Packaging & Shipping Tips for your Craft Business
– featuring Angelica of Paper Blitz
Crafting, while fun and rewarding, can be lots of work. There is the act of putting together a piece itself – but when you sell these crafts there is lots more work to be done! From marketing your crafts to keeping track of orders, to shipping – there are plenty of skills to be learned. We decided to speak with Angelica of Paper Blitz to learn about how she goes about the craft packaging process – and share her tips for success with the rest of the crafting community!
Tell us about yourself and your background with crafting and having a craft business.
Hello! My Name is Angelica. I was born and raised in the Philippines. I like anything with cheese and green tea, and I am an avid dancer and a spicy food aficionado! I started crafting back in high school—from decorating my notebooks to make it look cuter, to lettering, and scrapbooking. I made handmade items like clips, earrings and headbands that I sold during our school fairs. I created DIY costumes and party decorations as well. I love the idea of designing and conceptualizing things so much that I made a career out of it. I worked in the events industry in the early stage of my adult life and then later joined the corporate world (but still doing events on the side). Twelve years later I am now living here in the United States, married to the love of my life, and we are blessed with two very active and wonderful boys.
Whenever I feel homesick making crafts has always been my go-to delightful activity. Thanks to my husband’s family, they are always supporting and agreeing to my crazy ideas and concepts during our annual Christmas parties and other celebrations. It was in the year 2018 that I braved myself to open my Etsy store called Paper Blitz, which specializes in creating fun, classy and fine crafted decors for special events and celebrations. Among many crafts, I create cake toppers, party banners, highchair banners, 3D letters etc.
Angelica made this décor using Printworks Matte Photo Paper!
Can you discuss your essential shipping tips?
Being able to offer free shipping is one of the main ways to reduce shopping cart abandonment. This was something I discovered during the first year of my business. Customers would completely abandon a transaction once they see that free shipping is not available (or at least a very low shipping cost). On the other hand, small businesses cannot offer free shipping all the time as it will reduce our already razor-thin profits.
One way to be able to have free shipping and minimize the cost to overhead is to add the shipping cost into the product. This way, the listed price is the price the customer will expect to pay (not including local taxes which varies greatly depending on local laws).
Another way to offer free shipping is to require a minimum order amount to offset the cost of shipping. This is most effective if you offer a package deal (e.g. cake toppers and party banners).
Lastly, though limited, another way is to offer local pickup. If a customer is willing to drive and pick up the order themselves, I can schedule a meetup with them. Advertising locally in Facebook Marketplace or something similar is important in growing a local customer base.
What are your top important things to consider when shipping a package?
My products can get damaged easily during shipment, which is why it is important to protect and minimize the strain on the package.
- Choose the right packaging for your products: box/es, poly or bubble mailers
- Use proper cushioning: bubble wrap, clear cellophane seal bags, foam inserts to protect your packages especially the fragile ones are important. Whatever minimal cushioning you think is appropriate, if possible, double it! You never know what shipping conditions the package will have to deal with.
- Use a good brand of packing tape that is strong enough to cover seams and hold the flaps down.
- This is so simple, yet still a very common mistake. Always make sure that the shipping address is correct. I always confirm with my customers their shipping address. Including a return address is also important in case of an undeliverable package.
- Place a duplicate copy of the shipping label inside the package. The carrier can use it to complete the delivery if the label on the outside gets accidentally ripped or wet. This is completely optional, yet very important especially if you are shipping packages internationally.
- Label your package clearly. For my business, my party decors are quite delicate. I typically add “FRAGILE” and “Handle with care” labels on the envelopes or boxes. Most likely, it will get ignored by shipping personnel, but it’s an extra precaution I still add.
Aside from the product itself, what types of things to you like to include in your customer shipments?
Aside from the product itself, I also include the following:
- my business card
- packing slip
- Thank you note
- instructional materials (if you sell a product with a little “how to” – in my case my light up, interactive, shaker cake toppers)
- crinkled paper/confetti for added cuteness
- small items: pen, pencil, sticky notes, stickers which serves as a token of appreciation for my customers
Tell us what you think about branding your packages. Do you think that it’s necessary for everyone who sells a product?
