Shipping From Home: Tips From The Pros (Part 3)
How To Get Started Shipping From Home
Part 3: Tips From The Pros
Part 1: Choosing Your Carrier
Part 2: Tools & Materials
Want to get in on the ship-from-home trend? Already in the business and want to up your game? This series will show you how to get started, plus some brands that are doing it right.
We’re highlighting some brands and small companies that are already succeeding in the ship-from-home game. Meet Handmade Sam Made, Whiskey & Honey, and Urb Apothecary, three independent businesses who adopted the ship-from-home trend early or hopped into it late and still worked hard to get it right. Read on!
Samantha Leung makes geometric mobiles for air plants and sells them from Etsy and her online shop, Hemleva. She ships an average of 25 orders per week and makes runs to post office 1-3 times per week.
The Hemleva fulfillment center is in Sam's apartment studio. Her shipping station holds boxes, and drawers underneath to keep her supplies in order for easy access. She makes each product to order so that she can monitor quality control as she makes each item, right before it's ready to ship.
In her interview with Lumi, she shared the following:
Whiskey & Honey
Ariel Tustin and Justin Godfrey find, fix and curate a line of vintage fashion and housewares called Whiskey and Honey. They have an online shop, but most of their sales are done through a unique Instagram model. They ship from their studio and shop in Seattle, and occasionally from their kitchen table at home.
Before they moved to Seattle, they were packing up orders in USPS flat rate boxes on their living room floor in Austin. Now they have custom supplies and a packaging aesthetic to match their brand. They ship 25-30 items each week, making runs to the post office on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Weekends are for family time and Mondays are for order prep, they said.
In their interview with Lumi, they shared the following insights:
“We organize based on type of garment, home goods, and textiles. Everything that can be folded is stored on steel wire shelving units. For anything that must remain hanging, we constructed a custom rolling rack made from black galvanized pipe and reclaimed wood.
We generally sell in lumps, because we host weekly sales on Instagram. Once a sale is completed, we generally print labels the next morning and arrange them chronologically. We then go through each item and check for quality. If anything needs to be altered, fixed, or cleaned, we mark the invoice and file it into the corresponding section of our accordion filing binder.
We clean and fix what we can ourselves. Anything we don’t feel comfortable attempting goes to an incredible dry cleaner down the street, and any alteration or repair goes to a kindly lady in a neighboring city who is unbelievably talented. These relationships are huge for any vintage business.
Generally, we try to ship within three days of purchase. We aren’t always perfect at this, as it we are just a husband and wife team and we have two kids. We are striving to be better! The happiness of our customer is the most important thing to us so we do all we can to make the experience from shopping to receiving an easy and beautiful one. I’ve been in retail a very long time, and I’ve never had a community be so consistently understanding and supportive.”
Leyna Allred sells handmade, natural beauty products on Etsy and in her online shop, Urb Apothecary. On average, she ships 18 orders per week and makes daily drop-offs at her local post office.
Her fulfillment center is in her one-car garage that she's converted to a studio. She stores inventory on shelves so she can fulfill quickly and separates larger wholesale orders into plastic tubs so that they're easy to move around and don't take up excess space.
She shared the following in her interview:
“I have found that is easiest to take my laptop into the studio and fulfill orders directly from Shipstation or Etsy, pack and mark with buyers name, and then print labels. Since space is a bit limited, I try really hard to keep a sizeable space free on the table (really hard to do when table space is scarce). I keep the shipping boxes on a shelf directly above the shipping area. I do everything myself. Literally, everything. I think someday (soon?) that will change.”
One detail was consistent throughout these success stories: A lack of space. These ship-from-home shopowners are often shipping from their kitchen tables, garages, or even living room floors. Maximize your space and streamline your ship-from-home business with the MINI PAK’R®. The machine may be small but its benefits are big: The MINI PAK’R® makes industrial-strength protective packaging—including seven different types of inflatable cushions—on demand, whenever and wherever you need it. Learn more about the MINI PAK’R® and its benefits for your ship-from-home business here!