Small biz how-to : Photographing your work for your online shop

Product photography for your online shop

Hello! In conjunction with my Monday Mini Makeover series, I promised you all a tutorial on product photography for your online shop, and so here it is!

kaleidoscopephoto.etsy.com - toy vintage brownie

kaleidoscopephoto.etsy.com – toy vintage brownie

 

As a blog writer focusing on contemporary craft, I regularly come across lovely craft that has been photographed poorly (especially on sites like Etsy and Madeit, it has to be said!) – blurry, dark, ugly backgrounds, enormous watermarks. And it makes me really sad. Because I don’t have time to ask them to send me a better pic; I simply move onto something else.

I know photography is the bane of many creative folk selling online. We all know that a good image really helps to sell the product, but it’s a struggle just knowing how to get that magic shot. Let me just say here that when I started selling online about 4 years ago, I thought I knew everything about how to present work – after all, I did have a PhD in Fine Art, and that should mean I’d just snap a few pics and everything would be groovy.

WRONG. Quite frankly, it was embarrassing.

But more about me in a minute. Firstly, let me show you some examples of good product photography that I’ve found on Etsy and Madeit.

 

product photography

product photography

{clockwise from top left: willow tree lane – organic healing balm; vice and velvet – sniffy sample pack; penny lane studio – coral heart garland; five girls soap – rosemary lemon mint soap}

For all these products, the product is well lit with no harsh shadows; horizons and other alignment is straight, and there is ample space around the product so that the picture doesn’t look too cramped.

Accessories are kept to a minimum. The simple heart garland is placed on an old chair with great texture to add interest; a sprig of fresh rosemary is added to simple bars of soap. For the organic healing balm, pattern on pattern adds brightness. Using pattern is bit more complicated, but this works well because the yellow ties all the colours together, and the scale of the two patterns is similar.

But here’s the thing : you don’t have to have lots of props or be an amazing photographer to get a good photo.

A simple, clear shot on a white background can show off your product to its best advantage. There are some really basic, very achievable things you can do to get a good image. So, lets break it down a bit.

Composition. The first thing to remember about your photograph is that it’s in a frame, and therefore it’s a composition (remember that word from high school art classes?). So, you need to think about how to purposefully compose your photo. As noted above, don’t make your item too large in the shot (it looks cramped and uncomfortable) or too small (it looks lost) – make sure your piece has a moderate amount of space around it. Keep props to a minimum.

Lighting –  If you can, photograph your item outside but not in direct sunlight, which can give really harsh shadows. Low light photography (like when you take your photographs inside) can sometimes result in graininess in your image. You can adjust it a bit in your photo-editing program, but it’s far from ideal so avoid it if you can.

Camera – I don’t have a fancy camera. It’s a very basic digital, with macro built in so I can get good close-ups of textures. Use a tripod when and where possible – NO amount of photo editing can fix a blurry photo.

Background – As a rule of thumb for product shots, the best backgrounds are plain. White is always good. The easiest thing to do is to put your piece on a sheet of plain white cardboard (less chance of it becoming creased). You can also make your own kind of “infinity ground” (cyclorama) – a gently curved background, good for covering space and useful for 3D objects. You simply need a piece of white cardboard, clip the top edge onto a heavy book, and let the remainder lay on the bench top, like I did when photographing my Poppy Seed Orange Cake. (The recipe is here – it is delish!) Then you just crop your image to suit.

poppyseed orange cake

poppyseed orange cake

 

 

The trick is to make everything in your photo look like you’ve thought about it.

 

Editing – In my experience, most images require editing of some description.  I ALWAYS adjust contrast and brightness; and the next most common thing I do is crop my images. Cropping allows you to easily get rid of extraneous detail at the edges (like the edge of the verandah, that lens cap you left on the bench…), get the proportions of image to object right, as well as allowing you to rotate the image to straighten up slightly crooked horizons. You can also change the colour balance to get rid of colour casts, and use the rubber stamp tool to get rid of minor blemishes (such as that bit of fluff you didn’t notice when you were shooting!). I use Photoshop, but if you don’t have Photoshop, there are lots of free web-based photo-editing programs out there, such as Photoscape , Fotoflexer, PicMonkey, or GIMP.

