First let me start by thanking you all for your lovely comments on my last post. They meant the world to me and from now on I'll try and incorporate a bit more of myself into my posts.
This post isn't exactly personal, but I've been wanting to post about it for a while. This is important to me, and you I think you might have already gathered, I make patterns personal!
As you know, I buy a lot of vintage patterns online. I sell quite a few as well and while I don't necessarily consider myself an expert, I would at least say that I have a good deal of experience in the matter.
Today I would like to talk a bit about mailing patterns.
There are some great things that sellers do to make the arrival of a much anticipated pattern that much more special, and there are some classic pitfalls that inexperienced sellers fall into. We will address both.
But first, let's dwell on the positive. There are a few sellers who I will consistently shop with because they have wonderful patterns, but also because I know that when the pattern arrives, it will be well cared for and exactly as described.
There are two in particular who stand out and deserve to be recognized for their amazing customer service.
Firstly, Miss Betty of Miss Betty's Attic. She has an incredible selection of patterns from every era, and she seems to have an inexhaustible source of really unique patterns. Every pattern I have bought has been wonderful, very reasonably priced, carefully packaged, and quick to arrive.
Secondly, Barbara of Floradora Presents. Barbara's prices are fair and a bit to the higher side of things but completely worth it.
|Image From Floradora Presents on Etsy.|
As you can see from her standout shop images, she takes particular care with how her patterns are presented, and this also shows in her packaging. Every piece is always meticulously ironed and crisply folded and the patterns are carefully packaged.
I bought a lingerie pattern from her recently and the tiny pattern pieces that went with the bra were carefully wrapped in a tiny length of tissue paper to keep them from escaping!
Now, for the pitfalls of pattern selling and shipping I would never name names unless I had had a truly horrible experience with a seller, which I have not.
I'm just going to outline a few do's and dont's from someone who often gets 2-3 patterns in the mail each day.
- Iron the pattern pieces if they are crumpled beyond recognition. You'll need to pull them out anyways if you're going to make sure all of the pieces are there, so take a few extra seconds to iron them if they're a mess.
- Put the pattern in some sort of plastic baggie. Resealable ones are really nice but they cost more. The simplest and least expensive way to protect them is with a bit of kitchen plastic wrap (don't use the new sticky cling wrap!). I don't personally recommend this method as it makes it difficult for the buyer to unwrap the pattern. Instead, use tissue paper or even a scrap of fabric.
- If you like, throw in a little extra something for a good customer. Some of the goodies I have found with my patterns are a cute card of buttons, a bit of ribbon or bias tape, an old postcard and more. --Make sure it's lightweight though, you don't want to pay more for shipping.
|I recently purchased some panties from Ohhh Lulu and I was delighted with the entire package even before I opened it!|
- DON'T use tape on a damaged envelope or pattern piece. They lose their value if they have been taped all to hell. (for more on proper pattern repair, see this article.)
- Don't sell a pattern without counting the pieces first. Make sure you've checked the pattern for completeness!
- Don't tape the hell out of the mailing package either. Just use a strong envelope (manilla is great) and a strip of packaging tape on the seal. Packages that have tons of tape on them are very hard to open and there's a good chance that your customer will damage the pattern attempting to get it out with a bowie knife, can opener, meat cleaver etc. Be sure to write DO NOT BEND on the envelope. Mail carriers don't know not to bend sewing patterns unless you tell them!
- Don't get hair in your packing tape. Pay attention to the tape that you're using, is it clean? Has it caught renegade hairs trying to make a break for it? It's pretty gross to open a package that has the hairs of a stranger randomly stuck to it. This might sound silly but you would be amazed at how often I have packages arrive in the mail with a few fuzzy DNA samples attached. I also take special care to make sure that cat hair hasn't somehow found its way onto my packaging supplies by keeping everything in a lidded plastic bin.
- Don't forget to promote your shop! Include your business card if you have one. Tuck it inside the plastic sleeve the pattern is stored in - it's less likely to get thrown out that way.
For instance, I just sent an order to a special customer recently and made sure that my packaging was as unique and original as the beautiful contents.
You can also make your mailing envelopes more memorable as well. You never know who is handling the mail before it's delivered and if you packaging is pretty, they may be tempted to remember you and look your shop up later.
I hope that all of you have a wonderful Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanza and a great weekend as well.
Also, don't forget to enter the giveaway sponsored by Patterns from the Past! A winner will be chosen on December 27th.