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Start a Handmade Business

Lesson 23 of 39


Kari Chapin

Start a Handmade Business

Kari Chapin

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Lesson Info

23. Packaging

Lesson Info


Aka jean, I know that we've talked a little bit about packaging, often on throughout the day and in the work, but we talk about packaging on page seventy nine, and I just want to say one more thing about pricing in the workbook on page seventy seven there's a whole list of action items, which I think I haven't been very clear about as we when we talk about the workbook I've actually made like to do list for you, based around almost all the topics we're talking about. So if you can't remember what to do or what we were talking about, I kind of put it into the workbook for you and because I love lists and I am very generous, I will not only make lists for myself, but for the world as well, so that's in there so there's a list of action items for pricing in different ways to think about that in the workbook. So now we're going to talk about packaging because this is tight into your value and in tier marketing, its very important business. And I want tio share a little bit about why packag...

ing is important it's an extension of your branding when people are buying hand me, they're actually not just buying your products, but as we've talked about before, they're looking for an experience overall. When they get something beautifully wrapped up in the mail, that is an extension of your branding that's really important and I'm going to show you some examples. This is something that I got in the mail recently from the crafted life I was wearing the necklace that she made yesterday, and when I opened up her bubble mailer that came in the mail it had the necklace which was wrapped in tissue paper, baker's twine and washing tape and had a thank you card that had a stamp on it. Her business card her name is rachel smith in two stickers that was very nice. That was a great package to open that felt good that not that I felt like the necklace was too much to begin with, but it made me it added to the value of what I paid for that I definitely got my money's worth when I opened up the crafted life's package. And then there was the necklace wrapped inside the bubble wrap which was inside to shoot paper and it was very sweet was really nice. I asked our community to send me examples of their packaging because I really wanted to talk about it because it is a way to throw something extra in it's always good to put it, I think you know, as heather was saying earlier packaging khun b a really great way tio boost how people feel about your shop and you're perceived value and its overall really simple to dio most of the things that you would use in your packaging you can buy in bulk which means you can get them for a lower price you can also go in with a friend when I had a shop I used to buy tissue paper with another person we read each by these huge reams of tissue paper and then swap half in half so that we would have two different colors so I just want to quickly thank rebecca and beth from hugs are fun on etc and also wonder around dot com they both sent me amazing packaging photos but I couldn't use everything that I got, but I just want to acknowledge them for participating and for answering my request I really appreciated it, but I did I was able to use this one from sophie her business is called oh my clumsy heart she makes jewelry and I asked her to tell me what is she using her packaging so that she's sending out these really smart packages and she told me that her customers almost always reference her packaging and their feedback and that she's actually been able to extend her customer base because they will now order things for their friends and just have sophie shipped them directly to them because when they send a present through her shop they know that it's going to arrive done up so it saves them time so she's helping her customers in another way, which is how she adds to her perceived value. So sophie uses a pipe cardboard box that she gets that defend a pack. She has black linen jewelry boxes, which she gets from a company called little boxes she puts in a black card, which he gets from blue stationery craft, but it varies on each order depending on the price she uses washi tape business card she gets from mu and stickers from a jewelry boxes, which she also gets for milk. So sophia's really incorporated her branding into her packaging, which is one other way that sheas smartly communicating with her customer through her marketing got it. Okay, good how yep. Well, maybe you're going to go into this, but I just want to talk a little bit again about how important packaging is and maybe where you guys think it is for you and maybe getting your feedback on that because I looking at this picture and saying, I don't get that in the mail I dio special is the item I mean in rachel's it's like it's, just it's fun to get that as it is to find it as it is to wear it, she's made every part of my experience in dealing with her shop enjoyable it was fun to go to her shop and read her description that was fun to purchase her necklace it was fun teo open it and then it was fund aware it yesterday I got a lot of compliments on that necklace and this is how it came to me in the mail. What about you guys? I mean, this is packaging an area that you feel comfortable in or do you need help with yes, other packaging I just know based on experience shopping with like my mom and her sisters they buy stuff just based on the package. Yeah that's why right from the beginning I knew how important it was to present whatever I'm selling as a gift I like to present my stuff wrapped in like you're getting a president the mail because I love to get presence in the middle I think of every package is a new president so you know, I know that it's very important and people will buy stuff just because it's pretty you have to look at that's, right? Yeah it's a it's a big part of the emotional experience of buying handmade or buying anything I'm a sucker for packaging. I mean, you guys already know I love paper and boxes and ribbon I'm you know of all that jazz and in case you're wondering I also love to get presence but it's it's really important stuff and it matters and what it says about your business actually matters rosalee how do you package up shower to ship it I package it in a bubble mailer that has to custom stamps that I've had made one with a big baby head of baby fixer that's sort of a cartoon ized version of it and then on the back we have nutrition information so we have made up fake ingredients in shower on on how many percentages of goodness are are in them has anyone ever tried to eat shower music so everyone thinks so but the biggest problem I think we've had at craft shows because people don't know what it is so their first instinct is to compare it to something they do know that looks sort of similar which in our case happens to be so happens to be pope yeah yeah erin how do you package a pure stuff um actually well my hankies for example um is the lunch bag and I put them inside and then pull up the bag and use string and then actually is my business card is a label and then thread string through so it looks like a little um like a little packet and how many of you show your packaging in your online shops as part of what people are going to get when they buy stuff kathy anyone else no no wait check into the action item syrian packaging um and how many of you feel like you're packaging ties into your branding story? Aaron, you d'oh cathy, you do ok, good. I mean, I would think pakistan would be very important for your person because you're like selling them an event. So they do feel like it's an event when they open about right, and I send them an instruction sheet and sometimes all sending one of these which tells you what it is and how to use it depending on to the customer. Yeah, I really appreciate it when I buy something handmade and it comes with care instructions. Teo, like I do need to be reminded not to put my wool scarf in the washing machine or in the dryer or whatever. But when you include that kind of information in the packaging, I think it's very important. And