Sunday, December 16, 2012

International man of mystery

So I spend more time than I'd like in chat rooms and reading articles on running an online side business. One of them (by and for Japanese sellers) highly encouraged international shipping. They pretty much had me convinced to open up to international sales. But then I read another thread with horror stories about shipping and claims and lost packages and insurance, yada yada yada, that had me convinced otherwise.
                Well, sometimes I learn best by liberal strikes to the face with a two by four. We shall see. So I peppered my online shops with "WE NOW SHIP INTERNATIONALLY!!!" and waited for the mayhem to begin. It was inevitable then when a client contacted me, saying "I don't see anything on your website that says if you ship internationally. Do you?" Cut to an aside of me breaking the fourth wall by staring at the camera.
                Did you know it's actually cheaper to send a package to Spain from Iwakuni than it is in the States? Well, with visions of packages and envelopes in a wooden cart being pulled by a nose-ringed cebu through a rice paddy somewhere between Cambodia and Kazakhstan then languishing on the floor of a Spanish post office while some guy with a pencil mustache sexually harasses his female co-workers during the two hours of his daily shift, I intrepidly packed up my first international order and took it to the post office.
                I had carefully chosen a plastic bubble-wrap envelope for this order, not knowing what elements it would be exposed to, only to realize that the address I had painstakingly written on the plastic smudged with the slightest provocation. Cut to a montage of me covering the envelope in sticker labels and then wrapping it in layers of clear tape.
                So now I'm officially an international seller. The cool part? The DAY I shipped that off, someone contacted me to have a pen stylus custom-made for themselves in Taiwan. Awesome. Now I get to repeat that exercise, this time with Chinese writing on the envelope!
                I want to know! What different or unusual things happen in your work, hobby or interest? Comment below. Check out my current inventory at http://www.articents.com/HopeAndGracePens