Often Wander: Committed to sustainability

ricardo gomez

Inspired after traveling abroad, Sarah Larson returned home with a desire to create with her hands. She started small, making candles on her stovetop and selling them to friends. Ten years and two retail stores later, Often Wander now sells hundreds of handmade products all over the U.S. and beyond. From the beginning, Sarah knew she’d do her best to be conscious of the impact her business was having on the Earth. However, as the business grew, finding eco-friendly options from reliable packaging suppliers proved difficult.

The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that plastic and other packaging make up approximately 30% of the total waste sent to landfills in the U.S. annually. Although consumers who don’t take the time to reuse or recycle play a part, poor design and cheap shortcuts are the real culprits. Until governmental regulations force makers to improve the lifecycle of their product packaging, it’s up to individual businesses to make the sustainable choices their customers want.

Larson is doing all she can to raise the bar for running an environmentally responsible business. She hand-makes all her products, and her candles can be refilled at half the retail price when customers return their used vessels. The business buys ethically sourced goods from around the world, carries locally made items, and collaborates with and lifts up female artists and voices.

Their firm commitment to sustainability meant Often Wander needed packaging that would elevate the brand while providing something beautiful and useful for discerning customers to enjoy long after the product has been unboxed. Their MOOD Collection Incense Sticks were the perfect starting point. Having never worked with a packaging company before, Larson was unsure that the essence of the brand would be captured properly on the tube.

The branding inspiration for their paper tubes came from the peace and quiet found while wandering in solitude surrounded by a normally fast-paced world. Larson describes the vibe as “Taking real time to slow down, gratitude for pockets of nature within a city, for dusk and silence, for the quiet introspective moments that seem to slow time. The MOOD Collection was born from these moments of time stopped, heaviness, and uncertainty while finding the light and inspiration around them.”

The final product was a big success. “I love the metallic gold against the black tube,” says Larson. “And the sound the tube makes when it’s opened is so satisfying.” Finding ways to add even more value for her customers, she also included a QR code on each tube that links to a thoughtfully curated Spotify playlist for each MOOD. As the company grows adding new store locations and even more Often Wander hand-crafted, thoughtfully made products, we know they’ll continue toward success with beautiful and sustainable packaging.