Started in 2014 by Dan Kaplan — known affectionately now by customers as Farmer Dan — Heartstone Farm is the result of a lifelong dream and hard work.
Dan Kaplan had been an entrepreneur for over 30 years, mastering different fields of work. But there was one field he was always gravitating towards—grass fields. So when he saw a growing demand for naturally grass-fed, humanely treated and antibiotic-free beef directly from farmers, he took a leap and opened Heartstone Farm.
Situated on a 500-acre farm in Charleston, Maine today, Heartstone Farm sells 100% grass-fed beef in local Maine markets, to local restaurants and online directly to customers across the Eastern United States. Heartstone Farm aims to change the way people taste and experience grass-fed beef.
Ship meat in packaging that is sustainable, branded and affordable
For the first few years, Farmer Dan and his team were shipping their fresh, 100% grass-fed beef in polystyrene foam containers and generic “this side up” cardboard boxes. It was a simple, common and affordable way to ship perishable goods hundreds of miles without spoiling. In fact, many other companies ship perishable goods this way. But Farmer Dan didn’t just want to be like any other company.
Customers were also noticing that their farm-raised, humanely treated beef arrived in polystyrene boxes and weren’t very happy. After plenty of feedback about the shipping containers and one customer who sent back her polystyrene box, Farmer Dan knew it was time to look for a new shipping method.
On top of listening to customer feedback, Farmer Dan wanted to improve the first physical impression customers were getting from him after ordering online. He wanted a clean and green transition between his sustainable food practices online and the impression it gave customers when it arrived at their door.
On his hunt for sustainable packaging, he knew it had to meet certain criteria. The new shipping boxes had to be eco-friendly and made from recycled materials, it had to be customizable for brand recognition, and most of all, it had to be cost-friendly for his budget.
“Our customers are buying from a farm that preached sustainability—grass-fed local cows, non-factory farming practices—but we’re sending packaging that is non-recyclable and not sustainable.
100% recycled, affordable custom shipping boxes from Brandable Box
Farmer Dan already had an eco-friendly insulation solution ready. He just needed sustainable boxes to insulate. When Farmer Dan began the hunt for sustainable, custom shipping boxes, he found several options. Custom boxes ran a dime a dozen, but the prices were always sky-high and the boxes were often only partially recycled.
Then, he came across an ad on Facebook for 100% recycled custom shipping boxes from Brandable Box. Brandable fit all three criteria Farmer Dan needed to improve his customers’ experiences. The boxes are made in the USA from 100% recycled materials, brandable and affordable. The custom boxes he ordered from Brandable Box turned out to be two or three dollars less expensive than
Happy with what he found on Brandable Box, Farmer Dan started the process to switch his packaging practices. He chose two different box sizes, uploaded his logo in just 3 clicks, chose his print options and clicked check out.
Farmer Dan ended up with 100% recycled custom shipping boxes that fit the language of his website, his branding, and his shipping budget.
To communicate this change to customers, the Heartstone Farm team printed information cards and packed them inside the boxes together with their grass-fed beef letting customers know what to do with their new packaging.
“We’re all competing with bigger companies. It’s important to me that customers can recognize our brand and feel confident in our practices from the moment they land on our website to when they see their package on their doorstep.”
Happy customers, happy team, happy Dan
Since implementing his new shipping materials, Farmer Dan has reported a happier team and happier customers. After stepping off the farm for a couple of weeks, he came back and asked his team how packing had gone. The team admitted they felt much better packing and sending off hundreds of boxes with the new environmentally friendly packaging.
It wasn’t long before customers noticed the change in shipping. Soon, the team was getting comments and positive feedback from customers about their packages. So far, no one has sent back their empty boxes.
At the end of the day, Farmer Dan says his business helps him build relationships. Part of his branding is making sure the team delivers a consistently good product. From reviews, it’s clear customers agree his product is already there. And now, Farmer Dan can be comfortable knowing his shipping practices are aligned with the rest of his branding.
“Now, we’re really proud to send out a box that has our name on it. We like to imagine UPS walking up customers’ driveways with our branded boxes and the boxes are just shouting, “here’s your Heartstone Farm fresh meat!”