Packaging and Shipping
When you consider packaging and shipping your jewelry you need to ensure that your jewelry arrives to the buyer in good condition, therefore it's important that you pack your work carefully.
Nothing is worse than putting hours of work into a jewelry piece only to learn that it was damaged in shipping. Even an earring can be damaged in transit. Stones can scratch, beads chip, intricate designs crush, and silver tarnish. So as you can see, proper packaging is critical.
The container used for shipping your jewelry must be strong, securely sealed and the contents must also be protected by internal cushioning material to prevent movement. Otherwise, your parcel could break open, lose its contents or have them crushed or destroyed. Inadequate packaging can mean delay, damage, or loss at your expense.
Check out the prices of couriers and professional shippers who may be cheaper, faster and more reliable than the post office, and also easier to track if a shipment goes astray.
When preparing for shipping your jewelry consider the following points:
- Choose the right shipping container. Depending on the size of the order, jewelry can be packed in padded envelopes, metal cans and tubes, fibre mailing tubes with metal ends, fibreboard boxes or cardboard boxes.
- Pay attention to interior packaging. The container should be large enough to allow you to pack plenty of cushioning material around the contents on all sides. Wrap each item individually with bubble wrap, tissue paper (plain, acid-free, or non-tarnishing) or clean newsprint. Avoid coloured tissue or used newspaper they can bleed or stain.
When shipping your jewelry make sure there is a substantial amount of cushioning material all around each wrapped article especially extra fragile items as you must keep fragile pieces from touching each other. Cushioning distributes and absorbs shocks and vibrations while preventing contents from shifting. Use cushioning materials such as foam chips, bubble pack, tissue paper, crushed or shredded newspaper, or even popcorn to fill all empty spaces so as to prevent any movement of articles inside the container. Even single items packed alone should be cushioned for safety.
Before you ship your package shake it. If anything rattles, start over.
- Seal it securely. Once your products are securely packaged, firmly seal the box along all seams with good quality two-inch or wider fibre- of filament-reinforced pressure-sensitive packaging tape. Do not use masking tape or cellophane tape, they do not have the strength necessary for good closure.
- Label clearly. Label the box clearly and accurately on the outside with destination address, sender's name and address (so it can be returned in the event of non-delivery). If you are shipping several boxes to the same destination, mark them "1 of 3", "2 of 3" and "3 of 3" to help keep the shipment together. When shipping your jewelry an itemized packing slip should be placed inside the container where it will be found when the package is first opened.
- Obtain adequate insurance coverage. Be sure to make certain that your work is insured during transit. Many carriers provide an insurance coverage on the packages they ship—for an extra cost of course. Ask the carrier about the insurance coverage available and related conditions—are they determined by weight or value?
Check with your insurance broker to see if you can obtain some form of blanket coverage for goods that are in transit while shipping your jewelry.
If you have any questions or concerns about packaging materials or different possibilities on packaging your jewelry ask for advice from package salespeople. Check out your Yellow Pages under Packaging Materials.
Contact the shop after delivery to be sure they are satisfied with the products and that everything was received in good order.
Don't expect that once an order is filled the store will order more when needed. Remember that the buyer in not buying only from you but from many other suppliers as well, and often needs a gentle reminder that you are still around and in the jewelry business.
Always plan for a follow-up on every shop you deal with or wish to deal with. Don't assume that because the buyer has not contacted you for an order, that they are not interested. As mentioned earlier shop owners are very busy people and tend to either forget who they made their purchases from or misplace the jewelry designer' s business card and brochures.
After your initial order, keep in contact, it is your responsibility to stay in touch with the shop owner or buyer, and regularly. Phone or visit the shop to see how your products are moving and if any new orders are needed. This also gives you a chance to show or tell the buyer about any new items you've added to your line. A call every couple of months shows that you are on top of your business and that you are concerned with theirs.
Even if the shop wasn't ready to purchase from you on your last visit, contact them again, as they may very well be ready to place a large order with you on your next visit.
Many orders and re-orders have been lost because the jewelry designer did not continue with a follow-up, don't let this happen to you.
When you do receive a re-order, immediately contact the buyer or send back a copy of the order form, indicating when you will ship, and if there are any problems in filling the order — back logged, stock shortages, etc.
The following discussion on reliability is excerpted from Starting Your Own Craft Business, by Ted Ricard, Ontario Crafts Council
"You MUST establish a reputation for reliability, not only for the sake of your own business but also that of all craftsmen. There is nothing shopkeepers dislike more than finding an interesting product and being unable to offer it to their customers because the supplier is unreliable, either in terms of delivery or because of inadequate quality control. Unfortunately too many shopkeepers have been burned in the past, and you cannot blame them for being cautious when they first meet you. You have to earn their trust, so make a habit of double-checking your work for flaws before shipping. Quote a realistic shipping date and stick to it! Try setting yourself a false deadline of a couple of weeks earlier than promised. If you always ship high quality work to this false deadline you will make a great impression. Remember that, all other things being relatively equal, the shopkeeper will always order from a reliable supplier rather than one who will cause extra paperwork and problems.
Of course anyone can have an occasional kiln disaster or other emergency. If you know that your shipment will be late, notify the shopkeeper/curator by telephone immediately you find out. No-one likes to hear bad news, but it is far better to receive it ahead of time when alternative plans can be made rather than on Deadline Day when other dependent plans will also be disrupted. By advising customers of unavoidable problems before the event, and if possible giving a reliable revised delivery date, you will be acting in a dependable professional manner, and will also be perceived to be so doing."
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