Customer Spotlight: Loose Petals

June 24th, 2014 Comments off

headerKaren 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.

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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?  190568_Loose-Petals-Logo
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.

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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.

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Customer Spotlight: TheChainMailleLady

April 24th, 2014 Comments off

187716_blog-post-headerLauren Andersen, owner of TheChainMailleLadyTM shares her small business success story – How she got started, what challenges she overcame and how Stamps.com helped her along the way!

Stamps.com: Tell us about your business? How did you start?  logo
I retired due to an injury and was at home watching a jewelry program on television when I saw the chainmaille technique being demonstrated by a jewelry artist. I thought that her project was beautiful, so I taught myself how to create chainmaille jewelry. Once I got started, I created so many pieces that I ran out of friends and family to give them to! So my husband and I would sell my jewelry creations every week at our local farmers market. I eventually met the owner of Beadalon. At the time, Beadalon had just bought Artistic Wire and were looking for a designer to help them design a line of chainmaille products, and I became that designer. I have since written two booklets and one book and am in the process of writing my second book! I have also designed pliers that are used in chainmaille along with a travel kit, which are all produced and sold by Beadalon.

Stamps.com: What challenges did you face as a small business owner?  How did you overcome these? 
The logistics of running a small business can be extremely challenging and time consuming. I had to find a software package that could help me with the accounting and inventory functions of running my business. I also had to find a way to maximize the time I was spending on “office” or administrative type duties. My business is to design and create gorgeous jewelry, not spend it on the computer or at the Post Office!

photo_theChainmailleLadyStamps.com: How did you find out about Stamps.com?
While searching for an effective postage solution, I came across Stamps.com online.

Stamps.com: What did use prior to using online postage? 
I used a different online shipping service but I was unable to accurately weigh my packages. Moreover, the options for shipping costs outside the United States were very limited and did not include all of the options that you can get by going to the Post Office. This service also did not offer the ability to order shipping or labeling supplies.

Stamps.com: What made you choose Stamps.com? 
Just for the day-to-day operations of my small business, I need to be able to package and ship items of various sizes all over the world. To be able to do this proficiently and accurately, I looked into several packaging and shipping options. Since being a small business owner does not afford me the luxury of hiring either an outside company or extra staff to perform these tasks, I had to find a way to do it myself. Originally, I went to the Post Office daily and had to stand in line, which was costing me valuable designing time. I found I could use Stamps.com at home and save myself the daily trips to the Post Office. I could order my packaging supplies, mailing labels, and accurately weigh my packages and print shipping labels, all using one program thus saving me time and money!  

Stamps.com: Did you have any challenges with Stamps.com, when you first started to use the software? 
I actually found the software quite easy to use. Setting up the scale for the automatic weight options was a bit of a learning curve, but once I set it up, I never had to worry about the accuracy of the weight of my packages any more!

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Stamps.com: What types of packages do you mail out with Stamps.com? 
All sorts of packages! The most common ones though are First Class, Priority Mail, and International packages.

Stamps.com: Besides printing postage, are there other Stamps.com features that have helped your business?
Yes, absolutely! I love that I can order packaging supplies, mailing labels, print postage and print customs forms, all from right within the software.

Stamps.com: What features of Stamps.com do you use the most and how have these helped streamline your shipping process? 
I use the Address Book feature quite frequently – Saving customers addresses so I can recall them as needed is a great help! Also, being able to see the status of my packages and when they were shipped, along with the Reports section to check trends of my shipping services are all extremely beneficial features. I also use the Stamps.com Store to order shipping materials and labels. 

Stamps.com: What’s next for TheChainMailleLady? 
I will continue to design and teach classes in chainmaille.  I am also in the process of writing my second book. Finally, I hope to make additional appearances on Jewelry Television’s Jewel School and Beads, Baubles & Jewels.

To learn more about TheChainMailleLady, visit TheChainMailleLady.

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Customer Spotlight: Crayon Rocks

March 13th, 2014 Comments off

BL_Blog_Headerphoto_barbaraHow did Barbara start her small business? How did Stamps.com help along the way? Barbara Lee, owner of Crayon Rocks, a soy wax crayon manufacturer shares her story.

