Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Packaging and Shipping To The Fiber Fusion Show

Well today was the day - I FINALLY managed to get my bowls labeled (a challenge in and of itself!), protected (thank you bubble wrap), a box cut down to the right size (thank you hubby for the new box sizer!!!), and the box lined with high density foam and loaded with artwork... and shipped. whew. 

3 cute little sculptural bowls shouldn't be that much work right?  That's what I thought!

THEN I got busy with the actual processes....and always making sure I followed the show's rules and guidelines for shipping (sure hope I did it all correctly!!).

The rules seem simple enough.  

  1. Must be mailed by x-date (no problem IF you've done all the other steps!)
  2. Your name, artwork title, and inventory number must be on all packaging materials (hmmm... lots of packaging materials means lots of labeling!)
  3. Create an inventory sheet to place inside the box that has  
    • Your name
    • Your artwork title
    • Retail value
    • Your contact info
    • The shipping to information
    • Your shipping from information
    • The final gallery address shipping from information
    • Your address for shipping to after the final show
    • Pictures of your artwork (and recommended a picture of your packaging and box too)
    • Inventory number
    • Any hanging instructions
    • Unpacking and repackaging instructions (and NO peanuts allowed!)
  4. Include a prepaid return shipping label (ok, that was a bit of a pain!!... more in a bit about this)
  5. The box must be sturdy enough to withstand multiple openings and repacking (it's a multi-location show). 
  6. Tape with packing tape only!
  7. Take pictures of all of your artwork - in and out of protective packaging and of the box inside and outside ... for your own protection in case it's lost or stolen (or confused with other people's stuff??)
So my first problem was labels.  My little bowls have bases about the size of quarters.  PLUS they are see-through.  Regular labels look horrible.  I ended up buying see-through labels, printing in incredibly small font, and then cutting the labels down to fit the bottom of the bowls. (Oh and I had to perform a couple of tests to make sure that the labels and removing the labels, wouldn't harm the bowls!)

Next was creating the inventory list.  Not that big of a deal except I decided I wanted to include as many pics of the packaging as possible - but still provide all the required information and have it look nice too. Time consuming but not really hard to do.

The last issue was really the shipping.  Not a big deal I thought, just run it down to Fedex, explain I needed to ship to one place and a prepaid label back to me from a different place.  Shouldn't take very long...right?  wrong.  Fedex agreed that it was easy to do... but I would need a Fedex account. What? oh.. okay.  SO, the nice lady set me up with an account (credit card required!!) and then had me step over to a kiosk to do all the data entry and label printing.  Yup... had to spend time typing in all the details,
measuring the box, weighing the box, and getting the labels printed (and charged to my brand new account, of course).  Interestingly, the label to ship back to me after all the shows are done - was printed in a format that ships FROM me and TO me....which I had to pay for in advance!   The kind lady behind the desk explained that when the package actually shipped with the label on it, the charges would be adjusted (meaning increased) as needed - based on the actual shipping-from address at that time.  oky dokey.
 All in all, it took me about 40 minutes to get it all set up, processed, printed, packaged sealed (with prepaid return label inside), and handed over to the nice lady behind the counter. WHEW.  

Really - it should be easy from now on, to ship via Fedex... so I think it's a good thing overall (but when you're already late for work, this was not a fun experience!). 

SO my artwork is winging it's way across the state to Richland, Washington.   I'll be seeing it again soon, when I attend the opening festivities on June 5th, 2016 (from 1pm-3pm).  I hope to see you there!!!  (and thank you Fedex lady, for all your wonderful help and advice!!!)

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