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Hi! I’m Lucy.
Chardonnay and vintage finds lover, founder of the handmade jewelry brand bel monili *and* your new guide to making your handmade business WORK online.
Well this month is just FLYING by! Before you know it the snowflakes will be falling and we will be a-carolin’ 🎄 This holiday season is again all about selling online. This means making, photographing, listing, marketing, selling, and SHIPPING. I’ve got my top holiday shipping tips for a successful holiday season all wrapped up and ready for you to open!
As prices continue to rise for pretty much EVERYTHING, shipping rates are also going to be a major factor in this year’s holiday buying decisions.
As online sellers, we’ll need to be very aware of shipping costs. We also need to know how they affect our business and our customers. This year it’s best to be transparent and communicate your shipping information as clearly as possible.
Disclosure: some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.
Effective 10/2/22 (through 1/2/23), the USPS temporarily increased their rates for the holiday season. If you are charging flat rate shipping OR offering free shipping, make sure you have taken this into consideration. Be sure to adjust your prices accordingly!
Having a shipping system in place will ensure that you are setting yourself and your customers up for success this holiday season. Here are a few tips for how to get your “shipping department” running like a well-oiled machine:
The supply chain continues to have issues, which has made a big impact on shipping supply sources. Bubble mailers that used to arrive overnight now take 5-7 days. Jewelry boxes are out of stock for months, etc. You can no longer rely on being able to slide in a quick order through Amazon at the last minute.
Take count of your stock and holiday sales projections, then work backwards into figuring out the supplies you need. Things to consider would be:
Next, see if you can consolidate your packaging sizes in order to be more economical with your ordering. For example, if you are using 5 different sized boxes for your jewelry, would there be a way for you to consolidate down to 3?
Ordering in bulk is going to afford you the lowest price on your shipping supplies. There are virtually no downsides to this. Shipping materials never expire or go bad, and you will never be sorry that you have too many on hand.
Side note: if you use USPS Priority Mail, you can order Priority shipping supplies for free from the post office!
One way for smaller businesses to take advantage of bulk ordering without having to spend (and store) a lot is to partner up and order together!
I strongly suggest reaching out to your local fellow artists/small business owners and seeing if anyone would be interested in going in on ordering shipping supplies together: this allows you to take advantage of the discounted pricing that comes with larger quantity orders.
Here is a list of tried-and-true resources for packing and shipping supplies.
Each year, the USPS puts out guidelines for shipping deadlines. Here is what the USPS has put out for 2020 shipping dates:
I would strongly suggest that you add on to these times when you are coming up with your customer order cut off dates. Being sure to consider:
*If you are using USPS, you can use the “schedule a pickup” option to have your postal carrier pick your prepaid packages up right from your home!
It took me a few years in business before I realized that I could be printing my shipping labels at home, for LESS money than I would pay at the post office, which saved me both time AND money.
If you are using Etsy or Shopify, you can print USPS labels right through their systems at the commercial rates. The information you need includes:
Side note: I recommend getting a small scale and a label printer to print out your labels at home: you will save SO much time and money!
There are also many shipping services you can explore to get access to USPS commercial rates. A few I can recommend include:
Having a system set for shipping is guaranteed to save you time and hassle in the future: you AND your customers will be much happier, your products will arrive faster, and your business will be better for it.
After running bel monili (my handmade jewelry business) for 10 years, I launched Bloom in 2019 to create a community where handmade business owners could learn, grow, and support each other in this wild venture of small business ownership. Welcome to Bloom!
This is very helpful. What about international shipping, particularly for jewelry items? Or should we not do that?
International shipping is always a bit more of a headache…just be clear on the rules and regulations of the countries you’re shipping to!