by Rena Klingenberg.
We’re lucky – mailing jewelry is far easier and cheaper than mailing most other types of artwork! Most jewelry is small and lightweight enough to fit in the smallest size shipping box or bubble-padded envelope, and sent with a relatively small amount of postage.
Packaging Your Jewelry for Shipping
When shipping jewelry, I package the piece carefully in a ziplock jewelry bag and place it (along with its hang tag or earring card) in a cotton-padded cardboard or metal jewelry gift box.
Then I slip an elastic bow onto the box and slide a blank gift card under the elastic, to make the jewelry easy to give as a gift. Or if the customer ordered the jewelry for herself, then my packaging can make her feel that she’s just received a gift from herself!
Then I put the gift box, my packing slip, a few business cards, and any promotional flyers inside a medium-sized ziplock jewelry bag so none of these elements can be missed or thrown away accidentally when my customer opens the shipping box.
Finally, this package goes into a small bubble mailer or cardboard shipping box.
Add Protective Padding
When filling in the empty spaces between the boxed jewelry and the outer shipping box or mailer, I try to recycle or use some sort of “green” approach.
Most of the time I re-use some brown paper, clean packaging “peanuts” or bubble wrap that came as padding in boxes that were sent to me.
Alternatively, many jewelry artists use shredded paper, colorful tissue, plastic Easter grass, or other pretty packaging materials for their cushioning.
The jewelry gift box combined with the bubble mailer or shipping box together provide nice protection for the jewelry inside.
If you’re using a cardboard shipping box instead of a soft bubble mailer, you may want to put your jewelry in gift pouches instead of gift boxes.
Jewelry Shipping Supplies
Local office supply stores often charge several times the price you’ll pay for the same supplies you can get from an online supplier.
So before purchasing, be sure to check for online deals on bubble mailers, tape, and all other mailing supplies.
When it finally occurred to me to investigate buying mailing supplies online, I was shocked to find out how much more I was paying for them at an office supply store.
The last time I ordered supplies, I found the best deals at eBay. Check for shipping supplies on eBay - and be sure to figure the seller’s shipping fees into your decision.
Customers don’t always realize that in addition to postage, you also have the extra expenses of boxes or bubble mailers, shipping tape, cushioning materials, etc. when you mail a jewelry order to them.
A high shipping fee is one of the main reasons why online shoppers abandon a webstore’s shopping cart without buying the items they put in it.
So it’s important to keep your shipping supply costs down so you can charge your customers as little as possible for shipping their orders to them.
Security Tip for Mailing Jewelry
The outside of your jewelry packages or mail should never have any jewelry-related words on them!
Putting anything like “Elegant Jewelry by Jane” or “Mike’s Gemstones” on the mailing label will make your package a prime target for theft somewhere along the mailing process.
Instead, I highly recommend using just your first and last name (and your customer’s first and last name) on the mailing label. The important thing is to make sure no one would think that your package contains valuable precious metals, jewelry, or gems!
The same thing goes for packages you have shipped to you. If your business name has any jewelry-related words in it, have packages shipped to your personal name instead.
Mailing Jewelry in the U.S.A.
U.S. First-Class Mail:
In the United States you can send jewelry via First-Class Mail pretty cheaply.
You may want to consider add-ons such as insurance or delivery confirmation.
U.S. Priority Mail:
Another good option for mailing jewelry in the U.S. is Priority Mail.
This is an economical version of fast shipping – it’s a day or two slower than overnight mail, but much cheaper. Packages sent this way usually arrive from one U.S. destination to another in two to three mail days.
And again, you may want to consider insurance or delivery confirmation options.
One advantage to using Priority Mail for shipping packages is that the post office will give you free Priority Mail boxes for shipping!
They have a variety of box sizes, from very small (just about the right size for one or two pieces of jewelry packaged in gift boxes) to very large. You can request Priority Mail boxes online or pick them up at your post office.
Mailing Jewelry Internationally
If you’re in the U.S.:
Be sure to see the U.S. Postal Service’s International Shipping Resource Center page for all the most current details and instructions for customs, forms, shipping, claims, paperwork, etc.
Outside of the U.S.:
Check your country’s main post office website for instructions, or visit your town’s local post office for assistance.
Other Shipping Methods
Depending on what you’re shipping, where you live, and where your customer lives, it may be cheaper, easier, and faster to use a different shipping or courier service.
UPS, FedEx, DHL, and other package delivery services often have surprisingly low rates on ground or two-day air shipping for small packages.
How Much Should You
Charge Customers for Shipping?
Many jewelry artists include the costs of shipping and packaging when they price their jewelry, so they can offer free shipping to their customers.
Others charge for shipping separately.
When you decide how to charge for shipping, be aware that online shoppers often get annoyed if they think the vendor is making an extra profit by charging high fees for postage or shipping.
Many online shoppers say they’d rather have the vendor include the packaging and shipping costs into the product prices so they don’t pay $7 for shipping on a package that arrives with $1.50 of postage on it.
You may want to encourage larger online jewelry orders by charging one flat shipping fee for all jewelry orders up to a certain dollar amount (such as $50 or $100), and offering free shipping on all orders over that amount.
Make Mailing Jewelry Orders Easier
For quick and easy postage and shipping, consider using an online postage service such as Endicia.com, Stamps.com or USPS.com if you’re in the U.S.
Outside of the U.S., see what your country’s postal service has to offer for online postage.
Online postage is a tremendous time-saver, especially if you frequently ship jewelry orders to your customers.
You simply enter your customer’s shipping address into the online postage service’s website, and then purchase and print the postage from your computer.
Since the postage is already paid for online, you don’t have to take your packages to the post office or wait in long lines there anymore.
Instead, you just attach your paid postage label to your package – and either mail it from home or drop it into any public mailbox.
You can also choose options for insuring your jewelry packages, delivery confirmation, etc. while purchasing your online postage – without filling out extra forms.
Weighing Your Jewelry Packages for Shipping
If you use an online postage service, you’ll need to be able to weigh your packages yourself.
A postage scale (sometimes also called a “letter balance”) makes the weighing easy. They come in digital versions and old-fashioned balance versions.
You can find them on eBay, or in office supply stores and Walmart type of stores.