Karen Young, owner of Loose Petals shares her story – How she started her small business, what challenges she faced, how she overcame them and how Stamps.com helped her streamline her shipping process.
Stamps.com: Tell us about your business? How did you start?
Loose Petals is an independent publishing company. As the owner and artist, I published my first line of cards 22 years ago. Growing up in San Francisco, I was part of a group that found a niche selling art to retailers around the world. My medium was 3-D art cards and the business model was wholesaling to boutiques and specialty stores such as Barneys, Nordstrom, and Anthropologie. With the advancement of technology, Loose Petals is now selling cards, canvas prints, posters to customers all over the world.
Stamps.com: What challenges did you face as a small business owner? How did you overcome these?
It’s hard being a one woman business, but I have a lot of help from good workers. I am probably understaffed right now because my company has been growing, but I hope to bring more employees on board soon. Also, as a small business owner adapting to economic trends is critical. For example, after 2007 we saw the economic crisis coming and instead of folding, we increased more outside sales and began selling artwork on Etsy and creating new artworks including a collection of skyline posters of cities from around the world. That effort certainly seems to have paid off today!
Stamps.com: How did you find out about Stamps.com?
When my online business was growing, my staff did a lot of research. We compared many online shipping services like Stamps.com, USPS Click N Ship and Endicia. In the end, I went with Stamps.com because I liked the terms best.
Stamps.com: What did use prior to using Stamps.com?
Before using Stamps.com, I was using USPS Click N Ship. To be honest, the interface wasn’t very user friendly. I didn’t find the Support Team to be that great and moreover, we were always on hold for such a long time before we got a chance to speak to someone. Stamps.com took away all those problems!
Stamps.com: Did you have any challenges with Stamps.com, when you first started to use the software?
Not really! I think Stamps.com works great. We haven’t had any issues and if a question comes up or if I need help with a feature, I just call Stamps.com Support, which is excellent!
Stamps.com: What types of packages do you mail out with Stamps.com?
Loose Petals sends out packages of all shapes and sizes! The most common types of packages are flats and poster tubes.
Stamps.com: Besides printing postage, are there other Stamps.com features that have helped your business?
Being able to ship internationally without having to go to the Post Office is a huge benefit for us. As we are expanding internationally, this is a really useful feature for us. We can fill out customs forms and schedule pick ups from the office!
Stamps.com: What features of Stamps.com do you use the most and how have these helped streamline your shipping process?
The Stamps.com-Etsy integration is a feature that we rely on everyday! We ship orders from our Etsy store everyday and the integration makes importing orders, printing labels and posting back confirmation numbers so easy.
Stamps.com: What’s next for Loose Petals?
Loose Petals will continue to grow and expand into new markets! We are partnering with other companies and exploring new business models. Not only are we still wholesaling, but we are also continually drop shipping our posters for other e-commerce stores that specialize in unique gift products. This year, we are introducing canvas prints of all our cities. By adding our images to other Print On Demand sites, such as RedBubble, our customers will be able to purchase Loose Petals art on products for their homes. I am also excited about the expansion of the skyline collection, as we add more cities to complete the entire collection.