I believe branding is essential to any business. How you package your product is the first thing that a customer notices, and attention-to-detail is important. This is also a great opportunity for you to advertise your business, impress your customers, generate repeat purchases and attract new ones.
In addition, you can establish a good branding without breaking your bank account. Branding a product is not only what your eyes can see, these can also be intangible things like producing quality products, providing good customer service and efficient delivery of goods.
Can you discuss the ways that you protect fragile items, such as your paper crafts?
Paper crafts are delicate, and I always worry that they might get crushed, bend and get wet during transit so I always make sure to protect them. Here are the things I used to protect my paper crafts:
- Heavy cardstock – this is where I place my cake topper/ banner
- Tape – to hold my toppers in place
- Clear cellophane bags – to properly seal my paper crafts and to avoid getting wet
- Bubble wrap – for extra cushion
- Small cardboard from empty/recycled boxes – I taped this on top of my toppers for added protection
- Elementree Kraft Packing Paper – I use this as a liner or to fill some voids whenever I use big boxes for my other party decors like my banners, 3d letters etc.
What type of feedback have you received from customers on your packaging?
I am always thankful for the positive and honest feedback that I have been getting ever since I started my business. My customers would always rave about the craftmanship of my work, my efficient turnaround time and my cute and presentable packaging as well.
Any tips for keeping costs down?
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.
a. If feasible, you might want to consider using poly or bubble mailers instead of boxes. They are cheap, take up less space and can reduce your packaging cost.
b. Look for a carrier that will make pick-ups and deliveries at no cost to save you time and gas money.
c. Choose materials that have more durability, and are eco-friendly and cost effective like Elementree Kraft Packing Paper. Their Kraft Packing Paper is made from 100% post-consumer recycled paper.
Reuse boxes if possible. Just make sure to remove the old shipping label and the box is still in good condition.
Recycle. I learned this recycling tip from my crafty friend, and I have been doing it since then. Instead of buying crinkled/confetti papers in stores or online I make my own. I just toss my paper scraps into my paper shredder and viola; I have my very own crinkled/confetti papers.
Do you own any shipping equipment like a scale or label printer? If so, when would you recommend for someone to purchase these types of items?
Honestly, when I started my business, I didn’t have any shipping equipment. I use a sticker paper to print my own shipping label using a regular printer. I would ship the package without worrying about weight.
As sales started to increase, I was able to budget for equipment. I would say that a shipping scale and label printer are a must-have for any business and to help you skip some of the trial and error and get to shipping efficiency quickly.
If you sell products and plan to ship them, try to invest on a quality scale to weigh everything you ship. Remember, small differences in weight can add up to big differences in shipping costs.
And a thermal label printer is pretty useful—doesn’t need any ink, prints extremely quick, compatible to all major couriers and software platforms and very easy to set up.
How involved is the packaging process? Do you feel that you often need to set time aside specifically for packaging orders?
Packing orders requires your time and undivided attention. As for me, I allot one day just to pack orders. Here are my two most important things that I usually do before I go ahead and package my orders:
- First, I organize and sanitize my workstation. This is especially important in shipping cake toppers. I want my costumers to received them sealed and sterile since those go into cakes.
- I double check and sometimes triple check the details of the order: shipping address and specifications of the order (age, name of the celebrant).
Product packaging takes time, patience, and a little bit of trial and error! Different materials and methods can work for certain shipments while others don’t. Elementree Void Fill Kraft Packing Paper is a great way to fill void spaces in a box to avoid shifting, or wrap fragile items. Using a 100% recycled paper alternative to plastic is a great way to reduce waste and build trust with consumers who wish to create more sustainable habits.
Everyone has their own techniques and approaches to the process, but we hope that sharing these tips from Angelica will help other paper crafters out there get started on their own crafting business journey!
Try one of these crafts and tag @PrintWorksDIY on Instagram to be featured on our page!