as heather was saying earlier when people said thank you notes are cards, I file those away to buy future gifts or hang them up in my kitchen where I can see them all the time. And I love that some ways to improve your packaging. Our tio take a look at your overall branding and figuring out how you can tie together, whether it's with fonts or colors or the kinds of cultural you're going to put in with their packaging and that sort of tied to the fact that I really don't want you to overlook it, you can also build your packaging into your displays that shows if you wanted to do that, you should consider creating of go to list of supplies that you need to do your packaging so that you know where you got something last time. I know I know that this happens to a lot of people they're like, we're that some bubble wrap come from and then they don't know, and so finding keeping track of where you're getting your supplies or even going in on them with a friend, if you want to save some money, is a great way to get started by sharing some of those expenses that everybody has to share if you offer or you if you're able to offer gift wrapping and you're online shops that's one more way to add value to your work that where you already have the system down, you already have toe look down and you already have the supplies. You can sometimes say to people, if you want tio make thisa gift, I'll put in a car door all rapid special for you, here's a photo example of how I do that, our kind of thing, and that is one good way to communicate your customers that you could do that. Hamas forest like keeping your space organized when you are packaging and shipping I mean, I think I said this yesterday maybe but shipping items is was my least favorite part of the whole process andi I ended up making it a little bit is here for myself by putting everything in one big bin and that was just like a packaging then so it all lived there I wasn't going somewhere to try to find scissors or I wasn't wondering where that baker's twine was I kept it all in one big box and that's what I pulled out when I needed to package up my orders to send them out and that made it aa lot lot easier so that sort of brings us to shipping and I'm wondering if anybody has any tips for shipping because I know that I'm not the only one who really doesn't like shipping so online if there's any packaging or shipping tips, I think we'd be grateful to hear them and if any of you have them as well that'd be swell. Heather I have shipping mistakes that I keep doing over and over I haven't got the pricing down very well for the cost of shipping items have always shocked when I take it in to find out what it actually costs to ship it I mean I think I have a general idea that I don't think I've got shipping prices down once yet yeah that's something a lot of people struggle with and I often find if I'm selling like something really quick on ebay or whatever I'm like what by the time we get to the post office like lost money on the deal so how how do you think you could fix is that what do you think you could do to make that easier on yourself in the future general his idea that we talked you talked about earlier about kind of having a set wait price so you kind of know ahead of time what it's going to cost you and factoring in mohr the packaging and the time it cost to take stuff to the post office I think I just need to be more involved instead of just coming up with the price yeah yeah I just think I need to find out ahead of time it's hurtful when you're like oh great this old and then you start trying to package it and ship it and you're it's takes it takes a long time I mean even when I send my mama president the male I'm like what did that seriously take like oh that's what I like to take it out on you in the post office yes is the answer and it's always where the rug can just come right out from under you that's a tough one? Yes kathy I found that keeping track of how much the items way and you know one two three ounces three ounce you know, four ounce of six ounce and then I had all this hand written down and it is getting all warn so I actually typed him in and I'm keeping track of when now when I go to the post office if six faces in this kind of box costs ways this much when I take when I feel that papal male thing and I could just push in six ounces gone done and I know and I know how much it's going to cost so I put that in my that's the store with an eye out for the box and all those little things and then it helps me keep track of that yeah twelve pew clips weighs six ounces right and I know that and it always goes in this envelope and so it's always going away that amount that's great and then when I have something new I take you to the post office I'll bring my receipt back with me about that costs nine ounces and I'm good to go because now they look for that yeah yeah keeping yourself organized on that front is really, really helpful do any of you have a shipping scale or just ship from home directly? Yes you do kathy I shipped everything online unless it's internet well I also do international sales online you just have to sign the print out then you can put it on your own package. But I do have a little vintage mailing scale that I used that work. It has been a time saver for you, definitely because before my post offices across town. But they opened another one closer. But now I could just do it all online. You know, you could do it a lot easier. Is anything coming in online votes? This fascinating top? Absolutely. Barb mad minerals said I use stamps dot com because it will automatically fill out the customs forms for international male. Nice stamps. Dot com thought that was cool, and then people were talking let's. See, I think it is blue bird that was talking about how the u s mail has those one price mailers with all different types of weight. So that's more of a size thing than a waiting for. So that that's what I used for my book? Ok, cool. Now, because that made my job a lot easier before it was like, well, I just lost money on that. That didn't work. Oh, man me too much money on that now I feel like I should refund it. That's not cool. That was I got those no matter what the size is this, the cost is played well, actually. Well, actually, newbie jen in the chat room says some of my favorite at sea sellers will charge for shipping but then do refund the money if the shipping is less I go back to them over and over. Yeah, I have definitely done that charged too much for something accidentally and then refunded and I've seen lots of people with policies that say things like if the discrepancy is more than two dollars, I will refund it tio are you know, if it's under I will take responsibility for that or what? Not so definitely appreciate that we have a suggestion here from stacy monique who said kitchen scale plus etc label equals easy piece easy, easy I like it and charming in from canada how international audience here, sandra glover clark says canada post has it also has a prepaid envelope that sixteen dollars and it's called express pope, so check out in whatever country you live in. Yeah, what might that's great to know? Because I know that a lot of stuff comes with the united states and canada being so close that a lot of you know they're actually neighbors so so that sometimes it's confusing when something feels like it's so close to you like, well, so different, but yet one more I think is everyone krista bella I put my labels directly from paypal great, yet I do that, too. Seems like a click. A pounds is a lot of that work for you, because I will write down addresses wrong with my not so great spelling. So that's, always a wonderful option when you confined systems where the work is partially done for you. Onus. Yes, every did you just raise your hand? No, I was just scratching. Next time you scratch, have something really good to save us. Okay, so the action items for packaging on page seventy nine of the work book and there's, also a peach in there for you to keep track of the supplies that you would like to have our that you do have for your shipping. So it's a resource that's been done for you so that you can figure that out. So, and thanks for the crafted life shop for letting me use thes photos. I appreciate it.

