I got an email recently from a reader who had been looking over my Etsy Success Tips posts (here are parts 1, 2, and 3) and came up with a good question. I mentioned in this post that you ought to package your items as if you were sending a gift instead of a purchase--I want my customers to feel excited when they open their mailbox, not deflated when they open it and find an ugly package. So one reader requested to see how I package my etsy orders for shipment . . . I'm happy to oblige.
Hopefully it won't be a letdown--my orders are packaged in what I would consider to be a "middle-of-the-road" sort of way. The majority of the items I have ordered on etsy have arrived in downright ugly packaging (am I the only one who hates the big yellow envelopes? And addresses written in sharpie? And fragile items wrapped in crumpled newspaper?), so if we're comparing to those, I feel pretty proud of my packaging.
But I know there are many sellers who put a lot of love and effort into their packaging (there's an entire flickr group devoted to it, and my word, their packaging is beautiful!)--compared to theirs, mine is a wrinkly manila envelope smudged with black sharpie.
Unfortunately, time and money create a problem at some point. Frankly, I'd rather spend my craft time working on orders than working on their packages, and if I made the packaging too fancy, I'd have to pass the cost on to the customers. So this is packaging the Maybe Matilda way: inexpensive, quick-and-easy packaging that still looks nice and feels like a treat to open.
Here's what I use:
- Poly Mailers from Royal Mailers (I highly recommend Royal Mailers--every item I've bought from them has been top-notch, their shipping is crazy fast, and their prices are incredible.)
- white tissue paper (I just buy the big value pack from Walmart . . . I haven't even looked at ordering this online, because I have proven myself to be, for some reason, incapable of assessing my tissue paper supply and restocking before I run out. Walmart to the rescue.)
- cute scrapbook papers (I try to keep a large variety of colors on hand so I can match the papers I use in the package to the item inside the package . . . unfortunately, I'm running low right now [translation: I currently have two, count 'em, two sheets of scrapbook paper in my house], so for these pictures, they won't match the hat at all.)
- washi tape (won in a giveaway from The Modern Marigold! Yay!)
Since customers are ordering a handmade product, I like to keep little handmade touches on the packaging. I used to print out the address labels, but I've stopped doing that recently because I enjoy seeing a seller's handwriting and feeling like they put a little effort into the packaging. Also, I'm out of ink. So I write out the addresses by hand and use scrapbook papers to add a little color to the white envelope, matching it to the item if I can.
I also include a handwritten note with orders, written on scrapbook paper that matches what I used on the envelope. This hat was headed to a friend who's expecting her first baby, so this isn't the note I would normally send (and I'm feeling silly now that I bothered smudging out names . . . I can hardly decipher my own handwriting in that picture). If I'm sending an order, I thank them for their purchase and give a coupon code to use on future visits. I've been meaning to order business cards to include as well, but haven't decided where to order them (anyone have a site to recommend?).
I wrap the item up in white tissue paper, and seal it with a little strip of cute washi tape.
Slip it in the package and we're good to go!
It's nothing particularly fancy, and it doesn't belong on the etsy packaging flickr group, but I like that it's clean and simple, looks nice, would make for easy gift-giving (just pop the tissue-wrapped item in a gift bag and it's ready for gifting!), and doesn't take too much time or money to pull together. I'm able to keep my shipping costs low while still sending out packages that, I hope, are exciting to open.
Definitely better than a manila envelope and crumpled newspapers, right?