Watermarks – I completely understand that in this age of image-sharing that there is an element of the online community that like to ‘pinch’ ideas and images, or at the very least, share them profusely – and hence many makers, especially photographers, wish to put it out there that the image belongs to them. And fair enough. But PLEASE keep in mind that by blazing your name across the middle of the image in huge letters is a big turnoff! If you wish to use a watermark, that’s fine – but keep it smallish and in a corner, so that potential buyers can clearly see the work. Your image (and therefore your exposure – this is advertising, folks!) will be shared more, and you will be much more likely to be picked up by blogs and shared on social media.

Online shop limitations – For those of you who sell on Etsy, Madeit and the like, these platforms usually allow you to have around 4-5 photos – not just one. So use them! Your customers want to know what your item looks like underneath, on the reverse, inside and up close. They want to see texture, they want to know about pockets, fastenings and other details. Think about how you buy things in a shop, and what you would want to know before you bought something, and use that to guide what photos you use.

A note of warning : Your main image (the one that the customer sees first) has to look good in a thumbnail. Most of these online platforms crop your images to a standard format, and so be careful that this process doesn’t end up cropping out half your item. Mostly, they use a landscape format (the image is wider than it is high), so they tend to use the total width of your image as the width of the thumbnail, and then the top and bottom get cropped off if they’re too big. I have seen some platforms give you the option to move the image around a bit and change the cropping, so experiment, and if you can do it, use it.

Size – If you haven’t realised by now, one of the great ways to increase your audience (and your list of potential buyers) is to get people to share your image on social media – Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook, and a whole bunch more. Speaking as a blogger, if an image is much smaller than 400pixels wide, I won’t use it. My personal preference is for 500-600px wide.

Now to one of the most important aspects – Manners. If you haven’t got it by now, I’ll say it again. It’s an online world these days, and images WILL be shared. If you don’t want your images shared, don’t put them up there! And I reckon if everyone used their manners online, there would be no problems with such sharing.

Remember the Golden Rule – treat others how you would like to be treated yourself.

So, if you pin/borrow/share an image, at the very least you should provide the name of the artist, and a link back to the source where you found it. Or, even nicer is to ask permission from the artist before you share their work (something I do for all my feature artists, as I often share up to 8 of their images).

 

NOW. Do you wanna see some really bad photos?

tractorgirl - the early years

tractorgirl – the early years

 

On the left is my first. It shows the cushion sitting on the couch in my lounge room, in my little old house with its very small windows. The image is dark – no surprise really, considering where it was taken. It also suffers quite a bit from colour cast due to the artificial light – and that can be quite tricky to correct even with clever editing. Take your images outside in indirect sunlight when possible. The cushion also takes up just about the entire composition – it’s way too big!

On the right, is a later attempt. I had a think about what I had in my house, and how I could use it. The chair is a piece I inherited from my great aunt, and it was just a matter of shifting it from the study to the hall. The pic was taken from the bedroom door across the hallway, with the front door of the house open. So, the light is better, but the door jambs are a distracting element – because of the angle of the photo they look crooked  and there’s only part of one on the right anyway. The slight downward slope  of the wall boards (especially noticeable in the top right) is just annoying. So make sure any background horizons are level.

