May 21, 2012

Packaging Handmade Products - The Etsy Shop + Printable DIY Envelope

There's been a lot going on in the shop lately. Changing the way a few things are done, including adding direct checkout so you can pay by credit card without having to use PayPal. I've been building up stock and re-organizing how I store all of that stock.  I've also been finishing up and listing cards that have been just sitting as drafts (like this awesome Mason Jar Thank You or this WINE Birthday Card!), and it feels good. A dozen new cards have been added these past few weeks, and I still have a dozen more that need to be finalized and photographed.

The biggest change I've made (and the reason behind this post, other than a bit of self-promoting... hah) is the way my cards are packaged to ship. I've been really wanting to add more of a personal and handmade touch to my packaging, while cutting down the cost. I know $1 may seem like a lot to pay for the shipping of a card, but truth be told, it costs me more than that. So after playing with a ton of ideas, I've settled on repurposing old Kroger brown bags into mailers to save some money... and some trees. WIN-WIN.

What's inside the package:

I have a checklist for each order which is something like this:

Of course the cards ordered, then:
  • Handwritten note (on recycled cardboard- old cereal boxes- to keep cards from bending in mail)
  • Fun confetti recycled out of paint chips
  • a few fun little extras (I can't giveaway all my secrets ::wink.wink::)
  • Business Card
  • Twine or Stamped kraft sleeve/bag

Where does all that stuff go??

The cards and extra goodies all get put inside a recycled mailer in which I designed and print onto the Kroger bags.

Stamp c/o Baby Jewels 

Want to make your own recycled mailers??
What you need:
  • Paper grocery bags
  • Scissors & Pen
  • 8.5" x 11" piece of cardstock (to trace)
  • downloadable PDF template from The Etsy Blog
  • Printer w/ ink

Let's get to it:
  1. Cut the seam on the back of the Kroger bag, and then cut out the bottom. You will be left with a flat piece of kraft paper.
  2. Take a piece of 8.5" x 11" piece of card stock and trace it onto the now flat bag. Then cut them out. You should be able to get 4 pieces out of 1 bag (possibly 5 if you can carefully open the bottom flaps)
  3. Stack the new pieces of recycled kraft paper and press, by placing some heavy books on top. This will help flatten them out and keep them from getting jammed up in your printer.
  4. Download this printable template or make your own.
  5. Print your design onto your recycled kraft paper and cut out.
  6. Fold flaps, place your goodies in and tape up. =)

NOTE: You can thank Danielle on the Etsy blog for inspiring me to create new mailers. If you go check out this post written by her back in 2008, I'm sure you'll find inspiration too. If you scroll to the bottom of her post, she provides a link in which you can download a fun mailer which you can print and use.
I used the download as a template but re-designed most everything on the front of the envelope to better fit my style. I decided I wanted keep the back of the envelope blank so I could use my pretty stamp, but kept the "thank you" and the "recycle this envelope" on the flap, because they were already perfect.

As far as addressing the envelope, I usually just copy and paste right from the Etsy order to Illustrator and print off each mailer as orders come in ( I HATE MY HANDWRITING! which may be why I'm so obsessed with pretty fonts).

Photo originally from this WIW post.

Craig is always complaining about how long it takes me to get orders out. And I totally know that I could pump them out twice as fast as I actually do, but then I wouldn't be able to add all of these little touches. And it's these little touches that make my customers feel special, which makes me happy. (And to be honest, it really doesn't take all that long!)

I'm not saying you have to go all out and add a million little things to your packaging, because lets be real... your customer is buying from you because they like what you are selling. BUT  just think about how ecstatic they would be with a little surprise in there? A big part of selling handmade is word of mouth. A happy customer might tell their friends about you, but an ecstatic customer will shout your name from the rooftops. We want ecstatic customers, and adding these little touches will surely help you get your customer there. Even if it's just something as simple as a homemade mailer.

What are your favorite way to package your items?? What kind of packaging has been your favorite to receive?


little bird bands
I'd like to introduce a new sponsor Little Bird Bands. It's a shop full of handmade baby accessories. She makes the cutest stuff for littles and takes custom orders! Be sure to check out her FB page too. You can order right from her shop, or contact her on FB to create a custom accessory for your little.


If you feel like I've missed something or need to add anything, please don't hesitate to email me so I can update! Thanks for being you! You all rock my world, daily!