Before I could move to a fulfillment center I needed to change something. I was letting my packaging hold me back. I had this crazy idea stuck in my head that the way I ship my packages was the only way that I could continue to ship them. It was a really silly idea to think that I had landed on the only perfect way to ship my products. In reality this “perfect” way was holding me back from growing my business.


I wouldn't even call myself a control freak but I had this obsessive control over how my orders were shipped out. 


Here’s what I was doing: 


  1. Unwrap from poly bag. Each product arrived in a poly bag from my manufacturer. It had my manufacturers information on it so I needed to remove the poly bag so as not to share that information. 
  2. Re-fold. I re-folded the towels even though they came folded perfectly fine. 
  3. Add packaging sleeve. I individually wrapped each towel in a cardboard packaging sleeve. The sleeve had care instructions on it and my website so again I told myself I need to have this in order to share that information (because that information needs to be on the product for obvious legal reasons)
  4. Tissue, sticker, note. I then took all the items in the order and wrapped them in tissue paper with a sticker, added a handwritten note. 
  5. Box. Then put everything in either a poly bag or a custom cardboard box.

So lots of steps. A lot of customizing. And these were all things no fulfillment center would ever touch. Because they knew better!


But really, I didn’t need to keep up this customization to keep my customers happy. I just needed to know my company's values and make changes that still held true to those values.


Let's be real. We all order from Amazon over and over again. Does that come in any sort of memorable packaging? No. But we continue to order from it. Yes there are companies that have major wow-factor branding. But the reality is I didn't NEED that level of packaging to maintain my brand values.


If anyone is going to hold back your business it's going to be you. Right? You’re the one holding the reins on your business growth. And sometimes you focus on the wrong things for growth. 


Right in front of my face was that in order to grow I needed to simplify my packaging so that I could use a fulfillment center. The problem wasn't that I couldn't use a fulfillment center. The problem was my packaging. And that's what I needed to fix. 


The problem wasn't that a fulfillment center couldn’t work for me. It was that I needed to fix my packaging.

I quickly noticed ways I could streamline my shipping process. 


I realized that I could have my manufacturer put my information on the poly bag instead of theirs. So that means that the polybag doesn't need to be removed before shipping. Well there's a huge step right there that I'm saving.


I also found out that my manufacturer can ship products that are sold in sets in 1 poly bag. This clears out tons of inventory management problems that I ran into on a monthly basis and makes it easier to pick and pack the order. 


I also realized that I can just put my website and care instructions on the tag that's on the product. Meaning I don't need to put an individual wrap on each item to be legally sellable.  So at this point even if I don't switch to a fulfillment center I would be saving myself tons of time packing each order for myself. 


And these are things that I could have been doing the entire time I just told myself that I couldn't. I was completely in the way of my own business growth and this is such a common story.


Here’s the breakdown of the old process:


Pick each item off shelf

Remove from ply bag

Fold

Add wrap to each item

Wrap all items in tissue paper and sticker 

Write handwritten note

Make box

Pack box

Tape box

Add shipping label

Pack all packages in car

Deliver to USPS 


Here's the breakdown of the new process:


Pick each item off shelf

Wrap all items in tissue paper and sticker

Add product insert

Stuff in polybag

Add shipping label

Set outside for USPS pick up. 


I cut this process in half. And I could have been doing this the entire time. 

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