 

tractorgirl - red green spiral star cushion

tractorgirl – red green spiral star cushion

 

More recently, I’ve progressed out the door onto the verandah. The chair is one of our own kitchen chairs, and that’s the front wall of our tiny old weatherboard house. Certainly the light is MUCH better. It’s a clean, simple shot (although I’d probably plump my cushion up a bit straighter). Notice also that the cushion is off centre – some photographers go for the Rule of Thirds, where the main point/s of interest are in the side or bottom (or top) third of the frame, which can make for a more interesting composition. I’m feeling a bit more confident about my photography now, so I’ve balanced the off-centre composition by including one of my cute cactuses, sitting on a thrifted stool. I love cactuses for their simple shapes, and think they’re a good foil for the more complex spiral of the cushion. As I noted above, minimal props are OK, just don’t add too much! Less is more, as they say. The background colours in this are all white or very muted; the only real colour is the cactus and the cushion. 

I’m still far from fabulous! But I’m definitely a long way better than my first. It only took a couple of years. ;D

 

OK! Back to you.

Is there a problem with your photographs that I haven’t answered here? Something that you can’t quite put your finger on? Leave a link to your product in the comments, and I’ll do my best to make some useful suggestions. (And feel free to make comments on other people’s links too – the more feedback the better!)

Julie x

Small biz how-to : You’ve opened your online shop, what next?

As I talked about in this post, actually starting a business on line is pretty damn easy. For people who want to sell their handmade goods, there are a plenty of excellent, well set-up host sites out there, where it only takes a few minutes and a few clicks to get yourself an online shopfront.  Etsy, Minted, Madeit, Society6, quicksales.com.au and many more are all pretty easy to find your way around. They all have their own advantages and disadvantages, and it is definitely worth doing your research to find out which one suits your purposes best.

 

hello world (detail) - zunodesign via society6 {hello world – zunodesign}

 

SO NOW, you’ve got yourself a product, you’ve got yourself an online presence. What else can you do to get your product out in front of the eyes of all those thousands of customers?

 

Time Management

Firstly, it takes LOTS of time to do the internet presence thing properly, and unless you are fabulously organised and have no other commitments like kids and family, I would suggest you choose only a couple of social media and/or blogging outlets to concentrate on. You might like to keep some others but only occasionally pop in on them, or you can ditch them completely.

Secondly, get yourself a notebook or diary, and jot down your to-do list. Refer back to it often. It is very, VERY easy to get lost in internet-land during your day, and run out of time to do the things that you need to.

There are lots of other strategies you can use to get things done.

  • Set yourself up with coffee, snacks and whatever else you need, so you aren’t constantly interrupting your flow because you need a drink/snack/coffee.
  • Get yourself a timer, and apply the 45/15 technique of 45 dedicated minutes on-task, then have a 15 minute break – set the alarm if you have to.
  • Tabs on your browser are great, but don’t have one up for Facebook/Twitter/Pinterest/email because you’ll be constantly checking the notifications as they pop up. Your workflow/train of thought is interrupted; an interesting link catches your eye and… yet again you surface to find you’ve lost another half hour in internet-land.

 

Photographing your work

Make your images fabulous!  This is SUCH an important part of getting people to like your work and share it around through social media. Successful online shops rely heavily on great images to quickly grab the potential customer’s attention, even before they get down to the compelling description.  Look at any online shop that has sales of 100 or more, and you’ll see what I mean.

So, it almost goes without saying that your images need to be crisp and clear, with good colour and light. Soft daylight, like that outside under a verandah, is good. A room inside will do at a pinch, but you may need to tweak the brightness and contrast on your image more. Don’t photograph in direct sunlight, as it can bleach the colour of your photograph, and create dark, harsh shadows. Inside or outside, you can help minimise dark spots and shadows by using large sheets of white board (or a board covered with foil) off-camera to reflect light onto your object. While it’s true that you can tweak your images in Photoshop or one of the many other image-editing programs out there, it’s always best to start with the highest quality image you can manage.

Use a tripod if you have one. You might be able to alter the light and contrast of your image, but you will NEVER adequately remove blurriness.

