Shipping, not sexy, but boy does it force you look at your launch timelines. If you're launching the deliverable of a physical product, specifically one with multiple pieces, then we've learned a few things that might assist you.
The first thing we realized is how all the pieces hinge together as you wade through the process. Sounds logical, but it’s amazing the degree to which so many different business decisions tie together, like adding lengths to your rope as you float further from the dock. We looked at inventory and different artists’ timelines, talked about the size of boxes, operational flow, and, then everyone’s favorite, shipping (a beast in and of itself). Do we build a website with professional photos – or use our iPhone? Each time you add a puzzle piece, you extend your timeline. This process was almost nine months in advance planning and we wanted more time.
Next, we had to acknowledge that our gift experience is all about working with customers who appreciate unique artistic pieces, and is a conscious choice to go with quality elements that don’t come off an assembly line. We settled into the fact that speed cannot be the priority focus for our market since we’re delivering a custom combination of artists' work. Ours has to be a customer focus on those who get excited about beautiful, hand-crafted items, and agree to plan ahead.
Third, to arrive at a decision on packaging this content, we had to commit to the box. Nothing happens before a box size, which then relates to what goes in it. You see where this is going?! We're full circle, back at shipping. The box design itself involves a discussion around not wasting wood, and the teeth on a saw blade. Crazy, right? Yes, more teeth mean less sanding – which saves time on each box. This matters because of the cost of wood, the tools required, and the time it takes to package each box.
All this is to share a sliver of our experience with you in pre-planning. Inventory, shipping, content, and whatever physical elements your business involves, means you cannot underestimate the need to plan months ahead and document the process. If this…then that. You may be amazed at how your plan, and lead time, expands. Be ready. And I haven’t even mentioned building the website yet.
Check out our hand-crafted gift boxes to see how it all came together.
A live action shot of those saw teeth mentioned above