Tell us about your business. How did you start? 

I started my business in my garage in La Crescenta, CA. Only two years ago, we moved to rural Kentucky without a glitch in our Stamps.com program! My business was an idea that had been on my mind for some time. I had students who wouldn’t color with crayons, would fist grip markers, and couldn’t write because their finger muscles were just too weak to correctly hold a pencil. I “found” a rock and noticed that the only way they could pick it up was with a tripod grip! Exactly the grip I needed them to strengthen. If I could make crayons, they could color AND improve their handwriting at the same time. I did lots of research, made up molds, mixed up wax formulas and made my first prototype crayons.

What small business challenges did you face?

Once I shared these little gems with kids and parents, I had lots of orders. We threw together a website and suddenly I needed to ship crayons across the country and soon after that across the globe. I had a lot of help from the SBA (Small Business Administration), friends and other small businesses that were helpful with their advice. That is how I discovered Stamps.com. They held my hand as I tried to figure out how to print postage on a Elton Zebra 4 x 6 printer and then explained how to handle international shipping.

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How did you find out about Stamps.com? 

I had used the US Postal Services website but it was cumbersome and slow for the number of packages I was beginning to ship. I looked for other solutions and found Stamps.com on the internet. The people were friendly, the software simple to use, the cost very affordable for a small business.

What did use prior to using online postage? What made you choose Stamps.com? 

In the very beginning, I took packages to the Post Office and stood in line. That didn’t work for long. Then I tried using the Postal Services website. That also didn’t last too long either. I chose Stamps.com because of its ease of use. It was smooth and effortless. And if I had a problem, they were only a short phone call away.

Did you have any challenges with Stamps.com, when you first started to use the software? 

With software, (and hardware) there are ALWAYS challenges but I got help, sometimes the technical support person would be on the phone patiently (very patiently) for a hour. But with help comes learning. I got past the initial install and use of printer issues and stopped having to call. Probably most people won’t even experience this but some of us have two left feet when it comes to computer programs.

What types of packages do you mail out with Stamps.com? BL_Blog_Logo

Crayon Rocks ships almost all of its single retail orders using First Class and Priority Mail. We ship ALL our international orders (unless its a pallet going ocean freight) by USPS Large Flat Rate.

Besides printing postage, are there other Stamps.com features that have helped your business? 

I order labels and USPS free shipping supplies through Stamps.com. That’s a huge help.

What features of Stamps.com do you use the most and how have these helped streamline your shipping process? 

We use the basic shipping program the most. Our new website site however, will have the Stamps.com program fully integrated so that there is no retyping of address into fields. Even now, some of our orders ship directly out of our QuickBooks Accounting program which is integrated with Stamps.com. Being able to put the actual shipping cost and the tracking number right on the invoice is a huge help to customers. They LIKE knowing (and I LIKE having them know) that they got charged what I got charged for shipping and no more!

What’s next for Crayon Rocks? 

We hope to add some more coloring tools like rubber plates, additional crayon colors and coloring books that are specially designed to bring out the storytelling/creative imagination of children, to our merchandise.

To learn more about Crayon Rocks, visit the website at http://www.crayonrocks.net.

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Customer Spotlight: Van Dorn Gourmets

February 13th, 2014 Comments off

HeaderBrian Van Dorn is the owner of Van Dorn Gourmets, a gourmet spice company specializing in all natural spice rubs, seasoning blends, and dip mixes.  Brian started the company in 2007, as a part time venture that soon became a full-time job for him.  Today, Brian shares his story with us – How he started his small business, what challenges he overcame and how Stamps.com has helped grow his dream into a successful and lucrative business.

Stamps.com: What inspired you to start your company, Van Dorn Gourmets?
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At the time I started the company, I was employed full-time as a special effects make-up artist.  However, I’ve always been passionate about food and cooking from a very young age – Growing up, I worked at restaurants and have always enjoyed cooking with my family.  In fact, for Christmas, I would create different spice blends and share these with my family.  Everyone seemed to enjoy my spice blends and since I was already interested in starting a food-based business, I figured it would be a great idea to start creating and selling my spices commercially.