If you’re totally new to all of this, then keep your backgrounds simple; plain white is often the best backdrop. If your items are small, photograph them on a sheet of white paper; if they’re larger, you could hang up a white sheet as a background. Have a quick check through of other shops that sell things similar to yours. Which images do you like? Why? Get a pencil and paper, and jot down what you like and don’t like about other people’s photos. If you’re a great stylist, you might like to add in a minimal amount of props (e.g. a sharp pencil or pretty pen if you’re selling giftcards), but don’t go overboard. Less is more, as they say!

 

Have a fabulous product

MOST OF ALL, it comes back to this. You can have the best photographs, be able to work social media like there’s no tomorrow, be fabulous at writing descriptions of your handmade item… but it is all nothing without a product that you have worked hard on, that you believe is the best you are capable of. If your product quality is not up to scratch, do not expect your business to thrive, do not expect word of mouth to carry you out there; if your product is poor, you can probably even expect negative word of mouth.

Don’t fool yourself that because you’ve been working with a technique for a month, or even a year, that you’re an expert and there’s no need to push yourself any further. Assembly of manufactured components does not make you an artisan. If you do these things, your success will be limited; but worse than that, you will not feel good about what you have to offer because it lacks integrity; you know it’s not your best work.

Hone your skills, keep working  at producing better and better work – quality in the design, and quality in your workmanship. Beautiful work is compelling; your passion shines through, and that is what people respond to.

 

This takes time, and consistent effort.

 

Then, do those other things, and your biz will start to roll.

 

What have been your experiences in setting up an online shop? How long has it taken to get things rolling? What are the dos and don’ts that you’ve discovered? What is the biggest mistake you’ve made, and what’s the best thing that’s happened?? I would love to hear, leave a comment below.
Julie 🙂 x

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{Disclaimer : tractorgirl partnered with quicksales on this post.}

 

Small biz how to : Getting started in surface design Part 1 – image editing

Getting started in surface design – Part 1 –

Editing your images

 

Yes I’m back from holidays, and yes it was wonderful! This year I’m working to give you a bunch more practical and small biz-type information and tutorials, and I’m kicking off with an intro to the world of surface design. This was prompted after a recent and thought-provoking conversation with my good friend Sarah, who is keen to develop her own range of fabrics and had lots of questions about the process. Let’s get stuck in!

 

oksancia - bright garden flowers

Oksancia – bright garden flowers

{click here to read more about Oksancia and her designs}

 

 

Have you ever wanted to design your own fabric? It’s a bit thrilling to see your very own pattern printed onto something that you can cut and sew into your very own original garment. With an ever-increasing number of online avenues to custom-print your original artwork and designs, it’s SO simple to just have a go and see if you like it. If you do like it and want to take it further, there are excellent tutorials and courses out there to to enable you to lift your work to higher levels, and I’ll be discussing some of the options in a later post.

But let’s start with the basics. You must have a good quality image if you want a good quality print. Even with the most fabulous design, you can still end up with a disappointing and ugly mess if you don’t address the technical aspects of your digital file first.  This is a skill like any other, and as always, the more you practise the better you get at achieving exactly the look you’re after.

 

IMAGE SOURCES AND EDITING

Your digital files can come from several sources – an image from your digital camera; a drawing, painting or other 2D image that has been scanned in; or something created entirely onscreen through Photoshop, Illustrator, or any other image editing program (there are lots of basic free ones out there, including Picmonkey, Pixlr or Gimp).  Please don’t be tempted to use other people’s artwork (as in Copy/Paste) even if you intend to alter it, as you still may be infringing copyright. There are lots of images out there in the public domain, free of copyright and available for everyone to use, but it is important that you check before using anything.

 

RESOLUTION

You need to get yourself familiar with a calculator and ruler here!  The resolution of your file is very important. A very good quality print can be achieved at around 300 dpi (dots or pixels per inch, equivalent to about 118 dots per cm), but depending on what is being printed and what material you are printing onto, the fewer dpi you use, the more pixelated your image becomes. Some printers recommend your images should be at least 150dpi for a reasonable quality print onto fabric. The standard screen resolution on your computer is 72 dpi, which looks fine on your screen, but comes out distractingly pixelated and chunky when it is printed onto a surface.

