StableFeed Makes a Lasting First Impression with TricorBraun Flex’s Custom Packaging Solution

Equine specialist Mary Hartman didn’t intend to start her own company. However, when her horse began experiencing severe chronic pain, Mary soon realized equine holistic approaches and medical treatments were lacking.

As a result, she developed her own homemade equine chia supplement biscuits using a combination of superfoods, which improved every aspect of her horse’s health. Word of her supplement’s effectiveness spread quickly, and soon veterinarians, farriers, and trainers began recommending the solution – which has been adopted by some of the top riders in the world.

Her continued passion for horses and a desire to promote their optimal health drove Hartman to eventually launch her business, StableFeed. To support StableFeed’s mantra, “what you feed your horse matters,” Hartman’s mission is to revolutionize the equine industry by offering high-quality products with no waste materials or by-products.

During additional equine product research and development, Hartman learned of the Sainfoin plant —also known as “holy hay”— for horses. Fascinated by the numerous health benefits of this plant, Hartman decided to expand StableFeed’s product line beyond supplements by launching Sainfoin feed.

A Premium Packaging Solution for an Optimal Customer Experience

For the Sainfoin feed launch, StableFeed required a packaging solution that would convey a premium aesthetic, assuring its customers that they are purchasing a product using high-quality ingredients. In addition, as women make up most of the equine market, StableFeed needed a durable package design that would allow its customers to comfortably handle the weight of a 40-pound bag of feed without it ripping or breaking apart. StableFeed also aimed to soft launch its new Sainfoin product at The United States Eventing Association’s (USEA) American Eventing Championships in August of 2021.

“Of all the companies I contacted, TricorBraun Flex was the only one that proposed a custom packaging solution with the design flexibility our customers required, combined with the look and feel of a premium product,” said Hartman, founder and owner, StableFeed.

The TricorBraun Flex Engineering and Quality team recommended producing a custom bottom-filled Quad Seal bag with a two-hole handle on top that could perform with the weight capacity of the hefty Sainfoin product. The packaging also incorporates a “soft touch” finish — this subtle textural feel conveys a premium look.

“Handling a 40-pound bag of feed is difficult for many people. So, our Engineering and Quality team added a custom handle for practical consideration of today’s equine customers,” said James Cameron, packaging consultant, TricorBraun Flex. “For some, it is simply a ‘handle,’ but for StableFeed’s target, it’s a handle on the top of the bag that signifies the brand is thoughtful of its customers’ needs.” 

Although TricorBraun Flex provided a packaging solution that exceeded Hartman’s expectations, an unforeseen circumstance occurred that potentially jeopardized StableFeed’s soft launch deadline.

“StableFeed’s graphic designer managing the branding artwork for the packaging production suddenly became ill, and the backup designer we hired fell through at the last minute. When I mentioned my issue to James, he said, ‘don’t worry, we’ve got this,’” said Hartman. “TricorBraun Flex’s graphic design team immediately stepped in and completed the artwork for us. I was so appreciative that they could work on such short notice. They did an exceptional job.”

Hartman added that the TricorBraun Flex team also excelled at matching up the brand’s vibrant colors, so the print quality is the first thing customers notice when they look at the packaging. 

“Despite all the challenges we were facing, the TricorBraun Flex team bent over backward for me and ran a limited production of the Sainfoin bags early to ensure I could debut StableFeed’s beautiful Sainfoin bags to the marketplace on time,” said Hartman.

The Power of First Impressions

StableFeed’s Sainfoin bags did not disappoint at the USEA’s American Eventing Championships. Hartman noted that attendees were astonished by the quality, durability and design.

“In this marketplace, you only get one shot to impress a customer when they engage with your packaging. The overwhelming number of people who said the package ‘feels different’ and ‘is well constructed’ after their first touch is exactly the feedback I desired,” said Hartman.

Hartman also attributes successful market penetration and sales of StableFeed Sainfoin — following its formal launch in June of 2022 — to TricorBraun Flex’s custom packaging solution. She added that the packaging also differentiates StableFeed from its two largest conglomerate competitors in the equine category and is also why distributors want to carry the brand.

“The success of the Sainfoin product couldn’t have happened to a more genuine and down-to-earth team,” added Cameron. “TricorBraun Flex values our collaboration with StableFeed, and Mary knows she can call anytime if she needs our support.”

Hartman also expressed deep gratitude to Full Punch in Vancouver, British Columbia, for the design concept and to Canadian artist Jacqui Oakley[CM1]  for the “brilliant execution” of the artwork. Hartman said the image was inspired by the horse responsible for starting her on this journey, and her daughter, “whose softness of spirit results in a remarkable ability to bond with animals.”

Hartman said she has female customers who’ve cried the first time they feel the Sainfoin package and see the artwork because it takes them back to when they were just little girls with a horse. 

She added that the team effort to bring this product to life is “emotional marketing at its best.” 

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