Well goodness me things have started happening a bit quicker! I have added the first 8 items of stock to Etsy, but I haven’t opened the shop yet because I have one more hurdle that I need to work out – shipping.
To start, I needed to decide how I am going to ship my prints. In an ideal world, I would quite like to ship them flat, but unfortunately there aren’t really any appropriate protective envelopes of the right size (I did buy some to test, but they were 0.2 inches too short!) and I do think that the prints would be at risk of boxes falling on them and being damaged. Instead then, I will do what the printing lab does, and use postage tubes. I went online and found a bulk supplier of tubes, and was able to get a pack of 20 tubes that will take an A3 print – my prints are the same height (near enough) to A3, but a bit longer, so I figured it would probably be close enough… Oops. It is not close enough. I would need to roll the print so tightly that I would be scared of damaging it anyway! So I’ve gone back to the supplier to find some larger tubes so at least I can guarantee the prints will arrive to any customers safely, and it gives me the opportunity to make it a genuinely nice product.
Etsy is all about the handmade, and added value, and I genuinely really feel the same about my prints, so my intention is this: The print will be protected inside a polythene grip-lock bag (I already have these, and actually managed to get the right size, for once). I will then roll it, and use some tape to stop it unrolling. Now I could stop here. This could just go in the tube and be posted – bosh! But I don’t want to do that, instead I am going to roll the already rolled print into some light blue tissue paper, which will be held closed by a length of ribbon. I will also attach an envelope that will contain the receipt and delivery note from me, as well as a business card (I have business cards for the blog now! Its very exciting!). It isn’t much of an addition, but far more likely to help brighten someones day then a minimalist brown tube with the print coldly stashed inside.
I have decided that, although in the long run I want to offer ready framed prints as well as the prints on their own, to begin with I am going to start with the prints by themselves – it requires less investment from me to start with, and as I still don’t really know whether my prints are going to sell, its a more cautious approach. Happily I have sourced all of the components I will need to be able to ship pre-framed prints, so when the time comes I can implement it quickly – possibly in time for Christmas?
So, things are starting to get quite exciting… The shop is essentially ready to go with the first listings already written – I just need to do some product photography now and make sure that I have the shipping materials to hand when needed.
The final steps are approaching… Buy some stock (the print lab turn around is about a week, which is a bit too long to order on demand), and decide on a grand opening day…