As any business owner could tell you, presentation means everything. Starting my own business at age fifteen meant that I had no way of knowing this. All I knew was that I had a passion for the products I made, and I wanted to share them. I fell in love with creating at a young age and it only grew as I did. I started knitting, sewing, embroidering, jewelry making, anything I could get my hands on. I found joy in sharing it.
I started to sell in craft shows and local stores, eventually finding myself wanting to expand. I immediately went to online stores for this. I started selling online for local pickup, and then I found Etsy. I realized I could expand my personal business beyond my tiny region of the world. I vividly remember packaging my first order. It was a disaster. It was messy and I chose the wrong type of shipping and the woman at the Post Office had choice words for me. I was trying to send scrunchies as media mail so I think she had valid reasoning.
I had quite the learning curve at the very beginning. This disorganized way of shipping went on for quite awhile with my business because for the first three years, my orders were mostly local. Once the mask mandate hit Ohio this spring, I began to sew masks for the community and the online orders began flooding in. I very quickly realized that I would be needing to change the way I was packaging and shipping my online orders. I had started with very little packaging and just a basic shipping envelope. This soon turned into a grander packaging experience. I found that buyers are very attracted to products that are exciting to open. I would begin to wrap each of the masks in different tissue paper and tie them up like presents. This form of product presentation got me much more attention because of the gift-like experience of opening it in the mail. I also began to use Etsy's in house shipping which allowed for me to send out packages at a much quicker rate.
On one occasion, I got to know the inner workings of this system much more. I had two orders, one set for New York and one for Oklahoma. I accidentally switched the labels causing me to have to wait weeks during the height of slowed shipping this spring to receive the packages back. Shipping and packaging during the pandemic this spring revitalized my business in a way I never imagined. I made the most I ever have, and really gained a following of customers. All of this is due to the increasing technology and dedicated staff that make it possible for me to stay safe and provide an essential business to others.
Thanks to the ability to sell ship from my own home, I nearly doubled the reach of my business. Now into my first semester of college, I am able to continue providing for myself via this system. I could not be prouder of my business, or more thankful to the shipping industry who made it possible for me.