Packing With Pride:Tips from Shop Owners
The following is a list with excellent packing tips from fellow Ruby Lane shop owners.
- I have sent over 3,000 items in the mail and have had a great success. I use new manila folders to send my paper items in. First they are put into archival safe plastic sleeves and then I use the manila folders cut to size. I also use a piece of cardboard to make sure it won't get bent. I have a stamp that marks the envelope with "Do Not Bend" in Red.
- Through the years I have received packages for online purchases that were terrible. I've received tangled jewelry, mirrors wrapped in newspaper and broken glass. I've used my own experiences to improve my shipments.
1. Never use newspaper. Not for wrapping and not shredded for filler. Anyone with a business should use clean bubble wrap and peanuts. Recycling is fine if the materials are in excellent condition.
2. Invest in preprinted shipping labels and red fragile stickers. The package looks more professional.
3. Attach a packing slip envelop with a receipt inside. My business is run with an Access database. The packing slip I include contains all of the information on the transaction along with my business information. It is also a great place to include business cards.
4. If you recycle boxes, remove all old tape and labels. Position your stickers on any preprinted box info. If your box has too many preprinted markings gold or silver spray covers them nicely.
5. Never pack multiple jewelry items together. If you cannot ship them in individual bags, layer them in tissue paper. This will prevent tangles and scratches and show that you respect property that belongs to others.
6. Finally, fragile and valuable items should be double boxed for safety or packed singly in an exceptionally large box to allow give.
- Like many other Ruby Lane shop keepers, I go to lots of yard sales & church sales. I buy every fancy jewelry box, gift bags, fancy tissue paper, pretty stationary, pretty book marks, reproduction Victorian post cards, etc., I can lay my hands on. I am usually able to buy in bulk for a song. If they are selling gift bags, I ask, "How much for the entire box?" I recently purchased 15 never opened packages of decorated tissue paper for $1.00! I stockpile and always have a supply on hand. I use the pretty stationary or a pretty blank card to write a personal thank you note and as a token of my appreciation include a bookmark, postcards, or other little tuck in. I wrap small items in pretty tissue, slip the item along with my thank you note into a plastic bag and then pop the whole thing into a gift bag. I put bubble wrap or packing peanuts (which I get for free at several local gift shops) in layer on the bottom of the packing box, lay the gift bag with top taped shut in next and cover with another layer of bubble wrap. It is amazing how appreciative my customers are of these small touches that cost me so little. I do spend a tiny bit of extra time, but that extra time has paid off in repeat sales.
- I don't feel that I pack my products any differently than any other Ruby Lane shop, but I do have a very quick turn around for shipping and I have received many expressions of gratitude for my quickness. This is what I do: As soon as I receive an order, I gather all purchased items and pack them in one envelope (it helps that jewelry is so transportable!). When it is time to ship, I use an Internet based postal service (Stamps.com) which allows me to print a shipping label from my computer and put the package in my mailbox for the postal worker to pick up. This service also notifies the customer that their package has shipped and notifies me when the package has been delivered. I have found this method to be so efficient because everything can be done from home: no trips to the post office and not waiting in line!!! And my customers certainly appreciate knowing that they will not have to wait (too long, anyway) to receive their orders.
- Upon receipt of payment, I print out a packing slip either through Ruby Lane or PayPal. Then I print the postage from Paypal on sticky labels. I store and protect all my jewelry in small plastic bags, then it goes inside a gift box (that has a Ruby Lane sticker on the inside of the box top) then I wrap the box in foam wrap with packing tape, and lastly inside a waterproof poly bubble mailer along with the receipt and a business card. I use my name on the return address, rather than my shop name to avoid theft - which may not be a problem but mine has the word "gems" in it! Also, I just started wrapping the gift box in colorful Chinese New Year's paper with dragons and gold leaf, etc. Then I put a Ruby Lane sticker on the wrapped box, I think it's a nice touch and imagine it would fun to receive wrapped (even if it is for yourself!)
- Although I love to recycle...I refrain from packaging with 'used' mailers, boxes, etc. because I think it is unprofessional. I simply purchase my bubble envelopes in bulk from an office supply store. The average sale price of an item in my Ruby Lane shop is $150 and I count on my customers expecting their jewelry to come in an elegant gift box (not the cheap white ones) with coordinating tissue and a coordinating thank you note. For my repeat customers, every now and then I will add a small box of Godiva chocolates just to let them know that I so very much appreciate their business. Most important is clean, new and neat packaging. And address the package with as much effort...either printing out labels and adhering or neatly printing directly on the package.
