Color Label Solutions

Color Label Solutions

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Tea-RRific In-Store Color Labels

Opening the first store in 2005, The Spice & Tea Exchange® (TSTE) ( dedicated to bringing to market a huge selection of gourmet spices - everything from Aleppo Pepper to Zahtar Blend; including a huge assortment of custom blends, exclusive teas, specialty salts and more. TSTE's selection of fresh gourmet spices is second to none. If their customers can't find it at TSTE, it probably does not exist! Freshness and variety are their mottos. 

TSTE combines traditional and exotic gourmet spices, cooking herbs and seasonings from around the globe in the preparation of their 60+ hand-mixed signature blends and rubs. Packaging by the ounce allows their customers to experiment as they journey through the vast selection of spices and seasonings.

With over 300 products in each of their 28+ stores, TSTE™ had some challenges with product labeling, especially their custom blends.  According to Jesse Hanson, Graphic Designer for TSTE, “For our custom blend products, we use 8.5” x 11” sheets of preprinted labels.  When selling a custom blended product, we would take one of the labels off the sheet in our inventory and hand-write the number of ounces.  This process was difficult, created wasted labels, and did not produce the quality of label we wanted on our products.”


Looking to find an alternative method to producing labels for their products, Jesse contacted J.D. Mervis, Vice President of Pattco Printer Systems (  Pattco is a printer distributor/reseller for all leading brands of commercial printers. With offices in Marietta, GA, Nashville and Knoxville, TN and Frederick, MD, their goal is to provide the best printing solution for their customer’s printing needs, including service and supplies.

 “I wanted to find a solution that fit the requirements of TSTE; and wanted to see for myself that the solution I propose would work for my customer,” says J.D.  After speaking with Jesse, J.D. contacted me. 

Initially, I provided printed label samples for J.D. to present to Jesse.

After the samples were reviewed, I provided Pattco a demonstration printer, media and training.  After this training, J.D. demonstrated the TM-C3400 printer to Jesse and the team at TSTE.  After the demonstration, TSTE purchased a printer to test in their St. Augustine location.

During testing, Jesse found the printer worked well.  Jesse says “The TM-C3400 produces a high quality label fast.  I designed new labels as PDF’s.  Using these formats, the sales people in the store can input the number of ounces, making the finished labels look professional.   Also, it makes distributing new product labels easy.  For our locations in Portland and San Francisco, which now have a TM-C3400 printer, I simply sent a zip file with all of the new labels formats.”

According to Jesse, one part of the solution that was a bit complicated was media.  “It took time to find the best media for our labels.  Plus, we had to purchase a special die to produce the label shape we wanted; an oval with the squared-off sides” says Jesse.

Keeping a large inventory of labels at each location, costs money and creates additional waste.   I suggest you do what The Spice & Tea Exchange® is doing; move to on-demand color labels.

Guy Mikel

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