 

IMAGE SIZE

First, you need to figure out how big you want your repeat to be. If you have small simple elements, your file doesn’t need to be large, but if you want something big, of course your file is much, much bigger. So using the resolution guide above, if you want to have a repeat of 12 inches wide at a resolution of 300 dpi, your image size must be 12 x 300 = 3600 pixels wide. If your repeat is 12 inches wide with a resolution of 150 dpi, then your file should be 12 x 150 = 1800 pixels wide; a 4 inch wide repeat at 150 dpi is 4 x 150 = 600 pixels wide, and so on.

 

CREATING A SIMPLE REPEAT

At its very simplest, you can load your image file onto a site such as Spoonflower, and and use their layout options to create a repeat. You can choose to tile (a straight up and down repeat), do a half-drop or a mirror repeat – each of these will alter the rhythm and look of your print.

chinese medallion repeat variations explained

 

Sometimes these methods can create repeats that have distinct edges which are distracting, and can produce unpleasantly obvious repeats (for instance, if you are trying to create a scattered floral). One method of removing these edges from your work is to use the ‘Offset’ tool in Photoshop (many other programs have a similar tool), which moves your image up and across, so you can fill the resulting edges with continuing pattern. This tutorial on Design Sponge gives you a practical demonstration on paper so you can understand the principle, and an explanation for how to do it in Photoshop is found here. The most practical amount for offsetting is half the pixel width of your image.

 

 

CHECKING FOR ERRORS

When you upload your file to a site for printing, you need to remember that it is your responsibility to ensure the file you send is free of errors (and I’m not talking about computer glitch). For instance, check that there are no unintentional white spaces, that there isn’t a missing line of pixels, and that the colours you use on your screen will print in the colours that you intend.

You can tile your file on most image editing programs and check for errors that way (especially useful for finding a missing set of pixels, or mismatched lines at the edge of your design); getting a test swatch printed is useful for colour matching, and can also show up some of these errors  (but not all, if your repeat is large).

 

 

 

That’s probably enough for now! In the next post, I’ll talk about colour (absolutely essential to getting the result you’re after, and there’s lots to know), as well as the various venues where you can have your deliciously juicy design printed.

Have you got any questions about image editing? Do you need info on how to do a particular task in Photoshop (or any other image-editing software)? I would love to hear about your experiences and problems.  Leave me a comment below!

Cheers, Julie

 

 

Small biz how-to : 6 questions to ask yourself before wasting time on your blogging goals

6 questions to ask yourself before wasting time on your blogging goals

by Cassie Jene Lee

"people with goals succeed because they know where they're going" - Earl Nightingale

 

As a creative entrepreneur, you embraced the role of blogging for your business. You loved the idea of using this platform to showcase your products, educate customers about what you do behind the scenes, invite readers to get a glimpse into your personal life, or share things that make you go weak in the knees. You decided that you are going to set goals around blogging and are looking forward to reaping in the benefits that are associated with it.

There is just one problem.

It is all fine and dandy to dream about a goal. The next part is to actually stick to it and be patient enough to work towards the finish line.

 

6 questions you need to answer before you take any action

1 Why do you want to set this goal?

What are you hoping to gain from it? What are your intentions? Don’t censor or judge yourself here. Be honest. The blogging goal you set should have a positive impact on your business. Running a small business is already hard enough. If you want pile on more to your plate, make sure that the resulting benefits are worth the effort.

 

2 How are you going to measure the success of your goal?

Everyone defines success differently. How will you know that you have successfully achieved your goal? Here are a few examples that you can use :

  • Number of blog subscribers at the end of 6 months
  • Being nominated for an award
  • Being ranked on a list
  • Number of shares/tweets/pins you managed to get for each blog post

There are many possibilities. It is important to remember that your goal has to be as specific as possible. Use numbers, dates, names, people, anything that makes it easy to use as a yardstick.

