The orders are really rolling in now for the holidays and I just wanted to thank all our customers, new and old, for supporting a small business! I also thought I'd give you a little insight into how we do shipping and manage soap pre-orders, so if that interests you, read on.
For starters, when I say small business, I mean it. I currently have no employees, so marketing, shipping, manufacturing and admin is all one person (aside from the occasional family member drafted in to manage the accounting!) I do hope to grow beyond that some day but that is several years and many bars of soap in future.
So what does that mean for shipping? That means the majority of orders are shipped out USPS right from our farm in Vermont. We have no warehouse system, so typically the closer you are to Vermont, the faster you'll get your order. In the past year I also began offering the option of UPS, which has been a great money-saver for international customers, since the UPS rates for Canada and further abroad are much more reasonable.
Flat Rate within the US
The best deal for shipping continues to be the $8 flat rate option. Thanks to the compact durability of soap, salve and deodorant, I can get 20 bars/tins/etc. into a padded envelope that ships via USPS Priority Mail.
If you want MORE than 20 items and are in the New England or New York area, I can often still ship large orders pretty cheaply using the regional rate boxes, so you can also look for that option at checkout or email me to work out the details.
Sometimes the shipping calculator is not perfect and may overcharge you. If you think this is the case, feel free to email me before or after you've ordered. I am always happy to refund shipping overages.
No Free Shipping?
Unless you've been living under a solar powered, off-grid mushroom (which sounds kind of nice actually!), you've likely encountered the flood of companies offering free shipping. I certainly understand the appeal, I don't like surprise huge shipping charges at check out any more than the next person. Here's the deal though, those shipping charges are just being bundled into the product price or, in the case of certain enormous companies, they simply have the money and customer base to get next level wholesale discounts on shipping and purchasing product.
The problem with bundling the shipping cost into the item price is that it actually makes things more expensive for my best customers! If you pay a small mark-up on two bars of soap and get free shipping, you probably save $4 or $5, which is great! But if you pay a small mark up on 20 bars of soap, now your order is $12+ more expensive than it would be if you just paid for flat rate shipping separately without the item mark-up. Not to mention that local customers who pick-up at the farm would also be paying that shipping mark up.
This is why you find that my products are more expensive in my Etsy shop. Since my items aren't eligible to be on the first page of Etsy's search results unless I offer free shipping for orders $35 and up, the "free shipping" cost of those orders has to be bundled into the item price for everything.
On my website, where I get to do things my way, I'd much rather just have very transparent shipping rates! I've also recently added a shipping estimator to the shopping cart page so you're even less likely to be surprised by shipping rates.
If you're a last minute holiday shopper, it's important to keep the USPS recommended shipping deadlines in mind. The Priority Mail deadline for Christmas is December 19th, which means you should place your order by the 18th. I ship orders in the morning, so an order placed on the afternoon of the 19th wouldn't ship until the next day! Click here for more USPS holiday shipping deadlines.
How do pre-orders work?
If you've seen the red "Pre-Order" banner on certain products but weren't sure how it works, here's the explanation. You will only ever see the pre-order banner on soap, since unlike my other products, soap requires time to cure. This is because freshly made soap is actually still going through a chemical reaction, albeit very slowly, and over the course of several weeks it becomes milder, loses any caustic properties and becomes harder. So if a soap is sold out but I have a batch curing, I will put it on pre-order with a scheduled shipping date.
This also means that if you would like to get in stock items immediately, without waiting for the pre-order item to be ready, you need to make two different orders. Otherwise you will get the default, which is to ship the entire order together.
I hope you enjoyed(??) this little foray into small business logistics :) No matter the time of year it is always my goal to get orders in the mail as quickly and efficiently as possible. So if you have questions about ordering or shipping, don't be shy, get in touch! Since I am just one person, I typically only handle business calls and emails Monday - Friday during US east coast business hours but I do my best to stay on top of any issues that need my attention.