Stamps.com: What small business challenges did you face and how did you overcome them?

Being an artist and more creatively focused, I didn’t really know much about starting and running a business.  I knew I had a good product, but trying to find all the resources to translate my creation into a lucrative business was challenging.  I did everything from researching online to reading books on how to start a business to asking other entrepreneurs for hints and tips.  Moreover, since I was still working full-time, it was hard to find time for the company.  However, this was my passion and so I just had to carve out time, which meant many long days and nights!

BVDStamps.com: How did you find out about us?

I first discovered the benefits of Stamps.com when I received a promotional package in the mail containing information on the services offered, along with a free software CD.

Stamps.com: What did you use prior to using online postage?

Prior to using Stamps.com, I would literally hand-write the addresses directly on my packages with a black marker, then proceed to go to the Post Office to have the packages weighed, and purchase postage, all steps I did not particularly care for.  The packages would look rather unprofessional, and the time spent at the Post Office would certainly have been better allocated to making spice blends for Van Dorn Gourmets.

Stamps.com: What made you choose Stamps.com?

The promotional package that I received from Stamps.com contained many appealing offers including a free scale, free labels, and a decent amount of free postage.  Starting a new small business can be expensive and very time consuming – Finding ways to streamline and professionalize my business was a priority from the very beginning.  Stamps.com was a great way to achieve both!

Stamps.com: Did you have any challenges with Stamps.com, when you first started to use the software?

I make gourmet spice rubs, seasoning blends, and dip mixes for a living.  I am not very computer savvy by any means whatsoever, and setting up Stamps.com was very, very simple.  The program is very user-friendly and with the constant software updates that are offered, the program just gets easier.  If I can do it, anyone can!

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Stamps.com: What types of packages do you mail out with Stamps.com?

While we do sometimes sell our spice blends directly to our customers at local gourmet food events and farmers’ markets, most of our business is conducted online.  We ship our web store purchases from www.vandorngourmets.com directly to our customers.  Our packages are rather small, approximately 1-5 lbs.

Our products are also available for wholesale purchase and in bulk.  So, these packages can weigh up to 30 lbs.  And with 20 different varieties, our packages truly do vary in size and weight.  But they are all equally simple to ship with Stamps.com!

Stamps.com: Besides printing postage, are there other Stamps.com features that have helped your business?

Right off the bat, I’d have to say that being able to include my logo directly on my shipping label is a huge plus.  Building the Van Dorn Gourmets brand is a very important priority for me and having people recognize the logo on the label itself is such a great feature!  Moreover, I don’t think you can get that kind of service from the Post Office.  The other features that have been beneficial:  Scheduling a pick-up!  It’s quick, easy and the mail carrier picks up our packages right at our door.  Ordering supplies on Stamps.com is also another very useful feature for me.  I can order labels and shipping supplies, including the free Priority Mail products and the payments are conveniently linked to my account.  It couldn’t be faster and easier!

Stamps.com: What features of Stamps.com do you use the most and how have these helped streamline your shipping process?

I mostly print shipping labels from Stamps.com and sometimes a few envelopes as well.  It’s so fast!  You log in, weigh your package, type in the address information, and choose the shipping method and print!  I schedule a carrier pick-up and I’m done!  I can then go back to making my spices!

Stamps.com: What’s next for Van Dorn Gourmets?

I am very excited to be working on a new store location in Los Angeles, CA for Van Dorn Gourmets.  While we are still just in the demolition phase, I believe once ready, the physical store will help further boost sales and grow the business!

To learn more about Van Dorn Gourmets, visit the website at www.vandorngourmets.com.
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Categories: Customer Profiles Tags:

ScanMyPhotos.com – Leading the Digital Photo Industry

January 6th, 2012 Comments off

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The leading provider of digital photo services saves $30,000 each month with Stamps.com and the USPS.

Innovating to stay alive
Successful businesses embrace change. No one knows this better than Mitch Goldstone, President and CEO of ScanMyPhotos.com, the leading provider of nationwide and international digital photo services. The company started as a boutique retail photo center and experienced significant growth until the mid 1990s, when the world’s shift from traditional film to digital photography threatened to put the company out of business.