 

3 What steps are you going to take to get what you want?

For example, what if your goal is to have 100 additional blog subscribers at the end of 3 months? This benefits you because once your subscribers get to know your brand and your products intimately, it is easier for you to turn them into loyal fans and customers.

Some of the steps you may take include – adopt a regular blogging schedule, guest post on other blogs, and put your blog address on your business card, email signature or on your social media platforms. If you get stuck in coming up with ways, read related articles on the internet, ask your network, or brainstorm with a mentor or coach.

 

4 Are you able to fit your goal in your life right now?

After you have brainstormed and listed ways on how to get to your goal, the next part is re-assessing your situation. Are you able to fit the goal in your life without making too big of a change in a short period of time? Obviously change is inevitable when it comes to setting goals, and flexibility is important. But we don’t want you to do a full back flip within 24 hours as that may be too drastic and result in overwhelm.

How much time do you have and are willing to dedicate to realising this goal? If you strive to publish on your blog once a week then make sure you do. Get up half an hour earlier if that’s what it takes to squeeze in some writing time. Not do-able because you are still nursing your newborn and you need the sleep? Revisit your goal to tweak it or even come up with a completely different one.

 

5 Where can you get support?

When you are pounding on the keys of your computer churning out blog post after blog post, it can be quite hard to stick to this goal in the long run if you lack the support and guidance to help you get there. Participate in a blogging community. Surround yourself with like-minded people to stay inspired. Tell your best friend or even your family about your goal. They may not understand your reason behind it but the love and believe they have for you is extra motivation to keep you going. A healthy reminder is to always surround yourself with people who lift you up and encourage you to look on the bright side. Don’t waste time with bad eggs.

 

6 What if you give up half way?

This is a tough one and more often than not a very personal decision. No one wants to set a goal only to give up. This decision is made even harder when you have put your heart and soul in your blog and spent copious amount of time on it. However there is no point beating a dead horse.

If you feel that you have no energy left to focus on your blogging goal, ask yourself why are you feeling this way? Have your needs changed, making the goal irrelevant? Did something happen that has a major impact on your goal? Before you give up completely, do tap into your support network and talk it out with them. They may offer a different perspective and assist in you making a well informed decision.

Whichever decision you make, I highly encourage you to look at it positively and find what you can learn from it. If you don’t learn, you will repeat this cycle the next time you set similar goals.

 

I would love to hear your thoughts :

What goals are you setting for your blog? How is it going to help you in your creative business?

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Cassie Lee helps new entrepreneurs to overcome their negative mindsets in order to create a fun profitable business. Grab a copy of her free Ebook “You are What You Think – Simple Tips on Developing a Positive Mindset” here.

If you are tired of setting goals only to give up halfway, Set Your Trailblazing Goals e-course is currently open for enrolments. This 28 day self-paced training is designed to help you create goals that fit into your lifestyle and will benefit you.

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Disclaimer : tractorgirl is an affiliate of CassieJene.com, and I will receive a commission from any sales made through this post.

However, rest assured I only ever share things I believe in, and think that will be genuinely useful for you!

 

 

Small Biz how-to: 5 top tips for packaging your products

Pocket Carnival - giftwrapping

Pocket Carnival – giftwrapping

 {via Pocket Carnival here

Once, when I bought some fabric online, the parcel travelled all the way from America to Australia covered in only a flimsy paper envelope with no further packaging. Fortunately it arrived unscathed, but it could have been a WHOLE bunch worse – think ripped envelope, dirt, rain…

I wrote to the seller (who had only just started on Etsy) and politely encouraged her to be more careful in wrapping her orders. She was grateful and gracious, and said she had been thinking about exactly that problem, and was intending to make her packaging more secure and waterproof. So, no harm done and problem solved.

