Not long ago, a blog reader asked me about the items in my packaging shop, Paper and Present. She mentioned she'd like to know more about them, where they come from, what makes them unique, what can and can't be found in a regular store, what is made by me, etc.
When I first started Paper and Present, I simply sold the envelopes that I stocked for my letterpress shop, Paper Ink Press. I already stocked them in large quantities, and because I buy in such large quantities I get wholesale pricing on them. I saw a need for nice envelopes in small quantities on Etsy. There are so many people on Etsy who either run a small hand-made card shop--small enough that they can't justify huge orders at wholesale--or they enjoy making cards as a hobby. So I started selling the envelopes in small quantities and letting people pick an assortment of colors. They turned out to be really popular, not only because of their quality (which is great), but the range of available colors means that pretty much anyone can find a color that will work for them.
After I had enough sales to put some money in my pocket, I started selling stickers in the same colors as the envelopes. I then had really grand plans to add all sorts of hand-made items to the shop, but as I started accumulating a little bit of money in sales, I started re-investing the money and buying other supply items. Then it got to the point that I was so busy packing the orders for the supply items that I didn't have time for many of the hand-made items.
Although several of the items I sell in the shop--the patterned paper gift bags, the Divine Twine and the Twinery Twine, and the washi tape, for example--are sold by other Etsy sellers, I try very hard to out-perform everyone else, either by price, available color selection, or just by providing great customer service.
I do, however, have a few fairly unique items, with more in the works.
The latest addition that is pretty unique to my shop is the solid baker's twine. I've always loved the regular baker's twine that is the color striped with white, but sometimes it just looks a little too casual. I still love the size and feel of the twine for so many things, and I knew that if it was possible to get 1 or 2 strands of color with white in a twine that it had to be possible to find a twine that had all 4 strands in color.
It took me about 8 months of searching to finally find a source for it. And although I know of just one other shop that sells it, I have her beat in price and selection of colors. In fact, just yesterday my selection of colors expanded greatly, from the original 16 colors I offered to 30 now!
I currently offer the twine in several different lengths, but I have an idea for packaging the twine that I'm currently investigating. And if I can make it work, I will be the only person that I know of who is able to offer it. :)