In response, Mitch not only transitioned the company to the digital photo world, but he helped his customers do the  same by offering a range of digital photo services. Now people around the globe send in their photos, slides, VHS tapes and even 8-millimeter film reels to be digitized, restored and preserved. With a successful new business model in place, Mitch’s next step was to ensure that ScanMyPhotos.com reinvented its shipping as well.

“When dramatic change happens, you ask yourself do you go out of business or reinvent?” said Mitch. “I chose to reinvent. It can be a challenge, but also very rewarding.”

Finding the right shipping solution
As a new small business, shipments were taken to the local Post Office™ where employees would wait in line, manually weigh each package, and obtain postage. When this shipping method proved to be a time liability, the company looked into something new.

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Mitch Goldstone, President and CEO of ScanMyPhotos.com

Next the company opted for a postage meter, which required employees to replenish postage funds by taking the  meter to the Post Office or placing a call to the meter provider. Over time, employees found that the postage meter was largely inefficient and lacked the robust tracking features the company needed to do business.

“People trust us with their most precious memories, their pictures,” said Mitch. “It was important to find a shipping solution with cutting-edge performance and top-notch tracking capabilities that would give our customers peace of mind.”

Stamps.com — The smart choice
One day, Mitch read a news article about Stamps.com’s Internet-based shipping solution and how it enabled customers to print postage and manage shipments with just a PC, printer and Internet connection. “It sounded so cutting edge and exponentially better than anything else, so I decided to try it,” said Mitch.

Seamless Integration
Within minutes, the software was easily installed and ScanMyPhotos.com employees were able to test the shipping solution and start printing postage. Employees were happy to find that virtually all shipping functions were automated, from shipment notification emails to inputting customer addresses. In the event of questions regarding the software, employees were able to call Stamps.com’s award-winning Customer Care team for immediate technical support. “Using Stamps.com is easier than using a stamp, and much friendlier,” said Mitch.

Cost Savings
Using Stamps.com software, ScanMyPhotos.com has instant online access to the prices and services of the USPS®. The company utilizes cost-effective Priority Mail® Flat Rate boxes in order to deliver photos quickly and offer free shipping on its most popular service plan. The company ships over 200 boxes a day, with each box holding as many as 2,000 photos.

“We use Stamps.com to process the shipment of 400,000 photos a day, and we save 40%–50% on each shipment using USPS Priority Mail Flat Rate boxes. As a result, we save approximately $30,000 in postage each month — that’s a huge amount of savings,” said Mitch.

Powerful Tracking
A shipper of people’s priceless and prized photos, ScanMyPhotos.com relies heavily on package tracking to provide customers with detailed shipping information. The company uses Stamps.com software to search for and view up-to-date tracking details, access USPS tracking numbers, and automatically generate shipment notification emails. All tracking features are available around the clock and can be accessed from any computer, giving ScanMyPhotos.com the flexibility to conduct business on and off-site.

“We have a great group of employees who take tremendous care of every single photo we receive,” said Mitch. “Each year we reward them with a memorable trip to Las Vegas, where they can easily toggle between fun activities and answering tracking-related customer questions using Stamps.com.”

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The ScanMyPhotos.com Team on a company trip in Las Vegas and the Grand Canyon

 

A picture-perfect partnership
After over 21 years of business and recognition from world-renowned media including CNN, the online testimonial section of ScanMyPhotos.com is filled with customer reviews that describe the company’s services as “incredibly reliable, mind-blowing fast, affordable and flawlessly simple from start to finish.”

“Pictures are everything and ScanMyPhotos.com makes sure they last forever,” said Mitch. “We’ve been able to do so by partnering with Stamps.com and using their shipping solution. I’ve found that both companies have the same level of commitment to innovation — and that makes for good business.”

Read more about ScanMyPhotos.com using Stamps.com to process their orders.

Call us toll-free at 1-888-434-0055, Monday - Friday, 6 AM - 6 PM Pacific Time.