, BJ’s and the suppliers for these products. The result was beautiful, functional artwork, great experience, and stronger relationships all around. We’ll cheers to that!