Keeping your customers educated and aware of how to care for items purchased from you is an important part of the sales game. Care instruction cards are an excellent way to relay your brand values, especially if your products are handmade or use any specialist materials.
By carefully wording your care instruction cards you’ll build brand loyalty, which will help ensure customers return to you and continue to buy your goods.
Thinking through what you include on the care instruction cards from a customer point of view will also protect you should a customer raise a complaint about the quality of the items after purchase and use. If they follow the recommendations then problems shouldn’t occur.
Specific care information relates to different products and these instructions should cover a number of areas including cleaning methods, storing suggestions and any other information that is important to you and relates to the provenance of your goods.
All of the information is traditionally printed on a swing ticket which is either attached to the item, in the case of garments or, included in the box in regards to footwear, bags and jewellery.
To help you create yours and not miss out anything, below we list some important aspects you should be aware of and include when you create your care instruction cards:
Care Instruction Cards for Leathergoods
The information that you include for the care of your brand’s leathergoods should relate to a number of things.
First and foremost, gather as much information from your leather supplier on the best practices for overall care of the specific type of leather you’ll be using. This is particularly important as various types of leather have different surface finishes.
For example, patent leather would be treated very differently to a lambskin Nappa. Use language that is easy to understand and favourable to your brand, for example:
Our gorgeous leather bags are soft and pliable, but if protected with (brand name) cream, your leather accessories will age beautifully.
Keeping leather bags and products clean, after the sale, should be a priority to your company. Perhaps you could test some readily available products on your particular leather and then suggest to your customer that they use them. These cleaning products will have instructions on them for best use and you could use this information also.
CORRECT USE OF PRODUCT
It’s in your interests to assume that your customer knows nothing about products. Therefore, include information about their use.
If you’re selling small evening bags the general view would be that small item should be carried in it. State this clearly to prevent the return of mis-shaped items due to overstuffing with products that should be carried in a larger handbag.
List a selection of suggestions such as the following:
- Do not expose your accessory to oil, makeup or permanent dyes, as these can stain.
- Do not expose to wet environments or allow to get soaked in rain. If this was to happen, dry with a towel and away from direct heat.
- Do not apply strong detergents
- Do not wash the fabric lining
- Do not leave in direct sunlight or next to a radiator
You could also expand on the above with a little bit more information that is unique to you, such as for example:
Our leather is water resistant but if exposed to vast amounts of water, leave wet leather to dry naturally without using artificial heat. Please stuff bags to maintain its shape while drying.
If your products are an unusual shape then tailor the information you give to accommodate this unique feature. Perhaps you have included a bespoke foam block that must be used when the bag is in storage, if so then relay this information clearly.
If you’re supplying a dust-bag, as most brands are in the habit of doing, then ensure that you include information about its use for storage purposes.
Care Instruction Cards for Jewellery
The instructions you include for the caring of your jewellery brand will differ depending on whether you use precious metals such as real silver and gold or whether you’re designing costume jewellery. In the case of precious metal, it would be wise to list the unique properties of each one you’re using and how best to care for them. As with any product that is being sold to the public include as much detail product care information as possible. Ensure that you overstate the obvious to prevent any legalities that could arise due to the misuse of and return of items.
State whether your items are handmade by artisans or factory made. A good example of the information you could include for the manufacture of handmade items could be something along these lines:
Every item in our Jewellery range is carefully finished by hand. Each piece is handmade, using the jeweller’s traditional skills of engraving, fine soldering and stone mounting.
If your products are made in a place that’s renowned for a particular skillset, then advertise this fact as it will then become part of your brands USP.
CARE OF PRECIOUS METALS
Thorough instructions pertaining to the right products to use as well as the type of cloths and cleaning activity must be clearly stated. For example:
Gold is a precious metal and should be cleaned regularly to maintain its patina and beauty. To polish your gold items, use a lint-free soft cloth or a gold polishing cloth and firmly buff the item in a circular motion.
Do the same for every type of metal you use.
CARE OF COSTUME JEWELLERY
Remember to always put costume jewellery on as the ‘finishing touch’, after using perfumes, hairspray or make-up.
If cosmetics are applied whilst wearing jewellery, beware as they can build-up on the surface, dulling its appearance.
Never spray perfume onto the costume jewellery. The alcohol and acids in perfume will cause permanent damage.
To clean costume jewellery, use lukewarm water with a small amount of mild washing-up liquid, then rinse with cold water and dry with a soft cloth. Never use solvents, abrasive wadding or silver cleaning solution on costume jewellery.
If your products are particularly delicate and you’re providing a special padded box or soft fabric bag then advertise the fact and the benefits of using it.
Mention that jewellery items should be stored separately from each other to prevent marking and damage.
If you work with silver, mention that over time the metal tarnishes and give suggestions for how to protect the jewellery piece from tarnishing or how to clean in the event of it tarnishing.
Care Instruction Cards for Clothing
The world is awash with a plethora of clothes, and along with them many iterations of care instructions.
The basic care instructions are commonly known:
- don’t tumble dry knits or jerseys,
- keep coloured clothing away from paler colours
- dry clean only.
Your set of care instructions will be dependant on the type of clothing you’re designing as well as with the variety of materials you’re using.
Include a concise list of washing instructions with water temperature options and types of detergent that will give the best results.
If you’re a sustainable fashion brand then suggest the merits of using cold or warm water and replacing regular detergents with non-toxic, biodegradable types. Advocate the washing of clothes less and suggest that items are washed only when absolutely necessary.
Your drying instructions could include a selection of different options. Are your products better suited to line drying or would tumble drying soften and fluff them up?
If your practices are sustainable then encourage the line drying option and follow this example:
Line dry your clothing whenever possible. Turn bright or dark items inside out to reduce fading, including jeans. Line drying saves energy and reduces environmental impact
Generally speaking, if you’re producing products that are stretchy, such as knitwear, your instructions should highlight the benefits of keeping them folded and emphasise the negative effects of hanging them up.
The suggestion of including lavender sachets, for examples, to ward of odours could also be highlighted.
All in all, from the above you can see that writing care instructions card is not as hard as it sounds. The benefits of having such information provided alongside your product are invaluable. Not only will they educate your clients on your product but they will also send a message that YOU care about their experience with your products. That you care that your product is well taken care of, that you are professional and organised. Last but not least, these care cards offer another opportunity to add your branding stamp, to speak to the customer with words, send a message and make an impact.
Therefore, be creative when writing your care instructions. The production of memorable ones will make your brand stand out from the crowd.
And above all – do some research beforehand and find out what is generally used and then add the information that distinguishes you from your competitors.