This is one of my more popular requests, and rather than just discussing shop tags, I figured you might be interested in seeing the entire packaging process for purchases made at Fine & Dandy Vintage.
I've been selling online for years, and have gone through many different packaging styles and processes. In considering options, I've thought about the branding of my shop and making sure the packaging fits the design aesthetic, but I also carefully considered the expense and time involved in assembling each package. Nobody likes to pay expensive shipping, am I right? And no seller likes to spend more time than necessary preparing for the dreaded post office.
As someone who frequently shops online at places like Etsy, I do appreciate a nice looking package. (It's okay if you giggled at that last sentence. I did too.) The moment when a shopper receives their purchase at home is the last chance a seller has to make a lasting, positive impression. So, let's make it pretty, easy to open, and interesting enough without worrying about lots of frills, shall we?
In order to save time in the shipping process (it's my least favorite part of selling online), I like to prepare my supplies in advance. In my desk drawer you will find a whole pile of Fine & Dandy tags that have been trimmed to size, hole punched, and have a blank back for personal messages to customers.
I designed my tags with a simple logo, tagline, and web address, and arranged them to fit across a standard size paper. At Hobby Lobby I found (on sale even!) kraft paper in bundles, so I won't run out for quite some time. When printing, I just selected a cardstock weight paper in the printer settings, loaded my printer with this kraft cardstock, and let 'er rip!
Once they've been printed, I have a cutting marathon with a steel ruler and sharp blade, followed by a finger-numbingly fun time with the hole punch. (I hate that part too.) Now, when I receive an order notification, I just grab one tag, write a note to the customer, and prepare for the next stage. Wrapping!
When a customer opens the package, you want what they remove to be still carefully folded and still in its original condition. I fold items and then wrap with a proportionaly sized piece of either baker's twine, rope, hemp, or ribbon. I've noticed a lot of sellers might wrap their folded garments with packaging paper, and/or a clear, plastic bag. I haven't been able to find these in bulk for a good price, so I just stick with folding and tying.
At this point, my button collection really comes in handy. I select a coordinating button and use it to secure the tag to the twine. It actually does serve a purpose to keep the tag in good shape when the package arrives to its destination, but let's be real… it just looks cute, and who doesn't love buttons?!
If you are working with a larger, floppy garment, it's a good idea to use something to keep it together while its traveling through the postal service. Chipboard would be ideal for this, but it's not super cheap, so I use the same kraft paper you see in my tags. It fits aesthetically, and kraft cardstock is something I try to always have around. I just begin folding the garment, and then place the piece of cardstock in the center of the top and fold around it. Easy peasy!
The last step (and this can also be prepared in advance) is making a nice looking, inexpensive, and somewhat sturdy shipping bag. For larger purchases, or for shipping breakables, I use kraft boxes. But for everything else, I love whipping together shipping bags made from inexpensive rolls of kraft paper.
All I do is roll off enough paper to fit the contents after the paper is folded into fours (for extra strength), and stitched together (seam allowance). After it's been folded into fours, I stitched around two of the sides, leaving an opening in the center where I will place the purchase.
Before placing the purchase into the shopping bag, I stamp the top left corner with my return address. A stamp is a huge time saver and looks much more professional than scrawled handwriting. My personal ink pad preference is a gel inkpad, which inks more evenly and doesn't goop around the edges of the stamp. I like.
Last, fold (if there's enough paper) the opening of the filled bag, and stitch across to seal it shut. I like to use a zig-zag stitch for this, and make sure to double back at each end so when I trim the thread closely to the bag, the stitching won't fall out.
So that's it! I often receive nice feedback commenting on how delightful the package looked when it arrived in the mailbox, and to me, that's motivation enough to continue creating pretty packages for shoppers to enjoy.
Got any questions? Ask them below and I will answer in the comments section. Want to learn a bit more about running an Etsy shop from home? See my last Reader Request post called Behind the Scenes Selling Online.