Craft Venture: shipping for the holidays packaging

packaging from leaves of glass

Welcome to Craft Venture ““ business and marketing tips for indie online business owners.  Im Brenda, owner of Phydeaux Designs on Etsy and 1000 Markets, and Phydelle Designs on Etsy.  Last week, we talked about international shipping as part of our series for the  retail season:  the holidays.  This week, we’ll talk about packaging for holiday shipping.

I confess.  It’s after 1:00 a.m. and I’ve just finished packaging a couple of orders from one of my shops.  One order is going to another part of my state and the other is going to Canada.  The postage was easy:  PayPal for the domestic and Endicia for the international.  The packaging process was more time consuming though, and I thought talking through the process would help you with your own packaging.

Packaging isn’t just about which mailing service to use, although that is a crucial decision.  Packaging is everything from how you fold and/or wrap your items, the receipts and other pieces of paper you send with  your package, how securely your pad and wrap your shipment, and which services you use (if any) to ensure safe receipt on your customer’s end.

Let’s imagine for a minute that you’re the customer that you’re sending your package to.  How do you want it to look when it arrives?  If the postal service trashed the envelope (which happens ALL the time), will your item still be okay or will it be destroyed?  What if your package sits on a porch in the snow?  I like to think of my orders as boutique purchases, so take care to fold nicely, wrap in a couple layers of tissue, tie with a big organza bow, tuck in a thank you card or note on a business card.  When Fall and the holidays arrive, I make sure I seal each item in a secure zip lock bag (I have all sorts of sizes of these at next to nothing from Uline), and include the receipt (which I usually only ship with international orders, in case of customs inspections) inside the zip lock.  I then fit everything into one of my tough but lightweight mailers, add a bit of strapping tape to the edges of the flap where moisture could seep in, weigh, rounding up for the mailing label, print up my postage, and I’m done.  Almost.  I start a stack of complete orders at my front door to either leave for my postal worker or take to the PO directly.

What are the most important elements in the above?  I think it’s the following:  zip lock bag, secured flap edges, customs inspection.  I want to protect my shipment as much as possible from the elements, particularly this time of year.  Not only against snow, rain, sleet and wind, but also against exponentially high volume in the post office, with inevitably results in lost, bashed, torn and crumpled packages.

vintage toy mailbox from multer

Last week, I couldn’t fit a package into my local blue drop box – it was cram packed!  I shudder to think of what the envelopes looked like as the mail person struggled to empty it!  Would your shipment survive being crammed and crushed into a mailbox with too many other items?

Packaging is an opportunity for your brand and care to shine through.  You don’t have to spend a great deal of money for safe, pretty and effective packaging.  This is an opportunity for you to tie your packaging to your brand via your product tags, business cards, the boxes and/or wrapping that you use.  Year round, packaging should combine pretty or “wow” factor with function:  keeping your package safe and sound.  For the holidays, though, you can take it to the next level and offer gift wrapping at no extra charge or for a n nominal fee.  Even if you can’t afford to cut into a narrow profit margin with wrapping, there are lots of fun things you can do to make your package extra special for the holidays, from holiday-themed stamps or stickers on kraft paper or even newspaper to buying wrapping paper and ribbon in Christmas and holiday clearance bins every January.

I read in the forums of online marketplaces mixed reviews on packaging.  Some folks get peeved to have to deal with packaging and others are peeved if their order wasn’t packaged nicely.  If you’re torn about what to do for your own business, give your customers the option to opt out of wrapping or packaging.  Or simply use the packaging required to keep your shipment secure, but dress things up with a ribbon to keep a box closed (and to tuck a business card into).

Packaging for the holidays allows you to operate at a level higher than some of your competitors.  Nothing makes me happier at Christmas than to have my holiday shopping complete by the first week of December and to not have to wrap everything.  I go out of my way to find items that will arrive on my doorstep quickly, safely and prettily wrapped with ribbons and bows.  Holiday wrapping is both invaluable and essential for me – such a timesaver!  Think ab0ut how you can make your own customer’s lives easier, so that they’ll want to come back again!

What is your own packaging perspective and experience?  Share with the rest of us your tips and tricks for safe and secure packaging that stands out!

Image credits: 1. Jewelry packaging from Leaves of Glass; 2.  Vintage toy mailbox coin bank with key from Multer

8 comments | Click here to reply

what a timely post with reminder to put yourself as a buyer….I ceate paper good so mine are flat but easily bent in transit

RedorGrayArt

I’m a little mixed about packaging. I do love to recieve a nicely presented item. It’s one of my fave parts of buying handmade. However, it can be counter-productive if you’re spending more on packaging than you’re earning in sales. It can also, as you mentioned, be rather time-consuming.

I like simple. I put my items in gift boxes and close them with ribbon and a logo label. Then they’re shipped in bubble mailers. (I tape mine closed too.) Often I enclosed a thank you note/business card or something as well.

Packaging doesn’t need to be over done. If you really want to gift wrap things for the holidays, perhaps offer it as an added service, for a small fee. The cost can add up quickly.

Those are my thoughts.
🙂

becca.elpy

I always package my items in handmade origami gift boxes. I print them with one of my flower or landscape photos to make them pretty and if the items are trying to overflow, I will tie it with a ribbon. I always include a blank gift card, again with one of my photographs on it, in case it is a gift. You can see an example here: http://meglittlestudio.blogspot.com/2009/10/sweet-saturday-new-gift-wrapping-for.html
Bonus: everything is recyclable if they don’t want to keep it!

Meghann

I have tried all sorts of packaging. My latest solution is to use the fabric scraps leftover from making Xmittens and my other projects and making re-useable ribbon, skinny scarves and arm cuffs to wrap around items. That way, I can make my packaging in a couple of hours a month and quickly wrap up an item and it looks good. However, I have been wanting to add another layer to keep out moisture, etc…especially in the wetter seasons. So, thanks for the link to the zip loc bags! I was just thinking that would probably be the finishing touch to my packaging needs, plus they will be easy to re-use.

Xmittens

I completely agree with you on this one – packaging is a simple nicety that makes people feel really good about their purchase. It is one of those things that independent business people can do to set themselves apart from corporate culture!!! Love it!

Heather @ Lush Designs

[…] I’m Brenda, owner of Phydeaux Designs on Etsy and 1000 Markets.  Last week, we talked about holiday packaging and shipping, as part of our series on the holiday season.  This week, we are talking about marketing for the […]

paper n stitch – Craft Venture: holiday marketing on the web - A daily dose of handmade, design, and style inspiration

Good amount of information shared by you regarding the wrapped and flat wrapped newspapers. Rolled plastic wrapping is another service provided by us.

roycecedric

Tks…

I really need it,thank you very much!!!…

http://www.menialy.com/red-laptop-cover
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