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Hi! I run The Alchemist's Closet zine distro and sell on Etsy and on my own website. I am US based.

I sell a number of pinback buttons, the most popular being the 'Genderqueer' button. Recently I realized that for shipping to certain addresses, it's possible for me to lose money on selling this button-- It's $1.25 for the button and then I add on 0.50 for shipping in the US (I just increased it to $1). And shipping the button can be like $2.10 sometimes at the post office's lowest rate.

Buttons are small, and cheap, and weigh NEXT TO NOTHING. Yet they insist on being expensive to ship. How can I strike a good balance for shipping buttons? How do you package a button to make it ship more cheaply?

Is it reasonable to ask someone pay a total of $2.25 or more for a 1 1/4" pinback button-- because that's what it costs just to ship it?

The biggest problem I can see is that the button needs (I think) padding, which makes it too thick to be "machinable" and therefore increases the price way beyond what it would be for a similar weigh object that is flat.


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You should ask Alex Wrekk about this since they own Portland Button Works.

I make buttons and ship them in a sturdy envelope with no padding - this makes it 'machinable' and therefore a lower cost. So far they have always arrive safely, even when shipping internationally 

Novadon Moon, Thank you! This was what I was wondering about. I assume you use a cardboard envelope? I'm going to start doing this.



Yes, I use cardboard envelopes now, but my friend used to bring me envelopes from work which were just really thick paper and they worked well too.

Glad I could help!

Thanks for your help.I'm trying this now, although its still a process. The post office wasnt very happy with my last envelope, but I finally got the shipping cost for a button to under a dollar. Now I just have to hope it actually gets there!

I pin buttons to cardstock that s folded over then wrap that in a small bit of tissue paper, then put that in these small paper shop bags. Then I put them in manilla envelopes that I cut in half and that pretty much evens them out.

I find that every post office is different. If you make it too still with cardboard some will call it "unmachinable" I has to be able to bend a certain amount, but  I don't go to the post office any more because I'm always at my shop. I use paypal shipping and another program to ship things and it's always been 1.69 including delivery confirmation for between 1-3 ounces because it ships as a package and not as an envelope. I find that people are generally ok with paying that for shipping of a button or two if the get confirmation of their shipment and can track it online.

The international prices are what kills me. It cost $6.55 to send a 1 ounce package. that is totally ridiculous.



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