I'm thinking about selling cake toppers online but am worried about shipping. How do you make sure they get to the buyer in one piece? And I'm not talking about flowers, am more concerned about really delicate toppers which you can't just wrap in cling film. And what's your policy on shipping in case of braking etc...
I sell things that I know won't break, or that have a minimal chance of breaking, If you have things that are super fragile I don't know if they'd be good candidates to ship. The problem is that if you ship something you have to guarantee that you can get it to the customer without it being broken, so if there's damage you have to deal with it. There are things that I won't send out of the country because of customs opening boxes and stuff like that, so you need to decide whether it's worth it to you to take the chance.
What kind of things are you thinking pf mailing? If you have photos post them and I'll give you my opinion based on experience of shipping things whether I'd ship them or not.
I hoped YOU would answer ;)
Well, I was asked to ship a topper like this to the states (= half way around the world):
But I mean toppers in general...3D shaped ones, similar to this. I make lots of fairies and animal characters etc.
Guess you're right. The risk of wrongful handling and breakage is quite high. ..
Hmmm...there's no good way to ship that without risk of breakage. If it was TOTALLY solidly dry you could build it on a plastic base that could be anchored to something in a box to keep it from moving around, then packed tightly with cotton pillow stuffing on the top to really pack it in, but any time you have pieces that stick up like the horn it's a risk of that breaking off. If there was a way to ship them in sections that the customer could put together that might work better, but it's still risky.
The main problem shipping internationally is customs, because if they open stuff they definitely won't repackage it the right way. I've had to stop shipping even simple things like fondant pearls internationally because they open the packages and cut open all of the tape and stuff that I use to hold things together, then don't close anything up again. So you might as well not have packaged it carefully at all. Shipping within your country only, or as far as things can go without having to go though a customs warehouse is the safest thing.
When people think about companies like Lladro shipping things and think "well why can't I do that, then" they're not thinking about that fact that they have special styrofoam packaging made that conforms to the shape of the figures. If you think along those lines and can figure out how to package things with that kind of security that's what you need to do. But the international stuff just gives it anther dimension of daaaanger.
Also, if you have policies set up like "damage can occur, I'm not responsible if something breaks in transit," the credit card companies will pretty much laugh at that as they reverse the charges and give the customer their money back if they receive damaged goods. You have to make sure that things you ship will make it there in one piece, so toppers that are really fragile are risky.
Having said all that, though, if it was a horse topper WITHOUT the horn and it was one solid piece, I'd ship that in-country no problem. That could be packed up securely and if it's one solid piece that would be fine. If there are things that you can do that would be more of a continuous shape as opposed to things that have thin arms and legs, those might work to be sent. If I was going to set up a topper shop (which I'm not, I hate figure modeling) I'd come up with 15-20 designs that could be done pretty quickly and were basically large solid pieces, or flat things that you could anchor to a board then send.
What about using spray foam insulation to make your own custom box insert? You can wrap the figure in plastic to protect it from the foam. The foam expands while setting, so you might have to work with it a bit.