For jewelry items:
I bought coordinated gift box's in different sizes in a lovely print that I wanted to represent my shop with coordinated ribbons. Each box contains a layer of cushioning to protect the items from moving during shipping. Then the box is either wrapped in bubble or peanuts to protect it
from being crushed during shipping. Depending on the size of the gift box I either use standard priority mailers or something similar, or if larger I have a range of small to medium size corrugated mailer boxes.
For larger items and glass:
Each item is to be wrapped in a soft poly foam first, Then a layer of bubble wrap. If the items are of variable proportions I then apply a strip of corrugated paper over the bubble.
Depending on the risk of damage, it is then packed in a shipping box large enough to support, peanuts with additional bubble walls, or even a double boxing. The only use of newspapers may be occasionally to add support to corners that are easily crushed.
- I double box anything breakable; the item is wrapped in bubble, then packed in such a way that they are snug and the box is taped shut. I make sure that the small box is not resting directly on the bottom of the shipping box, either with peanuts or packing foam.
If I am shipping both fragile and heavy items together, then each is boxed individually, taped into place with wide packing tape, on a large piece of foam, and plenty of crumpled packing paper between the boxes so they won't shift during transit and the heavy one cause damage to the fragile one (each box is labeled). Or, I tape one box on top of the other and then pack the shipping box well so nothing shifts (including between the small boxes and the top and bottom of the package).
- I always tuck small wrapped items (lids, parts of things) into larger items (such as a pitcher) then pack it full of peanuts, then wrap the larger item. It saves space, nothing small gets thrown away accidentally, and the larger item protects what's inside it.
- We make every effort not only to sell unique, high quality jewelry, but also to 'Wow" our clients upon receipt of their merchandise. Our jewelry is packed in anti-tarnish cotton filled jewelry boxes that have our company name and wrapped in our signature Origami paper wrap. In addition to that, we make sure that the item has no movement inside the jewelry box, which
prevents the item from possibly breaking in shipping. And finally, we add a copy of their invoice/receipt, care instructions and a thank you note. All jewelry items are packed in padded envelopes or cardboard boxes as well as additional tissue or bubble wrap. We only have this transaction to make a good impression; we work hard to make it a great experience from the minute the purchase order is generated to the very end when they receive and unwrap their jewels. This attention to detail is so very important in the virtual world, we want to be remembered not only for our goods, but for the overall experience as well.
- All of my items are individually wrapped in bubble wrap then each one is placed in either a gift box or a gift pouch and adorned with a coordinating satin ribbon. I then wrap the gift box or pouch in bubble wrap again to assure that the entire presentation is protected from crushing during shipment. I include a free gift with each first purchase )a pair of CZ stud earrings in a small colorful pouch) and a thank you note along with a copy of the invoice. I have customized mailing labels and ship all items via insured (if item is over $20) first class mail with tracking. I send an email to the buyer with the date of shipment and the tracking number. Over 50% of my business consists of repeat customers.
- To wow my customers, I hand-make unique business cards and earring cards. Just like my jewelry, each card is one-of-a-kind using colorful cardstock and interesting papers. Once a customer buys one of my pieces, I carefully wrap it with lots of cotton filling inside a black jewelry box (black is harder to find, but I think it looks classier than the typical white or cardboard colored boxes). I then place one of my hand-made, colorful business cards on top (sometimes inside) the box and embellish the box with a beautiful ribbon. This instantly makes it presentable as a gift as well as safely protecting the jewelry inside. In addition, I try to match the
cards and ribbon with the jewelry...because the design as well as the colors are what the customer likes. To protect the contents even further, I wrap the box inside some bubble wrap and mail it in a bubble mailer. I also include a small slip of paper with a Thank You as well as my name and info about the contents.
Every customer compliments me on my jewelry, once they receive it and many of them are so impressed with my attention to detail, hand-made business cards, and careful packaging that they return to my shop. A verbal compliment is great, but a return customer is the best compliment!
