ship ALL the things!

Sales are always a blur of packing. My thermal label printer is ancient but very fast, so when I walk away to make tea and then come back and it's STILL churning out labels I know I've got a long day ahead of me.

On Wednesday I packed three orders in a row that had a ton of earrings. I didn't even realize I'd MADE that many earrings, although given that my inventory goal tracking app told me today that I've added $20,000 (!!!) worth of new inventory to the website since the end of May, I suppose I shouldn't be surprised. 

But just look at these delicious boxes of earrings: 

And then yesterday, another big box of earrings went out! Mmmmmm, earrings. 

I want to talk for a bit about why I ship things the way I do, because I realized I haven't ever really talked about this and people may wonder, especially after seeing these photos. 

For as long as I've been running WS, I've tried to keep my packing materials to the absolute minimum necessary to deliver things safely around the country or around the world. I know that running a mail-order company isn't the most environmentally-friendly thing to do, so I try to offset that with using packaging made from recycled materials - my cardboard boxes and tissue paper are made from 100% recycled paper, I use the absolute smallest and lightest bubble mailers I can find, I print packing slips four-up and cut them apart... and I don't put any of my jewelry on hangtags or in individual baggies because I figure you're just going to put it straight into your jewelry box or into a bowl on your nightstand or wherever you keep your shinies.

I also don't put things in separate boxes unless someone asks for an extra gift box or I need a second box to fit everything, because people tend to order a LOT of shinies at once during sales and I figure you don't really need seventeen tiny cardboard boxes floating around your house, and also that way I can get everything into first-class mailers most of the time. Which in turn keeps the shipping cost reasonable in this day and age of soaring USPS prices. 

(Shinies do get stored in individual baggies in my inventory bin because I have to have a way to keep inventory numbers on them and find things quickly, but I re-use those over and over and over and over again.)

The one exception to that is the little gifties, which I put into tiny bags with an equally tiny note because otherwise I tend to get a lot of emails going I THINK MAYBE YOU SENT ME SOMEBODY ELSE'S SHINY TOO? and then I panic about having messed up a shipment until I realize that they're talking about the gifties and it's just a lot easier for everybody if I make it super obvious that HEY THIS THING THAT YOU DIDN'T ORDER IS FOR YOU! REALLY!

I've shipped a LOT of packages over the last 11 years, and aside from some hiccups in the very first year when I was trying to figure out how to pack things, nothing has ever arrived damaged or broken. I'm pretty confident in my tiny-boxes-in-bubble-mailers method - when I started doing it, I put an empty tiny box into a bubble mailer, flung it around the room for a while, and then put on my stompiest boots and jumped up and down on it a few times. (And I am not a small person.) The tiny box was slightly dented, but not crushed, and so I deemed that a Very Acceptable Method Indeed and have been using it ever since. 

I know my packaging isn't the prettiest, compared to some of the Etsy sellers I see giftwrapping every single item and tying them up with yarn (I tried that for about a month and nearly lost my damn mind, and then I went back to stretchy elastic loops on the biggest tiny boxes and nothing at all on the very tiniest tiny boxes because those are so hard to open that I've popped acrylic nails right off trying to get them apart MORE THAN ONCE, so I figure there's no chance whatsoever that they're going to come open in transit) but I think a lot of those people are either doing it as a hobby in their spare or have employees to do it for them. I have neither spare time nor employees, so I opt for fast, a minimum of environmental impact, and sturdy enough to be stomped on. 

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