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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.
If you’re a creative business owner you may know how to work the craft show circuit like a pro. But if you’re new to the online scene, shipping handmade items may be THE hurdle keeping you from opening your own website.
Shipping handmade products can be tricky, but fear not! I am here to help you navigate the world of shipping.
In this blog post I’ll cover everything you need to know about shipping handmade items. From packaging to international shipping and everything in between, I’ve got your back!
Let’s get started!
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.
Picture this: you’ve spent countless hours creating a beautiful handmade item for a customer. You package it up and send it off, only to have it arrive at its destination in a million pieces.
I’ve all been there, and it’s not a fun experience. That’s why proper packaging is so important when shipping handmade items.
The right packaging can mean the difference between a happy customer and a disappointed one. Not only does it protect your item during shipping, but it also shows that you care about your craft and your customers.
Choosing the right packing materials is crucial for ensuring your items arrive at their destination in one piece. Here are a few tips to keep in mind when selecting your materials:
If you’re reusing materials for packing your orders, please be mindful of potential issues. I go over this and more in my Youtube video about shipping:
If you’re looking to purchase materials, try to buy in bulk for the best “per item” price. If you don’t need quite so many items, consider buying with a friend who may also need the items. You can split the cost but get the best price!
Shipping materials can be purchased from websites such as Uline or Valuemailers.
There are a few things you’ll need in order to ship your crafts quickly, easily and safely.
Packing materials – find boxes, envelopes, and cushioning that work for your items.
Labels – if you purchase your postage at home, you can save money on that postage. But that means you’ll need to print labels at home as well.
You can use printer paper and tape, but if you’re starting to mail more packages, it may be worth investing in a printer.
This Dymo Printer is the gold standard and the one I use for my jewelry business.
Postal Scale – you will need to know how much your packages weigh. This scale does the job!
You will also need labels, a measuring tape, packing tape, and boxes or shipping envelopes.
There are several options when it comes to shipping handmade items. The one you choose will be based on a few factors:
What you’re shipping (size and weight, specifically)
Where you’re shipping from and where you’re shipping to.
I find that most crafters can use the post office’s services for the majority of their shipping. The USPS is usually the most cost effective option, and gives sellers the chance to offer ground, Priority or Express mail options.
There’s also UPS, FedEx, DHL, Canada Post, etc. These options may work for you if you ship something particularly large, heavy or fragile.
Once you know the size and weight of your package, you can use each shipper’s website to calculate the postage cost.
If you’re selling multiples of a similar product, you’ll want to figure out the cost and shipping method before you set up your listing. Find the shipping that works best and decide how much you’ll charge. Or, if you offer free shipping, this cost should be part of your pricing formula.
I recommend this option for anyone who is building momentum in their business and shipping several packages each week.. Use a third party such as PirateShip, GoShippo or Shipstation.
The advantage with using one of these services is that they will get you the best postage rate possible. Plus, they can help you organize your shipments, keep track of your postage costs, and more.
I’ve found that I save 20% to 40% on postage costs by using one of these options! They are well worth the money they charge, once you’re shipping products out regularly.
I know, it’s another cost! But if you’re shipping something valuable or fragile, I highly recommend factoring in insurance.
Shipping insurance is an important consideration when shipping handmade items. It protects you against loss or damage. If the package does not get to your customer in one piece, you will be responsible for the cost of the item. Getting insurance will give you the peace of mind knowing that you will be reimbursed if anything should go wrong.
One of the most exciting aspects of having an ecommerce website is the idea of anyone in the WORLD buying your products!
With this idea, comes the hurdle of shipping to other countries. This can be tricky, but it can be done!
Some challenges you may face are:
I suggest choosing a few countries to ship your items to, and not all of them. If you’re familiar with sending items to a certain country, include that one plus one or two others that you can learn more about.
As your business grows, you can then add additional countries to your list. Each one may have specific ways of receiving packages, so take your time and do your research!
Shipping handmade items can seem like a daunting task but you can do it! Once you have your preferred shipping method, packaging, and shipping software figured out, the rest will be easy.
Being able to ship your crafts is the step that will turn your business from a local affair to a worldwide brand!
If getting your craft business online is on your to-do list, I’ve got a guide that will help you make the leap. Online Selling Must-Haves for Makers will be your step by step guide to getting started. Check it out here!
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!