I have a special post today, but sadly not a treat :) Susan from The Painted Cookie has come for a visit and is sharing her insights on how to ship cookies. As I don’t do this very often, Susan graciously offered to put this together. Have you met Susan? She’s the sweetest! I haven’t actually physically met her but through FB and blogging have come to admire and envy her cookie ability and know-how! Back when I first hurt myself, Susan was one of the first to get back and say sure but was a wee bit busy, which I totally get and you would too if you read her blog. Susan started her business in 2009 and has become very well known in the cookier world. Her FB page has over 3000 followers and this is where she shares her creations. GO CHECK HER OUT and tell her I say hi!
As Cookiers many of us will shipped our cookies to a family member or customer and walk on eggshells until we know they have arrived safe and sound!! And when we hear that some had arrived broken, we too are crushed! This is what I have learned from my journey of trial and error with shipping and I have found a system that works for me. That said I am hoping that this will help you find “your own” shipping system that will work for you and will relieve some of the anxiety we all experience shipping!!
I stopped using the USPS all together late in 2010 due to numerous shipping date failures even using their overnight shipping express. I selected UPS as my shipping agent and learned quickly that they were true to their delivery dates (I chose UPS because of their proximity, but FedEx is another great option). And my anxiety about orders arriving on time became less and less.
Has this happed to you? This box above had 4 out of 16 cookies broken, thankfully it was insured and I recovered the cost of shipping and the product through UPS. The owner of the UPS store and I decided it was time to ship “box within outer box” to improve my success in less breakage of cookies. The trick is to make sure when your are shipping that when you shake your box, you do not feel or hear any movement inside. This goes for inner boxing as well. If you do feel or hear movement then your cookies are going to be moving throughout their shipping journey and that can cause breakage. Great fillers to use are bubble wrap, packing paper and/or shred.
I made the decision to spend more money on packaging supplies to protect my custom cookies, even the shapes that had been known to break easily, like these Kangaroo favors. I shipped 48 of these favors to NY and not one tail or foot was broken! This extra cost I passed onto my customers charging them a $6 packaging per each 18X12X2 inch tab lock box I used per order. Out of the $6 charged, $3 was for actual supply costs (box, bubble wrap, shred) and $3 for my “handling fee”. For this kangaroo order I used (4) tab-lock boxes (which had 12 cookies per box in 2 layers) so the packaging fee was $24 plus the cost of shipping. To make sure my pricing was reasonable, I went over to CookiesbyDesign.com and place a fictitious order for the same quantity and location I was shipping to. My pricing was still less than theirs by 10%!
These are the Tab-Locking Boxes (below) I settled on from Uline.com for 2 reasons… (1) Even with larger cookies, I could fit at least 6 per layer. So I could fit anywhere from 12 cookies (using 2 layers) to 24 cookies per box. Reason (2) they would fit well into the outer boxes I selected to use.
For an example I am going to show you how I wrapped an order of 30 Onesie Favors I had to ship to Florida from Connecticut. I lined the bottom of the box with one layer of 12”bubblewrap. Another reason for choosing the 18X12 box was that I only had to cut the bubble wrap once. I place one row of favors along the front of the box and then I laid the second row making sure that tops of the bags laid down on each other
Another 2 layers of bubble wrap were placed on top of the favors and I added the second layer. However in this box I only needed to package 15, leaving a one space empty on the top row. So I used shred to fill in the void and to insure no movement in the box.
For the top layer cover with 2-3 sheets of bubble wrap. I like to put an information card in with my orders, so I laid that on top of my bubble wrap. After closing the tab-lock box, I gently shake to see if I feel any movement or hear shifting in the box.
For my outer boxes I have selected a box size that fits the best with my tab-lock boxes. Uline’s corrugated cardboard boxes sized 20”X14” and use 6”, 10” or 14” for height. This variety allows me to use 2 boxes in the 6-inch height, 3-4 boxes in the 10-inch height and 5-6 boxes in the 14-inch height.
For myself I include a copy of the invoice before adding the packing paper…
Once the tab-lock boxes are in the corrugated shipping box I use packing paper to fill in around the sides and top of the white boxes. Then tape generously to close the box and gaps on top and bottom of box.
For each tab-lock box I estimate 5 lbs of weight so for this order I put in 10 lbs for the estimator on the UPS website. The actual weight of this box was 8 lbs and the cost of shipping was $16.43. I billed the customer $28.50 for shipping which leaves me $12.07 to cover the cost of shipping materials and my handling time.
Since I have incorporated this method of shipping, I haven’t incurred one broken cookie since the package pictured at the beginning of this post! I have also shipped internationally with the same success. My farthest journey of cookies was to Bahrain so far. All 24 Princess favors arrived unbroken.
I hope this helps those of you who want to ship cookies to customers. Most of my shipping customers become repeat customers and I know successful and uneventful shipping has played a huge part of this success!
OMG Susan, you rock! Here’s hoping I never break a cookie in shipment again!
Thanks for looking!