Shipping Made Easy: Selling Vintage Clothing on Etsy

Congrats, you’ve made a sale! Now comes the fun part: making sure the garments arrive safely and promptly to their intended destination. By fun, I mean do yourself a favor and make this part of the exchange be the simplest. There’s A LOT of work that goes into running an online shop, and shipping doesn’t need to be a hassle. I’m offering you a helpful how-to based on five years experience. Enjoy!

1.) MAKE A PLAN TO SHIP ON-TIME. 

I’m not the most punctual person, at all. But I have a strong intention to make sure my packages do arrive on time. For me, that means shipping 2-3 times a week and not letting more than 3 days go by before sending an order out. Sticking to a routine means good reviews and happy customers.

2.) CREATE A SHIPPING CENTER.

I took too long to do this for myself, and for me it’s simply a desk in my studio that I always keep clear. On the nearby shelf I keep a plastic container of supplies: poly mailers, tape, flyers and scale. (I store back-up mailers, bubble wrap and recycled packaging supplies in my closet.) Having this space means no excuses and an easy work flow.

3.) PRINT YOUR LABELS AT HOME.

Why oh why did I not do this sooner?! I will never know. For years I would hand write addresses, risking errors, and taking the ‘fun’ right out of taking care of my customers. Etsy makes it really simple with their ‘printing labels’ option. Sticker-backed labels are cheap to buy in bulk online (eBay.) Printers are also fairly affordable, and it will pay for itself with the USPS discount from Etsy. Plus you will look so professional!

4.) PACKAGE WITH EASE AND CARE.

What makes poly mailers so great? They are virtual weightless, waterproof and easy to use and store. They also come in a variety of sizes, from the very small (jewelry) to large enough to squeeze in an armful of garments. For items with sequins, beading, or other embellishments be sure to wrap the piece with bubble wrap for extra protection. I include a flyer with a coupon code so buyers have an incentive to come back for more.

5.) PAY ATTENTION TO WHAT YOU’RE SENDING.

This one is huge, and it means you shouldn’t be distracted while taking care of the last part of your sale. Before I send each garment, I give it a once-over with a steamer I keep handy in the studio. While still on the hanger, I make sure to give the whole piece a through examination. Check for stains, fabric snags, hems undone or rips along seams. These can happen at any time after acquiring or may simply have been missed. It’s better to send out a touch later with the blemish corrected rather than in poor condition.

I hope these tips were handy! Most of all, I hope you’re able to take the stress out of shipping. I will say, things get more complicated once you’re dealing with jewelry, shoes or housewares. This is in part why I’ve moved towards curating almost only clothing. If you are shipping accessories, just make sure to have the correct size boxes and packaging always materials on hand. Do the prep work ahead of time and you’ll save yourself a headache.

What have you implemented in your shipping strategy? I would love to hear about tricks that have worked for you, or maybe an experience you learned from. Please comment below with your thoughts!  Good luck and happy sales to you.

Have you visited the shop lately? Take a peak: www.gingerandjudy.etsy.com

(photo: my image)

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