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Pushing the Envelope Beyond Ordinary

Wake Up and Smell the Envelopes? Not so fast

Posted by Jerry Velona on Jan 3, 2012 9:31:00 AM

First of all, let me wish you, dear reader, a happy, healthy and prosperous new year.  One of my takeaways from this past holiday season is how having Christmas and New Year’s Day on Sunday worked so well.  I might just start a petition to get those holidays permanently set on those days.

Of course, as nice as the late December holiday season can be on a personal level, it’s a little tough getting back into the swing business-wise; so for my first post of 2012, I offer a short, interesting tidbit that you probably haven’t considered.  

At Elite Envelope, our customer’s are a creative bunch. They are always trying to come up with new ways to present envelopes and, as an envelope manufacturer, we are very good at accommodating them in most ways. After all, “pushing the envelope beyond ordinary” is our motto.

Late last year, one of our direct mail/marketing partners asked if we could print rub and sniff ink on an envelope. This is sometimes called “scratch and sniff”. You’ve seen it in magazines; particularly those that weigh a ton and feature high fashion photography and ads for the latest fragrances to go with the couture.  

While we’d certainly heard about this technique and were fairly sure that our equipment could accommodate the special inks required for this purpose, no one at Elite Envelope had ever heard of an envelope being printed this way. So I did what I usually do when I have a mailing question; I ask John Powers who is the Mail piece Design Analyst (I would add “emeritus” to his title) at the Boston Post Office business center.

As always, John responded quickly and precisely with an excerpt from the Domestic Mail Manual:

“A fragrance advertising sample (39 USC 3001(g)), i.e., any matter normally acceptable in the mail but containing a fragrance advertising sample, is permitted in the mail only if it is sealed, wrapped, treated, or otherwise prepared in a manner reasonably designed to prevent individuals from being unknowingly or involuntarily exposed to the sample. A sample meets this requirement if it uses paper stocks with a maximum porosity of 20 Sheffield units or 172 Gurley-Hill units treated exclusively with microencapsulated oils, and if the sample is produced so that it cannot be activated except by opening a glued flap or binder or by removing an overlying ply of paper”

So there you have it: any fragrant printing must be done on something that is contained within the envelope, not on the envelope itself.  Now if anyone can give me a simple explanation of what Sheffield and Gurley-Hill units are, I’d be most obliged.

Topics: direct mail, elite envelope, elite envelope, printing and envelopes, envelope manufacturer, pushing the envelope, rub and sniff printing on envelopes

Yet Another Blog Post

From Jerry Velona - co-owner,

Elite Envelope & Graphics, Inc.

Jerry offers pertinent, often useful information on envelope converting and printing, web printing, direct mail, the post office, songs that have to do with mail and letters, digital overload and much more!

(Non-spam) Comments always appreciated.  Spread it around!


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