I'm often asked how things work over here at PaperDoll Designs. I totally get it. I'm super curious about how other people work and I can't get enough of those "Day in the Life" posts of other working mommas. I eat them up and read them word for word looking for ideas I can implement. And I'm just really nosy. So maybe there are some other small biz owners out there that might be interested in how it works over here or you might be a customer that wants to get a little glimpse of how your order is processed. I hope this helps answer some questions about why things don't always happen over night and why the proofing system I've set up is so very important.
So here you go. This is what happens when you place an order...
1. I get an email telling me that an order has been placed. I usually already have my orders to work on planned out so I don't typically review orders the minute or even the day they come in. Instead, I file them in a folder that I have created in my email based on the order that they are received. At the end of each day or at least every other day, I actually print those orders and place them in a large binder I keep on my desk. It has 4 sections but right off, orders are placed in one of the first two sections:
- SEND A PROOF - this is where I place the orders that have requested that I send them a proof.
- READY TO GO - this is where I place orders for in stock items (I don't have many of these) and orders that did not request a proof
I feel like I need to make a point here. If you are starting a business or you already have a business and you like to read up on ways to more effectively run your biz, then you have probably read a million times that you should be working with some automated system and should have some super fancy way to keep track of your orders. Well, I'm a paper girl and I like to have printed copies of my orders. I like to write notes on them based on emails and I like to have them in my cute little binder on my desk. It works for me. I do still have all my orders accessible from my shop cart host and I do update that but I work from the paper copy. I've tried doing things the way you are "supposed" to do it and it only hindered my process. Do what works for you, boss girl.
2. I try to send proofs within 48 business hours. This doesn't always happen but I try my best. If I have a high volume of orders, it may take a bit longer. If you placed an order on Friday night, it might be early the next week before I get to your proofs. If I take a little longer getting to your proof, I try to make up for time once it's approved. I know customers are anxious to see their proofs and I totally understand. However, since I'm a one girl shop and I am a mom of three, I have to just do my best. Sometimes I get a little behind but I have some amazing customers that generally seem to be okay with that. Once I have your proof set up, I write down the file name of the proof on the order page so I can find it quickly when the order is ready to be processed. I then send the proof to the email provided. I have the signature below set up on my email so I don't have to type out the same info all day, every day.
"Thank you so much for your order with PaperDoll Designs. Just let us know if this proof meets your expectations as quickly as possible. The faster you let us know, the faster we can get to work making your pretty items! The turnaround time clock starts as soon as you approve your proof! Please keep in mind that proofing is a free service provided by PaperDoll Designs to ensure that names are spelled correctly and that the font chosen is fitting. Please, try not to use this as a time to change designs, colors and names that were chosen during the order process. ONE proof revision per item will be provided after the initial proof. Further proofs will be provided at an additional fee of $1/proof. Once you approve your proof, you may not hear back from us…we will be too busy working on getting your order out to you as soon as possible. THANK YOU!"
Once I have sent the proof, I file the order in the 3rd section of my binder:
- REPLY NEEDED - I file orders here AFTER a proof has been sent and it stays here until I have heard back from the client. Orders that are unclear (font is left blank, colors are not chosen, special instructions were left and I need to clarify) are also filed here after sending an email to the client for clarification. Once an email has been sent, I move on to other orders and wait on the client. I hope that they get back to me as quickly as possible so we can proceed with the order but sometimes that doesn't happen. If I notice that it has been a while or if I get to a point that I am caught up and ready to move on, I will email them but I generally leave it in their hands to reply.
3. Once I hear back with proof approval or if I have an order that did not request a proof, I get started on processing the order. If the order contains items that are not made right here in the PaperDoll studio, then I send that file out to the appropriate vendor to be processed and the order gets moved to the 4th section of the binder:
- WAITING ON A PRODUCT - orders go here while I am waiting for part or all of their order to come in from a vendor
Many of the items are made right here in the studio by me. This is the most time consuming part of the order process because I am a bit of a perfectionist. I try my best to send out the very best product that I can and I take my time making sure each order meets the PaperDoll quality standard. Packages are also coming in from vendors each day and it's almost like Christmas getting to open them up and sort them.
4. Once products have arrived and in studio products have been made, I get to do my favorite part: Package them up pretty! I then print out the invoice and send them on their way and start all over again.
As you can see, it's a never ending process. I almost ALWAYS have proofs to send and orders to process and there is never any downtime. From start to finish, orders usually take 1-2 weeks but that time all depends on how quickly proofs are approved, how many orders are coming in and how long vendors are taking to process products.
Hopefully, you enjoyed this little peak behind the scenes. I'm off to send some proofs!