Class Description

Most artists and crafters are easily inspired to create new work, but getting inspired to build a business that shares that work with the world can sound like a much more daunting prospect. Kari Chapin, author of The Handmade Marketplace and Grow Your Handmade Business, is ready to teach you everything you need to know to break into the online marketplace and share your work with the world.

Kari will help you determine the online sales venue that’s best suited to your handmade goods. You’ll learn about the pros and cons of both selling through an existing online marketplace (like Supermarket or Etsy®) and setting up your own independently-operated website. You’ll also develop the optimal marketing strategy for sharing your products with the world, from social media to blogging to branding and packaging. Kari will cover essential best practices for running a successful crafting business, including confidently setting price points, creating media kids, acting as your own publicist, and much more.

No matter what you make, this course will give you the confidence to see the things you have to offer as uniquely valuable to customers, the inspiration to take your work to new heights, and the foundation you need to ensure your business’s success.



Kari Chapin's course, Start a Handmade Business, was a game-changer for me. Her content was presented in such an accessible, engaging, easy-to-digest, and oftentimes hilarious way. At the same time, she did not sugar-coat things. Having a handmade business is a job and requires work. I love that she emphasized that fact. Not only did she give the nut and bolts of how to start a handmade business but spent a lot of time on the emotional component of being an artist trying to sell her work. Her guests (Skype and in-studio) were well-chosen and showed the rapport she has with her community. This showed that she lives what she teaches. The interaction with the studio audience and online community was integral to the course because it showed real-life examples of business owners at varying stages in their career. (I was so lucky to be one of the studio audience members. I will forever be grateful for this opportunity!) This class was a comprehensive look at handmade businesses that everyone from fledgling businesses to more established businesses can benefit from. I highly recommend this course! Thank you Kari for sharing your mind-blowing wisdom and warm and fuzzy heart with us! And thank you CreativeLive for having this awesome resource for the creative community! --Cathy Pascual,


Well, it's been a few days since the course and I am still pumped. Kari said a few things in particular that I needed to hear and I'm so grateful for that. I have been involved in the facebook group she put together and I am so happy about that. It's an awesome resource and my fellow creatives have been very helpful and encouraging. I totally recommend this course to any creative entrepreneur at any stage in their journey. Plus she is cute, funny and has just the right amount of snarkiness. I so enjoyed it!

a Creativelive Student

I loved this course with Kari Chapin! Her wealth of information delivered with such an honest and funny voice was refreshing and inspiring. I have accomplished things in the last few days that have languished on my to-do list for a year or more, largely due to this class. Kari is very down-to-earth and just plain adorable! I highly recommend this course for anyone creative who has or wants to have their own business.