Packing & Shipping Supplies That Work
When there are so many shipping supplies and tools to choose from. How do you decide what works best for your business? It may take some trial and error!
One of my former Teakettes loves to tell the story about how my dining room light regularly attacked her– the dining room light that I spent hours searching for and that perfectly completed the room (remember how I told you I’m a design geek?)!
I loved that light. But once we started shipping Teak & Twine gifts out of my dining room, that light presented some unforeseen challenges that resulted in a few bruises and broken light bulbs. It had a terrible habit of getting in the way and simply didn’t function well in our workspace.
I may have stuck with that light for way too long–but I learned the lesson that sometimes it’s worth it to make a change when things aren’t working well. Even the seemingly littlest things, like lighting or shipping tape, can make a big difference in how efficiently your business runs or the comfort of your workspace.
Same with all of the following examples.
I present to you, the product-business edition of “this or that?”!
Giant “sled” or rolling cart?
A couple of holiday seasons ago, we realized we needed a way to easily transport a whole lot of packed shipping boxes. The stacks of boxes to head out the door every day were growing larger and larger… and it was taking our shipping carriers longer and longer to move everything from inside our studio to the back of their trucks every day.
Enter what we affectionately called Santa’s sleigh! This giant, red sled on wheels helped get us through that holiday season (and my son enjoyed a few rides around the studio, too!).
BUT we quickly realized, it wasn’t the right fit for us… literally! It was too big for our space. And for as big as it was, it didn’t really hold that many boxes. We were still hauling things around ourselves, and the sleigh ended up being almost too cumbersome for our UPS and FedEx drivers.
Needless to say, Santa’s sleigh didn’t make many repeat appearances after that holiday season. We traded it in for what ended up being a game-changing upgrade: taller, adjustable rolling carts!
These things are amazing (especially if you have a limited work space!). You can easily maneuver them around sharp turns and reconfigure their shelves as-needed… and they provide so much vertical storage space, which is key! Rolling carts have saved my team so much time and effort (and our UPS drivers are grateful, too!). Definitely keepers!
Quite packing tape or normal packing tape?
You know I’m a big proponent of being scrappy. So, back when I started Teak & Twine and was faced with the decision of which type of shipping tape to buy, regular or quiet (which was significantly more expensive!), I naturally selected the more affordable option. Shipping tape is shipping tape, after all, right?
It only took one day of shipping out of my house with a newborn sleeping upstairs when I thought, “forget scrappy! I need silence!” I couldn’t handle the unbearable screech of packing tape coming off the roll waking my son up one more time–there was just no place for regular shipping tape in my life anymore!
I ordered that more expensive quiet tape right away– and even though we now ship out of a studio and there are no sleeping babies nearby, there’s no way we’ll ever go back to regular shipping tape (I cringe just thinking about the giant headaches we’d all have every day from all that racket).
Quiet shipping tape for the win!
And call me crazy, but I’m so passionate about quiet tape, I even made a YouTube video!
Packing peanuts or bubble wrap?
Surprisingly, bubble wrap vs. packing peanuts has been a source of a lot of (friendly!) debate among my team.
For years we primarily used large bubble wrap to pack our shipping boxes. It protected the items we ship very well, and we had our packing processes down to a science. But it was a time consuming process that involved measuring the exact amount of wrap we needed and precisely wrapping each item for the perfect fit inside of a shipping box.
In an attempt to speed up our shipping process, we decided to give packing peanuts a try last year.
Though it took some time to establish new muscle memory for packing shipping boxes, once we did, we were able to significantly speed up our shipping process!
Bonus: packing peanuts are more affordable and you can buy biodegradable varieties!
Ultimately, you have to find the packing material that best protects your products and works for you and your team. We still sometimes use bubble wrap or other materials depending on the order, but for the majority of our shipments, we’re team packing peanuts. 🙂
While things like tape, packing peanuts and rolling carts may seem like little things, they’ve made a big difference in our workspace– I hope you may find them useful, too!
Is there anything that you’ve swapped out in your business for better results? I’d love to hear about your most game-changing products and tips!
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