International shipping does not have to be stressful! However, the pandemic plus USPS woes are causing some frustrating and expensive issues which I would love for us to avoid.
I have put together the guidelines below to explain how to prep for a smooth experience :)
If you have any questions at all, shout me! I really, really want to make this a joyful and mutually beneficial experience for us all by ironing out the biggest issues I see, and I want us to work together to make things smooth and ease-full!
If using USPS, be *extra careful* with the padding, and see notes below on labelling for export.
For our policy on damaged stock, please see our Stocking Terms.
An even better method for shipping is to place my order directly with your print company, where possible. Some of our suppliers are able to ship our stock directly from print. This saves a lot of time, carbon emissions, hassle and expense for both of us. It also reduces the opportunities for goods to get damaged.
Labeling packages for export
Please write ‘Paper/Printed Matter’ on your export labels.
If you are sending items in more than one box, please mark each box with ONLY the goods inside that box – NOT the total goods in the whole shipment. This is so important! I’ve had really stressful issues with being billed for the total shipment for each separate box, requiring me to get suppliers involved with UK Customs to ‘prove’ the value – a process sometimes taking weeks or more.
If the shipment contains books, send these in a separate box, labelled separately.
Do not value any box at over 500 USD. Boxes valued above this amount are imported via a different, more complicated system and can take weeks or more to clear.
Please talk to me first if you’re unsure about any of this! It’s simple really, as long as we know what mistakes to avoid.
Packaging (TL;DR: Please do a great job!)
Stock arriving damaged is by far the biggest and most persistent problem we encounter in the shop, and I would love to stop it happening!
In eight years I have seen everything from the best to the worst packaged goods and have a good idea what is needed to protect these precious items and save us both the hassle and heartbreak of damaged decks, and the cost of replacing. (For our policy on damaged stock, please see our Stocking Terms.)
Here is my best guidance:
- We’d like to think our couriers handle everything with care… they often don’t (working conditions don’t generally allow for it). With respect to delivery workers, I advise you approach international shipping by imagining your boxes are gonna get kicked around, dropped, bashed at the corners and shoved about on their long journey.
- Please ship in boxes of no more than 30 decks per box, splitting larger orders and marking each box with the goods inside (NOT the shipment total – see above!)
- Always use a strong, rigid carton, double-walled if possible. Note: Those flat rate USPS boxes are no way strong enough on their own and stock frequently arrives damaged in these.
- Recycling is great but avoid using a box that is tired/soft from previous use.
- Choose the correct size of carton to match the contents – under-filled boxes are likely to collapse.
- If you can hear or feel the contents of the carton moving inside, they are not packed properly – add more stuffing!
- Bubblewrap is by far the best padding option! We re-use all of it!
- If possible, wrap all items separately with protective cushioning such as bubble wrap, or group items in small numbers and wrap these.
- If possible ensure no items are touching the walls of the carton – put a layer of bubble wrap or thick crushed paper between them. Better still, place the box within another box and pad the gap for extra protection.
- Seal the carton securely with strong tape designed for shipping. (You do not need to cover the whole box in plastic tape! Just ensure it is securely sealed.)
- Many goods are shipped in the manufacturer’s original packaging – please ensure this is suitable for trans-Atlantic parcel systems and if not, follow the guidelines above to boost protection.