Sadly, many new sellers start out doing exactly this kind of thing, trusting the postal service to treat their parcels like fine china. Now, the postal service are pretty good most of the time, but THEY’RE HUMAN. And they deal with THOUSANDS of parcels every day. So if you’re a small biz, and you want your lovingly handcrafted goods to arrive in top condition, make sure your packaging is up to the task.

 

Not only does your packaging have to protect your goods, it is also another avenue for you to express the personality of your business.

 

1. Choose the wrapping to suit its purpose, AND your brand.

Your brand is your business. It’s what makes you different from everyone else. Your branding is your attitude and aesthetic approach, which should be reflected in every aspect of your business. Is your aesthetic clean and modern? Wrap your parcels in plain white tissue, and finish with silver ribbon. Shabby chic? Wrap it in soft blue, finished with a bow in floral ribbon and/or string. Crafty? Wrap it in brown kraft paper and tie with baker’s twine. Straight forward and practical? Finish your plain package with a printed sticker or a stamp featuring your logo.

Your wrapping can take many forms. Depending on your item, it can be as simple as tissue paper, or it can be as fancy as you like – wrapped like a gift. BUT please don’t go over the top. Excess packaging is wasteful of resources. It is also expensive and adds weight to your parcel, and hence adds to your postage cost.

You can spend time making your own packaging, or if you like you can you can buy strong, light, pre-made boxes and more from suppliers like PackQueen.com.au (a wholly Australian company, run by women!).

 

2. Your business card.

Nothing looks cheaper than a piece of paper with your biz details printed on it, shoved in the package with the product. And believe me, it gets chucked in the bin. There are plenty of excellent professional printers out there – you can get great cards you design yourself through Saltprint. They’re a wholly Australian owned company, based in Brisbane; I use them and I’m very happy with the quality of mine. Or you can go Vistaprint, or Moo (they’re both multinationals, and the quality is different).  And only ONE card in each parcel, please! Unless of course it is your special aunty/fave cousin/best friend – your casual customer won’t be into carrying those spare biz cards around with the intent of building your empire – again, they end up in the bin.

3. An invoice

Another essential is an invoice (unless your customer has specified that this is a gift). It helps you keep track of things, it helps your customer keep track of things – especially if it’s a business expense for them.

 

4. Care instructions

If your item needs special attention to keep it in tip top condition, care instructions are always a great idea (remember your customer doesn’t know your product as well as you do).

 

5. Surprise bonuses

Depending on the value of your product, you might also like to include something extra – bonus product or a sampler, a discount voucher on their next purchase, gift tags, fridge magnets and more. Make it useful, and your customers will thank you! For large orders, I include a handmade greeting card or two, which also has my details stamped on the back – the bonus for me is that the card gets passed along, WITH MY DETAILS. If you’re an artist, you could do the same thing with a postcard featuring your artwork.

 

Got all that?? Here’s a checklist.

  • Fragile items need to be packed carefully. Use protective wraps such as bubble-wrap, padded envelopes, corrugated cardboard.
  • Flat items need to stay flat. Pack photographs and artworks between 2 sheets of heavy cardboard.
  • Will it be damaged by water? Wrap in a clear plastic sleeve sealed with tape, or put it in a zip-lock bag.
  • You can make it look pretty, but excess packaging adds postage weight and expense.
  • Include  a business card. It’s essential.
  • Include an invoice. It’s also essential.
  • Care instructions if they’re necessary.
  • Bonus extras. If you do, make them useful to your customers! And bonus brownie points for you if it’s got your biz details on it. 

 

This list is by no means exhaustive! There are a bazillion (I swear that’s a real number) ways of presenting your product, and beyond the practicalities of packaging your product securely, you are limited only by your imagination. Get to it!

 

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Do you sell online anywhere? I would LOVE to hear your tips for packaging your product. Leave me a comment below, with a link to your small biz too!

Cheers, Julie

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Disclaimer : tractorgirl partnered with PackQueen on this post. But rest assured I only ever share things I believe in, and think that will be genuinely useful for you!