I did some posts on how to brand your business a month or so ago. There was the Creative Branding Ideas for Your Business post and the DIY Business Card Ideas post. Well, I've been trying to work on this with my home based busines: Gina's Craft Corner. My Etsy shop orders have picked up lately and a few weeks ago I had to ship out 2 packages in one week! Woohoo! I know, probably sounds pretty pathetic to some of you (LOL!).
I have read that when you have an online business, the wise manager will have all their ducks in a row BEFORE an order comes in. However, if you are like me, you are not expecting millions of people to beat down your Etsy door, so you kind of do the procrastination thing and then when the order does come in at 8 o'clock at night, it goes a little something like this...
"Ahhhhh!! I have an order!!!!"
"(Gasp!) "I have an order...."
"Oh no, do I have a box?"
"Dratz, I forgot to make those cute tags!"
"Grrr...where is that rafia!"
" Where is my paint? WHERE IS MY PAINT???!"
"Yes, honey, I do plan on painting at 10 o'clock at night."
"This is cool..this is cool... I do so much better when the pressure is on...I'm so......"
"Packing tape! Where is the packing tape? Oh, sure, of course I would run out of packing tape at this very moment!"
"The receipt! I need to put in the receipt....and a nice little handmade thank you note to show how crafty I am."
"Now, how much is this REALLY going to cost to ship?"
Does any of this sound familiar? Surely no one else has experienced anything like this. (yeah right!)
So, if you have recently opened an Etsy shop or are thinking about opening up one soon, I thought I would just give you a little checklist to go through before you make that final CLICK to open your business.
1. Research how you are going to ship
You can ship through the United States Postal Service, Fed Ex, UPS, etc... I checked out all three on line, but ended up going with the USPS. Why? Well, after shipping one bag through USPS and one of an identical size through Fed Ex, the USPS postage was cheaper and got there faster. I now know that for my larger bags it will cost ~$15.00 to ship and that I can use the convenience of the local post office. The nearest Fed Ex and UPS store is about 20 minutes away, so the USPS shipping is looking like it will be the best option for me.
2. Packaging: box or envelope?
I first looked at the boxes the USPS had to offer where you shove all your items in one box and pay one flat fee. Well, if you can get all your items to fit in a small box, great! In my case, they did not have a box that would hold my bag AND stay in my price range.
You can purchase boxes or envelopes at Wal-Mart, an office store, Etsy, Amazon etc. Amazon seems to always beat out everyone, and that is what I concluded after comparing prices. I ended up paying .90 cents/box for a 12"x 18"x 4" box.
I was using the envelopes to ship my bags, but my husband informed me that the boxes were much more professional. I think it depends on what you are shipping. For my large, conceal and carry handbags, I do not want them getting smashed, so a box seems like a wise decision.
One more thing....don't forget the bubble wrap and packing tape!
3. A personal touch that represents your brand
I chose to add a personal touch to my product by stamping these circles all over a roll of Kraft wrapping paper. I got the circle idea from my GCC logo. I wrap my bag in the paper and then tie it with some rafia and a tag.
The tags are just made from brown card stock. I either sew my label on the tag or I sew on a pretty piece of matching fabric with a zigzag stitch.
I add a personal note to the package as well, just saying thank you for their purchase. I use whatever handmade cards I have on hand.
This is not a complete checklist, by no means, but it will get you headed in the right direction. I hope this post has helped you to at least start thinking about the plan of action you need to take so that you are not rushing around like a crazy person when that first order comes in like I was!
Best of luck with your business! Come and visit me on Etsy @ GCCginascraftcorner. If you would like me to check out your Etsyshop just leave your shop name in the comments below and I would be glad to stop by and follow you. :)
I'm linking up at THESE great parties this week!