Throughout the pandemic, online shopping reached new highs — digital sales increased by 55% in the third quarter, according to Salesforce. But so have concerns about the packaging these products come in.

Vox recently reported that corrugated box shipments have swelled by 9% since March, per the Fiber Box Association. And beauty companies had already been identified as culprits in inner and outer packaging problems pre Covid — just think of the wildly popular unboxing videos created by influencers. But a newfound consciousness of the environment is making some companies create better packaging and mailer solutions.

Year-old clean beauty brand Saie, that has largely come of age in the pandemic, is getting more thoughtful with its influencer mailers. To correspond with its first SPF launch, Sunvisor, the digital-centric brand is sending product along with a zero-waste mailer pouch from Boox. It also contained the brand’s recyclable zine, among other items. 

It’s part of Saie’s 14-day Feel Good Challenge, where each day the beauty company will debut online a new wellness-focused initiative for its community to participate in, such as getting outside, wearing sunscreen and meditating, to correspond with the SPF product. All influencers and community members receiving the mailer have to opt in, as well, to ensure less overall waste.

“We really look at every single aspect of our mailers and how they help our community,” said Laney Crowell, Saie founder and CEO. “We want them to be something they can look forward to, something they actually want — and our mailers are always sustainable and low waste, not something that is that is going to end up in a landfill. Our community doesn’t have to worry about getting it, and they enjoy it.” In August, Saie secured seed funding from Unilever Ventures; Gwyneth Paltrow, founder and CEO of Goop; G9 Ventures and Stage 1 Fund. Saie is sold online on its website, and at Goop, Cult Beauty and Follain.

Since launching, Saie has done only one in-person event, in February 2020, and subsequently leaned heavily into the better-for-you mailer concept for engagement, brand awareness and sales. Saie has executed 13 creative mailers, and the cost of said mailers was the same as one large scale event, said Crowell. Past examples for its Slip Tint foundation launch in August 2020, included a “Feel Good” mailer featuring a Jon and Vinny pizza, wine and a custom playlist, and a hydration mailer with custom coolers and reusable glass water bottles. These mailers were sent to 500 macro- and micro-influencers, and helped Saie beat sales projections for Slip Tint by 150%. New customer acquisition doubled in September following the buzz from the mailings.

While Crowell hopes to bring back some sort of live event in the summer for upcoming product launches, she expects product mailers to do double duty in the interim. “Everything, even events, is going to have to be contactless for a while,” she said. “We know our community isn’t ready to get together in large groups, from what they’re saying online, but we’ve proven we can connect digitally and offline in other ways. Our product and storytelling have to be just right for them to get that experience in their homes.”