- On very fragile, irregularly shaped items, such as ornaments, figurines, etc., I have had great success with wrapping the items first in polyester batting, such as you would find in a sewing shop for stuffing pillows. I then wrap in tissue, followed by a final layer of bubble wrap before double boxing. I've been selling online since 1999 and with over 5000 transactions have had fewer than 15 breaks.
- Always fill the interior of the item, for example: vase or bowl or box, with the polystyrene popcorn as well. I have recently been told that wrapping the bubble wrap with cellophane holds it better in tact than merely taping it.
- I see no reason not to recycle clean usable boxes. Up north here they would just be tossed into the landfill to create more trash. Our town gets shipments on Thursday. On that day store owners save nice clean boxes they feel I can reuse and I go pick them up. It keeps their trash bill down, streets clear of boxes and promotes recycling. Thirdly, I have a deal with the local music store for packing peanuts. Peanuts that have CDs and tapes packed in it are treated with and anti-static guard. These would just be tossed after they open their shipments and they would attempt to keep them in the dumpster till garbage day, 4 days later. Instead they pour them into large trash bags I provide them and I pick up monthly. This saves from flying styrofoam and landfill mess. My bubble wrap is new, I buy in bulk at Sam's Club. I then wrap in bubble wrap and wrap that in paper. The paper keeps the bubbles from breaking easier and adds a slightly better cushion. With my recycling I am able to pack with lots of peanuts, strong boxes and NOT add an extra charge to my customers.
- I only use priority boxes. When I ship glass collectibles I double bubble, double box, with peanuts, put in a copy of the purchase order, a vintage post card relating to the season, or a hand written note, as well as a business card for both of my shops. When I ship linens I put them in tissue paper and spray with a fragrant cologne - when opened the smell is wonderful. I always e-mail when I receive the payment and when I have shipped the item.
- 99.9 per cent of my stock is books and magazines and not breakable, so this may not apply to everyone. First I wrap each book in white paper, which is then banded with a ribbon which matches the outer paper used to wrap the book for mailing. I am currently in my deep purple phase, so the ribbon is purple. The invoice is slipped beneath this and the entire thing is wrapped neatly in bubble wrap. From there it is encased in cut-to-fit NEW cardboard and then wrapped in the purple outer paper. My own custom label goes on that and then the entire package is encased in a heat-sealed poly bag to prevent weather damage. Time consuming? Yes, but the customers appreciate it very much.
- I think that presentation gives an image of your business. Since jewelry is a luxury item, I want my customer to feel a bit pampered when they receive their item. I decided on a color scheme for my business in my favorite combination of purple/green (lavender/sage) and purchased jewelry boxes in two sizes in the sage green color. I had labels printed that are affixed to each box. Each jewelry item is wrapped in purple tissue paper and placed within the cotton lined box. This ensures that nothing is loose. Each box is then tied in a bow with a purple organza ribbon so it arrives like a present. I then place this inside bubble wrap envelopes and seal it securely.
- I found a store called the Foam Source, another type of store that can be found also in any city. This store sells only foam for all kinds of things. They have every kind of foam imaginable. Since the store makes all kinds of custom products from foam, they have a large bin that is full of different sizes, various thicknesses, shapes etc. that is all free for the taking! This is fabulous to use for packing, especially fragile items. To buy foam is very expensive and it is a great, free source.
- Each textile treasure is pressed with care, wrapped in white tissue and tied with a pretty array of curling ribbon (I change colors with the seasons)...place a wonderful custom made "in2vintagecloths" sticker on the corner of the package and usually add a vintage hankie or small linen. I love to receive beautifully wrapped packages and consider mine to be a wonderful presentation for my buyers. I like to think the little "extra" effort makes my buyers feel just a little bit special.
- I have never scrimped on bubble wrap....and I use sheets of styrofoam on the walls of boxes with more delicate items. I always enclose an invoice, something I haven't always gotten from other RL dealers, and I include a business card and a free gift. The free gift is something that goes with the season, like a pad of Santa sticky notes at Christmas, Breast Cancer ribbons for Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and things like that. I have also sent more personal things for repeat customers. A man who had purchased a bunch of my father's old fishing lures got a hand carved mouse lure as a free gift. A woman who had purchased a lot of glass from my store got a Christmas tablecloth. Packing is something I enjoy. I like making it fun for customers to get a package from me!